I have a couple favorite races. Mostly for the ease of the course, the location, the atmosphere and of course, the swag. This is my second year running the Mermaid Half and even after a full, a Spartan, an Xterra and two races that same weekend, I can still say that this is one of my favorites. The course is flat and fast and while there is a bit of a bottleneck going on when you get into Mission Bay Park (the 10k and 5k don’t need to worry about it as much as the halfers), if you know the course before going into it, you can avoid any confusion.
Packet pickup is a breeze and the long sleeve shirt that they give out is one of the best parts about this race. Parking is easy as long as you follow directions and get there early enough – they’ll shut the road down beginning at 7 a.m., so don’t try to press your luck! Spectators can get there a little later if they go through the backside of Mission Bay, but I saw many arrive early to cheer their racers on. The necklace instead of a medal is an added bonus! Post race party was great – lots of free goodies and some expos (like SkirtSports and Luna) were there even after the race which is unlike some of the bigger races. Bonus of Ali Sweeney doing a meet and greet and the Prevention Photo Booth to take your pictures!
If you’re a woman who is looking for her first race, but is a bit intimidated, sign yourself up. Big races can be overwhelming, but the Mermaid Series strives to make women feel comfortable in their fitness endeavours. It’s a wonderful event put on by professional and motivational people and it’s a race that can’t be missed!