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Review of Rose Bowl Half Marathon by AllisonHoban

Posted by: on January, 27 2013

It figures that the first time I run a mostly trail half would also be the first time it’s even rained for one of my races. At one point, the single track we were running in (a rut with steep sides) was covered in shin-deep, rushing water. As we were walking on the side of the slope, hands braced on a tree on the other side, the guy behind me just started laughing. It was awesome. I knew going in that this was going to be a muddy race, and it was. Those shoes needed to be retired, anyway!

It was honestly the toughest course I’ve ever raced, so I just decided to take it easy and enjoy it. And, I did! Despite the crappy weather, I just got muddy and had fun with it. Probably the closest thing I’ll ever do to one of those mud runs.

Things I liked about this race:
-Course was interesting and challenging, even though it wasn’t the best for “racing” (fear the rocky, steep, narrow hill in mile 7) and wasn’t really ready for the amount of rain we got. . But, it ended on the 50 yard line of the Rose Bowl, where we were allowed to walk on the field after the race. That was a pretty neat experience.
-Volunteers were AWESOME (especially since they had to stand in the rain!). Plenty of aid stations (and they were handing out licorice, pretzels, and shot blocks in addition to just water).
-The race was the smallest I’ve ever done – fewer than 500 people in the half (there was also a 5K and 10K). I don’t know if more signed up and just didn’t show because of the weather, but runners spread out quickly on the course and were nice to each other (lead guy was cheering on everyone as he passed them going the other direction).
-Race day check in! It’s nice to only have to drive to Pasadena once instead of twice.

Things I didn’t like:
-This race was expensive! I know I signed up relatively late, but it’s the most I’ve ever paid for a race – full marathon included – at $115, plus $10 for parking. And since they didn’t have to close down any roads (the whole course was on trails through parks, or on the path around the Rose Bowl grounds) I’m not really sure where that money went…
-I never got any pre-race communications from them. I got a confirmation email from Active when I signed up, but never any “Final Race Day Instructions” emails. It was fine, because I could find it on their website, I just thought this was a little odd.

Overall a good race and a fun experience, but I probably wouldn’t do it again just because of the cost and because I’m not a big trail runner.