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@andreak

Livermore, CA Raving since 2016 Marathon Maniacs #12860 active 8 months, 1 week ago

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My races

Organize, track & review your races and personal bests here.

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Half Marathon

Marathon

Ultramarathon

(Marathon &/or Ultra) + Half

Marathon + Ultra

Other

Personal Bests (6)

Race Distance Location Date Result
100 Miler Granite Bay, CA Nov 4, 2017 29:10:43
50 Miler Castro Valley, CA Oct 8, 2016 11:38:00
50K Pilot Hill, CA Feb 24, 2018 6:40:10
Marathon Folsom, CA Dec 4, 2016 4:17:23
35K Redwood City, CA Dec 17, 2016 4:58:00
Half Marathon Livermore, CA Mar 4, 2018 2:02:31

Future Races (0)

Race Distance Location Date Paid

Past Races (28)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
50K Fremont, CA May 20, 2018 7:48:00
50K San Jose, CA May 12, 2018 6:55:00
Half Marathon Fremont, CA Apr 28, 2018
Half Marathon Valley Springs, CA Apr 22, 2018
50 Miler Valley Springs, CA Apr 21, 2018 13:01:00
50K Redwood City, CA Apr 7, 2018 7:09:00
Marathon Oakland, CA Mar 25, 2018 4:30:00
Half Marathon Livermore, CA Mar 4, 2018 2:02:31
50K Pilot Hill, CA Feb 24, 2018 6:40:10
50K Auburn, CA Feb 18, 2018 7:11:00
50K Mill Valley, CA Jan 6, 2018 8:18:00
100 Miler Granite Bay, CA Nov 4, 2017 29:10:43
50 Miler Castro Valley, CA Oct 7, 2017 12:25:00
Half Marathon San Jose, CA Sep 2, 2017 2:48:00
100K Foresthill, CA Apr 29, 2017
Marathon Woodside, CA Mar 19, 2017
50K Foresthill, CA Mar 18, 2017
50K Cool, CA Mar 4, 2017
Half Marathon Castro Valley, CA Jan 1, 2017 2:39:55
Half Marathon Castro Valley, CA Dec 31, 2016
35K Redwood City, CA Dec 17, 2016 4:58:00
Marathon Folsom, CA Dec 4, 2016 4:17:23
50K Stinson Beach, CA Nov 12, 2016
50 Miler Castro Valley, CA Oct 8, 2016 11:38:00
Half Marathon San Ramon, CA Oct 1, 2016
Half Marathon Saratoga, CA Jun 4, 2016 3:10:01
Half Marathon Brentwood, CA Apr 17, 2016
50K Brentwood, CA Apr 19, 2015

My Raves

Mokelumne River Trail Running Festival

Mokelumne River Trail Running Festival

Camping and running with friends, what more could you want? This is definitely one of the best races I’ve ever done! A few months ago, some of my friends and … MORE

Camping and running with friends, what more could you want? This is definitely one of the best races I’ve ever done!

A few months ago, some of my friends and I decided to register for this race and make a weekend of it with camping out at the start. I highly recommend camping because the race starts at 6am due to the trails having restricted hours. Being with friends all weekend just made it much more fun though. I did the 50 miler, but there was also the option of the 50k, which was also an out and back. The 50 miler had the best sights though!

This is definitely not the easiest race with over 10k feet of elevation gain in a little over 51 miles, but the scenery in the middle 20 miles of the course made it so worth it. We ran high above the water and saw so many wildflowers and beautiful sights. It is an out and back course so you can’t appreciate the long downhills too much on the way to the turn around! There are also very steep stairs on the course that put the Dipsea stairs to shame!

The early start was also needed because it ended up being a hot day. My friend’s garmin recorded a high of 93 degrees and there were some long stretches between aid stations. It was nice and cool in the morning when we started and thankfully we ran through a few creeks and could cool off our feet later.

It’s also a very small race with less than 100 registered runners for both distances. It was fun to see the other runners on the course as you passed them and though.

The RD also had post race activities for the runners. They roasted a pig for a potluck post race and then showed a movie in the amphitheater at the campground. It was so great to hang out after and talk about the race.

