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Review of San Diego Half Marathon by

Posted by: on March, 10 2014

I have run dozens of half marathons, and this was my third time running the San Diego Half. Overall, I think it’s the best of the 7-8 half marathons that are put on each year in San Diego. The Expo has about two dozen vendors which is about what you’d expect from a race this size. It was easy to get in and out without dealing with parking hassles or long lines. The pre-race area is just outside Petco Park in Downtown San Diego, so there’s plenty of options for a pre-race bite to eat with coffee, juice, or whatever floats your boat before a race. They have plenty of porto potties at the start and there was virtually no lines, which is a nice change from year one of this race. The course itself takes you through downtown, along the harbor, through Liberty Station Park, up Washington St Hill into Hillcrest, and along side Balboa Park, with a fast downhill finish back into downtown. There were also plenty of porto potties on the course as well. I ran a 8:45 pace for this race and did not encounter any issues with aid stations running out of water, but I did hear about that from other friends that ran. If that’s the case, it’s definitely something that needs to be addressed by the race directors. It was unusually warm for March, but they had enough warning ahead of time as all the forecasts were predicting temps in the low 80’s. The only other issue I had with the course was that there did not seem to be a mile marker at mile 1 or 2? I run with a GPS, but I also like to compare my pace to the mile markers on the course, so the lack of mile markers at the beginning was disappointing. At most finish line’s the race hands out food and drinks in grocery plastic bags or no bag at all, but here they were given out in reusable fiber bags which was a big plus in my book. This race has the best bang for the buck when it comes to shwag (and especially if you’re a Legacy Runner). The race medal was much larger than the previous two years and actually rivals the size for the Beach Cities Challenge medal. The gear check pickup was well staffed and organized which is also a big plus. So many races seem to screw up the bag check pickup that I’ve seen long lines, chaos reign, and close to riots at other races (2011 LA Marathon, 2013 OC Half and seemingly every year at Carlsbad Half & Full). The San Diego Half made it painless and easy to get your gear bag afterwards. Overall, the many pluses outweigh the minuses and it’s still my favorite half marathon in San Diego, but they definitely need to address the water station issues and make those mile markers more visible. Thank you