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@Fitbrit

Belmont, CA Raving since 2014 Boston Marathon finisher, Seven Continents Club, Half Fanatics #15087 active 2 months ago

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Half Marathon

Marathon

Ultramarathon

(Marathon &/or Ultra) + Half

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Personal Bests (4)

Race Distance Location Date Result
12 hr San Pablo, CA Jul 7, 2018 20 mi
50K Walnut Creek, CA Apr 15, 2017 9:36:47
Half Marathon San Francisco, CA Feb 5, 2017 2:05:58
10K Saratoga, CA Jun 6, 2015 1:49:00

Future Races (0)

Race Distance Location Date Paid

Past Races (19)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
Half Marathon Paro, Bhutan May 26, 2019 3:00:00
Half Marathon San Ramon, CA Sep 29, 2018
Marathon Rodeo Beach, CA Sep 8, 2018 7:10:35
12 hr San Pablo, CA Jul 7, 2018 20 mi
Marathon Prague, Czech Republic May 6, 2018 5:34:54
Half Marathon San Ramon, CA Sep 30, 2017 3:58:00
Half Marathon San Jose, CA Sep 2, 2017 3:33:25
Half Marathon Petra, Jordan Aug 26, 2017 3:02:00
Marathon Ranohira, Madagascar Jun 18, 2017 6:48:00
50K Walnut Creek, CA Apr 15, 2017 9:36:47
Half Marathon San Francisco, CA Feb 5, 2017 2:05:58
Half Marathon San Francisco, CA Jul 31, 2016 2:17:28
Half Marathon Napa, CA Jul 17, 2016 2:10:14
Half Marathon Isabela Island, Ecuador Apr 13, 2016 2:49:30
Half Marathon San Jose, CA Mar 20, 2016 2:11:52
Marathon Cape Town, South Africa Sep 20, 2015 5:21:06
10K Saratoga, CA Jun 6, 2015 1:49:00
Marathon London, United Kingdom Apr 26, 2015 4:47:14
Half Marathon Redwood City, CA Dec 14, 2014

My Raves

Thunder Dragon Marathon

Thunder Dragon Marathon

I don’t have all the stats exactly but I will do my best to recount my race experience. Race morning started with breakfast at our nearby hotel. There are several … MORE

I don’t have all the stats exactly but I will do my best to recount my race experience.
Race morning started with breakfast at our nearby hotel.
There are several hotels near the start and finish area.
Ours was the Ravens nest just a 6 minute walk to the start.
Walking back up the hill takes a bit longer.
The original race time was scheduled for 9:00 am which got charged the night before to 8:30 am due to a possible weather concern.
The race start was warm and sunny.not sure what the temperature was maybe 60 F.
Around 75 International runners joined I believe around 120 local Bhutanese runners for both distances the half and full.
Bhutanese women were only allowed to run the half and the men were only allowed to run the full.
I would like to see that changed and let each sex decide what’s right for them.
Before the race 4 Buddhist Monks say a prayer which was very cool.
The race starts and we run on the road a slight downhill but I couldn’t tell that much. The roads are not closed for the race so traffic runs along side you.
The elevation chart wasn’t given to us but I think the start of the race is above 7,500 ft possibly closer to 8,000ft.
It was definitely hard to breathe the first hour or so. This wasn’t going to be a fast course.
The best you can do is go out slower and check your heart rate doesn’t get too high too quickly.
Within a mile or so we turn left and cross a suspension bridge.
It sways a little and felt a little unstable.
As a woman passed me I over balanced and put my hand out onto the rail. Unfortunately it was thick barbed wire and I punctured my hand. My hand was covered in blood but a volunteer gave me a tissue at the end of a bridge.
I think the organizers should warn the runners it’s not a rail you can actually hold on to.
Ok across the bridge and all the blood cleaned up. Down along the river for about 4.5 miles. Around that time we turn again following the yellow ribbons.
As an avid trail runner , I’m used to ribbons on the right means turn right . Ribbons on the left means turn left . Nope not in this race , ribbons are random and it was confusing which way we were heading. I know of at least one person who took an hour detour.
For most of the race I could follow someone up ahead but there were times I was on my own and it was confusing where to go.
There are lots of high school kids helping but you might have to ask which way as opposed to them pointing the way.
Water, bananas and some juice is offered quite often.
There are hills and more than I expected. Those I found hard to run up I simply couldn’t breath.
By midway we had a few sprinkles of rain and the clouds cooled us off .
Altitude is enough of a challenge but adding heat , well that’s a bit much.
By the way I was signed up for the full initially but we had been on a 5 day hike all week up in the mountains which trashed my shoes.
I wore a pair of shoes that I brought just to walk around after the race . They were Nike Air, very light but not good for trail running.
However my choice was a pair of Tevas or a pair of shoes I hadn’t ran in before.
They held up ok but the trail part, a few miles at least was challenging.
So the hills are midway to the end.
The last Km or half mile is downhill.
There are cows on the course , traffic and 2 bridges.
You cross the river twice and it’s a quiet run. No spectators just random people going about their business.
I thought all things considered I did OK but I did have some exercise endured asthma for the rest of the day.
I haven’t had that for almost 20 years.
There is a warm welcome when you finish with a large tent to sit in out of the sun.
The medals came out late for the faster runners. Not sure why that happened. For the midway runners , they all got their medals at the finish line.
Water and juice is given at the finish line. Lunch is offered in the hotel.
I would have like iced water or coke at the finish. Every drink was warm after sitting in the sun all morning.
Overall I enjoyed the race. The local runners whom I ran with , were very friendly and chatted with me.
If you are thinking to run the full, this is a challenging course. Train well.
Awards are given to the top Male / Female and only the top finisher age 50-59 , 60-69, 70-79.
There was a tech shirt and a white cotton shirt given to each runner , which I declined. I kept the tech shirt and the scarf.
This race is organized by a company in Great Britain and there is a charitable cause you can become involved in.
I did enjoy this race but definitely enjoyed the hike , overall trip a lot more.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3
My Media

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Headlands Marathon, 50, 75 & 100

