The OC Marathon truly is the Tale Of Two Cities…Newport Beach (Heaven) and Costa Mesa (Hell).
The first 9 miles of this race are beautiful with ocean views and beautiful homes. But, after about Mile 10 and especially from Mile 13 on, this course is as ugly as any out there. It is, without a doubt, my least favorite second half to any marathon out there.
This year there was a new addition to the course around Mile 17.5 and it was running through some school and it was not only unscenic but it was all concrete and seemed to last about 1/3 of a mile with all its twists and turns but there was plenty more unpleasant parts in the second half.
Pre-Race would’ve been great except for the 25 minute delay. Don’t drag runners out there for a 5:30am start only to delay the race until nearly 6am. Personally, I could’ve really benefited from either 25 more minutes of sleep or getting out of there 25 minutes early at the end. Plus, the sun only came out during my race in the last 1.5 miles and that would have been avoided with a timely start. For those running over a 4:30 pace, it meant 25 minutes of finishing the marathon in the warm sun whereas they would’ve been able to finish under the cover of the clouds had the race started as scheduled.
The post race seemed good enough, although I didn’t stick around. Fortunately, I didn’t face any trouble leaving the race finish but the half marathoners seemed to have a nightmare of a time trying to get out of the OC Fairgrounds.
Crowd support was ok on the course but the crowd support was non-existent in Newport Beach but at least we got the ocean views and beautiful homes in Newport Beach.
The aid stations were pretty good so no complaints there. Plenty of gatorade, water and gu was also present at a couple different aid stations.
Personally, I would only do the full again as a pacer, as I was this race, meaning my entry was covered. Otherwise, I’d steer well clear of the full and would stick to the half marathon, although I probably wouldn’t want to park in the assigned parking of the OC Fairgrounds but, rather, would park across the street at Costa Mesa City Hall where it would be much easier to get in and out of following the race.