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M_Sohaskey FIRST-TIMER '18

BOTTOM LINE: The REVEL race series exists for one (main) reason: to help runners exploit gravity and qualify for Boston. And if you’re a skilled downhill runner who appreciates panoramic … MORE

BOTTOM LINE: The REVEL race series exists for one (main) reason: to help runners exploit gravity and qualify for Boston. And if you’re a skilled downhill runner who appreciates panoramic desert views, then Mt Charleston — REVEL’s most popular race — is right in your wheelhouse. Despite its 5,100 ft elevation loss over 26.2 miles, the downhill course feels comfortably runnable and never too severe. But be warned: while the course does deliver on its promise of fast and scenic, the last 4+ miles level out significantly, with a couple of uphill jags that feel even more challenging thanks to all the downhill that came before them. And if you think you’re sore the day after a flat marathon, you ain’t felt nothin’ yet — my quads were like concrete pillars the day after Mt Charleston. Not only were they acutely sore for several days afterward, they were still heavy and sluggish over a week later. Luckily the race is held on a Saturday, which allows most folks an extra day of recovery before having to waddle back to work.

I ran Mt Charleston not to qualify for Boston but as training for the Comrades Marathon “down” run, so I wasn’t out to smash any PRs. And happily so, because along with the leveling out of the course in mile 22, the day warmed up in a hurry once we turned off the mountain onto the Hwy 95 frontage road (this IS Vegas, after all). As both the sun and temperature rose in the later miles, I saw and heard folks around me try in vain to maintain pace, their BQ hopes slipping away with every step. And Katie, who was waiting at the end, agreed that she’s never seen so many finishers crying and suffering at a finish line. Case in point, I spent ~30 minutes after the race massaging a fellow finisher’s cramping calves as she literally screamed in agony with each muscle contraction, all while Katie fetched water and Powerade to help her stay hydrated. (My patient claimed she couldn’t stand to get to the med tent.)

In summary, severe downhill course + hardcore Boston hopefuls + desert heat = a take-no-prisoners race experience unlike any other. And the formula clearly works, because the race sells out quickly and an impressive 30% of finishers qualified for Boston this year. If you’re not running Mt Charleston to chase a PR or BQ, you’re definitely in the minority. And I look forward to running with REVEL again because, well, this is my kind of craziness.

Pro tip: Mt Charleston does sell out months in advance, so if you miss out but still want to run, I recommend you add your name to their wait list. I’ve been pulled off the wait list the past two years, though I couldn’t run last year since I’d already committed to Eugene. And though it’s tough to know how much advance warning you’ll be given, odds are high that someone will drop and open up a slot for you to chase your BQ dreams.

PRODUCTION: Smooth sailing for the most part, with one exception: the bus driver who shuttled us to the start line at the top of the mountain took a wrong turn — twice. By the time we reached the start area we had six minutes to disrobe, warm up, check our drop bag, make a porta-potty stop and do anything else we needed to do. Luckily the start was delayed by a few minutes, but still I found myself in the porta-potty when the gun went off and ended up running from the back. No big deal, and especially since this isn’t a large race so I didn’t have to worry about weaving around other runners — but that’s the kind of pre-race stress I can do without.

Aside from our navigationally challenged bus driver, race production was on point. The expo, held at the Cox Pavilion on the UNLV campus, was small and easily navigated, though the predominantly local vendors and expo offers seemed out of sync with the demographic of largely out-of-town runners who come to Mt Charleston with one goal in mind: to qualify for Boston. Aid stations were well distributed and well equipped by awesome volunteers, while snarky signs along the course (e.g. “Can you believe YOU paid US to do this?” and “It’s a hill — GET OVER IT”) made clear that anyone seeking sympathy was in the wrong place.

The highlight of the day may well have been the icy towels that awaited us at the finish — WOW, talk about nirvana. As usual my stomach was in no mood to eat after the race, though both food (pie and Papa John’s Pizza) and Lagunitas Beer were readily available to all finishers. Unfortunately but not surprisingly, the line at the massage tent was too long and moving too slowly, so I skipped it. Not that a few minutes of painful muscle manipulation would have changed the course of the next two days for my aching quads.

