This was my first time running the San Luis Obispo Half Marathon and my fifteenth half marathon total and I had such a great experience! I was surprised that it was so organized for only being in its second year.
The expo was held outdoors in a large tent at the Madonna Inn in SLO. The expo was on the small size, but had lots of enthusiastic vendors, mostly from local businesses. I had no problem picking up my bib, gear check backpack, and shirt. The shirts were really nice (tech material and long sleeved), however, they ran about two sizes smaller than usual. I usually wear a small in shirts but had to exchange the shirt for a large (you could exchange your shirt after the race in the expo tent).
Being from out of the area, I stayed at a hotel in Downtown SLO and walked a little over a mile to the start line, which was at SLO High School. I got there about 45 minutes early and it was super, super windy. There were plenty of volunteers handing out cups of water and “Fluid”, the electrolyte drink of the race, near the start. Much appreciated! Gear check was at the start line and was very easy, it was arranged by bib numbers by UPS truck.
There was music playing and everyone was really excited. The race started on time. There weren’t any corrals or wave starts, which was fine because it was a smaller race (I had heard there was around 4,000 runners in the half marathon). But, there was plenty of signage so you could line up according to your estimated finish time.
The course was great, lots of turns through Downtown SLO and roads winding through hillsides. It was a challenging course with rolling hills throughout. There were many spectators. I could tell SLO was an active community that supports running. Many of the residents along the course set up sound systems with music playing for the runners.
The aid tables were awesome – cups of water, Fluid, and Clif shot gels were at just about every one. There were mile markers at every mile.
The finish line was at the Madonna Inn. As you crossed the finish line, your name was read and you got a really nice medal. From there, you proceeded to the food tent, where there was cups of water, Jamba Juice oatmeal with brown sugar and berry topping, Jamba Juice smoothies, and various other Jamba Juice snacks (crackers, chips, puffed corn, etc). It was great!
From there, I picked up my gear and walked another mile back to my hotel. It was a long drive home (3-4 hours away from where I live), but I’m so glad I participated! Definitely recommended!!