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Review of Surfer’s Point Marathon by

Posted by: on November, 18 2013

I ran the Surfer’s Point Half yesterday, but a couple of friends ran the Full marathon. I give the Pre-race a D, not necessarily for what the event did for me, but what happened to me and my friends when we tried to park. Let me explain. We live 2 hours away, and so we chose to come early to pick up our bibs. We were told to be there by 6am, so we were there 15 minutes early. It was still quite dark at that time, and we were told to park near the corner of Figueroa and Shoreline, which was where the start/finish line would be. We found a small parking lot, which had free parking (no signs stating otherwise) so we settled in to wait 15 minutes before getting our bibs. My friends and I (3 females) were approached by a man (a surfer) and who told us we could not park there because it was for surfer’s only. He told us to go park across the street. Unsure of what to do, we waited a short while, and later I asked the woman who parked next to me if she was running or surfing. She said she was surfing. I asked about whether or not I should move my car, and she said no. The parking is for everyone, and although not everyone is nice about it, she didn’t think I needed to move my car. She told me that she would tell me if she thought it wasn’t actually safe…so we stayed. Then 15 minutes later, when we are ready to go get our bibs, the same man approaches me and asks me why I didn’t move the car. He said that he warned me earlier, and that I am taking parking spots away from surfers. He asked if I saw the sign stating that this was “Surfer’s Pointe”, which meant it was a place for surfers (as opposed to Runner’s Pointe, which it was not). He was a complete jerk (a local) and threatened us — saying that he wouldn’t be surprised if the windows of my car were all covered up with wax when we returned later! There were many, many more words exchanged, with many of the words out of his mouth unfit for me to post here.
We moved our car out of fear from this man (who did NOT harass every one who was a non-surfer there, but only us, a car full of women). There were no signs indicating where we should park. We decided to go several street away and parked on the street, then later moved to a dirt lot adjacent to the starting area (which was free — why there were no signs for this, I do not know. It would have been very helpful). All I can say is a little note from the race director about hostile surfers and that small parking lot would have been helpful. I can honestly say I was so afraid to get out of the car at one point, that I was ready to forego the whole run because of it! It was a miserable beginning.
However, thankfully things improved once we got our bag and shirt. Although my friend was really disappointed that there was no gear check — she read that there was, and there wasn’t. Well, unless you count being able to dump your belongings in a pile and just retrieving it later. So we had to run the bags back to the car while she began her marathon. A little annoying, but it was ok.
The course was nice…paralleling the ocean for a while, sloping paths up and around…a little tricky once we got back to the start/finish area, where there were lots of people just milling about. Having to weave through them wasn’t too bad, but it was interesting. One part of the loop, around mile 10 or so (also 23 of the second loop) was really lonely and quiet — I almost wondered whether or not I was on the right path! But sure enough, it was correct, and I just kept on going.
The post-race was nice, with free coconut water, muscle milk, powergels and FRS, and X-Jow giving free massages.
It was a nice, small race. But the local surfers just have left me with a horrible impression of the people in this city. I have been to Huntington Beach (by my house) to run many, many times before, and the surfers that I have encountered are nothing but nice and friendly. Did I simply come across several bad apples?! I don’t know. But I don’t want to give Ventura another chance right now. This was supposed to be a “fun” race for me — my 40th half marathon on the year I turned 40. I wish I could say it was entirely positive.