Headlands Marathon, 50, 75 & 100

I dropped from the 50 miler awhile ago due to lack of training. So I was expecting the marathon to be a grueling challenge. Sometimes those days when you put … MORE

I dropped from the 50 miler awhile ago due to lack of training. So I was expecting the marathon to be a grueling challenge.
Sometimes those days when you put no pressure on yourself, you end up having just the best days.
I ran with friends for the first half which made this very hilly course so much more fun.
I took bacon and a couple of GU as I end up being super hungry.
I missed the part in the email that it was a cupless event so getting my electrolytes at the aid stations was a challenge.
I took a filled camelback and you will need at least a half filled bag.
Aid stations were about 4.4, 9, 13 then there was 6.8 miles to the next one with a big hill to climb in between.
That part was also the most technical, single track, rocky in places and nearly all of the race is full exposure to the sun.
I didn’t wear a hat ( big mistake) I got very burnt in my eyes and overall face.
As you run loops for the bigger races, I got to see the winners and other racers looping back toward me.
Everyone was super friendly and supportive.
One lady I walked up a big hill with, gave me a bag of trail mix as I got hungry.
I do wish there was more food at the aid stations, I don’t eat PB &J sandwiches. I did share a cup with my friend and we got some Coke.
There is some road for the first 1.2 miles and the last mile and a straight finish.
The views of Pirates Cove, Muir beach , Sausalito and the Golden Gate Bridge were spectacular. We got lucky with a clear day so we could see Mt Tam , Alcatraz and San Francisco.
I like the Swag I got a black jacket but next time I will order a smaller T. Shirt.
Tacos , beer and soda at the finish plus massages. The massage was great but it’s not free.
I’d prefer fruit after a race but that was only for the 100 milers.
I loved this race . It’s not for beginners as it’s a 5,167 ft of climb unless you are feeling very ambitious.
How is this race not one of the top 10 must do’s? Too hard maybe.
Try PCTR races . If you don’t finish your bigger distance,Greg the RD will let you get a finish time for a shorter distance.
He really wants everyone to succeed and loves to meet and talk to all that come.
Next year it’s a 50 for me, with such a generous cut off time I’m up for it.
There are so many races that w/e you can choose 2 or 3 marathons in one w/e.
Favorite Bay Area race!

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4
My Media

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Dirty Dozen & Half Dozen Endurance Runs

Dirty Dozen & Half Dozen Endurance Runs

It’s a 3.3 mile loop approximately. Can be run as a relay or just alone. Each loop I found myself running with old friends and new ones. It’s casual, supportive … MORE

It’s a 3.3 mile loop approximately.
Can be run as a relay or just alone.
Each loop I found myself running with old friends and new ones.
It’s casual, supportive and fun.
I arrived late ( due to the World Cup).
However, I still managed to run 20 miles while a little injured and I really enjoyed every lap.
I stopped by the tents go socialize each loop, ate a little and hydrated.
Some runners were there to run many more miles while training for ultras. Some of us were there to have fun and see how far our bodies could run.
The food, aid stations were fantastic.
Everyone gets your medal engraved with your mileage.
You can track all runners and teams on the screen provided at the staging area.
Stay as long as you want, a very fun day.
Sam and Jasmin put on a great event.
Don’t want to run 12 hours you have other choices, a 6 hour, 10k and 5 ks in the morning or afternoon too.
Bring a tent , chair and layers .

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5

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Prague Marathon

Prague Marathon

Easy small rolling hills to keep it interesting. Running across many bridges and close to the river for much of the race. Many beautiful sights and excellent aid stations. The … MORE

Easy small rolling hills to keep it interesting. Running across many bridges and close to the river for much of the race. Many beautiful sights and excellent aid stations.
The start of the race is in the old town square.
FYI if you are slower than a 4:45 pace like me , you will be in the last corral ‘L’. There were 89 Countries represented and 10,600 runners .
I was alone for much of the race.
I’m not used to starting in the back of the pack. So running a road race alone like that was a first for me.
There were a few Porto potties but not many. I had to stop twice but I didn’t go into this race trying to be fast so I didn’t care.
There were water stops about every 2 km and electrolytes every other station.
I don’t know what they put in their water bottles but it tasted awful and I dreaded every stop.
I was disappointed that the electrolytes were so few.
However bananas and oranges were at every aid station and cold water and sponges even for me as slow as I was.
I was surprised that there were some supporters still at the finish line.
There isn’t much in the way of crowd support except for the start and finish and once when we looped back to the start after the first 10k I think.
We lucked out in terms of the weather, I prefer cool but at some parts I was warm and we did have head winds several times.
My only other disappointment was the finish line we got a bottle of that horrid water and there was a few pieces of banana and orange but that was it.
The other thing to consider is that you finish in the absolute busiest tourist areas of Prague. Not everyone , in fact not many knew there was a race going on. It was crowded and many road closures. Getting back to my hotel was a nightmare. I just kept getting lost and then I tried to get a taxi and was simply a bad idea.
The taxi driver said after we drove in circles that to get to my hotel about 3/4 mile away, he told me he would have to drive 13 kilometers to get me to my hotel. Needless to say I got out, got over charged and didn’t get any closer to my hotel .
That has nothing to do with the production of the race organizers .
It is something to take into consideration to have your hotel close to the finish line as you won’t be able to drive back to it.
The whole marathon course stays closed all day.
Finishers shirt was ok and the medal is quite big.
Results and photos were almost immediate.
On my finishers diploma it told me how many women I passed in my age group and overall women (106) from the 5k mark to the finish.
Note to self , don’t take allergy medications before a race, I hit the wall around mile 4. I’m not sure how I ran 17 miles before having to walk for about 2 minutes.
After mile 25 I was able to run it in even on all those cobblestones which by the way was not as hard as I imagined.
Pretty course, good cheap destination City. Probably walked way too many miles the 4 days leading to the race most were getting lost miles. So take that into consideration too.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Brazen Rocky Ridge Half Marathon Championship, 10K & 5K