Admittedly I’d like to see the organizers better integrate this race with the community — there were very few spectators along the route, and it didn’t feel as though the locals had any idea a marathon was happening. Hopefully improving community integration is on REVEL’s roadmap, since community support (e.g. Flying Pig, Missoula, Richmond) helps a good race become a great one while creating a more welcoming, less “run and done” vibe.

SWAG: In addition to its downhill courses, REVEL is popular for its thoughtful swag which for the most part didn’t disappoint: gloves and space blanket for race morning in case it got cold at the start line (not a problem for our bus, which arrived six minutes before the start), nicely wearable short-sleeve gray technical tee with black side panels (one of the nicest in my collection), and oversized finisher medal which, despite its impressive size and cool orange stained-glass effect, strikes me as ho-hum because it’s emblazoned with the REVEL logo which is neither artistically satisfying nor symbolically meaningful. I’m just not a fan of a company advertising itself on its medals; I’d prefer a city skyline or similar. But to end on a positive note — free race photos plus a personalized highlight video! Another way in which REVEL goes the extra mile to take care of its runners.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4
My Media

15 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

janerunswild FIRST-TIMER '15

Big Cottonwood is known as a fast race, amenable to PRs. REVEL runs an organized race- the top/start had plenty of porta potties, and our bags at bib pickup included … MORE

Big Cottonwood is known as a fast race, amenable to PRs. REVEL runs an organized race- the top/start had plenty of porta potties, and our bags at bib pickup included mylar blankets and gloves, which were perfect for early mornings on the top of a mountain. Coming from sea-level, I could feel the effects of being almost 10k feet high, but the downhill nature of the course outweighed some of the effects.

True to the course description, the first 19 miles of the race were basically a steady downhill (with an exception of a steep hill at mile 4, which was at an elevation of roughly 8500 feet high- this was tough on the lungs to say the least). I maintained a 3:25-3:30 pace for this portion, and was determined to stay well ahead of the 3:35 pacer. A 3 hour 35 minute (or less) marathon finish was the time I needed to qualify for Boston.

After the half-way point, I desperately wished that I had trained on downhill courses more frequently to prepare for this terrain. But despite the deep fatigue my legs were feeling from all of the pounding, I felt great and ran consistent 7:30-7:45 minute miles. At mile 19, my pace slowed up as the course became hilly. Hills at 5500 feet elevation were no joke. At one point I had to stop and stretch, and also just catch my breath. It was a very interesting feeling, being out of breath at this point even in the flat sections. I knew that I was far from home.

At mile 23, I noticed the 3:35 pacer slowly creeping up to me and at that moment felt very emotional and overwhelmed. The pacer caught up to me at 24, and asked me how I was doing. I was honest and told her that I was very disappointed to see her. She said that she was running a minute or so ahead of a 3:35, that the rest of the race was downhill, and that she knew I had it in me to push myself. I know she had no idea, but her motivational lines helped me push through. At that point, I was determined to reach my goal and pushed as.hard.as.I.possibly.could. I crossed the line @3:33.06.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
My Report
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

5 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

dana.0212 FIRST-TIMER '18

This was a beautiful route (while in the mountains). The race started right on time (thank you!). Runners were advised to line up based on anticipated finish times. The first … MORE

This was a beautiful route (while in the mountains). The race started right on time (thank you!). Runners were advised to line up based on anticipated finish times. The first nine miles had a few uphills, but nothing too difficult. During this time we were in the shadows of the mountains. Around mile 11 we could see the clouds in the valleys of the mountains, eventually we were running in the clouds, and then running under the clouds. I know this couldn’t be planned, but it was an amazing experience. Miles 14-20 were fast downhill as promised. The end of the race went through the City of Mentone which isn’t very scenic. The last mile was mostly flat, which was difficult for me after all the downhill momentum. I finished the race with a 21 minute PR!
I appreciate aid stations every two miles starting at mile 3. Water, powerade, and bathrooms at ideal locations along the route are always appreciated. Volunteers at the aid stations were fantastic! All were so encouraging & supportive.
The finish line included water, cold towels, bananas, donuts, pizza & beer. I appreciate a local brewery having the opportunity to participate. Family and friends were able to easily find us after the race and enjoyed hanging around for a while.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5
My Media

5 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

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mkcruzr REPEAT RUNNER '18

This is a gradual downhill course and if you can run fast downhill, you have the possibility of having a personal best time. It's hard to feel like I'm running … MORE

This is a gradual downhill course and if you can run fast downhill, you have the possibility of having a personal best time. It’s hard to feel like I’m running a marathon when I do this race, because the gravity is so beneficial.

