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Livermore Valley Half Marathon

mikebeckwith REPEAT RUNNER '17

Livermore Valley Half Marathon

Make no mistake about it. I do like this race. Keep in mind, I'm running all of Livermore anyway. 🙂 Every. Street. Race started an hour early this year, at … MORE

Make no mistake about it.
I do like this race.
Keep in mind, I’m running all of Livermore anyway. 🙂
Every. Street.

Race started an hour early this year, at 7am.
Understandably, I was very happy about this.
Now for some bullets on the race.
Scenery is very beautiful in some parts—wineries, etc.

Lots of friendly supporters on the course.
I live very close to the start, so I walked over.
Very cool to have pacers out there helping.
Extra porta potties at the start would’ve been nice.
Race expo is the only place to get bib and shirt (day before).
Might I suggest expanding that a little.
One other thing, is that the shirts were unisex only (which means Male).
Running this race is still very fun.
Expect to see me there again.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

5 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Trailquake Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

mikebeckwith REPEAT RUNNER '16

Trailquake Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

This is one of my favorite races. It's a doozy of a climb, but it's so cool! It starts and ends at Sanborn Park in Saratoga. The starting area is … MORE

This is one of my favorite races. It’s a doozy of a climb, but it’s so cool! It starts and ends at Sanborn Park in Saratoga. The starting area is small which I really like. It’s a bit more intimate than others. This year I decided to do the 10k instead of the half marathon. It’s a pretty tough 10k, coming in with just below 2,000 feet of elevation gain (1,846′). It starts off on a nature trail before joining the Peterson Memorial Trail for a short bit. This then joins the Sanborn Trail and continues the climb up to Skyline trail. 10K runners turn around at this point (aid station #1), heading back down the Sanborn Trail, meeting with the San Andreas Trail. This year there was also a small loop added (the extra loop is fun, about .5 miles, and about 200 feet of gain in the first .2 miles of this). The first half of this race is all uphill basically, so it’s a ton of fun to run down the second half. 🙂 Be careful though. There is some technical trails, and there are roots and rocks. Also, there is a great deal of shade on this course (which is awesome!) but the bits of sun rays that come through the trees can cause issues with seeing some parts of the trail at times. Just take it easy. No need to wear sunglasses on this course (for me).
The weather this year was warm, and felt a bit humid. Also, there were some mosquitos at the start, but of course Brazen took care of this by having Yoly walk around offering to spray folks with mosquito repellent.
As always, Brazen is the best of the best. Great medal, shirt, course, everything. Thanks again Brazen.
-Streaker #111

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

4 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Angel Island 5 Miler & Half Marathon

Lani FIRST-TIMER '16

Angel Island 5 Miler & Half Marathon

I'm not going to kid you here; this is a very simple race with a pretty low-tech operation. You get no timing chip or timing mat, and -- GASP -- … MORE

I’m not going to kid you here; this is a very simple race with a pretty low-tech operation. You get no timing chip or timing mat, and — GASP — you get no finisher’s medal! That’s a rarity these days, when every dinky little race offers some kind of bling.

But the race organizer is very good at communicating exactly what you’re getting with this race; it’s pretty plain with nothing fancy… but, in turn, you get to enjoy some of the BEST views in the entire Bay Area!

PRE-RACE DETAILS

Your race registration fee includes round-trip ferry transportation from Tiburon to Angel Island and back (your race bib serves as your “ticket”). Not only that; they reserve a ferry just for race participants before the race, and you get access to the island well before the public shows up.

Bib pick-up is offered only on race day, starting an hour before the ferry leaves. There’s no issue with crowding though; for the 2016 race there were only about 100 people between the 5-mile and half-marathon races.

When you pick up your bib, you also get your race shirt. The shirts we got were from Greenlayer (who prints a lot of race shirts). It was a single-color silk screen but I was pretty happy that they went with a nice shirt. This one will get regular rotation in my workout wardrobe.

The race organizer and all the volunteers actually ride the ferry out with you. What this means is that it takes them 15-20 minutes to physically set up the start line. Again, nothing fancy here, but the start is in the open picnic area near the visitor center at Ayala Cove.

They didn’t have an official gear drop; they just told us we could leave our bags on nearby picnic tables. We left our bag on a table our friends were already using, since I felt bad just hogging up picnic tables when we weren’t going to be there for a while. Since they don’t have a lot of spare volunteers, they don’t have anyone minding your gear bag, so if you’re the type to get paranoid about people stealing your bag, make sure not to leave valuables in it.

THE COURSE

Both the 5-mile and half marathon races start next to the picnic tables near the visitor center at Ayala Coven then go up the bike path. The path opens up onto Perimeter Road, which both races turn left onto. About 3/4 mile up the road, the 5-milers head up onto North Ridge Trail. I believe the course then takes Sunset Trail (not sure, since the race webpage has a map of the trails without all the trails labeled, and I didn’t do the 5-miler).

The half-marathoners continue on Perimeter Road all the way around the island, back to the start line area, then head back up the bike path. Instead of turning left on Perimeter Road, the half-marathoners cross the street here to head up Sunset Trail going in the opposite direction of the 5-milers, and this is where the trail portion of the race starts.

The half course then goes onto Fire Road, which appears to be the main unpaved trail that goes around the island (above Perimeter Road).

For the half participants, Perimeter Road is 5.5 miles, and the unpaved trail portion is 7.5 miles. Perimeter Road is a big paved street on which there are cyclists, tour trams, and Segway tourists (yes, I’m not kidding; when they passed me, I raised up my hands and yelled, “YOU’RE CHEATING!” — which got a chuckle from them).

Essentially, the half race is half paved, half trail. The paved portion isn’t all that great, except that there’s a ton of benches, and the view is breathtakingly spectacular. Did I mention that the view is great? As you go around Perimeter Road, you are treated to a 360-degree view of the entire Bay Area, and it is a REAL treat. Sutro Tower? Check. Golden Gate Bridge? Yep. Treasure Island and the Bay Bridge? Check check. Oh hey! The Pink Triangle they just installed earlier in the morning for Pride Weekend is also right up there by Sutro Tower!

As long as the weather’s clear on race day, you are in for a treat! Take lots of photo stops and take selfies to your heart’s content along Perimeter Road.

When you get back to the start line after the paved portion, you get to your first aid station. And by that, I don’t mean a “first aid” station where you see a medic. This is your first and only aid station. But they have some solid snacks (banana bread–yum!), as well as water and power drink.

WARNING: Bring your own bottle to stay hydrated, because the first loop is 5.5 miles, but the second is 7.5 of no aid station, no water faucet. You are out on your own out there, so carry your own water.

Once you head up into the trails, it becomes a real trail race. Nothing too technical here, although most of it is single track. And once the ferries start running, you will encounter a lot of hikers. The hikers I passed though, were all VERY friendly and nice. Some of them even applauded and cheered me on as I ran past.