Brazen Rocky Ridge Half Marathon Championship, 10K & 5K

It’s the Grande finale of the Brazen races ultra series . You must run 5 other ultras with Brazen plus Rocky Ridge to get points , place in the series … MORE

It’s the Grande finale of the Brazen races ultra series . You must run 5 other ultras with Brazen plus Rocky Ridge to get points , place in the series and get your coaster.
This year I was tested over and over again it seems. Four days before this race I hurt my knee , enough to put me in a brace and limp along all week.
Knowing I would lose my place in the standings I decided to go but take the hiker start option.
By the way , the hiker start is still running. You just can’t place in your age. I just wanted to finish and get my coaster.
I did finish and quite enjoyed the course.
There’s lots of hills 3 main ones and the last one is steep and about 2 miles up.
When I finished the race I was glad it was over but thought there are harder races out there.
Now later that day and the following day I realized that I was way more beat up than I thought.
I was pretty much wasted and horizontal for 2 days.
Once you finish this race I’m sure next year I’ll be more mentally prepared.
The atmosphere was tremendous and it’s very well supported with volunteers and all the usual helpers .
Oscar does a great job marking the course, you shouldn’t get lost.
Sam and Jasmin also go all out to make this more like a family affair with honors , awards and recognition .
Bravo Brazen racing

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Trail Hog Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Trail Hog Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

This is my 3rd Trail Hog race and my 3rd year Anniversary running with Brazen racing. I arrived early and could have switched to the first hiker start at 7:00am. … MORE

This is my 3rd Trail Hog race and my 3rd year Anniversary running with Brazen racing.
I arrived early and could have switched to the first hiker start at 7:00am. Instead I stuck with the 8:00am start and thought how hard can this be. Well by 8:00 am I’m sure it was already 80 degrees. The course itself is moderately difficult but if this was your first trail race , well you might think it was extremely hard.
You will find it’s rugged and dusty in parts and open fields of full sun. This year it was during a very hot heat wave and we recorded up to 104 -106 degrees by the end of the race.
The total incline was supposed to be around 1,800ft but there was a course change 2,100 ft of incline was probably more accurate.
There were 4 aid stations of enthusiastic and helpful volunteers.
There was a stretch between mile 9-11.5 that I really needed water and was out. All I could do was walk as my heart rate was very high at this point.
Now I look for animals and birds while racing as I don’t listen to music or run with someone.
So I will tell you I saw a Golden eagle , 6 wild hogs, quails, wild turkeys, woodpeckers and a really really large rattle snake crossed my path . So that is what I call scenery, it was fun to see during a very arduous run.
Although some people got heat stroke most of us took our time and ploughed through it.
This is a race I won’t ever forget .
Take a hydration pack just in case you take a wrong turn.
Overall a very memorable race.
An it’s it and food awaits you at the finish line and this year sponges to cool you off.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5
My Media

4 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Petra Desert Marathon

Petra Desert Marathon

We’ll be prepared for a journey of a lifetime. You will arise early and be escorted into the Petra world heritage site by foot. Take a headlamp as it is … MORE

We’ll be prepared for a journey of a lifetime. You will arise early and be escorted into the Petra world heritage site by foot.
Take a headlamp as it is still dark.
The walk is at least a mile or more to the incredible Siq. The narrow gateway of sand stone leading you through a twisted trail to the Treasury.
By the time you reach there there will be some light.
Get your camera ready but you will be ushered very quickly to the start.
Bedouin and camels await your arrival.
There were limited toilets and they want tips but I didn’t bring money.
Your actual time running through the famous park is brief perhaps less than a mile.
Expect this race to be practically full sun and extreme heat. I think our race was in the 90’s for the most part.
There is a good incline for about 2 miles on the road before you get onto white sand and rock trail.
Bedouin are on their camels and donkeys watching you.
I passed many goats and as you might expect it smells pretty bad for several miles/ km through the caves and village of these Nomadic people.
After about the 10km mark there was a water stop at the bottom of a very long steep mountain in front of you.
You will begin a long incline of about 5 miles on open hot road.
You will need to carry your own water and sunblock is a must.
This part was hard and very hot.
I trudged my way up and tried to run when I could.
There is a water stop near the top.
Then you turn right onto a very rugged rocky trail.
A lot of people struggled with this part but I mostly run trail racing at home , therefore I ran the remaining miles.
The last 2-3 miles are downhill and the last mile is a steep road.
You end the race outside the park literally outside the hotel.
I went with Marathon Tours but the organization was Albatross Travel who run this event.
I loved the uniqueness of the race location, scenery and tough course
There is a strict cut off time for the full marathon therefore I changed my distance the day before to the half.
We were told 93 degrees was cooler than usual. The year before was over 110 degrees so beware of that.
Make sure you do some heat training before you go.
My favorite race by far!

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

 

Madagascar Marathon & 1/2

Madagascar Marathon & 1/2

Let me start by saying that I had no idea what to expect about the course. This was the first Madagascar marathon so I knew it would be unique. The … MORE

Let me start by saying that I had no idea what to expect about the course. This was the first Madagascar marathon so I knew it would be unique.
The Marathon Tours staff spent more than 2 days marking the course and the locals cut most of the long grass down for us.
We were advised that this was your typical trail run with a couple of water crossings that were ankle deep and a few feet wide.
We were also told that water bottles would be handed out at mile 6,10,14,18 and 22. We were also told the course was flat with just a few small non essential slopes.
So as you can imagine staying in a third world Country , quite a few of us got sickness and diarrhea for several days leading up to race day. I don’t usually reveal such details but I think this time is an exception given that we had to run while completely dehydrated and not feeling up to our usual fitness levels. We all tried medication but let’s just say it didn’t work so well. On race day I could tell after 1 mile I was in for a tough day but as an experienced runner I decided there was no giving up or stopping. I ran slowly and sensibly with walk, lots of walks after mile 10 with some running in between.
So having said that here’s the real story of the course, swag, aid stations and scenery.