Beware though, because recovery time takes longer after this run. The next day is extremely brutal!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

4 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

NBliss REPEAT RUNNER '19

The course is honestly gorgeous. We were surrounded by mountains and greenery for almost the entire course before finishing in beautiful downtown Ventura. There's a lot to appreciate about the … MORE

The course is honestly gorgeous. We were surrounded by mountains and greenery for almost the entire course before finishing in beautiful downtown Ventura. There’s a lot to appreciate about the scenery if you can break your concentration long enough to look around. The 770 ft net drop in elevation is certainly an advantage, though not as great as you’d think. The course rolls mostly rolls you along. It feels flat, though you’ve got a bit of a downhill that helps with turnover and keeping the heart rate in check. There are a half dozen places along the course where the drop becomes more significant, and you can really bank some time. There is some uphill in the course as well – in the first six miles and then again at mile 24.

Overall, this run is well-organized and has ample support along the course itself. I ran with the 3:10 pacer for the first ten miles or so of the race and found him to be very consistent and engaging. When checking times after the race I saw he was able to finish right on schedule, which is awesome.

This course offers a great opportunity for a PR and a BQ. I’ve done it twice now and would say it’s my favorite race due to the scenery, the downhill, and the great support. Highly recommended!

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

4 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

MARY FIRST-TIMER '18

What I will remember the most from this race is the painful recovery that took 4 days of limping around. My quads and calves were wrecked and I can't see … MORE

What I will remember the most from this race is the painful recovery that took 4 days of limping around. My quads and calves were wrecked and I can’t see myself ever running another Revel marathon again.

Though let me make it clear that Revel puts on an amazing marathon – Utah’s Big Cottonwood had excellent organization, communication, swag, and volunteers. It’s a point-to-point marathon and they took very good care of all the runners. I chose to stay at one of their recommended hotels and they provided a shuttle to the start of the canyon and a breakfast bag consisting of a bagel, fruit, granola bar and water. Once at the starting line, it’s cold so make sure you bring throwaway layers. The porta potties are plentiful but like at most marathons, there were still lines but not too long of a wait. Afterward, I checked my bag, threw away my layers and got into my pacing group. The race starts promptly at 645.

The first 19 miles of the race is in the canyon. It is gorgeous and I was overwhelmed by how beautiful the scenery was. However, as amazing as the view was, this is not a marathon for runners who have never trained for a downhill. I had run 3 marathons prior to Revel and I bounced back from each one pretty quickly but not this one. The downhill takes a toll on your legs. I’m not experienced so I was trying to slow myself down on several miles. For the first 20 miles, I was actually on a BQ pace but once we got to the Utah streets, the temperature rise hit me hard. It was cool in the canyon and for several miles, it was actually raining lightly. But once we got to the out-and-back on Wasatch Boulevard, it was hot and sunny. Miles 21, 22, and 23 were a disaster for me. I watched so many people stop and start to walk. There’s nobody really there to cheer you on either so you really start to struggle. After I realized that this was not going to be my BQ race, I kind of broke mentally during these few miles and walked most of it. But once I finished the out and back, I started running to finish the race. Believe it or not, I had to stop and walk most of mile 24, which was a slight downhill. I would have loved to have it at the end of a marathon but by this time, my legs were so wrecked that I couldn’t run down without so much pain that I had to limp through that mile. Thank God, most of miles 25 and 26 were flat so I was able to finish the race with the last quarter of a mile sprint to the finish line.

Post-race, I collected my medal, collapsed on the grass and waited to get a massage. My legs were in so much pain and they stayed that way for four straight days. The day after was even worse, that I actually eyed a wheelchair at the airport. I realized as great as this marathon was, I don’t think I have the leg strength to run another Revel marathon.