GENERAL THOUGHTS

I’m really glad I finally had a chance to run around Angel Island. But now that I have a sense of the trails here, I think I could just do this on my own without signing up for a race. The shirt is nice, but this particular race has minimal support. There WERE definite benefits. Watermelon slices at the aid station were great, the shirt was nice, and the reserved ferry for racers was a big plus. I’ll just have to decide if that’s worth the registration fee.

That said, this race is worth doing, at least once. The views are spectacular, and doing this as a race is a great excuse! And all the hikers will make room for you to pass because you’re there wearing a race bib. Win!

One word of caution: If you are a slower runner or a hiker/walker, I am going to strongly encourage you to sign up for the 5-miler instead of the half. That Perimeter Road is really boring if you have to walk it (and the course doesn’t veer off of it, so you won’t have time to go visit all the interesting structures like the immigration center), AND because it’s paved, it gets pretty warm. Worse, you have to keep watching out for the tour trams.

If you do the 5-miler, you get to go right up to the trails, and in my opinion, that’s where it’s far more interesting. And you get PLENTY of time to finish the 5-mile race while the half folks are still out running.

There’s one other reason I recommend the 5-miler for the slower folks. If you are a slower half marathon participant, you risk coming back to the finish area… and the finish line might be gone!

I was scheduled for a long run this weekend, so after I finished the race, I went back out and ran Perimeter Road again. As I was coming back from running the additional 5.5 miles, I happened to come upon a lady who was on the last bike path portion of the course, still wearing a race bib. I asked her if she was finishing the half, and she said she was. So I told her we could finish up together! As I was running down towards the finish line, I saw…. no finish line. I raised my hands and said, “We got a finisher here!!! Finisher here!!!” hoping to catch the attention of the official race folks who must surely still be sticking around (right)… but nobody around the picnic tables looked up. Hmm…

So it turns out, all the race folks had packed up and left! Fortunately for this person, she had her cell phone, and her friend was waiting for her at the cafe by the ferry stop, so all was well.

I looked at my watch and saw that she finished at about 3 hours 50 minutes. That’s slow, but I know plenty of folks who do walk/run intervals who finish about that time. So I was a little surprised that there was no one left, since the instructions never mentioned a cut-off time. I’m also glad she hadn’t fallen and gotten hurt or something… maybe a race director can tell me if this is considered normal? I didn’t know races left runners on the course.

So if you’re on the slower side, sign up for the 5-miler. You get to enjoy the best views and will get back in plenty of time to enjoy the watermelon slices and banana bread!

…and take lots of pictures!!!

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3

4 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Dirty Dozen & Half Dozen Endurance Runs

lizcoxon REPEAT RUNNER '16

Dirty Dozen & Half Dozen Endurance Runs

Brazen Racing's Dirty Dozen is a great way to test yourself for distance in a completely supported, fun environment. How many 3.37 mile loops can you complete in 12 Hours? … MORE

Brazen Racing’s Dirty Dozen is a great way to test yourself for distance in a completely supported, fun environment. How many 3.37 mile loops can you complete in 12 Hours? Every time you complete a loop, you return to the finish area, where my friends and I had a canopy, chairs, and all our stuff (extra socks, food, etc), and you have 2 fully stocked aid stations. The volunteers are awesome, they really took great care of everyone.
Last year I completed 10 loops for 33.7 miles and called it a day. This year, I wanted to see if I could traverse 50 miles, or 15 loops. About 9 hours in, I found out that I was a contender for 3rd Place Overall Female, and I worked so hard to hang on to it…I finished with a total 55.72 miles and 3rd Place Overall Female!! I was so happy, I still can’t believe I placed.
I’m already looking forward to next year!!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

4 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Wildcat Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

mikebeckwith REPEAT RUNNER '16

Wildcat Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Wildcat is one of my favorite races. The course has amazing views and has always had an intimate feel to me. Maybe that is because a lot of the parking … MORE

Wildcat is one of my favorite races. The course has amazing views and has always had an intimate feel to me. Maybe that is because a lot of the parking is right at the start line. The East Bay Waldorf School allows us to park in on their property which gives us a great location to start.

The half marathon has about 2,200 feet of elevation gain, and starts right off with a 1 mile climb up the Clark Boas Trail, before heading down a half mile to connect to Wildcat Creek trail. You do a quick out and back, then jump on the Conlon Trail. This is about a 2 mile climb to get to the highest part of the course. Once on the top, you have some slight downhill on a paved trail, before turning down for about 1.5 miles of my favorite downhill trails to run–the Havey Canyon Trail. This loses about 500 feet in elevation over this 1.5 miles. Beautiful single track and a nice little creek crossing (with rocks to step on and over). Once you’re at the bottom you’ll come up to an aid station (you actually hit this aid station twice), before heading up another big 1 mile climb up the Mueze Trail. Once you get to the top of this, there’s a little climb before getting on the San Pablo Ridge Trail. There are some pretty wicked (and fun) downhills here. Not as runnable (to me) as the Havey Canyon trail, but at this point you are almost done. You’ll join back up with the Clark Boas Trail to run in for the finish.

Keep your ears open when you finish because Brazen not only calls out your name, but you’ll hear a cool cat sound. Just listen for it. 🙂

As always, Brazen races are TOP NOTCH. Everything about this race is amazing. The views, the people, the swag. EVERYTHING. This year (again) the medal had glow in the dark cat eyes!

Can’t wait to do this race again, next year!

-Brazen Streaker #111
🙂

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Sasquatch Scramble 5K, 10K & Half

Solupia FIRST-TIMER '16

Sasquatch Scramble 5K, 10K & Half

It's not a beginner course, that's for sure. You have steep inclines throughout the first half of the race. Like other sasquatch racing event, there's treasure hunting component to it … MORE

It’s not a beginner course, that’s for sure. You have steep inclines throughout the first half of the race. Like other sasquatch racing event, there’s treasure hunting component to it which makes it fun. Since it’s a trail race, aid stations are far apart. The course is shorter than 13.1miles, but it surely felt long. Unfortunately, due to a crucial course marshall bailed out last minute, this left a main intersection un-monitored. Along with someone tempering with some course markings, many got lost or ran part of the course twice.

It is MANDATORY to take a course cheatsheet with you and look up the course map beforehand. The race director is super responsive to all suggestions and try to avoid same issue happens again. It’s just unfortunate when the unexpected happened.

As for my performance, I was handicapped by running part of the course twice. Luckily, I realized it sooner than later, and corrected myself before I went too far into the unending loop. The first runner got lost and disappeared from the radar for an hour, allowing myself unofficially to come in the top.