We walked from our hotel le Jardin to the sister hotel literally 200 yds away where the start area was.
There were about 45 runners in the full marathon and about 30 or less in the half.
Some locals got sponsored in the race and we all made sure they were welcome by taking pictures and me shaking hands with all of them.
Our local guides became our aid station help and the very few spectators were spouses of a few runners.
We had a drone up above us filming the start and mostly front runners.
I have yet to see the video.
So the start was on a sandy trail up hill to the main road. From here we ran about a mile or just less then soon onto a trail with rough grass and soft sand.
This went on for many miles of full sun, rough trail and lots of sand.
I only took half a camelback of water as I didn’t want the extra weight.
There were 2 Dr’s on course on ATV’s handing out electrolytes and water after mile 14, this did happen and I needed help by mile 15. Thirst and dehydration being my only problem really. Do bring your own bottle, food, electrolytes , camera and sun block .
The trail was in open fields of knee to thigh high grass with hundreds of locusts , crickets, grass hoppers and some say snakes but I didn’t see any except one small dead one.
You will run up hills it definitely was not flat about 1800 ft incline or more.
There were water crossings for the full marathoners only. I loved them and there were about 8 of them. At least 4 of them were longer than 10 or even 15 meters long and one was thick mud up to my thighs.
My shoes and ankle brace never made it back home by the way.
Since it was hot by now , I enjoyed the water to cool me down but it wasn’t clean enough to splash on your face.
We ran through 5 villages some of the locals were cheering us on and others just stared at us. I wasn’t sure if they were bothered by us but I waved to most.
During one village 3 girls came running up to me and tried to steal my watch , camera and water bottle. I had to be a little stern and run past them. They tried the same tactics with 2 other women behind me also.
Now I’m approaching mile 18 and like mile 14 the aid stations had run out of water but a tiny cup about an inch full of coke a cola was handed to us and we were told one cup for each person. So that was one sip. That is really my only complaint , as quite a few of us were struggling with serious GI problems it was critical we hydrate during the midday sun and heat.
I was running with a man from New Zealand for 8 miles who felt about as energetic as I did. We kept each other company and I suggested we start run/ walking so we finish in under the 7 hr limit. We did kick it into another gear the last 5 miles and managed under 7 hrs.
Turns out MT let everyone finish and the last person finished in 8hr :01 min.
The course was 24 miles of mostly soft sand and less than 2 miles of asphalt. The course was well marked so no one got lost .
The finish was on grass and a slight uphill .
The medal and shirt were good .
Lunch was served but I felt too sick to even contemplate food .
Looking back and if I had been completely healthy this course would have been a really fun experience. It still was in a way, I just failed at running that day.
A unique experience but it’s a long journey to get there if you live on the West coast of the USA . Perhaps folks from Europe should consider this one if you are thinking of doing the 7 Continents or just want a different experience.
Overall I loved it just not my performance .

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
2
My Media

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Brazen Diablo Trails Challenge

Brazen Diablo Trails Challenge

It's an early start in the dark as you arrive to the usual suspects and volunteers at a brazen race. I woke up at 3:30am and drove approx 70 minutes … MORE

It’s an early start in the dark as you arrive to the usual suspects and volunteers at a brazen race.
I woke up at 3:30am and drove approx 70 minutes to get there early to change my distance from the half to the 50k.
I was greeted with big smiles and friendly staff/ volunteers. It was easy to change my distance and time to mingle with my fellow racers.
The usual casual start line had a touch of excitement and apprehension not noticed before at any brazen race.
It was rather cold at the start but getting a swag bag and finding room to get ready was easy.
There were bathrooms and Porto potties so no waiting to use one. I brought some food and had time to eat and stretch then take a few start photos.
I was offered a map but that was redundant since I can’t read small print without my glasses, so I declined.
Besides I really just follow everyone else anyway. Which was easy for almost all of the course by the way.
Our start did run a couple minutes late at 6:33 am just in time for sunrise so no need for a head lamp just bring one to walk from the parking lot to the start area.
Now I don’t remember any name of each trail we hit but we started at the horse stables at Castle Rock park and ran some light rolling hills through about 12 streams , most knee high in the first 2 miles. This was by far the most fun part.
After this we got into some damp and muddy terrain before ascending for what seemed about 4 miles . Then some very wooded area coming down to our first aid station.
This is where you can refill your water bottles or camelbaks. I chose nuun at home then refilled at every aid station. I didn’t stay too long at any aid station. I grabbed and ran. To get to the 1st aid station took 90 minutes.
In other words bring your own bottle and gu’s , food with you.
I arrive at the 2nd aid station manned only by one woman who is doing her best but the food is gone and no water or drinks are out or Gu’s.
It was a sort of help yourself kind of station.
I get going quickly it’s mile 12.5 and I soon find the first big tree down going up the hill.
A very nice man helps me over it as it was kind of big and too high for me.
I’m climbing up a few miles in a wide trail, there aren’t many places on this race that has enough space for more than single track.
I kind of ran walked this part and ate some nuts as I started go get hungry.
The 3rd aid station I think was where we bumped into the half marathoners. It was crowded and a bit chaotic. Runners running in all directions .
Never the less the search and rescue people and volunteers were very helpful and also be prepared to be checked in every aid station.
Everyone is monitored and recorded to make sure you arrive before each cut off time.
So far so good. The weather is warming but I’m not hot . I start going again and now I find myself running with new people. We chat and share stories.
We are heading up to the first summit.
I look at my hands they are swelling up and I started to feel a little delirious .
I was hydrating often so I was a little surprised.
I’m not quite sure how high Mt Diablo is but I think it’s about 3,700 ft. At mile 19.5 I made it to the summit.
This aid station was the most organized and seemed to be very aware of how out of it we were . They took my camelbak and filled it for me gave it back and really checked in with everyone.
There were chairs to sit and rest but I knew if I sat down I wasn’t going to get back up.
A few pictures and potato chips later I took off.
Apparently we had to now run down a mile the back up a mile to the 2nd summit.
Really this was quite something.
I stubbed my toe coming down and almost flew down the mountain, which has beautiful green hills all around . The wild flowers were out and everything looked very lush. Now that near fall actually hurt my back. A reminder don’t run and enjoy the views just stop and enjoy then run on.
This part is single track and there were plenty of hikers coming from the opposite direction.
Now getting to the 2nd summit deserves a mention.
It is very steep and uneven and lots of small gravel for you to slip on.
I was on all fours going up and on my butt coming down. It’s about a quarter of a mile up and down of hell but you will survive.
You get a sense of I’m 2/3 there and you know you will make it.
It’s warm and I’m now sunburnt on my neck and shoulder as I forgot sun block. It’s stinging but I plod on .
Turns out the course was long and I had 11 more miles to go not 9.
Anyway down the hill and it’s steep and nasty . My knees are really talking to me and I am almost walking down for miles.
It’s rugged, bushes and very windy. This was a very difficult part for me .
I am now running with a man called Bryan.
We take it easy and steady coming down the cow pasture and steep hill.
We are within the time limit and decide we will be safe and walk a few miles.
We get to the last aid station and its bitter sweet. I thought I had 1.5 miles to go but the volunteers told us it was another 5k.
Now we are heading through knee high grass and rolling hills and eventually back to the streams .
I get a chance to wash off my muddy shoes and enjoy the cool water. It felt good to cool down my swollen feet and bad ankle.
We can sense the finish line just ahead so we get going again and run the last half mile .
The canyon was beautiful with lots of caves and rocks above us with hawks flying over .
We finish in just over 9 hrs and 36 minutes.
The finish line had familiar faces and cheers from the other runners.
The medal was as always large and lovely. As a bonus I got mine engraved for free.
Food was also brisket, pulled pork and beans or potato salad.
I was hungry and managed to eat easily.
Now I may have sounded like I didn’t enjoy this course but I really did in fact it was my favorite Brazen race maybe even the most fun yet very hard to date.
In all , my watch said 32 total miles , elevation unknown as my watch ran out of battery.
Approx 8,400 ft I think .
This was a very technical and hard race one you won’t forget or want to.
I can’t wait to do it again.
You get 11 hours to run this so it’s very doable . You will feel supported all the way from start to finish.
The other runners were very supportive too.
You will see a lot of each other as there are a few out and backs .
A big shout out to Oscar and Oscar Jr who marked the whole course the day before . Well done and thank you Brazen Racing