Sidenote: Utah was beautiful. I did some sightseeing in Park City about 35 minutes away. The expo was small but I loved the swag, which included pancake mix and leg cramp pills, a godsend for me! This was a top-notch event and for runners who love downhills, this would be a great one for a BQ.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

4 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

jose.montalvog FIRST-TIMER '19

I chose this race because I was looking to BQ asap, the route seemed amazing, the race size was good and everthing seem just ideal. So the race day came … MORE

I chose this race because I was looking to BQ asap, the route seemed amazing, the race size was good and everthing seem just ideal.
So the race day came and yes, the Race is amazing, it has very good runners, great pacers and great scenery but the Atlimetry and the course is not as “fast” as it seems, the course gives you a lot of speed at the beginning of the race (first 21k), beyond that point it just gets tougher and tougher, it really takes everything out of you, I’ve never seen a race that has so many crying runners at the finish line. I would definitely come back because I know that with a different strategy I could do much better.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

4 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

Profile photo of Stephen Orr
dungoggallery FIRST-TIMER '18

this was a tough one. flew in from australia and was really excited to be visiting utah and running this spectacular course. stayed at one of the recommended hotels (crystal … MORE

this was a tough one. flew in from australia and was really excited to be visiting utah and running this spectacular course. stayed at one of the recommended hotels (crystal springs) and enjoyed the hotel facilities. was a little surprised by the warm salt lake city weather. for some reason i thought it would be cooler. it wasn’t.
the expo was one day only and easy to get to and get back out of. bib pickup etc was smooth and i enjoyed the race preview and course description. i also liked my choice of a race singlet.
3:30am the alarm sounded and we needed to get to the hotel race shuttle downstairs by 4:15am. everything at the hotel was smooth and well organised. a small breakfast pack was given to all competitors.
(i will also add the prerace pasta dinner had been good. simple and plentiful)
the bus ride to the summit was in the predawn darkness and the excitement level was obviously high. you could feel the temperature change as we slowly climbed to the top. i added more clothes as the temperature dropped.
we jumped out at the summit and there were runners everywhere. normal prerace procedure for my 13th marathon. get straight into a line for a toilet. in our race handouts we had been given throw away gloves and a space blanket. i had both of these on and another two or three layers to keep warm. then we just sat and waited till about half an hour before gun time and then started final preparations.
threw my gear in the bag check truck and started my warm up. the gradient was very steep and sunrise didn’t seem far away. it was a little chaotic with runners trying to do their routines but wasn’t too bad. (i have been in many other races where there is absolutely no room to do anything)
the race started and wow what a descent. 1000 feet in the first three miles. when we hit the main road we turned for a short sharp half mile climb and at over 9000 feet the oxygen is thin. my lungs were working overtime and i could already feel pain in my upper quads. we loop around a small mountain village and then it is all downhill from miles 4 to 18 and i mean downhill. i just had no idea how steep it was going to be and it is difficult to describe the loading this puts on everything. my feet, my knees, my hips. everything was hurting. i found this a very very tough race.
i am an experienced marathoner and this was marathon #4 for 2018. i had raced extremely well in houston, rome and london and really thought i was going to spank this course and hopefully pb. i didnt. this course ended up spanking me and i have had my slowest post race recovery ever.
from mile 19 – 22 there is an out and back section that returning runners had explained as rolling hills and a little boring. as long as it wasn’t downhill i didn’t give a shit. by that point in the race i was in agony. i had been on sub 3 pace till about mile 20, but from there it was just a matter of survival. i have never had a dnf, but this race took me right to the limit.
miles 23 to the finish line weren’t great. slow moving traffic on both sides of the runners and lots of half marathoners finishing made it a little congested and i just wanted to cross the tape.
a lot is made of the scenery, but for me it wasn’t the highlight i thought it was going to be. yes there were certainly spectacular views but i found many sections of the course so steep all i was concentrating on was landing my feet properly and not tripping over. i had a genuine fear of ending up face down on the road.
post race everything was pretty normal. lots of nice volunteers handing out medals, drinks and some food. i didn’t think the food was great. a donut, a slice or two of pizza and a banana. after 26.2 i absolutely needed more nutrition.
so how do i rate this race ? no easy answer i am afraid. i have written this review several weeks after arriving back home but my initial thoughts still remain.
it was ok. i liked it, but i didn’t love it. no crowd support (which i knew). super steep downhill (which i knew). great views that we couldn’t really appreciate and a post race atmosphere that was a bit average despite the best efforts of the volunteers.
this event delivered what it said it would, but i would not run another revel race. downhill racing might be for some people but not for me.

