Expo was great, easy. Took the Shuttle from the Sports Basement, Free Parking, Free Shuttle. Couldn’t have been better. Race Morning was great. Found parking quickly in Embarcadero parking garage, $10 parking as promised. Quick walk to the Start, enough porta-potties. Great race staff, the Harley groups were fantastic. The gaps between the waves were also great. I wish the LA Marathon would adopt something similar so there wouldn’t be so much crowding during the first few miles.
The highlight of this course is obviously running across the Golden Gate Bridge. Unfortunately other than that, the course leaves a LOT to be desired. I love SF, the people, the culture are second to none. The area’s running through populated area’s of the city were great. Unfortunately, while beautiful, the area running through Golden Gate Park just kept going and going and going. Due to it being the park there were no spectators, not much entertainment. I admittedly had the worst race I’ve ever had but even after leaving Golden Gate Park it seemed like the crowds were gone. Going through The Haight was great but there just weren’t any people out cheering. They also started dividing up the runners to create gaps in traffic. As a result my very accurate GPS said I ran 27.5 miles vs 26.2. Having it off by a couple 10th’s of a mile is one thing. A mile and a half, quite another.
Finally the finish, nobody at the finish, no music playing. Yes I was over 6 hours but it just seemed like they were more interested in getting the Embarcadero back open vs. making sure ALL runners had a great finish line experience.
To top it off, the Beer Garden was out of beer, there were no more scones and the NesQuick was hot which made me ill.
The worst part, for those of us doing the LA/SF Challenge they ran out of those medals for apparently the 2nd year in a row. Even if they had medals, the booth to get them was so far away from the Finish and all of the photographers it would have been next to impossible to get pictures with both medals. To say I walked away from the finish with a bad taste in my mouth would be a HUGE understatement. I was already disappointed in my time but it was all made worse by the inadequacies of the race staff to simply count how many people were doing the LA/SF Challenge and make sure there were enough medals. Getting it in the mail is unacceptable when part of the point is to have both medals to take pictures in and around San Francisco. I was so disgusted I just went back to my hotel and didn’t bother getting any pictures with my SF Medal.
Overall I think this race could be great. I think the RD’s bit off more than they can chew by essentially having 4 races going on at once. It seems to be organized great in some area’s, not so much in others. I for one won’t be running this race again, at least not the Full Marathon.
Due to so many different races the course support just isn’t there for the Full Marathon like it is for the Half Marathon’s. The course limit is 6 hours but apparently those who run the race don’t think those of us having a bad day deserve to have the same experience as those running in the 5 hour range (where I was hoping to finish).