In the end, everyone made it back to the start despite everyone ran extra long on the course than planned. To put it optimistically, at least the course is well shaded in a beautiful mixed evergreen-deciduous forest at Redwood Regional Park. The plus for my adventure is that I won a Salomon cap from the raffle. Perfect for myself, I would say 🙂

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Brazen Goonies Half Marathon (fka Lagoon Valley Half)

M_Sohaskey FIRST-TIMER '16

Brazen Goonies Half Marathon (fka Lagoon Valley Half)

BOTTOM LINE: Enjoy trails? Want a terrific race day experience? You’ll never go wrong with Brazen. And that’s saying something since Sam, Jasmin & the team produce 26 races a … MORE

BOTTOM LINE: Enjoy trails? Want a terrific race day experience? You’ll never go wrong with Brazen. And that’s saying something since Sam, Jasmin & the team produce 26 races a year. This was my 12th Brazen race (and my first since 2012, after which I moved to SoCal) and the experience was just as awesome as I remember. I even had the good fortune to meet a lot of amazing Brazenites and RaceRaves am-badass-adors in person for the first time at Goonies, which made the morning that much more special. Definitely looking forward to seeing my new friends again soon, before another four years elapse!

Brazen has the most devoted following in the Bay Area and maybe the state, and that’s no hyperbole—136 (and counting) “streakers” including @mikebeckwith, @greeneyegirl9 and @ravyoly have run every Brazen race in a single calendar year, and some have done it more than once. You don’t command that kind of loyalty without taking pride in your product and caring deeply about your runners. The Brazen experience means family-friendly events, scenic yet challenging (!) courses, awesome swag and a post-race spread fit for a king. Even if you’re the last runner to cross the finish line a feast awaits you, so leave your craving for dry bagels at home.

Goonies is the quintessential Brazen course, run on hilly trails (mostly dirt) through a hidden gem of a regional park (Lagoon Valley) with rewarding views of the park and lagoon. This in fact is one of Brazen’s strengths—Sam & Jasmin have the Midas Touch with their ability to find relatively unknown, out-of-the-way green spaces throughout the Bay Area (even in far-away Vacaville) and spin them into trail running gold. Lagoon Valley isn’t as hilly as some of their other courses, but it’s definitely hilly enough, and your calves and quads will no doubt agree. Admittedly it wasn’t my favorite of their courses—that would be Wildcat (with its views out over the SF Bay), and Rocky Ridge (toughest half marathon in the state!)—in part because it included two identical loops. But I actually appreciated the two-loop route at Lagoon Valley since I was able to get a sense for the hills in loop one and then pace myself accordingly in loop two. And my personal highlight at Goonies was a paved mile 12 that, thanks to its downhill trajectory, allowed me to build up a head of steam and notch my first-ever sub-7:00 mile on a Brazen course. Flying recklessly down that hill with only a mile remaining was an incredible feeling.

PRODUCTION: From the runners to the photographers to the volunteers who mark the course, work the aid stations and hand out medals, everyone is part of the Brazen family. And corny as it may sound, as a runner you’ll feel like part of that family. But there’s nothing clique-y about a Brazen event—the team offers an early start for hikers, and in his pre-race announcements Sam makes sure to ask about first-timers and warn new trail runners that they should carry a course map to avoid taking a wrong turn. That said, the course at Lagoon Valley was so well marked with colored ribbons and flour arrows that even with my miserable sense of direction, I never missed a beat. Everything ran smoothly in Lagoon Valley, from parking to packet pickup (both a breeze) to the race itself. Turns out the course was roughly 0.2 miles short (my Garmin read 12.9 miles) due to the turnaround being in the wrong place, but I learned long ago as a trail runner to leave the type-A mindset at home, and +/– mileage on trails doesn’t faze me. The race itself is too much fun for that.

SWAG: With 26 events per year, you couldn’t fault the Brazen crew for mailing it in and designing a reusable template for their shirts and medals. But they don’t. On the contrary, their t-shirt and medal designs stand out in my collection, and their swag consistently gets rave reviews from their runners. I’m not a huge t-shirt guy (they even give runners the option to opt out of the tee and subtract $5 from the registration fee), but the Goonies skull-and-crossbones design is strong, and strategic parts of the medal glow in the dark (see photo). Sam even designed new age-group medallions specifically for Goonies, just as he had for their previous Tarantula race in Los Vaqueros. Just another example of the attention to detail that made Brazen the 2015 Best Trail Racing Series of the Pacific West region, according to Competitor Magazine. And unless the voting is rigged 🙂 , look for them to reclaim their title in 2016.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5
My Media

3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Brazen Goonies Half Marathon (fka Lagoon Valley Half)

Profile photo of Raven Iacono
sfdahliagirl REPEAT RUNNER '16

Brazen Goonies Half Marathon (fka Lagoon Valley Half)

Brazen Racing is the best by far when it comes to trail Races. They put their heart and soul into everything they do. I chose this race to report on … MORE

Brazen Racing is the best by far when it comes to trail Races. They put their heart and soul into everything they do. I chose this race to report on even though I’ve run all their races because this one is special. Never before have I seen people step up and help one another like this race in 2015. It was a torrential downpour and people weren’t able to get up a hill. What I saw was the heart of Brazen. One person got to the top of the hill, turned around and helped the next person and so on and so on. AMAZING HEART from Sam and Jasmin to each and every streaker, volunteer and racer. Once you’ve come to one you will want to come back again and again.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
My Media

3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon & Half Marathon

TBurgess FIRST-TIMER '13

Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon & Half Marathon

that should be enough to entice most to want to do this event. It was my 1st half marathon and the one that got me hooked. IMO RnR's put on … MORE

that should be enough to entice most to want to do this event. It was my 1st half marathon and the one that got me hooked. IMO RnR’s put on great events. Yes, they are crowded, but I think that just adds to the fun. This particular one is a blast. If I had enough energy, I would do this multiple times. It starts at 4 or 4:30, but keep in mind that is when it gets dark in Vegas at this time of year. So it’s a night time event with all the lights of Las Vegas to take your mind off the 13.1 miles. The only downside to the Vegas RnR is that the headlining band plays at the beginning, instead of at the end. That makes it kinda hard to enjoy it; at least for me, because I am getting into race mode at the beginning.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
My Media

3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Big Sur International Marathon

mikebeckwith FIRST-TIMER '16

Big Sur International Marathon

Using dictation to type this. What a beautiful race! Very well put on and scenery beyond any other I've ever done. The race starts in Big Sur, California, and goes … MORE

Using dictation to type this.