(i consumed six SIS gels during the race and had no real issues on course other than plenty of pain. post race i lost one big toe nail completely and had several chunky blisters to contend with. i was seriously sore for a week to ten days)

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

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nthome FIRST-TIMER '15

This review is for the 1st half. This race is run like a well-oiled machine.  I have zero complaints as far as organization goes.  Everything was well-marked; emails leading up … MORE

This review is for the 1st half. This race is run like a well-oiled machine.  I have zero complaints as far as organization goes.  Everything was well-marked; emails leading up to the race were ‘just right’ (not too many but just enough to give all the pertinent details).  I stayed the night before near Embarcadero Center.  Super easy walk to the start line the next morning.  

Complaints about the start time?  Eh, if anyone has issue starting at 5:30 – 6 am, they shouldn’t be running races.  This is ideal running weather.  No, there wasn’t a ton of crowd support at 6 am but I’ll sacrifice crowd support for cool weather.  

The first half is the more challenging of the two — the Golden Gate Bridge itself isn’t a challenge, the grade is gradual. There are quite a few challenging hills (one leading up to it and several after the 10 mile mark) so be prepared and train for the hills. This is San Francisco after all!  

The Expo was HUGE and vendors were plentiful.  It wasn’t all that different from any other Expo I’ve been to except the sheer size of it.   I don’t really shop at these things; all I really care about is getting my race packet so … for me, the Expo was fine.  

Loved the long sleeve tech with course map on the back!

The finish area is yes, very huge and crowded.  I didn’t stay long so I don’t have much to say other than I wish they would have given a baggie for our post-run food.  I was carrying 5 different things as I was waiting in line for a shuttle and it was awkward.   Shuttle/bus took about 40 mins to get back to starting area — this isn’t anything the race can do anything about but — just putting it out there for those who want to know for planning purposes.  I had to rush back to check out of my hotel.  

Overall, I LOVED this race … the challenge of the hills and scenery were fantastic!   I’d highly recommend it.

Edited to say: Complaints about the Bridge being crowded, sure … yes, it is.  I get it.   But, does any really expect the Golden Gate Bridge to be closed to traffic? I mean, c’mon!  It’s the only way for people in Marin County to get to SF without adding an hour to their drive and go all the way around across the Bay Bridge.  Just not realistic.  So, yes …it’s a few miles of crowded runners.  There are races I run for time and there are races I run for the experience of it.   This one is for the experience of it.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

jennbeecham FIRST-TIMER '19

Heard about this race through friends, and read reviews about it online. This race is extremely well organized, no last minute surprises in the pickup, the shuttle, the finish, or … MORE

Heard about this race through friends, and read reviews about it online. This race is extremely well organized, no last minute surprises in the pickup, the shuttle, the finish, or race course. One of the best organized races I’ve experienced.

Unique things about this race: Run with pacers in other racers and either they go too slow or too fast; I went with the 3:45 and my time was 3:44:53. They did effort based pacing so I felt good the whole course too. Expo/Packet pickup, shuttle to start, and the finish were all in one place — so convenient. My watch clocked in at 26.23 miles, I’m not the best tangent runner, so a lot of times I finish and my watch is reading close to 26.5-7, this course is great if you want to just follow the pack and run. And of course the net downhill is a HUGE bonus.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

jgardelle FIRST-TIMER '17

This course is challenging with lots of rolling hills, but much of the last few miles are downhill. In spite of the challenging aspect of the course, it passes through … MORE

This course is challenging with lots of rolling hills, but much of the last few miles are downhill. In spite of the challenging aspect of the course, it passes through some beautiful areas, and the community support is amazing. There are people either cheering and/or offering water and snacks throughout the course, which is so appreciated! This is my second marathon (the first being the OC Marathon), and I was a bit slower than my first. However, my first one wasn’t nearly as hilly.

There were a couple of minor downsides to this race:
• Given that it’s a point-to-point marathon, you have to worry about transportation logistics before and after the race (before, you’ve got pre-race jitters; after, you’re tired).
• Once you cross the finish line, you have to walk about a mile to get out of the race area and to the shuttle.

My solutions to these minor downsides:
• My friends and I stayed at a hotel downtown that we booked through the LA marathon website, and the marathon organizers had arranged for shuttles to take you from the hotel to the start and then from the finish back to the hotel. It was a bit difficult to locate the shuttles before and after the race, but we found them and were transported without any trouble.
• Just consider the long walk a recovery walk—you’ll get through it.

