I really enjoyed this race. It’s best summed up as beautiful and hilly.
The expo was fine, typical. Some of the more common exhibitors, like garmin and such, weren’t there, but it was nice to be able to check out new brands I wasn’t familiar with.
The start was fantastic. None of the crazy of LA or other big city races. I also really liked how they organized their wave starts. Parking was incredibly easy. Maybe the layout of the portapotties and finishline booths could have been a little better, but over all no complaints.
I crossed the 13.1 mark at the exact time they started the non-elite waves of the second half marathon, that was kind of annoying, to be right on pace and have people who just started sprinting around you like a-holes, but in the same vein, once the second half waves spread out, it was nice to have some fresher people to try to keep pace with in the second half.
I think it’s true that the alternating course affects distance a little more than is desired. I have gps on my phone and run with a garmin, both showed about quarter mile more distance than i usually average on a marathon course. There’s always a little extra, but this was a lot extra, and on a day where I had been pretty careful about running the tangents.
The finish line stuff was pretty great, lots of options for food and liquids. I got king’s hawaiin bread, nesquick, and coconut water, there was also chilled greek yogurt, bottled water, scones, bananas and a beer garden. The line for the beer garden was a little ridiculous, unlike i’ve ever really seen at a finish. Maybe SF has crazy alcohol service regulations I don’t know about that may have limited the size or capacity. Also, the beer garden entrance was right next to the exit of the finisher area, causing a terrible amount of congestion there. I think all of my negative issues with the finish area could be resolved by moving the beer garden to the far end of the finish festival area, just to ease traffic flow.
The medals were nice, I also did LA/SF challenge and that medal was nice. The shirts though, were great. I normally either don’t pick up the shirt or pick it up to donate to goodwill because I’m just not a t shirt person, I prefer a tank or a 3/4 sleeve. But this one, a yellow long sleeve, I actually wore home after the race.
I would do it again, I really enjoyed the LA/SF challenge as well because I think these two races complement each other both for course variety and where they fall in relation to each other on the annual calendar.