My husband and I ran in the San Diego Rock n Roll Half Marathon and had a lot of fun at this event! Packet pick-up was easy. The expo took place at the San Diego Convention Center and we went down there the Friday before the race. Maybe because we went on a Friday, but it wasn’t so bad navigating through the expo. I suspect more people waited until Saturday to go. The shirt they gave out this year was a light blue, beach design and was really nice. I would wear this shirt even when I’m not working out. They had a lot of vendors there and a lot of things to see and do. We had a great time at the expo.
The morning of the race was hectic and a little stressful. There was no way to get to the start line unless you took the trolley or a shuttle or got dropped off. Cars couldn’t get to the start line so even if you got dropped off, you still had a mile or two to walk. We took the trolley and made it to downtown at 5:40. The earliest the trolley started from my area was 5:15. There was no way to get to downtown any earlier. After walking a couple of miles we were finally at the staging area by 6:00. The race started at 6:15 and the lines for the porta-potties were endless! I was in coral 25 and by the time I finished using the restroom they had already released coral 18! My friends actually missed their corals (1 and 10) and had to fall back to coral 28 because they were stuck in long lines for the restrooms. My husband was in coral 7 and only had time to drop off his bag at gear check and couldn’t use the restroom. If you’re putting together a race with 30,000 runners, I think you should have more restrooms. At a glance, it looked like they only had about
a hundred there.
The course itself was fun. Half and full marathoners ran together for the first four miles. It wound through beautiful Balboa Park and then onto the 163 freeway. They closed off both sides of the freeway for half marathoners on one side and full marathoners on the other side. The freeway itself was tough on the ankles as it tilted from one side to the other all throughout. At one point all you could see were runners all around you and runners overhead on a bridge overpass. It was surreal. How often can you say you ran on the highway anyway? It was pretty cool. After getting off the 163 you exited onto Friars Road and ran past hundreds of spectators cheering you on. Course support was plentiful and there was enough water/gatorade stations. They also handed out Gu and salt at one of the stops.
The race finally wound down onto Sea World Drive for the home stretch. There were tons of spectators all along the last mile and the energy was exciting. The only thing I wish they could have done was make the finish line a straight shot down the road. Instead, you turned into the Sea World parking lot and zig zagged through to the finish line. When we finally saw the finish line there was only about fifty yards left of the course. Personally, I like seeing it down the road because it gets me psyched up and I usually sprint that last leg.
Post-race, they had about a dozen people handing out medals a few feet away from the finish line. I was so out of it that I walked right past them thinking there would be more further down, but I was wrong. I had to turn back around and walk to the finish line to get my medal. The volunteers handing out medals were standing off to the sides so if you got caught in a crowd you wouldn’t have seen them anyway. Post-race refreshments were plentiful. They had electrolyte drinks, chocolate milk, bagels, bananas, yogurt, chips, jamba juice, Snickers Marathon bars . . . Vons was even there at the end of finish line village handing out reusable bags for you to carry all your snacks in. I think that was a nice touch. Better than trying to carry everything in your arms and dropping everything along the way.
Shuttles to get back to the trolley station ran smoothly. We didn’t wait long to get on a bus and traffic wasn’t too bad.
Overall, it was a great event, except for getting to the staging area and the obsenely long lines at the porta-potties. Maybe next year they could push the start time back a little to give people time to get there. We were at the mercy of the trolley schedule so there was no way to get there any earlier. The trolley was one of the suggested forms of transportation by RnR. The course was nice and pretty much flat throughout and the volunteers were all full of positive energy.