The race swag was also awesome. We got a headlamp, a race shirt, a little duffle bag and a bottle opener with the logo on it as a finisher’s medal.

This is definitely a race I would do again. There was a course marking issue where a lot of runners missed a turn (I did almost an extra mile out and realized my mistake), but thankfully the RD extended the cutoffs. No other issues besides that though. And the camping was so fun! There was also the option of a doing a half the next day, which I also did (to be found in a different review).

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5
My Media

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Woodside/Purisima Creek Crossover

Woodside/Purisima Creek Crossover

I ran this race last year and I really loved it so I decided to do it again. It also helped one of my friends registered me for as an … MORE

I ran this race last year and I really loved it so I decided to do it again. It also helped one of my friends registered me for as an early birthday present so I didn’t have a choice!

The race starts at Huddart Park which is a beautiful place, but then goes into Purisima, which is just so incredible. There is a big creek that flows down the middle, lots of waterfalls (especially after a good rain), and it’s so lush and green. Plus, banana slugs are everywhere! You can also see Half Moon Bay and the beach when you’re higher up.

It had rained the day before and overnight, but finished a little while before the race began. Thanks to the weather, it was a very wet course. We ran through small streams, huge puddles, so much mud and had to climb over lots of trees. That all just made it so much more fun! And I saw hundreds of banana slugs, no joke. Those things are so cool.

This race isn’t the easiest and it has some pretty decent hills. It’s also kind of a different course with how it is set up. The runners hit the same aid station three times which is kind of nice, but also tough because you’re so close, yet so far from the finish! The beginning of the race was a long stretch to that aid station, then a big loop through Purisima, an out and back section, and then back to the finish, but on a different way from the beginning. It definitely does not lack scenery!

Inside Trail always does a great job with their races and race swag. Every runner gets a medal and a shirt, but the 50k runners also get a pint glass! And they have a table of food at the end. I ate probably 3 entire quesadillas while waiting for my last friend to come in.

This is definitely a race I would do a third time!

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4
My Media

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Oakland Running Festival

Oakland Running Festival

I participated in the Oakland Running Festival in 2012 for my first half marathon and then as my second marathon the following year. I was looking forward to running it … MORE

I participated in the Oakland Running Festival in 2012 for my first half marathon and then as my second marathon the following year. I was looking forward to running it again because it had been so long.

About a month prior to the race, they changed the course and it was a huge disappointment. I’m not sure why they did, but supposedly they couldn’t get permits because of other events happening later in the day.

We started and finished at Eastshore Park by Lake Merritt which was nice because the festival area was huge. The course used to showcase different parts of Oakland, but the new marathon repeated sections of the industrial areas and it was nothing like before. Very boring course and hard to get into a good pace. The roads were also not in the best conditions and had lots of potholes.

The course was also over half a mile long; I spoke to many different paces runners who all finished with a recorded distance of at least 26.8. My Garmin showed 26.86 when I finished. The mile markers were off and inconsistent and it made for a tougher race.

The different races were given different medals which was nice. And the finish line festival had a lot of great booths in addition to Fenton’s Ice Cream giving out free samples. We got a quarter zip shirt as the race shirt, but I haven’t tried it on yet.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t too many positives about this race. I hope next year they can fix the issues from this year and hopefully change the course back. I don’t think I’ll be running it again though.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
2
SCENERY
1
SWAG
2

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Livermore Valley Half Marathon

Livermore Valley Half Marathon

This race is local to me and I run a lot of the course fairly regularly so I’ve never been interested in running it. My husband said he would run … MORE

This race is local to me and I run a lot of the course fairly regularly so I’ve never been interested in running it. My husband said he would run it though so I registered us for the race.

The course was changed slightly this year which threw off a lot of runners, but it was still fairly flat. It begins and ends in downtown Livermore, with the majority of it being on a bike path that goes through two large parks and along some vineyards, in addition to alongside a creek. It’s very scenic and there were spectators cheering along the course.

Every finisher got a tech shirt (given at bib pickup) and then a medal after crossing the finish line. Participants also got a stemless wine glass with the race name on it and were able to drink at the finish line festival where local wineries and breweries were serving.