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon (Kaiser Half)

Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon (Kaiser Half)

This easy flattish course starts in Golden Gate park. There are several options to park and shuttle in for free at the cliff house and or near the finish line. … MORE

This easy flattish course starts in Golden Gate park. There are several options to park and shuttle in for free at the cliff house and or near the finish line. Or pay a $33 fee at the De Young museum which is 4 blocks away from the start. That option just means a 2 plus mile walk back to your car after the race.
We chose a closer parking this time.
Even though I have known about this race , it took me 17 years to finally sign up.
We were very lucky with the mild weather and temperature. In fact it was perfect not too cold or windy.
There were almost 5,000 runners in the half marathon. The 5 k started before us at 8:00 am and our race followed 15 minutes later.
I expected long Porto potty lines but there were plenty of bathrooms with little to no wait at all.
The start was fun for me as I bumped into many people I knew from many running clubs and someone I ran the Antarctica marathon with.
There was no shortage of people to talk to and the start area wasn’t crowded.
The actual course starts with a slight incline up to the pan handle and turns around near the DMV building. It was a little crowded and I had go zig zag for the first 5 miles but soon after that I had more room.
We turned back toward the park and ran mostly down JFK to the ocean .
There were plenty of water stops and electrolytes especially the second half of the race.
The park was beautiful and quiet just my kind of race.
The great highway part running along the ocean wasn’t bad. It’s flat and fast perhaps a tad boring but at least you get to see the fast runners coming back.
It’s 3 miles out and back along the waterfront and I can imagine on a rainy or windy day this part might be a little difficult.
Not on my race day and I was grateful .
As I headed back it seemed it was a slight decline before one last turn back into the park and yes it does end on a small incline but it’s really a small hill.
The medal is really large and could be a wine coaster.
The T shirt is given at the end and was a long sleeve.
There was medical help and I needed it as I somehow hurt my ankle but still not sure how that happened.
Also another plus is that your bib is mailed out so no unnecessary pre race day trip to San Francisco or expo to pick up a bib.
Also a solutions tent if you need to change distance and I noticed many people taking advantage of that at the start.
I didn’t check out the tents at the end as I was hobbling very badly and barely made it back to the car.
Overall a very fast course . Easy to get to and nice bling.
I’d do this one again

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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San Francisco Marathon

San Francisco Marathon

You know the summers in San Francisco means one thing and that it's foggy and damp. Yesterday it was really foggy so much so I was wet and cold for … MORE

