Last year I ran the 5.3 distance of Conquer the Bridge and this year I decided to try out the 1/2 marathon course. Let me start by saying that the race director was awesome in answering questions quickly and in assisting me with packet pick up for friends for who flying in from out of town. I have never had that experience with any other race director and I was very impressed by that.
The race start time of 6:30 was great and it was nice and cool out. The atmosphere was very upbeat the turn out was smaller than what I expected but that actually made it kind of nice. Trying to maneuver last years 5.3 crowd was huge pain. It made getting photos on the bridge a piece of cake and a large number of us ended up with some really great shots.
I thought the course was really beautiful. The view on top the bridge is breathtaking but most of the race took place on terminal island which is not open to the general public. It was so quiet and peaceful to me it was a runner paradise.
It would have been nice if the water station at the bottom of the bridge was accessible however, most us of being experienced runners brought out own. Especially in light of the fact that it has been so hot and humid. I never count on a race having everything I need so I always bring my won GU and water just case they run out. They had 2 more waster stations set up that you hit twice making it a total of 5 water stations and I thought it was really great that the local police had truck load of bottled water they were handing out as well. While they did have an official medical tent set up I did see several ambulance with personal on stand-by. They also had plenty of volunteers and police along the course to help as well.
This is the first year Conquer the Bridge did not have day of packet pick up however they had a 3 day time period to pick up packets and I have never ran a 1/2 marathon that had same day packet pick up so I am not going to whine about driving 20 minutes to pick up my goodie bag. They have never had the best shirts but unless a race is giving out a really awesome tech shirt like Surf City I am probably not going to wear it anyway.
The medal was nicely designed and a great addition to my collection. I was tiny bit disappointed by the ribbon because it did seem plain and cheap. It would have been cool if the ribbon would have said inaugural with the year or something like that. However, this is the first year of the 1/2 marathon it it was bound to have a few hiccups.
A large number of us had ran Disney all weekend and then ran Conquer the Bridge so we were not the first ones across the finish line. As a matter of fact a lot of the 5.3 people had crossed by the time we came in so the bananas and oranges were all gone. After I was given my medal and a bottle of water something really wonderful happened two young men approached us handing out fresh donuts from the bakery! That was a first for me and I was happy to donuts over a banana any day.
I like the challenge of Conquer the Bridge and like running 1/2 marathons all year long so I would defiantly so this race again next year.