Everything was fairly well done, except the quality of the swag is poor. The medal I received is very chipped. The wine glass doesn’t have the race date on it either which is disappointing.

It’s a large race and everything else was mostly fine. There were lots of aid stations with helpful volunteers who did a great job. I probably won’t run it again, but it was anther fun race day with my husband and friends!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Salmon Falls 50K

Salmon Falls 50K

What a fun day! This is a race I would definitely do again. I love point to point courses and the scenery was so beautiful. We parked sort of near … MORE

What a fun day! This is a race I would definitely do again. I love point to point courses and the scenery was so beautiful.

We parked sort of near the finish area at Folsom Point and there were school buses to drive us to Pilot Hill where the race started. There was bib pickup the day before in addition to pickup at the start. They also had a finish line drop bag option at the start which was so nice because it was 29 degrees when we were waiting around and having a heavy jacket on was needed. They had plastic bags for us to put our things on before driving them to the finish.

The race also allowed an early start for runners who didn’t think they could make the 8 hour time limit, but they had to find their own way to the start.

The race starts in a field next to a parking lot and we had a water crossing before we finished the first mile. The only good thing about a light rain year is the creek was low, but the water was so cold! There was a long line of people waiting to walk across on the rocks and we thought it was easier to go into the water. I was so cold already and wet feet made me so miserable! There were a few other water crossings on the course, but the water felt much better in the later and slightly warmer hours.

The majority of the elevation gain is in the first half of the course, but the hills aren’t too extreme. The website has the gain listed as 2,899 ft., but most runners reported having over 4K. The second half of the course looks mostly flat on the then picture where they elevation gain, but it’s definitely not! Rolling hills with some larger ones, but so pretty. The second half of the course was primarily soft single track dirt with grass on either side.

The aid stations were well stocked and had great support! Everyone was so helpful and making sure everyone’s needs were taken care of.

I have had many close calls from tripping over roots and rocks during race, but have always caught myself. Not yesterday! I tripped over who knows what, and landed sprawled out on my stomach and side. Thankfully it was on a soft dirt section with no large rocks and it was also flat. One second I was running and the next I was down! Thankfully there was no blood and very little bruising, but it through me off the rest of the race. Thankfully my good friends were with me and kept my spirits up. They also told me I need to work on my landing!

The worst part of the course is about a mile and a half from the finish and it is a long section of gravel across the dam. You can see the finish area and hear people, but it feels like you’ll never get there! Thankfully it does eventually end and there’s one last little hill to get to the arch. There was music blasting in the finish area and they had someone announcing the names of all of the finishers. We got our woodallions when we finished and they are so cool! Participants also got a really nice fitted jacket with the race logo and either got them at bib pickup or at the finish. It’s the best jacket I’ve ever gotten from a race! Well worth it.

There was a ton of food at the finish and lots of tables and chairs for people to sit and celebrate at. They had burgers, soup, snacks, soda, wine, beer and water for everyone and all of it made the day that much better. I really want to do this race again because it was really well done, but mostly because of the jacket!

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

FOURmidable Trail Runs

FOURmidable Trail Runs

Single Track Running does an amazing job with races! This was my second year running this race and they did another awesome job with more great swag. The 50k runners … MORE

Single Track Running does an amazing job with races! This was my second year running this race and they did another awesome job with more great swag. The 50k runners all received a hat, a cotton race shirt, a Klean Kanteen tumbler and a medal. The aid stations and volunteers were the best as well.

The course is called FOURmidable due to the four main hills on the course, but there are a lot more hills than that on the course. The hills are Cardiac, which is a long uphill of steep switchbacks, K2 aka training hill which is almost a mile long with over 900 ft. of elevation gain, Knickerbocker which is long switchbacks and then finally Overlook, which brings you back to the finish area.

Last year all of the races were on the same day, but this year the 50k was held on Saturday and the other distances on Sunday. It made a huge difference with the amount of people on the course and it was really nice not having to deal with as many runners. Another difference from last year was the conditions the trails were in. The course was very wet and muddy last year from all of the rain and there were barely any water crossings this year. It also got much warmer this year!