You know the summers in San Francisco means one thing and that it’s foggy and damp.
Yesterday it was really foggy so much so I was wet and cold for most of the race.
Let’s start with the expo. It’s at Fort Mason which is a much better location than years past. Some parking and it’s free.
Now this race has become so popular , 27,000 runners total this year.
San Francisco does something unique in that you can choose an Ultra , the course twice going 2 directions. This race I believe starts at midnight.
The full marathon, starts at 5:32 AM. Then each of the 7 waves after about every 5 minutes. You can choose either half . The first half is hillier and very early . This one starts at the Ferry building with the full marathoners.
The start area where the Porto potties are is very crowded and dark so it’s a little hard getting to your corral.
I think this year were more Porto potties so my wait was only about 10 minutes.
The 2nd half starts in Golden Gate Park at a much more reasonable time around 8:20am.
This is the easier half and you get the cheering crowd at the finish line.
Now I have done the full, both halfs and volunteered for the last 16 years.
I choose to run the first half because like most people, want to run across the Golden Gate Bridge.
Most years however it’s completely foggy but not always.
Yesterday it was both foggy and windy.
Last year I face planted and skidded on the bridge.
Let me give a few details of the course. Yes it’s hilly but the first half is flat for the first 2.4 miles , running past Fishermans wharf and Aquatic Park. Then there’s a short steep hill at Fort Mason and it’s downhill to the Marina Green for another 2.5 miles or so. Now you will climb up about 250 ft to the bridge and back which is almost 4 miles long there and back.
Once you come off the bridge it’s another 300ft or so to the top of Luncoln Blvd . Then there’s a nice mile downhill on the coastal hwy with a beautiful view ( hopefully) of the GG bridge and the Bay.
Unfortunately the last 2 years there weren’t enough volunteers at the water stops so be prepared to wait for water at many of the stations. At least they hadn’t ran out when I went to each one. I’m not sure what is was like for the last runners.
From there you run up to the Sea Cliff area with beautiful hoses. More climbs and then turn into the Richmond Avenues to Golden Gate Park.
The 4 or 5 times I ran the 2nd half, I really enjoyed the park. That was my favorite part but didn’t like much after that.
The finish line is 1.1 mime into the park and ends on a slight downhill.
From there you can grab a banana, Irish Coffee, chocolate milk and protein bar and watch the full marathoners run by.
For those runners who participated in the Berkeley half marathon , you receive an extra medal for both races.
Shuttle buses are free back to the start .
Also the public transportation is not functioning that early for the race start but shuttle bus transfers from the East Bay and Peninsula ( Millbrae) Bart stations. They pick up around 4:00-4:30am. The cost is $20 one way.
Alternately you can prepay for downtown SF parking for $20, which I would recommend.
There were no bands or hardly any spectators during the first half because I would guess it’s too early.
The 2nd half gets a few.
So if you are looking for a destination and great City to visit and s challenging course ,this is a good one.
If you are looking for a cheering crowd or bands along the way or warm weather this may not be a good choice.
I would not recommend this course for first time marathoners even though this was my first.
Overall there have been some improvements to the starting area , you get a long sleeved shirt and an OK medal.
This year all the races sold out so early sign ups are recommended.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon

Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon

Small race for the area put on by Destination races. It does need some improvement during the race but the after party was excellent. More electrolytes would be great but … MORE

Small race for the area put on by Destination races. It does need some improvement during the race but the after party was excellent. More electrolytes would be great but they were more than generous with water and GU’s which were one of the sponsors.
I went with a VIP package with Marathon tours which in my opinion was the best choice . Not only for the inside warm room at the starting area. Real bathrooms , food and coffee were provided plus the best views of the start. The start is located at the Cuvaison winery in Napa on a hill . On a clear day this would make for lively photos.

Race morning was unseasonably chilly around 52 -54 ? degrees with low clouds .
Despite the cool start I dressed for heat as I thought once the fog lifts , it’s going to be high seventies.
This actually never happened and I remained cool throughout the race.
In doing so I actually ran a little faster than I had all year. Even though there were hills , not too high but there were hills for the first 6 miles. Expect a nice half mile uphill start but then it’s very doable hills right after.
The last few miles are flat and end in Sonoma square where a party awaits you.
There was wine and beer during the run once you passed mile 7 or 8. I didn’t stop for either of them but I heard many people did.
The VIP finish area was right by the finish line.
We enjoyed delicious artisan cheeses, lox and bagels, parfait with fruit, lots of beer and wine and you keep the glass.
The finishers medal is huge and is an actual detachable wine bottle coaster , beautiful.
We had a mile walk back to our hotel after a very pleasant after party.
This was by far the best finish line atmosphere even if you didn’t choose the VIP option as everyone could purchase a wine glass and the wine poured freely after that . Plus you could buy swag after the race . Try this local race if you like a party and don’t like lots of spectators as you are out in the quiet fields overlooking the wineries.
I would do this one again

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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Sierra Negra Volcano Galapagos Marathon & Half Marathon

Sierra Negra Volcano Galapagos Marathon & Half Marathon

First of all don't miss the mandatory briefing the night before the race. There will be lots of unexpected details that you will need to remember. With the temperatures hitting … MORE

First of all don’t miss the mandatory briefing the night before the race. There will be lots of unexpected details that you will need to remember.
With the temperatures hitting 90’s throughout our trip , we asked to push the start 30 minutes earlier. Our RD Devay agreed surprisingly. With that we left our Casa de La Marita lodgings on Isabella Island at 6:00 AM. That gave us 40 minutes to drive on mostly if not all dirt roads up to the Galápagos Sierra Negra volcano national park.
Now since this is actually an unofficial official marathon, our bathroom stop was a few hundred yards before the park gate in bushes or what looked like someone’s back yard.
It was here that we were allowed a few minutes to stretch. Not for long however.
Since we were being discreet, no bib numbers were given and we were asked to nonchalantly walk past the officials once we entered the entrance of the park.
From there we walked about 200 yds around the corner where we were out of sight.
From here we could see our steep red dirt trail that we would have to climb , you had better like hills if you are thinking to run this race.
The temperature was warm but not as hot as other days perhaps about 78-79 degrees but very humid.
All 6 half marathoners and 12 full marathoners lined up and it was a quick ready set go.
I wanted to get ahead as my strength is running up hills but not descending them especially steep hills.
Our trail up was tough and about a mile in length. From there we had uneven dirt rolling hills to the rim of the volcano.
We ran at least a 1.5 mile loop across the sharp, rugged lava rock. We were told that walking this part might be our best bet for not falling or hurting ourselves.
This was by far a very technical part of the course.
One of the runners just 2 steps in front of me fell on his face but he recovered well.
It was a really tough and hot part of the race but offered spectacular views of the 2nd largest active volcano in the world . I believe the rim is 9.2 km wide, an immense area.
I didn’t want to stop for too long as there were runners on my tail but I did recorded some video of the trail and the volcano.
At the turn around point which is about 4.75 miles , is a scary sheer drop cliff top view of a few hundred feet. The trail is about 12 inches wide and don’t even think to run around the loose gravel turn.
Now you run a small loop where one of the staff gives you a badge to show you made the loop.
Now it’s time to navigate your way across the rough lava back to the trail and see the runners heading toward you. All of us were offering support and recognition to our fellow runners. It reminded me of Antarctica.
I forgot to mention our water stop of H2o and coke was at mile 3.5 and at 7 to fill up your camel backs or water bottles.
I filled mine twice and drank constantly.
As I was running back on the trail the humidity increased but so did the clouds, offering a light drizzle and much appreciated cooling.
I spotted the occasional yellow finch flying next to me but that was all the wildlife I spotted in the park but on the trail down I spotted a pig, chickens and a rooster.
However I never took my eyes off the trail as there were many crevices and rocks to trip over.
Since this is a National park , coming back we ran into bus loads of hiker tourists on their way up to the volcano who by the way never moved over to make way for you.
Once I ran down the steep decline back to the gate ( now at about mile 10) I left the park and ran past our bathroom area and out house. The road was dirt but not too difficult. I saw a few houses and an occasional truck came by.
My legs were tired , possibly from our almost 7 mile steep run a few days before.
I did walk a few spots but not for long . There was some shade along the downward road and lots of trees.
The finish is on an incline but it’s not so steep.
Refreshments of fruit, Oreo cookies, noodle soup were provided and some chairs to rest up on.
From here we were carted off to the finish line to shower and wait for the full marathoners to finish.
Overall a very unique experience . No t.shirts were given but we did all get a turtle necklace with the Galápagos marathon etched on the back.
The full marathon had even more technical areas of jungle and lava tunnel to run through. Plus the local kids changed the arrows and stole the ribbons making it really hard for all the runners go follow the course.
If you are looking for a hot humid unique run ,consider this one it was one of my favorites.
The total incline for the half was 1,010 ft and estimate the decline to be about 2,000 ft. The full marathon had a little more incline but for the most part the 2nd half had mostly downhill to finish but had a 3 mile jungle to get run that had no trail just head high ferns and trees to push away to get through. Looked like lots of fun to me.
My first 1st woman in a race finish.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3
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Hellyer Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Hellyer Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Brazen are just one of the most fun races around the Bay Area. This course had rolling hills and very park like. There was very little traffic of locals out … MORE

