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Review of Rose Bowl Half Marathon by DX20

Posted by: on January, 24 2012

I have mixed feelings about this race. I did the 5K.

Pre-race was a disaster. A complete, unmitigated disaster. I got there an hour early and I waited in line for close to 40 minutes for packet pickup. I’ve been to a lot of large races but I’ve never waited 40 minutes. There weren’t any volunteers keeping the lines in order so it was hard to tell where to go. The volunteers working in the ticket booth were going at a snail’s pace. When the half-marathon line dissipated, there were several windows open, and they still didn’t think to assist the 5K and 10Kers. The volunteer working my friend’s line was not giving out the goody bags–she had to be prompted to hand them over. The volunteer at my line WAS giving out the goody bags but completely neglected to mention that she’d stuffed my chip into the bottom of the bag.

There wasn’t a gear check, which was a bit problematic. Not everyone comes to the race in a car–or has time to go back to their car after waiting 40 minutes for their packet. I saw a lot of people carrying bags on the course.

Course: They didn’t have a gun start for the 5/10K and they didn’t really do a great job of indicating where the start was. And the volunteers by the ticket booths were useless for help with that. A lot of us were startled when the racers started moving forward, because we had no idea they’d started the clock.

They also didn’t do a great job of keeping the course clear. Even though there were cones set up, there were local random joggers dropping in and out of the course, getting in the way. At one point I ended up dodging an idiot who was running backward through the crowd.

Bright point: The volunteers working the course–especially the ones on the second mile, who seemed to be about 10 years old–were absolutely adorable and helpful. 🙂 They were seriously awesome.

Post-race: This was the highlight of the race. Whether you’re a fan of football or not–I am not–running down the chute and into the Rose Bowl is a trip. There was a lot of encouragement in the stadium. As I ran the last few meters, someone on the sidelines shouted “finish STRONG!” and it really buoyed me up again. The announcer did a great job of acknowledging everyone as they crossed the finish line, even the 5Kers who weren’t the fastest.

I did like this race, but the problems at check in really put a damper on the rest of the day.