It’s a beautiful course that is on the Western States trail and it goes from Auburn into Cool and back. You start at the Auburn Dam Overlook Park which has a huge parking lot and also bathrooms.

There were burgers for the finishers and plenty of space to hang out and relax after finishing. Despite the climb back up Overlook being more awful than I remembered, this was another fun race and I hope to do it again!

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Eldrith

Eldrith

Any race that offers breakfast food as the post run meal, definitely gets my money! Pacific Coast Trail Runs (PCTR) has had a busy year revamping their image and are … MORE

Any race that offers breakfast food as the post run meal, definitely gets my money!

Pacific Coast Trail Runs (PCTR) has had a busy year revamping their image and are doing an awesome job with their races. This was only my second race by them, but it won’t be my last.

They offer awesome woodallions in the place of medals and we got a really nice tech shirt as well. They also hand the runners a bag of samples and their bumper sticker which says “Go Run a Trail.”

This race is named after Eldrith Gosney, a 75 year old Bay Area legend in the ultra running community. It’s her training run for the Quad Dipsea and the two races have a very similar amount of elevation gain, over 9,300 ft.

This race was originally supposed to be in October and due to the fires in Northern California, it was postponed. I registered for the race after the date was changed and I was so happy I was able to do it! I also looked at the elevation gain for the 34k when registering for the then 47k and was very surprised when I discovered my mistake!

The race starts and finishes at Old Mill Park in Mill Valley. Due to a broken bridge, the race had a modification and the runners had a stretch of road to run on. This lead to the 47k being over 32 miles instead of over 29 and becoming a 50k! Thankfully the elevation didn’t change and stayed over 9,300 ft of gain which was more than plenty.

The 50k runners did the same route as the 36k, but we had an extra out and back to Cardiac Hill from the finish area. The 36k course had 3 sections and stopped at Cardiac Hill aid station three times: We went from Old Mill up the Dipsea stairs to Cardiac Hill, down the Dipsea trail and almost to Stinson Beach, back up the Dipsea to Steep Ravine Trail and then to Cardiac again, then down Coastal Trail to Heather Cutoff where we ran through Santos Meadows, turned and ran back up the same way to Cardiac, then headed back to Old Mill the same way we left. The 36k runners got to stay and eat, while the 50k runners headed back up the stairs and went to Cardiac one last time.

The Cardiac aid was fully stocked with awesome snacks and there was an aid for the 50k runners at the finish to eat from before heading back out. Everything was so great and the volunteers were so helpful like always! The scenes on these trails are incredible, but nothing beat running down those stairs and across the bridge into the finish chute one last time and getting to eat a recovery plate of pancakes and bacon! Also, there was beer and wine for finishers!

It was a really great day and although it was a very challenging race, it was more than worth it!

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Rio Del Lago 100 Mile Endurance Run

Rio Del Lago 100 Mile Endurance Run

This was my 4th race by Nor Cal Ultras and like the others, it didn't disappoint! There was great swag (we received a medal, belt buckle, jacket and cinch bag … MORE

This was my 4th race by Nor Cal Ultras and like the others, it didn’t disappoint!

There was great swag (we received a medal, belt buckle, jacket and cinch bag that held some samples), well stocked aid stations (peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, potatoes, chips, cookies, soda, etc., with warm food in the later hours such as grilled cheese sandwiches, pizza, quesadillas, broth and then breakfast burritos in the morning hours), attentive and helpful volunteers and of course, a great finish line party.

I ran their American River 50 miler as my first 50 and the two races are on a lot of the same course. I didn’t remember much of the AR50 trails, but I didn’t have any issues with them then and figured I would be fine on those sections again.

The first 18.5 of the course is a big loop that starts and finishes at Beal’s Point. There are no crew stops allowed at the first two aid stations in this loop, but they aren’t too far apart, especially since the majority of this section is on a bike path. A crew wasn’t needed yet though. The first crewing point is Beal’s and it is also the first aid where drop bags are allowed.

For the last week leading up to the race, the weather forecast had been predicting rain for the entire weekend. The rain began around 6am (an hour after the race started) and although it wasn’t a cold morning, it was very wet.

