I ran the Pasadena Marathon in 2011. While it didn’t have all of the problems of the inaugural race, there are still a lot of improvements to be made. I felt this could have been a solid B race with some minor tweaking but as is its just an average C race.
One of the good things about the Pasadena Marathon is that you can take the Metro Gold Line from Downtown LA and walk to the start of the Race. The bad part is that it was painfully difficult to find the start of the race. I walked around Pasadena College where there were no clear signs or directions. I finally found a crowd and made my way to the start… of the Bike Tour. *sigh* the actual start of the race was on the other side of the college and to add to the confusion the starting line sign was backwards.
The race itself wasn’t terrible. Not the best course but still a pretty nice one all things considered, yet there were a couple of things that made it worse and held me back from giving it a B.
1. There were a lot of hills on this race which I expected, but many of them were not advertised. Runners were led to believe that there were no hills after a certain point. NOT TRUE! The unexpected hills were the biggest soul crushers. Pasadena Marathon, please provide Accurate elevation maps on your website!
2. There were way to many out and backs. I know that some of them cannot be helped but on a hilly mostly quiet course the out and backs really start to wear on your nerves after a while. There was one point where there were 2 out and backs back to back, why would someone thing that was a good idea?
3. Lack of crowd support. Okay I know some of this may have had to do with the rain earlier in the day but there were long stretches in this race with no crowd support and the crowds themselves were pretty thin too. Normally this doesn’t matter to me but I could have used some extra motivation dealing with those hills!!! I know this is something that the race director has limited control on, but there are ways to get locals interested in supporting the race!
4. Mile Marker Gaffes. I know that I’m not the only one to notice misplaced mile markers along the course! Some mile markers were missing and it just added confusion to the race situation.
Honestly I didn’t remember too much about post race. I got my medal and kept it moving so I will give them the benefit of the doubt there. After such a tough race I just wanted to make it back home! That said there were no major issues with post race.
Despite my criticisms this race wasn’t all bad. The price of this race was very affordable and the t-shirt design was one of the favorites I’ve got so far. Also Pasadena is just a nice place to run. Also add the already mentioned convenience factor of taking the Metro Gold Line to the start. I would consider this race again although it wouldn’t be my first choice, Hopefully some more improvements are made as I know this is still a young race.