Brazen are just one of the most fun races around the Bay Area. This course had rolling hills and very park like. There was very little traffic of locals out running or cycling on the course. Parking is also plentiful but come early.
My only complaint was that they ran out of medals but it was explained to me that the medals were late in being delivered. We were given a rain check and promised our medals would arrive by weds and we all got a $25 off our next race.
For me this was a good run as I really run best in cooler temperatures and an even terrain. I would sign up again, loved it

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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Cape Town Marathon

Cape Town Marathon

First let me say after having ran two oceans last year, I could see why you would expect this course to be as good as or at least very scenic. … MORE

First let me say after having ran two oceans last year, I could see why you would expect this course to be as good as or at least very scenic. However , aside from the stadium start and a joyful corral starting area, you do get to see table mountain for a few miles but I wouldn’t call this race scenic or beautiful.

Let’s go back to the start which was not very well marked and be careful not to enter the 10k corral instead of the marathon one which is much further away.
Also we were told not to wear a shirt with any logo on it so I changed from my race raves shirt to a basic tank top but only to find everyone was indeed wearing some kind of logo or personal shirt with their own company or advertisement on theirs.
Also there were as usual not enough Porto potties and the lines were very long.
Now I don’t understand since we all wear chips, why everyone must get the same start time?
I was near the back so 4 mins were added to my time. Just FYI.
So back to the race with a very International crowd and 50 countries represented.
After running through town you run out to a dirty dock area without any spectators except some homeless folks who just happen to be there.
Around kM 3-5 is across train tracks and shipping area.
Soon you approach a one way road which is narrow and again a few homeless people just looking surprised to see you.
Then a transit bus comes down this long road and we are pushed to the side of the road as it tries to not hit one of us as it passes thousands of runners.
The first water stop is well stocked with water bags and Coke but by mile 6-9 they have run out of water and I can tell you I was panicking as I carried none with me.
I missed the sports drink electrolytes and found myself exhausted by mile 13.

I also was surprised by 16kms to 21 Kim’s was a long steady climb which seemed like this hill would never end. I will admit my training or lack there of didn’t help much either but that’s another story.
At the halfway point around the commons I think it was called were a few spectators and we did find water. From there we ran through some residential area and then into an area where traffic was. No road closures and we ran along a busy road with lots of traffic and people going about their own business.
At this point I joined a pacer called Derick.
He looked like he ran a sub 3 hour marathon but here he was pacing us slow folk and what a great job he did. There were about 40-50 people in the pace group chanting and singing . I knew if I wanted to finish this race I better jump on this train.
One of the smartest choices I’ve made in a race. So from mile -5 onward to ran for 4 mins and walked for 30 secs. Sometimes I think Derick made up different times or I could have been delirious. This part of the race seemed easier than going it alone.
We chanted , stretched our arms made each other laugh and for an amazing 9 miles I stayed with them.
Then I noticed I was slightly ahead and I changed from a 4 to a 5 minute run and walked any hill during the last 10k and you will find some hills going through town .
The last 3 kms were near the stadium and flat.
I could see my friend Louann as I turned into the final stretch and into the stadium.
I think I had never been so tired and relieved to see a finish line.
There I was given a bottle of coke and a medal still wrapped in a bag.
Bottom line this is an OK course it could have been better in terms of water and electrolytes.
The race Marshals were great and many of them. There are some spectators at the end and a few and I mean just a few here and there along the last 5 miles .
Weather wise it was warm but not hot and overcast.