After you leave Beal’s and start the 26 mile journey to the Auburn Dam Overlook (ADO), there are some great views of Folsom Lake and fire roads that eventually lead into some great single track trails. This chunk of the race isn’t too hilly until you start the 3.5 mile climb to the overlook, but it does include a 2-3 mile section known as “the meat grinder.” It’s really not as bad as people make it out to be though; it’s lots of big roots, loose rocks and wood plank stairs built into the side of the trails. It’s hard to get a good groove though because it’s up or down without much flat. Between the meat grinder and the climb to the overlook, the trails are single track and mostly runable.
This chunk also has four aid stations with crews allowed at two. Although the rain had been off and (mostly) on all day, the trails were surprisingly puddly and very muddy.

Eventually the trail ends and you get to the end of a gravel road. To the left is the Cardiac trail and going up the road will eventually bring you to the overlook parking lot. A lot of it is road, but there is some gravel, and most of it is uphil. When you finally get to the Auburn Dam Overlook parking lot, you’re met by another big party at the aid station and can also pick up your first pacer (mile 44.5). I was joined by my friend Keith who was probably not looking forward to 31 wet and muddy miles with me!

The 4 miles after ADO are primarily downhill and take you onto the famous Western States trail where you end up at No Hands Bridge. It’s important to fill up and refuel at this aid because there isn’t another stop until mile 59. This loop of 31 miles that brings you back to ADO is a lot of the same course as Way Too Cool and also includes “Goat Hill around mile 65 or so. This hill isn’t too bad; it’s just short and steep switchbacks, but the trail leading to it collapsed this past winter from the California weather and a new hill leading to it was created. This new hill is much steeper than Goat Hill and had poison oak on either side. It had rained the majority of the day (it was still off and on a little) and this hill was a lot of loose, slippery mud. I attempted to climb up it on my hands and knees which was very scary and made me so thankful I had my friend Keith pacing me because he helped get me up this hill.

I ran Way Too Cool back in March after a very rainy winter and these trails were very comparable when it came to the puddles and mud on the trails, despite this being the first real rain of the season. There were a few water crossings on this section also so my feet got even more wet then they already were.

After Keith and I made it back to ADO, I picked up my second pacer, my friend Megan. This is the last 24.5 of the course and you get to run back to Beal’s Point the way you came. The long stretch of road and gravel we had to climb up was much better running down and the meat grinder wasn’t as bad going in reverse. The night hours were tough on me and it seemed like it would never be daytime. Once the sky started lightening, I began feeling better. The rain had stopped between 10PM and 11PM and the weather was supposed to be sunny Sunday for the end of the race. Eventually it was dawn and then the sun was fully up. Megan and I finally hit the the levee which was lined with spectators cheering on their runners and soon after, I crossed the finish line. I was immediately handed my medal, belt buckle and jacket and then went to find my friends.

Although I didn’t indulge in any of the post race food (there was breakfast food being cooked for runners) or check out the tents, I did stay to see the last runners come in. This was a great first 100 mile experience and although some people got lost, I didn’t have any issues with the course or how the race was organized. It’s a fairly local race to the Bay Area and also a Western States Qualifying race which makes it more appealing for runners. Although I could’ve and should’ve done much better, I have nothing but positive feedback for this race company. I definitely recommend Rio Del Lago for anyone looking for their first 100 mile race!

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

4 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Trail Hog Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Trail Hog Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Trail Hog is one of my favorite races despite it being another year of me not spotting a wild pig. Everyone else seemed to though! The course is mostly exposed … MORE

Trail Hog is one of my favorite races despite it being another year of me not spotting a wild pig. Everyone else seemed to though! The course is mostly exposed and primarily wide fire roads, but it’s not too hilly and the party at the finish line is always the best. It was a new course this year thanks to last year’s storm damage so it was interesting to see how the course had changed. The new hill at the turn around was a big surprise to everyone who had done the half before!

The medal and tech shirt Brazen gives to runners are always awesome, but the aid stations at this race had Otter Pops this year and those were a huge hit! It was such a hot day, but the volunteers were excellent and a huge help like always. They were giving everyone as much water and ice as needed and taking care of those who needed more assistance.

