This was my thirteenth half marathon and my first time running the SD Half Marathon. I’ll DEFINITELY be back again next year due to the following:
-Expo: The expo was held in a beautiful building right on the water and just north of the USS Midway. Admission to the USS Midway was free for participants with your bib for the weekend. Packet pick up was very fast. The tshirt and gear backpack were very nice. The volunteers and vendors were very friendly and helpful. I went to the expo on Saturday morning and it was already packed in the vendor area.
-Pre-Race: Surprisingly, I never saw traffic/parking areas backed up. I parked in the “Park it on Market” parking structure on Market/5th, which charges $1/hr. I only had to walk several blocks to the start line. The gear check was also a breeze and very much appreciated! There were plenty of portapotties. There was even water provided for the runners near the start corrals. There were 15 corrals and they were spaced out so it wasn’t too crowded. Everything was very organized. People were tired (it was Daylight Savings that morning) but the announcer was great and got people motivated. The race started on time and the start line music was great.
-Course: The course views were beautiful. It was mostly flat, with one challenging hill around Mile 9. There were bands, many spectators with signs, and cheerleaders cheering you on. The course had a lot of turns, so you never ran in a straight path for too long. The weather was great, sunny but never too hot. The mile markers were very easy to see and the water/electrolyte tables even had signs on them telling you how far you had ran and how far you need to go before the next one!!!! I’ve ran numerous races and I’ve never seen that before. Wonderful!!!
-Finish Line: The race ended in the Gaslamp District. There were many spectators at the finish and you recieved your medal from military personnel, which was great! There was a “block party” with lots of post race eats (yes, you did have to walk up and down the stairs to get there, which was a challenge after running 13.1 miles), a farmers market, and an area for kids. Gear retrieval was very fast and very organized.
I had such a great experience and I can’t wait for next year!