For this review, I completed the full marathon.
The Pre-race was organized pretty well. You can either be dropped off at Fashion Island, or take a bus from the OC Fairgrounds. I chose to take the bus because the finish line is at the OC Fairgrounds. The bus ride was about 15 minutes to the starting line, and I got there very early (4:45 am for a 6 am start). I would recommend getting there early because the starting line does get fairly crowded, and there was not a corral system when I ran it. Also, please note that the marathoners and the half marathoners started at the same time. I believe that has changed this year, and I am sure that will be a welcomed change.
The course itself was decent. The only major course problem is that the course bottle necks at Pacific Coast Highway when going to the back bay (this is around mile 4-5) I believe that this also will be changed this year as well…again, another welcomed change. The course was a flat course, some height changes due to going over freeway overpasses and what not. The marathoners and the half-marathoner run together on the same course, and the half marathoners split at Mile 12. This was good for me because my friend ran the half marathon and I ran with him for the first 12 miles. I would definitely recommend the course to a first time marathoner, since this was the first marathon that I completed.
The Post-race was the poorest of the three categories. After crossing the finish line, and running for nearly 5 hours, I was given a single bottle of water and a single Nutrigrain bar, and refused to give me more when I had asked. My wife had to run into the OC Fair Marketplace to get me a bottle of Gatorade and a fruit smoothie to get me back on my feet. Hopefully this will also be changed going to forward.
Overall, It was a good marathon experience, especially for a first-timer. It is fairly inexpensive compared to other marathons (I paid $95).
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