I was planning on running this race last year (2011), but registered a few days too late. This race really does fill up quick, no joke! So lesson learned, I registered early for 2012. I’m glad I am able to register for the race through Active.com. I get a discount since I’m a member. Registration price is reasonable. Some races can be expensive, this wasn’t.
I came on Saturday to the expo, and it was a beautiful, warm, sunny day in Huntington Beach. I live close by, but the ocean still amazes me. Parking for the expo was fairly easy. There was a long line to get in (it was the last day after all), but the wait time was minimal – only a few minutes. I’ve been to other marathon expos where the expo is in a convention center, and I’ve been to races where the expo is outdoors. This expo in a very large tent was nice. Lots of vendors, lots of freebies, and friendly people to chat with.
I picked up my goodie bag and race shirt, which was easy and available (I’ve been to a race where they were out of my size). The goodie bag itself is nice. I can take it to the farmer’s market or the store and do my shopping. Only thing was the goodie bag didn’t come with any goodies! Oh well, I’m happy to have a nice usable bag.
I must say, I’ve heard mixed reviews about the course. Really, the only complaint is the looping of the course. After running the half-marathon (which loops once. Full marathon loops twice – like an “M”), the loop is no big deal. This course runs right along Pacific Coast Highway, which is pretty much right next to the sand. This is such a beautiful course – ocean breeze, ocean view, fresh air… just great! The course is incredibly flat. I think my GPS logger said an elevation gain of maybe 10 feet. It’s an easy course to run – flat, with minimal turns. Although usually long roads can be tiring on the mind. I didn’t get a lot of pictures this race; I guess the cameramen were hidden along the opposite side of me.
There were lots of spectators, which is always nice and encouraging! Pretty much the whole course had spectators. Some had extra snacks, like oranges, candy, and other snacks. That is very thoughtful. Others were playing music, and cheering the runners on. The crowd in the end was incredible. I had goosebumps running through there!
Big thanks to all the volunteers, they really did a great job having water ready. There were plenty of volunteers, and plenty of aide stations. Only complaint is the aide stations were on both sides of the street, which created some congestion. I guess if I’m to be running fast for time, I should start in the front, and on time (I was late and started in the middle of the second wave). Still, a little too much congestion.
At the end of the race, they were well equipped with plenty of fruit and water, which was very helpful! Glad to see healthy snacks rather than processed snacks. I did check a bag at the race, and it was very fast system they had. Got my bag safely!
Lot’s of vendors still remained after the race, and there was live music, which was exciting! The beer garden seemed to attract a lot of people, though I didn’t go. Now, I must comment on something. In the expo, they were giving massages to the finishers. This is always such a bonus after a race. In addition to this bonus, the massage was so thorough, and relaxing, it was incredible! I probably got a good 20 minute massage! LOL! Though there wasn’t a very long line, and there were a lot of other masseuses. But that helped out a great deal.
The finisher’s medal is very cool. I’m definitely going to hang this proudly. This was my final race of three for the Beach Cities Challenge, so I got another medal. This Beach Cities Challenge medal is some serious stuff! Very big and super heavy! Must be made of lead.
I very much enjoyed this race, and would like to do it again next year. Thanks again!!