What a beautiful race! Very well put on and scenery beyond any other I’ve ever done.
The race starts in Big Sur, California, and goes 26.2 miles up Highway 1, to Carmel. There’s only one way to the race start, and that’s via a bus. Since the roads are all closed down (and the busses need to get back before the start) you have to leave Monterey/Carmel area between 3:45 and 4:15am. The bus I was on was a really nice school bus with comfortable seats. Not an old beat up bus like we rode as kids. 🙂 All the runners are dropped off at Big Sur station where they will stay until the start. It’s a bit chilly in the morning, but they offer drop bags at packet pickup, so I just brought some cheap sweats and sweatshirt. They had coffee and water at the start, and 4,283 portapotties (ok, not that many, but a lot. One of the funny things is that on every door of the porta potty’s they had something funny like las Vegas first class lounge stuff like that. I wish I would’ve taken more pictures of those they were hilarious.
When they started lining runners up, they backed them up according to pace. Slowest runners in the back followed by median pace runners followed by the fast ones. Then at 6:45 they start and it takes about 10 – 12 minutes for everybody to get through. The first 5 miles is basically downhill, losing about 300 feet of elevation. Once you get to the 5 mile mark you start seen the ocean. The next 4 miles is a gradual increase all very runnable up a couple hundred feet. Mile 9 is straight downhill and at the bottom you make that 2 mile ascent up to hurricane point. This is the highest point of the race I just over 500 feet. It’s also the windiest part of the course. It was so windy at the top of her came point I thought it was going blow me into the ocean. Someone said it was a 45 mile an hour gusts I think it was closer to 200. From that point it’s basically downhill and rolling Hills. At mile 13 you cross the Bixby Bridge which is what you see on the shirt in the metal just after the bridge is the popular piano player. I could hear him playing from mile 12 that was really cool.
This will go down as one of my favorite races the views are second to none. Having just completed a very tough 50 K the weekend before I didn’t have I expectations for finishing strong, but ended up very happy with my performance.
After the race I had some snacks a cold beer and watch the awards ceremony. Then grabbed a shuttle back to my hotel and took a nap:-).
This is also the very first time I’ve done a complete race rave using voice to text dictation.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Brazen Summer Breeze Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

mikebeckwith REPEAT RUNNER '16

Brazen Summer Breeze Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

This is a really cool race. It's held out at the San Leandro Marina. Wide open area with lots of parking to start the race. This race's fast and flat. … MORE

This is a really cool race. It’s held out at the San Leandro Marina. Wide open area with lots of parking to start the race. This race’s fast and flat. It’s right off of the bay the entire time it is an out and back course. Because this race is so flat and fast it draws really large crowds. Lots of running groups bring their whole teams out to do this race. The tri-Valley running club provides pacing for this group from the half marathon distances of one hour 30 minutes to two hour 30 minutes and all increments of five or 10 minutes. The weather this year was absolutely perfect. The sun never really came out and there was a cool breeze the whole time. And the name summer breeze. The course is an out and back and measures exactly 13.1 miles. As always with every brazen race there are plenty of fully stocked aid stations. This course has five aid stations for the half marathon. The props and everything around the race are really fun and made out to be a nice summer day there are beach balls and lots of other summary things at the end of the race. Another great thing about brazen races are the volunteer photographer is out on the course all taking the another great thing about brazen races are the volunteer photographer is out on the course all taking free photos which are posted online shortly after the race. For folks like me that do all the brazen races this race is a fun flat easy course in between two tough trail races. In summary this is just like any brazen race awesome people awesome Korcz awesome volunteers awesome swag great times great weather.
The entirety of this review was written with voice to text dictation on the iPhone. If it seems to be one long drawnout run on sentence it probably is but it’s cold to do a review by just talking into your phone.
Brazen streaker number 111. Out .

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Wharf to Wharf Race

Tessa REPEAT RUNNER '14

Wharf to Wharf Race

I used to run this race every year back in the 90's, and up until about 2006, or so? I looked forward to this race every year. So, after my … MORE

I used to run this race every year back in the 90’s, and up until about 2006, or so? I looked forward to this race every year. So, after my DIL started running in 2013, I talked her into doing this race with me, as well as a few friends. I had such a great experience for so many years in a row, I wasn’t expecting the race to be anything else but fantastic even though it had been awhile since I had run W2W. It makes me sad to have a negative report for this race.

First of all, the race has become a circus. I don’t mind races selling out fast, I do runDisney races after all, but 15,000 starting in such a narrow area was madness. They ran out of water at the second AS, and although I don’t normally worry too much about water for a 6 miler, it happened to be very hot this year. So, by the time we got to the next station, so many people were trying to get water, it was chaos. I felt sorry for the people at the aid stations, it was a mob of people coming at them. You had to stop and wait, my watch showed 2 minutes, to get water.

I also didn’t think there were as many interesting bands and/or groups to see running through the neighborhoods. Whereas, in previous years, it was a blast. If I’m going to run a road race, and run through neighborhoods, it needs to be interesting or at least distracting me from the fact that I could be running on a beautiful trail someplace else. I hope this was just an “off” year.

Full Disclaimer: I also don’t do Bay to Breakers anymore. Maybe old age is just setting in, or crowds are just not my thing? I did wear a tutu for fun in this race, because you are never too old to tutu!

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3
My Media

3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Dirty Dozen & Half Dozen Endurance Runs

Profile photo of Barbara Rausch
noneleft FIRST-TIMER '16

Dirty Dozen & Half Dozen Endurance Runs

I participated in the 12 hour and both the AM and PM 5ks. Let's start with the 12 Hour Endurance Run. Last year I volunteered at the Aid Station at … MORE

I participated in the 12 hour and both the AM and PM 5ks. Let’s start with the 12 Hour Endurance Run. Last year I volunteered at the Aid Station at the midway point on the loop course from 2 to 6pm. I got to help the 12 hour runners after they had been out there for seven hours and I really enjoyed it. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be “fun” to do that next year?” Well, fast forward one year and I was on the other side of the table running the 12 hour.
The race is at Pt Pinole along a 3.37 mile loop that has about 150 ft of elevation. It has beautiful views along the San Francisco Bay. The weather was perfect and there was a nice breeze that showed up in the afternoon. There were two aid station for the 6/12 hour runners. One was midway on the loop and one just passed the timing mat area where the 6/12 hr participants can set up tents and canopies to rest and eat during the run. The aid stations were plentifully stocked with fruit, chips, candy, pretzels, yummy potatoes, salt, sports drink, water, Coca Cola, ginger ale, PB&J sandwiches, Pay Day bars and many other goodies to keep us fueled for the long haul. I certainly needed these later in the day.
At 10:30 am, the Dirty 5/10k races started. 6/12 hour runners could participate in these races and still have the lap count toward their lap total. I was a glutton for punishment and did the 10:30 am 5k. If you were doing these races, you had to time your arrival back to the start line or else you could be waiting around for the race to start and wasting your 12 hour time or you might miss the race start. So, after I had completed 4 laps, I still had about 45 minutes until 10:30 am. I figured I did not want to waste any time standing around, so I went charging around for another loop. I got back with 3 minutes to spare. I put my bib on and got to the start line. I ran 5 loops which is nearly 17 miles in 3 hours and 27 minutes. My previous longest run EVER was 14.8 miles. Lap 6 was my 5k and I was starting to get tired. I completed the 5k in about 52 minutes.
I do want to mention during my run that I did keep myself fueled and hydrated. I brought food and electrolyte replenishing mix that I drank throughout the day.
My goal for the 12 hour run was to do 10 laps which is 33.7 miles. Not sure what I was thinking or if I had it in me. By lap 7, I was starting to rethink this crazy idea of 10 laps, but I had one problem. I had signed up for the afternoon 5k at 4 pm. I paid for it and I couldn’t waste my money, Could I? NO! I trudged along for laps 7 and 8, taking a break after each lap. All during this time, the other runners are cheering me on and saying that I can do it and that i was doing great. It really did help. By lap 9, my paced had slowed to a slow walk, and I NEVER walk slow. I was ready to sit down on a bench on the course and look out on the scenery for a few hours because I was SPENT. I didn’t think I could make it back to the start/finish line. I thought all hope was lost, but what did I see in the distance? It was the midway aid station!!!! I trudged over to the AS and told them that I needed to sit down because I my legs were very, very tired. They gave me potatoes with salt, Coca Cola, and bananas. I sat there for about 15 minutes and started to feel recharged. I walked back to tent/canopy area and rested for 45 minutes until my 4 pm 5k started. I lined up for that and actually ran that race in 42 minutes and placed 3rd in my age group. After I finished the 5k, I still had over 2 hours left to run in the 12 hour run, but I called it a day and received my wonderful coaster medal. I had completed 10 loops for 33.7 miles and my first 50k. I was sooooo happy.
Brazen Racing put on a first rate production with this race. The aid station were stocked well. You definitely could keep yourself fueled with the food at the AS. All 6/12 hour runners received a coaster medal and a zip-up hoodie and the 5/10k runners received a very nice medal and cotton t-shirt. Finish line food consisted of a BBQ lunch from Slow Hand BBQ and the normal post race fruit, bagels, sweets, salty snack, and an It’s It ice cream.
I have to say that everyone running this race is so supportive to each other, especially, late in the day when we’ve been out there for seven and eight hours. It feels so good to be cheered.
If you want to test your endurance and push yourself to see what you can achieve, give this Run a try. It is well worth it.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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Walt Stack DSE Double Dipsea