It got up to 110 degrees on the trails and lots of people were suffering from heat exhaustion, but I managed to finish and more than earned my post race It’s It! Everyone was taking care of each other at the finish and making sure the runners were feeling okay and getting water to recover from the hot temperatures. It really showed how special the running community is and how much everyone cares about each other.

Thanks to the higher than normal temperatures, many runners chose to drop to a different distance or do the hiker start for the half (or early hiker start) and I earned a coveted first place age group medal! Brazen recently started doing individualized age group medals for each races which makes them even more desirable. There were only two of us in my age group, but it still counts!

I’m sure I’ll be back for more fun next year and I can only hope I’ll see a real trail hog (from far away of course!)

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Brazen New Year’s Day Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Brazen New Year’s Day Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Beautiful location with both paved and trail sections. A lot less elevation than other races, but great views of the surrounding areas at the top and easy trails. Always a … MORE

Beautiful location with both paved and trail sections. A lot less elevation than other races, but great views of the surrounding areas at the top and easy trails.
Always a great way to start the year!

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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Brazen New Year’s Eve Half Marathon/10K/5K

Brazen New Year’s Eve Half Marathon/10K/5K

Very flat and fast new course location for this race. Not too scenic, but there are lots of birds to see. The course is mostly a paved path with a … MORE

Very flat and fast new course location for this race. Not too scenic, but there are lots of birds to see. The course is mostly a paved path with a little gravel.

Great finish and start line areas like always!

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
1
SWAG
5

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Woodside Ramble

Woodside Ramble

Beautiful course that started with a nice downhill. We ran through the redwoods and thanks to a recent storm, the course was very muddy with little streams going down the … MORE

Beautiful course that started with a nice downhill. We ran through the redwoods and thanks to a recent storm, the course was very muddy with little streams going down the trails. There were also a few downed trees we had to climb over, under and around. The course wasn’t too hard with lots of ups and downs.

Cold morning, but still a great time. Inside Trail had a long sleeve tech shirt for runners which will be perfect for winter running. The finish line food area had hot soup which was perfect post race! I definitely want to do this one again.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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California International Marathon (CIM)

California International Marathon (CIM)

This course is known as having a net downhill, but don't let that fool you into thinking it's pancake flat and easy. The rolling hills in the beginning will tire … MORE

This course is known as having a net downhill, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s pancake flat and easy. The rolling hills in the beginning will tire you out if you’re not careful.

It’s not the most scenic course, but the more than enough crowd support makes up for that. It’s 26.2 miles of cheering spectators encouraging you as you make your way to the finish. Lots of people are out there with their families, dogs and this year, I saw a few goats!

There are preferred hotels that give a discount rate if you sign up early and make sure to do so. The hotels fill up fast. Finding one near the finish is a good idea because there are shuttles nearby and you won’t be too far after the race.

The shirt and medal are both very nice and make sure to check out the expo; lots of free samples and possible race discounts if you register there!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
2
SWAG
4

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Mt. Tam Trail Run

Mt. Tam Trail Run

Beautiful race with great swag. The shirt and medal are both awesome and the 50k runners get a pint glass with the race logo too. Parts of the course are … MORE

Beautiful race with great swag. The shirt and medal are both awesome and the 50k runners get a pint glass with the race logo too.

Parts of the course are on the infamous Dipsea Trail as you’re climbing all over Mt. Tam and the race starts and finishes at Stinson Beach. There is a lot of elevation in this race, but it’s incredibly scenic. You get some great views of the Bay Area and the ocean. It’s not easy and you definitely earn your medal. The last few miles are downhill, but make sure you don’t slip on the wood stairs.

This race company takes really good care of you from start to finish. Bib pickup pre race is smooth, the aid stations are well stocked and they had good at the end, in addition to getting pizzas.

This was my first time at Mt. Tam and despite the poison oak I got all over my legs, I plan to go back!

