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Review of Surf City Marathon & Half Marathon by RaceGrader

Posted by: on February, 4 2013

The Surf City Marathon & Half Marathon is a great race. They really do it right. I’ve done this race for many years but decided to run the Full this year for the first time. PRE RACE: The registration process was simple. Packet pick up and the expo went off very well. It was crowded and parking was a bit of an issue, but that can be expected with 20,000+ runners. There seemed to be a good “mix” of vendors at the expo, including RaceGrader!
COURSE: Because I live in Huntington Beach, I run this course all the time. It’s flat with a few small hills that you can easily power through. But the weather is always the “X” factor. And this year, things were perfect. Clear skies gave you great views of Catalina and Long Beach as you headed towards Warner Avenue and very little wind. It was a picture perfect day. The course support was good with some really great volunteers. There were a few stations that didn’t offer Vitalyte on “both” sides. Rather they had water on one side and Vitalyte on the other. And I think there could be one more station put on the bike trail for the full marathoners. That stretch between Seapoint and Warner is very tough. I appreciated the 4 or 5 volunteers that set up a impromptu aid stop at the pay station about half way through. Looks like they took some jugs from the Half course and walked it over for the marathoners. Of course, there was an “aid station” of another kind. As you run through the RV section there are many people out watching and cheering you on. And some of them set up a “beer and bacon” table. They were encouraging running to take a quick shot of beer and down some bacon. Considering it was mile 20…I was tempted. But I figured if I stopped I probably wouldn’t want to leave! Another aspect of the course that I liked was the merging of the Full and Half runners. For the most part, the Full marathoners get their own course. Or at least for most of the race. Overall, the course and support were great. POST RACE: It’s great to cross that finish line after 26.2! The medals are great and so are the volunteers congratulating you on your efforts. They offered you one bottle of water and a bag of various foods for recovery. I can understand why they only offer one bottle of water with so many runners, but I desperately needed more liquids. I like the long corral from the finish line to the exit. There’s nothing worse than a bottle neck of runners at the finish line. The aid station at the end of the coral was great. They were icing people down and even gave me a few bags of ice to carry with me. There are a ton of people at the finish line. But I was able to find my wife and kids easily because we had a pre-chosen meeting spot (very important for this race). I then made it over to the beer garden. The line was long for entrance. But if you do the race 3 years in a row, you become a “legacy” member and are entitled to an extra shirt at packet pick up AND express entrance to the beer garden. They even have a “legacy” member line to pick up the beer. No waiting! With the combination of great weather and great beer (pretty much unlimited) this is the best beer garden I’ve seen at a race. OVERALL: For an event this size this is an incredibly well-run race. They really do a great job and I highly recommend this race!