Tessa REPEAT RUNNER '16

Walt Stack DSE Double Dipsea

I just looked at my past review and it was probably a good thing that I skipped a year. This race is like having a baby. I needed time in … MORE

I just looked at my past review and it was probably a good thing that I skipped a year. This race is like having a baby. I needed time in between to forget the pain before going back for more!

All joking aside, this race is awesome. This year I went up in my AG, so I started pretty early. My goal was to just finish this year. I had just run SOTG 50k the week before, so I wasn’t expecting a great time, but I was sure hoping my legs would get me through the ups and downs.

I will concentrate on the things that were different from my previous rating. First of all, the weather was PHENOMENAL. It really was perfect in all ways. Last year I volunteered at Insult, ran it the year before that, so I’ve had experience this race as a volunteer and participant. This year it “felt” like it was even better organized (if that is possible) than the past 2 years. The Aid Stations were so great! I think one of the AS ran out of some food items but for the most part, I had what I needed, when I needed it. I don’t have much more to add. This race is not easy, but when you cross that finish line, you know you have just finish a very special race.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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Dirty Dozen & Half Dozen Endurance Runs

Tessa REPEAT RUNNER '16

Dirty Dozen & Half Dozen Endurance Runs

I really look forward to this race every year. What I like most about this race is that you can do anywhere from a 5k to ??? For folks just … MORE

I really look forward to this race every year. What I like most about this race is that you can do anywhere from a 5k to ??? For folks just getting into trail running, this course is on the easier side, and you get some nice views mixed in there too. There are morning and afternoon 5k/10k races, relays and individual races in the mix. I run the 6 hour relay, and then spend the next 6 hours cheering, crewing and harassing my friends 🙂 I bring a canopy, chairs, ice chest and make it a fun day. This year the BBQ was really good, and the Aid Stations are always top notch. The end of the 12 hour race is very exciting to watch too.

If you are contemplating running your first ultra distance race, I would highly suggest this race for your first.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5

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Dirty Dozen & Half Dozen Endurance Runs

PeteSinCA REPEAT RUNNER '17

Dirty Dozen & Half Dozen Endurance Runs

As a whole, my description of the course and organization of Dirty Dozen that I posted last year is fairly complete. I’ll just add that Brazen Racing is very consistent … MORE

As a whole, my description of the course and organization of Dirty Dozen that I posted last year is fairly complete. I’ll just add that Brazen Racing is very consistent and has lots of experience in working at Point Pinole (where Brazen put on their very first race; this was the 8th running of Dirty Dozen). Dirty Dozen is a day-long (7 AM to 7 PM and beyond) running party and family picnic that doesn’t compromise the serious.

The Dirty Dozen 6-hour and 12-hour races can be used multiple ways: distance goal; time endurance goal; seeing where you are; and more. For me, DD has been seeing where I’m at together with a distance goal. This year I found out where I am at, well short of my 20 mile distance goal. And well short, in multiple ways, of where I was a year and 2 years ago. I understand much of why I am where I am – much of it my fault, in a direct sense, and much of it frustratingly unexpected. Any challenging race, to some degree, tells you where you’re at; Dirty Dozen does so perhaps more plainly and bluntly.

Swag & Goodies: Brazen’s refuel snacks at aid stations are the most varied I’ve seen – candies, cut up candy bars, cookies, fruit, and sodas besides water and electrolyte drink. At DD things like salted red skin potatoes and Otter Pops are added as time passes and runners’ energy is burned off. The finish area replenishment goodies are usually a super-set of what is available at aid stations plus the fabled It’s It ice cream sandwiches, but Dirty Dozen features much of that plus a catered barbecue lunch that is served from 11 AM to ?? PM. In the past, 10K and 5K runners paid a bit extra to partake of the barbecue, but this year it was, “Your bib is your meal ticket,” for all runners.

Bib: Bibs at DD were simpler than Brazen’s usual bibs. There are a wide and a narrow time-coded horizontal stripes at the top and bottom of the bib, with a wide white stripe in the middle. The wide stripe at the top has the race name, location, date, and time. The narrow stripe at the bottom has Brazen’s name in script and a couple of hashtags. In the white stripe are the runner’s name and bib number. The stripes color for the 12 Hour runners is reddish brown, and green for 6 Hour runners.

T-Shirt: Brazen does the race apparel for Dirty Dozen differently that it does for its other races. 6- and 12-hour runners receive with their registration a hooded sweatshirt. It will be several months before I use my DD VIII hoodie, but the ones I have from 2015 and 2016 have been really good quality. 2017 was a pull-over, like in 2015; 2016 was a zip-up. 6- and 12-hour runners can also buy for $7 when registering, a tech type race T-shirt. For those who use their race Tees for work-out or other wear I recommend buying this. Brazen’s race Tee designs are always somewhere between really nice and amazing. Both the DD VIII race T-shirt and sweatshirt are green. The upper arms and lining of the hoodie are yellow-gold. The colors are similar to the Oakland Athletics team colors. The front and back designs for each are the same. The front has the race name, year, and location in a rectangle on the upper left. The back has a running clockwork man with handle-bar mustaches, with the race name, times, location, and date encircling him. 5K and 10K runners had their own unique race T-shirts and finisher’s medals, which I did not see.