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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Dick Collins Firetrails 50

Dick Collins Firetrails 50

This was my second 50 miler and it was much harder than my first. The course was more difficult, but it's mostly due to lack of training. Bib pickup can … MORE

This was my second 50 miler and it was much harder than my first. The course was more difficult, but it’s mostly due to lack of training.

Bib pickup can be done morning of at the start. Bring a headlamp because it’s dark, but it probably won’t be needed on the course.

The course is an out and back course that starts at Lake Chabot in Castro Valley and has a turn around point in Tilden Park in Berkeley. You run on the trails around Lake Chabot, through the redwoods in Skyline Park in Oakland and then into Tilden where you turn around and head back. There are some hills and it’s known as being a warm race with a lot of exposed sections. Stay hydrated and walk the hills to make your way through it.

Every aid station is full of helpful volunteers ready to refill your water and get you what you need. The aid stations are themed and the Oktoberfest one (at mile 8ish and 40ish) had beer for the runners heading back to the finish. Lots of food at each one, including grilled cheese and boiled potatoes.

When you cross the finish, there is a table right next to the arch that has your race swag. The finishers are given a jacket and a cinch bag with a race shirt and plastic stemless wine glass and there is plenty of food at the finish area, including BBQ. It’s a fun race that I definitely would’ve liked more had I been better trained.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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Trailquake Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Trailquake Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

This race was extremely tough. The first 2.5 miles or so are uphill and then the next 8 are up and down. Thankfully the last few are downhill! It's a … MORE

This race was extremely tough. The first 2.5 miles or so are uphill and then the next 8 are up and down. Thankfully the last few are downhill! It’s a very covered course with all of the trees and so scenic which makes it worth it. The only portion of the course that’s really exposed is in the last mile. Very difficult though. Not a good race to do when you have plans that day!

Like every other Brazen race, there’s a great shirt and of course an amazing medal. The aid stations have the best volunteers and there course is marked very well.

Limited parking so get there early!

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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Brazen Diablo Trails Challenge

Brazen Diablo Trails Challenge

I love being at Mt. Diablo. It's so scenic and the hills are worth it! This is a great course. This race has the majority of the elevation in the … MORE

I love being at Mt. Diablo. It’s so scenic and the hills are worth it! This is a great course.

This race has the majority of the elevation in the first 8-9 miles, but then once you cross the road that leads to the summit, there is an awesome almost two mile stretch or so down the hill. With all of the rain this past winter, the water was flowing and there was no shortage of soaked feet. Great way to cool off though! There is about a 5 mile stretch (between aid stations 2 and 3) that is pretty open so it’s a good idea to have a full water bottle for this section. Great views though!

Like every other Brazen race, it is top notch. Great swag and food at the beginning, aid stations and end. No shortage in amazing volunteers either!

There’s one parking lot and it fills up fast so you have to get there early because of the 50k. If not, there’s the option to take shuttle. Be there early enough though and you can get a spot, plus see all of your running friends!

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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Brazen Diablo Trails Challenge

Brazen Diablo Trails Challenge

This was my first 50k and difficult doesn't even begin to describe it. Beautiful sights and views, but an extremely tough course. The course was changed this year and started … MORE

This was my first 50k and difficult doesn’t even begin to describe it. Beautiful sights and views, but an extremely tough course.

The course was changed this year and started at Castle Rock Park in Walnut Creek, instead of Brentwood, due to some nesting golden eagles. Lots of elevation, especially in the two mile climb up to the summit. It was a very warm and dry day and it’s a course where you need to stay very well hydrated and fuel well to keep going. The climb to North Peak was also very tough and a lot of runners (myself included) fell on the way down. Having a hydration pack for this type of race was very beneficial because I was able to have extra water on me and have my hands free to keep my balance.

Despite the difficulties and heat, I finished and came in first and last in my age group! Being the only women in my age group was pretty awesome and something that will probably never happen again. In addition to my amazing medal that was also a coaster, I got a second age group medal! The tech shirt I received was for just the 50k which was also really cool.

It was a long day for everyone, volunteers included, but they were amazing like always and made sure every runner was well taken care of. There was BBQ at the finish for 50k runners and anyone else could pay for a plate of food. After a long day on the trails and in the sun, it tasted even more amazing!!

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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