Overall, I really loved this race, and I’m pleased with my results. I was really looking forward to it and am so happy I did it. Going in, I thought I would be “two and through”; however, I so enjoyed this race that I might be tempted to do it again.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

This was my second Revel race, but first time doing Mt. Charleston. Revel is known for their fast, downhill courses and I had heard this was one of their fastest. … MORE

This was my second Revel race, but first time doing Mt. Charleston. Revel is known for their fast, downhill courses and I had heard this was one of their fastest. After a couple years of trying to BQ closer to home I finally decided to go see if I could do it at Mt. Charleston. This race starts at over 7000′ in elevation at Mt. Charleston Lodge and runs down into town finishing in northwest Las Vegas (around 2500′ elevation). As most people will warn you though – these types of courses are very fast, but they can also really beat you up – so training on downhill is a must! As for the actual course specifics – Mile 1 was a little slow with some uphill and the crowds, but after that it is smooth sailing downhill (with a few very short/small hills) through Mile 21. After 21 is when the hard part starts as you turn off of the main road and the course really flattens out with a gradual (not too steep, but it felt long) uphill at Mile 24, as well as the temperature just really heating up. I finished around 9:30 in the morning and it was already 75 degrees without a cloud in the sky. Overall though this was a great course – and I did get my BQ with over 6 minutes to spare! Now that I’ve ran this, I would definitely agree that it’s a fast course, but I wouldn’t underestimate your training because of it – I still trained really, really hard for this race – the downhill just helped me execute it! The course scenery was excellent – I had no idea 11,000′ peaks existed outside of Vegas and they were beautiful. The course started with seriously gorgeous alpine scenery that transitioned to desert with cacti and palm trees as you neared the finish. It was really beautiful! Race management was also top notch – Revel really does a great job catering to runners with a great expo, clear, easy-to-read communication, and great finish line perks with free food and beer as well as other vendors you can purchase things from. I personally really enjoyed the Medal Engraving so I could document my first BQ and the Shaved Ice truck was an amazing way to cool-down post-race!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
My Report
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

Profile photo of Anne Kelley
amkelley REPEAT RUNNER '19

I had last run this race in 2004, when the race did not go over the Golden Gate Bridge. The addition of the bridge made the course much harder. The … MORE

I had last run this race in 2004, when the race did not go over the Golden Gate Bridge. The addition of the bridge made the course much harder. The two climbs to the bridge are quite steep and the descent off the bridge on the north end was a very steep, narrow dirt trail, rough, rocky and rutty. I was terrified that I would fall or be knocked over by the hordes of folks descending like maniacs around me. The bridge itself was very crowded (at slightly under 4:00 marathon pace) and full of obstacles and slippery metal plates in the pavement. By the time I got off the bridge my nerves were totally shot and I checked out at the halfway point.

The race organization was very good. The expo was in a huge building and not very crowded, easy to navigate. The starting area was clear and orderly, plenty of aid stations and volunteers. I stayed in the race hotel, the Hyatt Regency, which was expensive but very nice and really convenient to the starting line. The race scenery was spectacular. This could be a lovely race for someone who likes hills and is very agile on his/her feet, but for a clumsy flatlander like me it was a disaster.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

veroniland FIRST-TIMER '16

I did this race coming off of a break from running (and races) and it was tougher than expected. There is a gradual incline that ends around mile 4; the … MORE

I did this race coming off of a break from running (and races) and it was tougher than expected. There is a gradual incline that ends around mile 4; the decline afterwards was nice, but I’m personally not a huge fan of races that have you go out and back, so those last 2 miles were repeat scenery. Then again, you’re right up against the beach!
The production was smooth. I picked up my bib the morning of with time to spare. Parking was easy, though it was $10. I parked at the start line, which wouldn’t have been a problem, except I was feeling it at the end and the mile back wasn’t fun. The finish line festival is also on the pier and I completely missed it (no signs saying go right) and started walking to my car before I remembered I never got my shirt. I do like the shirt (great color, short-sleeve technical shirt), but it doesn’t actually say 5K or 10K on it (unless I’m forgetting). The climb down and up the hill to the pier was tough, but again, I was ill-prepared. Back to training!
Overall, would definitely do it again. See everyone doing the Conqur LA Challenge in Pasadena!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