Finisher’s Medal: The medallion for 6- and 12-hour runners at DD is a ~4” coaster, very substantial. I don’t mean to give the medallion short shrift, but it is the same design as the backs of the race Tees and hoodie – the running clockwork man encircled by the race information. It’s a very striking medallion. The ribbon is yellow-orange with tan gears along its length, the running clockwork man, and the race information, also quite nice

I seriously do not want in any way for my opening paragraphs to discourage anyone from doing Dirty Dozen, in whatever distance or time that sounds good. DD is well organized, with a gorgeous course (I’ve done 6 Brazen races at Point Pinole, and still love the views). And it really is like a family picnic (without ants or bickering, though). I will be back – maybe Nitro Turkey, maybe Nitro Trail, maybe DD IX, maybe some or “all of the above”.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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Brazen Summer Breeze Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Lani REPEAT RUNNER '16

Brazen Summer Breeze Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

THE COURSE: Summer Breeze is one of two races that Brazen Racing offers along the San Leandro Marina Bay Trail. All three distances (5K, 10K, half marathon) start at Marina … MORE

THE COURSE:

Summer Breeze is one of two races that Brazen Racing offers along the San Leandro Marina Bay Trail. All three distances (5K, 10K, half marathon) start at Marina Bay Park. The 10K and half marathon head southward; the 10K, down roughly over three miles, and the half, extending not quite to the San Mateo Bridge, and back. The 5K starts by going around a 1-mile loop around the pedestrian walking path along the water first, before heading out onto the main trail course before turning back to the park.

The entire course is on the trail; no car traffic at all. There are a number of 90-degree turns, but the flat course yields some pretty fast times. When the weather’s clear and there’s no fog, you can see across the bay to San Francisco. That wasn’t the case on this date, but you still get to run right along the shoreline, so it’s still quite scenic.

About two miles into the 10K and half course, the trail becomes unpaved. The ground is all packed gravel and not at all technical, but you can still wind up with pebbles in your shoes.

The temperature is rarely hot for this race, which is good. But for August, it can get pretty chilly; you will want to bring layers to wear before/after the race. Depending on the weather, there is always some bit of wind, and it can get a little strong at times. Good when it’s a tailwind, not when it’s a headwind. If you’re trying to set a personal record with this flat course, don’t forget to account for the winds.

For the half marathon race, Brazen offers official pacers, courtesy of the Tri Valley Running Club. Paces start at 1:30 and go up by 5- or 10-minute increments and give you a great way to finish near a specific time without having to go crazy trying to calculate your pace in your head. The pacers are generally very good about getting you to the finish line on time. [Full disclosure: I’ve paced before through the club.]

AID STATIONS:

5K: 1
10K: 3
Half marathon: 5

Some of them also have porta-potties. In addition, the park by the starting area has a restroom with flushing toilets.

As with all Brazen races, the aid stations are staffed full of helpful volunteers, and you can choose between water and sports drink, as well as snacks for fuel including cut up fruit, and carby snacks like gummy bears and M&Ms. Many of the aid stations also offer packets of gel (if you want one and don’t see any, ask).

POST-RACE INFO:

Finisher’s medal: Brazen always rewards every finisher with a beautiful finisher’s medal that is specific not just to the race, but to that year’s race. No generic race medals, or an undated version with the date just printed on the lanyard. This race was no exception.

Race shirt: Gender-specific shirts were available in male, female, and youth sizes, and you could choose between tech fabric and cotton versions. For this particular race, the graphic on the shirt was a cute egret. The image didn’t match the medal (at some of their races, they do). 5K and 10K participants get a cotton shirt and half marathoners get the tech, although 5K and 10K folks can pay extra to upgrade to a tech shirt.

You can pick up your shirt before the start of the race so you can wear it for the race–or if you’re like me, change into it after the race so you have a clean shirt to wear when you go and have brunch after the race.

Brazen is known for generous post-race snacks. Lots of fruit, bagels, chips, cookies. They won’t replace a sit-down protein meal, but it’s perfect for a quick refueling after a race. As always, they offer It’s-It Ice Cream sandwiches (pro tip: Look for the white styrofoam coolers by the post-race food tables. There is usually a volunteer there who will hand you one; it’s free–just ask!).

Additional info:

Pre-race bib pick-up was available at Road Runner Sports in Berkeley on Thursday, August 4th (3pm-7pm) and Friday, August 5th (11am-3pm). The late pick-up tie on Thursdays means you can pick up your bib even if you have to work during the day.

Race day pick-up is also available, for both bibs and race shirts.

There is ample free parking all around the park; however because this is a pretty big race for Brazen, the official lots for the park will fill up pretty quickly. Fortunately there’s plenty of street parking as well as adjacent lots. Just don’t park at the golf driving range, which is reserved for golfers.

OVERALL

This is actually one of my favorite Brazen Racing races. It’s in my neck of the woods so I’m very familiar with the course. But I also think this race is a great example of everything Brazen does right. This race is the perfect entry into Brazen Racing races. It’s an easy fast, flat course that gives you just a little taste of “trail racing” on the unpaved portions. The course is scenic, and you start and end at a beautiful little park right by the bay that you can visit anytime for a little outdoor picnic.

If you’ve never done a Brazen race before, this is a really fun one to try. They also have the exact same race that they offer earlier in the year (called Bay Breeze) as well.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4
My Media

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Brazen Goonies Half Marathon (fka Lagoon Valley Half)

mikebeckwith REPEAT RUNNER '16

Brazen Goonies Half Marathon (fka Lagoon Valley Half)

This is one of my favorite races. It's out at Lagoon Regional Park in Vacaville. It starts with a lap around the lake, then two loops. While it has just … MORE

This is one of my favorite races. It’s out at Lagoon Regional Park in Vacaville. It starts with a lap around the lake, then two loops. While it has just under 2,400 feet of elevation gain, I find this course easier than a couple others that have only 2,000. I think it’s a bit more spread out and runnable. I got my fastest Goonies time this year. This was undoubtedly because of the cool temps that lasted all morning. The sun never really came out until I was done. The views are great at this course. There are some tough small climbs. Some cool single track downhill, and some paved parts (especially mile #12) which you can get a really fast mile at (all downhill). Post race snacks, Volunteers, on course aid stations, Crew, Bling, everything was TOP NOTCH. As it always is at a Brazen Race!