I was too tired to check out food from what I could see you paid for food but I could hardly walk so there might have been a tent with refreshments.
My hotel was about 2 blocks away so I made it back to my hotel to recover and lay down.
What made this trip was the tours before and after so even if you had a bad day running you will surely enjoy Cape Town or a safari after.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
2
SWAG
3

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Trailquake Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

Trailquake Half Marathon, 10K & 5K

this race boasts a difficult and scenic course with banana slugs. As we are in a major drought my guess is that the critters were hiding somewhere else. You would … MORE

this race boasts a difficult and scenic course with banana slugs. As we are in a major drought my guess is that the critters were hiding somewhere else. You would not be disappointed if you are looking for a challenging trail race. Brazen races are known for their obstacle course difficulties and scenery.
This race is in the wooded hills in Saratoga off HWY 9.
It is easy to find especially if you have ever been to the Mountain Winery which is literally down the road. Parking is limited try to carpool.
We car pooled so we got VIP parking right next to the registration tables and Porto potties.
The half marathoners go out first and take a less incline overall compared to the 10k.
The shorter 10k race starts on a reasonable width trail but within 2 minutes the trail starts its long steep 2.4 mile incline. Overall you go up 1,840 ft in a very short distance
Unless you are a super strong runner , my bet is that most of you will power walk up that narrow hill as I did.
You will see plenty of redwoods along the way but not much in the way of views.
I marched up most of the hill, took a wrong turn then had to go back . It took me exactly 1 hr to climb up and I was glad I had the foresight to take my camelbak with me.
The first water stop is at the top of the mountain 3,000ft up.
I was able to run the 4 miles back down the hill which for 2/3 of it goes off into a different trail. The way back has many switch backs narrow but less steep. There is another water stop halfway down.
The trail is rugged so watch your feet.
Brazen races are a joy , well organized and not too crowded.

The medals are colorful and you have the option to buy a T.shirt or tech shirt for a nominal fee.
As always breakfast is included which is bagels, chips, fruit, cookies and its it ice cream.

I came in 1st in my age group so I got another medal for that.
If you place in the top 3 of your age group (5 year ) you all get a winners medal.

I would do this race again . A little hard for first timers

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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London Marathon

London Marathon

Don't expect a totally flat course as advertised but do expect one of the most fun races you will ever do. Small undulating hills line this well spectated course. As … MORE

Don’t expect a totally flat course as advertised but do expect one of the most fun races you will ever do. Small undulating hills line this well spectated course.

As with 5 of the 6 Majors this race has a lottery system to get in unless you go with Marathon Tours.
This is how I got in and they have always given me the highest standard of travel and organization. It wasn’t cheap however so expect to pay quite a bit.

THE EXPO:
The large expo at the ExCel concourse is a bit far away from central London , about 40 minutes. take the Jubilee line to Canning Town then transfer to the DLR to ExCels Custom house station in Eastern London. Try to get there before Saturday where the masses attend. The expo is open from weds to sat from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM.
If you want to buy the official clothes the women’s medium sizes were gone by Friday at lunch time. Only XL and XS were left.
You will get your finishers T. shirt when you cross the finish line along with a large and very nice medal and more goodies in a bag.
The expo will have all you need in case you forgot some kit. Take advantage of the massage booth although a bit pricey a pound a minute but worth it.

THE RACE:
The weather was cold 39-40 degrees at the start with some rain while we waited in a grass field in the London suburb of Greenwich.
There are 3 starts , all overseas runners were in the blue line. We had 9 corrals.

One benefit was free underground trains to the start and for runners all day , as long as you show your bib number . The bus ride from Park Lane ( our hotel ) took about 35 min to get to the start area.

Let me just say I was apprehensive at the start as I have 2 injuries and almost pulled out 2 days before. My plan was to try to run at least half and walk the rest.
After 15 years I decided it was time to check this one out. I’m so glad I changed my mind.

As it turns out the current women’s world record holder, Paula Radcliffe was running her last race before retiring. Along with the current world record holder Dennis Kimetto and a large elite group made this race all the more exciting.

The course is marked with mile and KM markers throughout. If you like running with pacers, I saw many .
I loved the later start at 10:10 AM , so casual to get to and plenty of time to stretch, eat and go to the bathroom. Ladies beware of the standing urinals where you are required to pee standing into a cup.
The thousands of spectators were fantastic , loud and enthusiastic. The largest crowd anywhere on any previous race except for the last mile at the Boston marathon. This course was filled 5 people deep along the whole course once you got a few miles into the race.

HYDRATION:
Water stops ( bottles) were listed as 3 miles apart but there were plenty after the 3 mile marker. There weren’t as many sports drinks though . My one and only complaint was trying to not trip on the bottles left on the road. There were several GU stops also.

THE COURSE:
You will run through Greenwich, pass the old ship Cutty Sark, through Jamaica Rd reaching the beautiful Tower Bridge at the halfway point. Then crossing the Thames onto the Isle of Dogs, through Canary wharf ( the loudest and largest crowds ) onto the houses of Parliament the tower of London, , St James Park, the Mall then Buckingham Palace and the Admiralty Arch at the end.
Each neighborhood had live music, bagpipes, brass bands, disco, reggae and singers at one of the 60 pubs along the course.

The halfway point was the Tower Bridge , the screaming crowd kept me going and I was forgetting all the pain I was in previously. I talked myself into running a few miles more. Eventually I ran into my niece at mile 20. It turns out that was my fastest mile . Together we ran the last 6 together which meant more to me than my niece I think.
Upon turning the last bend around Buckingham Palace , I heard my sister screaming my name. I turned back and ran toward her . I was in part delirious , exhausted and in agony but never happier to see the finish line. The finish area was very crowded. I did get some treatment with the St Johns ambulance as my leg was bleeding but nothing serious.

MEET & GREET:
There is a large grass meet and greet area but bring something warm to wear after the race. London is chilly and windy.
Overall this was my favorite road race and will run this one again. My finish time did not match the official time, perhaps they cannot process all the people crossing the finish line so that is why we got a 90 second delay of our time. If you are hoping to qualify for Boston you may want to take that into consideration .

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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Woodside Ramble

Woodside Ramble

No doubt the scenery was beautiful, redwood trees , streams , narrow steep switchbacks and dabbled light. The problem was for safety reasons , there was little time to actually … MORE

No doubt the scenery was beautiful, redwood trees , streams , narrow steep switchbacks and dabbled light.
The problem was for safety reasons , there was little time to actually take your focus off the muddy single file trail and your feet.
This is a tough half marathon, equal to the Dipsea trail.
Take your own water . It may be at least 90 mins before you reach the first water and electrolyte stop.
Most trail runners know to bring your own bottle anyway .Trail runners are tough and friendly , which makes these races so unique and fun.
Easy to get to and parking was okay . One of the best tech long sleeve shirts and nice medal too.
Even though I was sore for days , I would probably run this one again .
If this is your first trail run , make sure you train for hills .

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5
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