TeriRunner REPEAT RUNNER '18

I know a lot of people run very good times on this course, but I am not one of them. The downhill is just too aggressive -- and the out … MORE

I know a lot of people run very good times on this course, but I am not one of them. The downhill is just too aggressive — and the out and back, misery. I’ve done this race twice, and once the course flattens out, it really heats up. (Also no the out and back, the course description talks about running along a golf course, but does not mention the gravel pit.) There are so many net-downhill, beautiful canyon marathons in Utah — I think Utah Valley and Ogden are superior courses.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
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3 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

AlexGarcia FIRST-TIMER '19

Incredible route, beautiful valleys and forests, I enjoy it a lot, clean air and many runners of the same rhythm, that force you to give the best of you, not … MORE

Incredible route, beautiful valleys and forests, I enjoy it a lot, clean air and many runners of the same rhythm, that force you to give the best of you, not qualify to Boston, but I made my best time for more than 10 minutes below, I am happy and I hope to return some day without so much hurry, to be able to admire more the landscapes, the towns and their people, thanks.

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2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

jkbrhoffman3 FIRST-TIMER '19

This was my first marathon. It was challenging but doable for first timers. I felt that every part that. Needed to be covered with volunteers was great and spectators along … MORE

This was my first marathon. It was challenging but doable for first timers. I felt that every part that. Needed to be covered with volunteers was great and spectators along the route were helpful. It was a great day for a run and beautiful scenery!
My 16 year old son ran his first half, too!

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Plecerf FIRST-TIMER '18

First time running a Revel race. Very well organized. I was very impressed by all aspects of the race organization from communications, aid stations, scenery, signs to swags not to … MORE

First time running a Revel race. Very well organized. I was very impressed by all aspects of the race organization from communications, aid stations, scenery, signs to swags not to mention free pictures)

A great place for PR and BQ. That said note that the downhill does take a toll on you and that prepping for downhill and quad strengthening can help you do well and recover faster. I did have my personal best there (and BQ) but not by a significant time because of the last few miles where I felt the impact of the first 20 miles downhill – I would have benefited from training more for downhill than I did (including serious quads strengthening!)

Vegas was a also great destination for a fun weekend after the race
Hope to run this race again or another Revel race.

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2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

LHAMPT20 FIRST-TIMER '18

I collapsed less than a mile from the finish so I am not finisher of this marathon but I ran most of it so I can at least review it. … MORE

I collapsed less than a mile from the finish so I am not finisher of this marathon but I ran most of it so I can at least review it. Great downhill course! Very fast and was on my way to a PR & BQ but the heat got me and I was taken to the hospital along with 4 other runners. It needed another water stop towards the finish since it was 87 degrees around 9:30 a.m. that morning. My friend that was with me & my husband who was not there were not happy with the race officials not knowing where I was or what happened to me, it took 3 hours for them to locate me. Learned some important lessons for next time! I am registered for next year so we shall see…

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dana.0212 FIRST-TIMER '19

REVEL puts on a wonderful race! The details are well thought out. Packet pickup was a breeze. Lots of volunteers available with no lines. I was so surprised to receive … MORE

REVEL puts on a wonderful race! The details are well thought out. Packet pickup was a breeze. Lots of volunteers available with no lines. I was so surprised to receive a free pair of Goodr sunglasses when I picked up my shirt. Shirts are great as well. I noticed some participants were confused about the buses/shuttle. If participants were staying up the mountain and needed a ride back up the mountain after the race, there was a fee for this bus/shuttle. Otherwise, there was not a fee for participants to take the bus from the designated parking in San Bernardino to the start line, then to take the bus from the finish line back to the designated parking. The course was scenic with a quick downhill pace. The last few miles that went through Mentone weren’t as nice, but the finish line area had lots of space and parking for spectators to come and support the runners. Signage at the finish line made it easy to find food, beverages, results, and bag pick up. The medals are great! I especially love that race day photos are free to download.

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2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

cfichtler FIRST-TIMER '18

What a race! The scenery was beautiful, I can’t believe how well organized the whole thing was, the expo was fun, the shirts are awesome, and the volunteers an overall … MORE

What a race! The scenery was beautiful, I can’t believe how well organized the whole thing was, the expo was fun, the shirts are awesome, and the volunteers an overall energy was just great . Lots of smooth elevation loss, which welcomes personal record times galore. It wasn’t too steep, it was a nice gradual down hill almost the entire course. If you want to set a new PR, come here.