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
My Media

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Livermore Valley Half Marathon

mikebeckwith FIRST-TIMER '16

Livermore Valley Half Marathon

This was my first time doing the Livermore half marathon. I tend mainly run trail races but this was an open weekend, so I signed up for it. The race … MORE

This was my first time doing the Livermore half marathon. I tend mainly run trail races but this was an open weekend, so I signed up for it. The race is a little pricey ($104+$10 fee), but on par with bigger road races. They offer packet pickup the day before unless you pay $30 to pick up on race day (this also comes with the ability to do a gear-check). There are a lot of runners at this race, but they do a good job of staggering the runners to start. I heard this was the first year they did this. They’d let a couple hundred go, then wait a couple minutes, and so on. Took me about 8 minutes to start, but once I did, I got right in my pace and never had a bottleneck. It runs through the streets in Livermore, then jumps on a paved trail and runs along side some nice vineyards. There are a couple small hills to run up. For folks that do trail runs, they aren’t that hard, but for flat runners, they can be a little tough. I think my Strava showed 600′ for total climb on the three hills. It has a nice finish area, and the medal is really awesome! Also, after the race they have beer and wine (does it get any better than this?), and the Livermore festival (forgot the name of it), which is fun. I parked in the parking structure on both Friday (packet pickup) and Saturday (race), and the traffic getting in and out of there was pretty bad. But that’s nothing unexpected at big road races. There were also awesome pacers (from TriValley Running Club). They were so fun, and they all nailed their pace time (the course was also a little short. Most GPS’s showed it around 12.95 miles). Overall I think this was a well put on race, and I’ll be doing it again.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
2

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Zoom Ayala Cove Run

Lani FIRST-TIMER '17

Zoom Ayala Cove Run

QUICK BITS Put on by Bay Area trail racing organization Coastal Trail Races, Ayala Cove was a charming little race on Angel Island that offered something for everyone, with the … MORE

QUICK BITS

Put on by Bay Area trail racing organization Coastal Trail Races, Ayala Cove was a charming little race on Angel Island that offered something for everyone, with the three distances of 5-miler, 10-miler, and 15-miler races, with all versions taking runners up to the summit of Mount Livermore.

PRE-RACE DETAILS

This is the second time I’ve run a race on Angel Island, and it really makes for a great experience. You have to catch the ferry to get there (and Coastal Trail Races hired a ferry run just for runners), and wait a bit for the race organizers to set up the start area before the race starts.

Registration was very reasonable (5-miler: $35; 10-miler: $40; 15-miler: $50), which included a gender-specific tech tee and finisher’s medal for those who finished. The race was based on gun time and was not chip timed.

The race fee did not include the cost of the ferry ride; that was an extra you could add on to your registration, or pay when you picked up your bib at the docks.

Unfortunately, the weather was wet and bitterly cold right while we were waiting, but the weather turned nice as soon as we took off.

THE COURSE

The course was set up as three loops along different loops: The summit, middle, and perimeter loops. All distances got a chance to hit the summit; the 5-milers just did the summit loop. The 10-milers did the middle then summit loops, and the 15-milers ran the perimeter, then middle, then summit loops. The perimeter loop was the most boring because it’s essentially the paved perimeter road around the island, but fortunately the 15-milers got that one out of the way first.

AID STATIONS

The single aid station was located by the start area, so you were encouraged to be somewhat self-sufficient with your own water. The aid station was stocked with fruit, salty snacks, sports drink, and water.

GOODIES/BLING

Finisher’s medal: The small rectangular medal had the race logo on it, but the medal did not list the year. Instead, the date “2017” was printed on the pink ribbon. HOWEVER, I originally got a medal with a generic pink strap, with no year printed on it. Without the year, there was no way to know what year it was for, so I went back and asked the medal distribution volunteer if she still had any left with the year on it. She was kind enough to trade it for my blank one… and then she proceeded to give the blank one to the next finisher!

I’m guessing Coastal Trail Races plans to reuse the same medal for next year’s race, and wanted to keep costs down. The pink design was cute, but the generic undated medal was a bit of a disappointment.

Race shirt: Gender-specific tech shirts were available. It looked like the men had a choice in colors, while the women only had one. Either that, or they ran out of the second color for the women (if that’s the case, again maybe the race organizer was trying to keep costs down by minimizing extras/waste?). Since I ran the 15-miler they may have run out of the second color by the time I finished.

The shirts were not available for pickup before the finish.

POST-RACE INFO

Post-race food was looking really sparse by the time I finished, and I was not the last finisher by any means. Some other race organizations make it a point not to put out all the post-race food right away, to make sure later finishers can enjoy the same food experience, but they seemed not to do that for this race. I think I was able to snag one orange slice at the end, but nothing else (the trash bags were very full and food trays were all empty). I had to go to the cafe near the boat dock and buy my own snacks to get some calories.

TIPS

I like that even the 5-milers get to go to the summit. In a lot of races with multiple distances, the shortest distances usually don’t get to go to the summit, so this was nice. If I run this in the future, I think I will just sign up for the 10-miler. I’ll feel like I got my money’s worth (a 5-miler is almost too short for me to go through the hassles of getting to Tiburon at the crack of dawn to catch the ferry). That way they won’t run out of shirts and post-race food when I finish.

GENERAL THOUGHTS

Charming but feels like a small-time operation. Not really looking for a really slick professional setup, but it felt like there wasn’t as much attention paid to small details as I’m used to with other local trail races. That said, the course is wonderful, and the view is breathtaking! It’s a fantastic run and a great excuse to visit Angel Island. If you can make it a day, go visit the museum and hang around to enjoy lunch at the cafe!

BEST/MOST UNIQUE FEATURE?

Spectacular views. Bring your camera!

HOW WOULD YOU IMPROVE THE RACE?

Please don’t give out undated generic races medals. Also, why not just give out the race shirts when you pick up your race bibs before you get on the ferry? That’s less stuff to carry on the boat, and people can wear it for the race (or take it back to their parked car in Tiburon).

WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THIS RACE?

Yes, but only the shorter distances unless you are very fast and can get to the finish before they run out of post-race food.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
5
SWAG
2

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Dirty Dozen & Half Dozen Endurance Runs

greeneyegirl9 REPEAT RUNNER '16

Dirty Dozen & Half Dozen Endurance Runs

This is the fourth year doing this well organized endurance race. You start off the day by lugging your chair, cooler and canopy to the start line. There you set … MORE

This is the fourth year doing this well organized endurance race. You start off the day by lugging your chair, cooler and canopy to the start line. There you set up camp for the next 12 hours. The race is a 3.37 loop that you continually do until the time is up. For the 12 hour and 6 hour race they open up a smaller .60 loop that you can do for the last hour. I didn’t carry anything with me on this race as they have plenty of stocked aid stations. The course has a few little hills that I swear get bigger and bigger as they day goes on. Lots of encouraging people on the trail. This race you also get a cool sweatshirt which is a nice change. This is a great place to see how far you can go go go in a safe environment.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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Skyline 50K Endurance Run

Tessa FIRST-TIMER '16

Skyline 50K Endurance Run

This was my first time running the Skyline 50k. Friends had talked about it and ran it last year, and I needed a 50k for my training schedule, it worked … MORE

This was my first time running the Skyline 50k. Friends had talked about it and ran it last year, and I needed a 50k for my training schedule, it worked out perfectly on my calendar. I had only participated in one other Scena Performance race, the Calistoga Scramble in 2015 (had a great time too) so I was looking forward to this race. Bryan Wyatt is such a nice man, very easy going, and I think SP races take on that vibe. If you are looking for a lot of fanfare, this race does not come with a lot of hoopla. You don’t get a medal at the finish, but you do get a tech shirt, and they give you a nice cloth bag (handy for carrying stuff in after the race). Best of all, you get to enjoy a nice BBQ at the end of the race! I rated the swag in the middle, but in reality some people could care less about the swag, and would rather share a nice hot meal after a race. I find it very enjoyable hanging out with friends, eating BBQ, drinking, and sharing race stories.

