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PeteSinCA FIRST-TIMER '15

Course Description: The course for the Run Walnut Creek half marathon (aka Walnut Creek Half Marathon) is a clockwise out-and-back loop, about 10 miles on streets and roads, and the … MORE

Course Description: The course for the Run Walnut Creek half marathon (aka Walnut Creek Half Marathon) is a clockwise out-and-back loop, about 10 miles on streets and roads, and the rest on on park and greenway trails. The race starts on N. Civic Drive, near Civic Park. The first nearly 2 miles is on Civic, through downtown Walnut Creek, turning onto Treat Boulevard. The next 2 miles or so there are housing neighborhoods on runners’ left, and shopping plazas and businesses on the right. About mile 4 Treat starts up a hill, leaves town around mile 4.5, and at mile 5.5 the course turns onto Cowell Road, still uphill. This is the only hill on the course, but the uphill portion is a bit over 2 miles long, gaining about 390 feet. At about mile 6.3 the course turns onto Ygnacio Valley Road, for about 3.5 miles. Civic Drive, Treat Boulevard, and Ygnacio Valley Road are artery streets, the latter two fairly busy (more on this below). At about mile 9.8 the course turns into Heather Farm Park, and after following the driveway for a couple hundred yards, turns onto a park trail. The course now follows several such trails back to Civic Park and the finish area. The last 3+ miles of the half marathon course is easily the nicest part of the course, though the rural hills on Treat, Cowell, and Ygnacio Valley are pleasant,and the suburban neighborhoods are OK. The latter half of the 3 miles on park and greenway trails is also the 5K course. The 5K starts and finishes in Civic Park. Besides the regular half marathon and 5K the half could be done as a relay, and there was a half-mile (around Civic Park) Kids Fun Run for kids 12 and under. Fun Runners got their own T-shirt, bib, and finisher’s medal. Organization & Production: The website information is fairly complete (the site doesn’t mention the race day packet pick-up). The sign-up process was easy. There were a couple of informational emails in the week or two before the race. Parking is offsite, but there are quite a few lots nearby in downtown Walnut Creek. Race-day packet pick-up was in Civic Park, near the finish area. It was done smoothly in two stages, bib pick-up and swag pick-up (including the T-shirt). Course monitoring and marking were done well. One would almost have to try, to go off-course. On the several artery streets a very wide lane was coned off for runners (1 1/2 – 2 car lanes). There were police officers or people from a traffic services company at every intersection or exit from a condo complex or shopping plaza. Runners of the half encountered 6 aid stations. The first 3 had water and Gatorade; the latter 3 also had cut up oranges. The aid station volunteers were mostly helpful and encouraging. Each runner’s start and finish were individually timed. At the finish, runners entered the lane, crossed the finish mat, received their medal, and came immediately to tables with water and goodies. My memory is probably incomplete, but I remember oranges, cinnamon pinwheels, and Cliff Bars being available. I finished among the last 10 or 20, and there was plenty available late in the race. Swag & Goodies: T-shirt – The race T-shirt is long-sleeved, beige, with orange side insets. The front has “Fifth Year Anniversary” and the race name in light blue with parts of letters in dark blue forming a tree, the distances, and the date. The upper right sleeve has the major sponsor’s logo; the left has the logo of the California Full and Half Marathon Series. The back has more sponsors’ logos and the organizer’s logo. Bib – The bib is orange with the silhouette of a tree in gray. Across the top is the distance. Below that the bib number, and then at the bottom is the race name and the name and logo of the major sponsor. Finisher’s medal – The medallion is a silver metal disc with cut-outs to accommodate the ribbon and between the three lines of text in red. The top line is “2015”; the middle is “Run Walnut Creek”; the bottom is “13.1”. The ribbon is dark red, with the tree logo at the back center, and “2015 Run Walnut Creek 13.1 Finisher” down both sides from the neck, and on both sides of the ribbon. My Results & Opinion of the Race: While the hill was not the steepest I’ve done, the uphill being over two miles long definitely slowed me down and drained a lot of energy. On the way downhill and a bit after, my right calf gave several twinges, as if a spasm almost started. Being careful of that also led me to be less aggressive. For all that, my finish time was a little over 3 1/2 hours, with which I’m quite happy. The race organization, from registering to walking to my car after the race was all very well done. Nothing was amazing, but it was all well done. The swag – T-shirt, bib, and medal were all excellent. All in all, it was a very good race experience. The one drawback, in my opinion, is that the race is really pricey. I registered in the October1 through December 1 time window, and the fee for the half marathon was $95 – almost as pricey as a Rock ‘n’ Roll series race! Would I do this race again? Run Walnut Creek is the Northern California mandatory year-end race for the California Full and Half Marathon Series. I plan next year to do several of the races in the series to earn a series medal, so I’m planning to do this race in 2016.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4
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sfgal78 FIRST-TIMER '15

a couple of my running buddies had participated in this event in previous years and said great things about it, so i decided to give it a try. in addition … MORE

a couple of my running buddies had participated in this event in previous years and said great things about it, so i decided to give it a try. in addition to the usual foot races, there was also a carnival for kids at the finish line and all proceeds would benefit education for underprivileged children. i’m definitely a fan of an event that focuses on kids!

