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Review of OC Marathon, Half Marathon, Wahoos 5K by gregoryx

Posted by: on May, 7 2012

First off, I love running races; and I consider most of them to be good in each their own way. This was BAD because of the launch of the half marathon a half-hour after the marathon. Which affected everything else.

I ran the half-marathon. I race a 5K/10K/half/trail-race at least once a month. I tend to finish in the first ffew percent of the field. What matters to me is the race. I want a clear, open course (fast doesn’t matter); competition in my pace-range; and a smooth start and finish. I’m not too concerned about goody bags and snacks. Water is nice – the more the better.

Pre-race packet pickup and expo were fine. No T-shirt for me by the time I picked up; but by mail is fine.

Post-race goodies and crowding were also a non-issue for me. Not many folks in front of me and more goodies than I will eat.

What WAS an issue was the starting of the two races and the mahem/mess that it created.

The marathon started 15-minutes late with no waves – just a group start. A half hour before the on-time start for the half. Could hardly have timed it worse if you’re a faster half-marathon runner. Overtaking the 7-hour folks at mile three was fine. But catching the biggest bulk of the field (4-5 hour folks) just as we hit PCH and then two haripins and the narrowest part of the course was a disaster. I was YELLING for people to clear the course not just to avoid dodging but to not have to shove people out of their chit-chat / head-phone space just to get through. Yes, if you saw the flourescent-green-shirted dude screaming, sometimes shoving and eventually shoulder-checking people, that was me. NOT my idea of a great way to run a race; not what I prefer to do and clearly not what the marathon folks wanted to see. But nor did I want to walk up and tap you on your shoulder to please move for me and the 6:30 pace crew. SIGH.

I suspect there was not a lot of upper-end competition because they must have dealt with this before. I would have preferred to have awards available at the end; but I can live with it being mailed; after-all, the shirt is, I suppose.

I enjoyed the course. I’d love to run it again if the marathon and half start at the same time. If they do not, I’m not sure I’d run it again. So simple to fix – and exactly how many other half/full races do it. Why screw up a working model with this mess?