This was my second time to run this race. The first time was the inaugural year. Overall, they have a great course. You start downtown, work your way to the harbor. From there you run along the water for a bit, and then inland. At mile 9 you are greeted by a HUGE hill. But once you are at the top, it is downhill from there. A nice run thru Hillcrest. Then you transition over to the outskirts of Balboa Park and then back to downtown. I love the fact that you can stay downtown and have easy access to start/finish line. And if you want to stay outside of downtown, parking is relatively easy.
Now for the areas of opportunity that the RD needs to address. Race day for 2014 was a warm one. The race started at 7:20am. The downside is after about 7 waves, they held up the race for 9 minutes. Then let a wave go, and then held up for another 9 minutes. While we all understand the trolleys need to run, it’s a bit discouraging to stand around for so long. Why not start the race at 6:45 and hopefully avoid this trolley hold up.
The volunteers and medical support folks were great. Water stops 4, 6, 8 and 9 ran out of water. Unexcuseable. Especially given the heat. The first time we saw any kind of gatorade drink was at mile 11. One of the medical support folks ran in to a market at mile 9 and bought gallons of cold water for the runners. He even ran up the hill at mile 9 trying to make sure everyone was okay. and carried a gallon of water to share. Amazing. I only hope the RD reimburses him.
At the finish line, they passed out warm bottles of water and the chocolate milk was sitting on a table in the sun. How difficult would it have been to have bins of ice to store the water and milk in? To get to any post-race food, they had runners walking up two flights of stairs to pick up a prepacked bag of light snacks. Many runners were not even aware of this, since there were no signs or volunteers directing folks.
As for the bling, it is very very nice. They change up the medal every year, and really put that San Diego feel to it. The ribbon is also very nice. Good job on the bling! In fact, the bling was so nice, I witnessed a MarathonFoto person help themselves to a medal. Geez.
Overall, would I do this race again? Yes, because the course is very nice. And I truly enjoy weekends in San Diego. I would definitely recommend you carry your own water and gatorade and not to count on the race to provide it.