for this particular event, there was a choice of 3 distances:
1. half marathon (13.1 miles)
2. 10k (6.2 miles)
3. 5k (3.1 miles)

i signed up for the half marathon since i had a good experience running a half at hellyer park/coyote creek trail last year.

the pros:
-VERY REASONABLE race fees, $30 for the 5k, $35 for the 10k, $60 for the half if you register during the regular registration period. add $5 for late registration and $10 for day of the event (if not sold out).
-FREE and EASY PARKING at hellyer county park. the organizers were kind enough to include the usual $6 parking fee with registration so we didn’t have to queue up and pay at the main gate. just tell the ranger you’re there for the vibha race and they give you a dashboard ticket for the day.
-CLEAR MILE MARKERS for each race distance, in both miles and kilometres. seeing kilometres was definitely a first for me since i’ve only ever raced in the u.s. and all markers are done in miles.
-ACCURATELY MEASURED DISTANCE, as my garmin read 13.09 miles upon crossing the finish line which is pretty much spot on with the official half marathon race distance of 13.1 miles. yes, i ran the tangents which is probably why i came up slightly under, shaving seconds off my finish time!
-FRIENDLY VOLUNTEERS directing runners in the parking area, manning aid stations along the course, and keeping the refreshments’ tables well stocked after the race. i especially appreciated one of the aid station volunteers who told me to just throw my cup on the ground and go on with the race and that she’d pick it up after me! that was helpful as i saved some time!
-LOTS of PORTA-POTTIES near the parking and start/finish areas. there wasn’t even a line just before the start of the half marathon and i don’t think i saw anyone else using these after i finished.

what you get:
*choice of PACKET PICKUP for bib, tshirt and goody bag at sunnyvale sports basement 2 days before the race or road runner sports in campbell the day before the race. for those who couldn’t attend either, they could arrive to the race early and pick up their packets on site.
*white, cotton, FINISHER’S SHIRT with a colourful vibha dream mile logo
*navy blue, drawstring GOODY BAG filled with discounts to local retailers
*several AID STATIONS with volunteers handing out cups of water, there were at least 7 aid stations that i counted for the half marathon which was more than sufficient and very much appreciated on this very warm day.
*customised VIBHA DREAM MILE MEDAL for each half marathon finisher – nice perk considering we paid almost twice as much as those who ran the shorter distances.
*TONS of POST-RACE FOOD & DRINKS, including assorted bagels, peanut butter, fruit preserves, cream cheese, sliced bread, bananas, water, coffee, and tea. there was also a line for a full plate of indian food! i skipped this line since it was quite long by the time i got there.
*SPONSORS including sweet tomatoes and ginny bakes passing out muffins, cookies, and granola bars at the finish area.
*AUTOMATED EMAILS with your starting time, split at the turnaround point, and official finish time. gotta love technology!

the cons:
-since the aid stations were not listed on the website, nor were they marked on the course maps, i had to ask 4 or 5 volunteers before someone could tell me where exactly the water & aid stations were. even though the 5th volunteer (after doing some digging herself) told me that the stations were at miles 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12, she was wrong as this is not where they were. based on my garmin, the stations were located at approximately 1.6, 2.9, 4.4, 6, 7.9, 9.5, 11, 12.3 miles, respectively. it was a bit challenging to time my water and electrolyte intake since these did not match what the volunteer told me, and i also had to think/calculate the aid stations after the half marathon turnaround point. i think it would be helpful to list these aid stations on the map for future runnings of this event.
-this course was also not very scenic. although we ran through hellyer county park/coyote creek trail, i basically saw one tree after another, after another.
-around mile 11, the half marathon course merged with the 10k course, and around mile 12, all three courses merged together which created quite a bit of congestion especially on such a narrow trail.

i was pleased with my strong finish, as i managed to pass quite a few runners in the second half, and wound up placing 4th in my age group (missing the podium by 25 seconds) and 8th female in the half marathon.

thank you to vibha for putting on such a well organized event!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
2
SWAG
4

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KiraH REPEAT RUNNER '14

This mostly flat course winds has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, with the Tetons mostly in view for the last several miles. It's a small race, … MORE

This mostly flat course winds has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, with the Tetons mostly in view for the last several miles. It’s a small race, so if you don’t like crowds it’s perfect. About 5 miles were along the shoulder of a fairly busy highway (22) when I ran in 2014, but since then a bike path has been completed. Not alot of spectators/cheering. Very peaceful and serene.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3

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