The course was changed because of the park construction, and I REALLY enjoyed the changes. I do a lot of Brazen races out in that area, so the change was nice, especially at the end of a 50k. I very much enjoyed the Columbine trail section and seeing the lake from a different view was so nice. I really liked the course changes and I hope they keep it for next year. You get to see some beautiful redwood trees on the French Trail, and again, the lake views are very pretty. I saw some wildlife out there as well. I will say that the course was a bit more difficult than I had expected. My watch showed over 5,000 ft of elevation and there are some very technical sections. I think the course change might have added a bit more elevation. Regardless, you should know ahead of time that there are technical sections rocks/roots. It can also get very warm in the later sections of the race if you are a back of the pack runner like myself.

Aid Stations – Phenomenal. Every aid station, course monitors, and volunteers along the way were great. I was out on the course a lot by myself and I didn’t have any issues with the markings. There were 2 areas I had to really stop and pay attention to look for footsteps, but overall, really great course markings. I also liked that they had watermelon at the aid stations and unlike a lot of other races, they never ran out! That is one of my favorite go to options at a race, and they had it available all day long. It’s the little things…that make me happy 🙂 First rate aid stations.

I had an overall great race. I ran the first 25 miles for pace training, and finished the last section of the race with a friend. I’m hoping to do this one again next year!

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

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Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend

Tessa REPEAT RUNNER '16

Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend

One of the few road races I do, and look forward to every year. This year was no exception. I usually end up going to this race by myself, but … MORE

One of the few road races I do, and look forward to every year. This year was no exception. I usually end up going to this race by myself, but there is so much going on, and groups to meet up with, it isn’t a problem traveling alone. The weather was amazing this year!

The 10k course is great, it runs mostly through the parks. The HM course does take you outside of the parks, but it is still so much fun because the Red Hat Society Ladies had over 700 women out there lined up on the streets of Anaheim this year. There are also a lot of people out there cheering because it is Mother’s Day Weekend. The AS were awesome this year, the kids do a great job at volunteering. High School Bands, are out there as well. There are not as many props or photo opps I take advantage of at this race, as compared to the Star Wars races.

Great swag, the shirts and medals are always awesome.

Only negative I can think of is that they changed this race to Mother’s Day Weekend, and it isn’t the best weekend for a race! My kids are grown, but if I had small children, it might be difficult. Some people complain about the course being crowded, but fortunately I am in the earlier corrals, so I don’t notice it as much?

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5
My Media

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Oakland Running Festival

jonoringading REPEAT RUNNER '17

Oakland Running Festival

I actually did the "run the Town Challenge, of both the 5k and then the half marathon. I came in 2nd in Age group for the combined time! (Hope the … MORE

I actually did the “run the Town Challenge, of both the 5k and then the half marathon. I came in 2nd in Age group for the combined time! (Hope the combined race can be added as a distance option?)
I ran the Half right after setting a PR in the 5k, and was running a Marathon in a week, so I wanted to not injure myself. I ended up about 6 minutes behind my goal pace, but very happy overall. This is a very friendly half for first timers, because it is so flat. I love the Taiko Drummers, and other crowd support on the course. It is also cool to join the Marathon Runners on the last part of the course.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon & Half Marathon

TerriB FIRST-TIMER '13

Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon & Half Marathon

My first half marathon, my favorite half marathon , and the reason I am hooked. Nothing beats running the strip at night. The scenery and crowd support is amazing. I … MORE

My first half marathon, my favorite half marathon , and the reason I am hooked. Nothing beats running the strip at night. The scenery and crowd support is amazing. I wish I could do this race every year.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Drag-N-Fly Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Profile photo of Raven Iacono
sfdahliagirl REPEAT RUNNER '16

Drag-N-Fly Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

This trail run was a hard one for me with a lot of climbing. I am not sure there is any downhill at all. LOL. But seriously, this is a … MORE

This trail run was a hard one for me with a lot of climbing. I am not sure there is any downhill at all. LOL. But seriously, this is a technically difficult course. It worth it….so worth it. I did the hiker start and really enjoyed my time on the trails. Unless you’re super speedy, take your time and just enjoy this course. The aid stations are amazing and the race directors make sure everyone is taken care of. Take in the beautiful scenery and enjoy the race.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
My Media

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Brazen Summer Breeze Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

lizcoxon REPEAT RUNNER '15

Brazen Summer Breeze Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

I got a PR at this race, it's flat, fast, and along the water at the San Leandro Marina, so you get some nice views. All I was thinking about … MORE

I got a PR at this race, it’s flat, fast, and along the water at the San Leandro Marina, so you get some nice views. All I was thinking about was my pace, so I really didn’t get to enjoy the scenery much…just kept looking ahead to the next pace group. I would not have a PR if it wasn’t for the pacers, they helped me out so much!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Brazen Summer Breeze Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Tessa FIRST-TIMER '14

Brazen Summer Breeze Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Plenty of AS along the way (5), and if you are looking for an easy trail race, this is it. It runs along the shoreline, and the weather was nice. … MORE

Plenty of AS along the way (5), and if you are looking for an easy trail race, this is it. It runs along the shoreline, and the weather was nice. I prefer trails with more variation and climbs, but I did enjoy having a faster HM pace in comparison to the other Brazen races. I like that this course is out and back too, so you can see your friends and give them a high-five along the way 🙂

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Brazen Summer Breeze Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

RunningDad FIRST-TIMER '15

Brazen Summer Breeze Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

A relative pancake-flat course with only 19ft elevation gain/loss. Race is well organized, post-race goodies are plentiful and tasty. This is the race to train for a PR for. Note: … MORE

A relative pancake-flat course with only 19ft elevation gain/loss. Race is well organized, post-race goodies are plentiful and tasty. This is the race to train for a PR for. Note: the 5k, 10k and half marathon courses are all flat and fast.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Dirty Dozen & Half Dozen Endurance Runs

ddenton REPEAT RUNNER '16

Dirty Dozen & Half Dozen Endurance Runs

it's a great race. so many options. 2 - 5ks, 2 - 10ks and 6 hour or 12 hour options. run at your own pace. pretty flat course. great food, … MORE

it’s a great race. so many options. 2 – 5ks, 2 – 10ks and 6 hour or 12 hour options. run at your own pace. pretty flat course. great food, support, volunteers, swag.. family atmosphere.. usually cool in the morning but warms up in the afternoon. couldn’t ask for anything more.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Wharf to Wharf Race

IRun2live FIRST-TIMER '16

Wharf to Wharf Race

The starting location was complete and utter gridlock, which made it difficult to start smoothly. This is a race that will be difficult to PR with soo many people, you … MORE

The starting location was complete and utter gridlock, which made it difficult to start smoothly.

This is a race that will be difficult to PR with soo many people, you end up swimming upstream for the first mile or so. Also, a little surprising that with a race of this magnitude, there was no race medal was okay..

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?