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2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

RickSawThat FIRST-TIMER '19

This was a great race that I would do again but I would prepare with much more hill training. Running across (and back) over the Golden Gate Bridge is epic … MORE

This was a great race that I would do again but I would prepare with much more hill training. Running across (and back) over the Golden Gate Bridge is epic but we ran on the sidewalk path which is very narrow and wet from the fog. Amazing tour of the city and great people in it and running it.

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2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

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danielleaparks FIRST-TIMER '17

Do this race! I signed up last minute, and had never been to Santa Clarita before! Wow! What an incredible community! They really embrace this race...the support was incredible just … MORE

Do this race! I signed up last minute, and had never been to Santa Clarita before! Wow! What an incredible community! They really embrace this race…the support was incredible just the coolest thing! I have done races a lot of places from Boston to Portland to Idaho and Washington and Santa Clarita is one of the best! Thanks to this race!!!

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2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

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redpriestown REPEAT RUNNER '17

First off - this race is mostly flat and is fun to run. I think they did a much better job than last year. Last year I was pretty frustrated … MORE

First off – this race is mostly flat and is fun to run. I think they did a much better job than last year. Last year I was pretty frustrated with the race as a whole. The expo had very narrow aisles which made it difficult to maneuver around. Add to that the strict security making you flow one direction and it became a whole ordeal if you accidentally missed an area to pick up your legacy shirt or something. During last year’s race, they don’t police the starting corrals, and I spent the first several miles stuck behind runners who should have started at the back of the pack and were clogging up the course.

This year was totally different. The aisles at the expo were much wider which made getting around that much easier. Whereas they didn’t police the corrals to make sure people started where they should, they did do smaller (and thus more) waves to thin things out. I wound up being in the 3rd wave (when based on their online description I should’ve been in the first wave based on where I lined up by bib number), but with the smaller waves, there was much less crowding the first few miles. In fact, I had probably found a good placement within the first mile.

For those of you who haven’t run it before — the views are definitely nice, but you don’t see the ocean the whole time. Actually for much of the long stretch, you’re slightly below the beach parking lot.

Also, for those considering the marathon – I can’t imagine doing that. It’s essentially an out and back twice. There are other full marathons that I think provide more scenery. At least this one is relatively flat. Plus lets you feel better gorging at the Superbowl parties.

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2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

rundirun FIRST-TIMER '19

This first Revel race and my first downhill marathon. Race production is top shelf. The course was well marked and well stocked. Finish line had plenty of options-food, hydration, clothing … MORE

This first Revel race and my first downhill marathon. Race production is top shelf. The course was well marked and well stocked. Finish line had plenty of options-food, hydration, clothing for sale, photo ops, results both, etc. Expo was small but friendly and well organized. Quality swag for participants and excellent communication prior to the race. Buses to the start were organized and easy to access. Plenty of potties at the start. Views are majestic and motivating/distracting. I signed up for coaching with Revel coach Paul. This is critical if you haven’t run a downhill marathon. His training plan is specific to the stresses of downhill running and his course insights are invaluable. He helped prepare me physically and mentally so that my race day was enjoyable with no surprises. Highly recommend the course and the coaching.

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2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

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peg.s.kennedy FIRST-TIMER '17

The full marathon has a number of out and backs in the same general area. If you aren't feeling great at around mile 16, it's SO tempting to quit knowing … MORE

The full marathon has a number of out and backs in the same general area. If you aren’t feeling great at around mile 16, it’s SO tempting to quit knowing the finish line is only a mile away at that point. Much prefer single loop courses or point to point. Generally flat though, and the running surface is good. Decent number of aid stations on the part of the course shared with the half. Once you move to the beach path though, the aid stations are spread much further apart.
The 2017 course appeared to be a bit long- this was the consensus among several runners. Compared maps from last years runners to my own, and the turnaround near mile 20 appears to have been further out. Could have cost me a BQ had I stayed on my goal pace.

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2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

DanBSmith FIRST-TIMER '17

The Surf City Marathon obviously has a great location with fantastic scenery with the course running along the Pacific Coast Highway with views of dozens of surfers. The weather was … MORE

The Surf City Marathon obviously has a great location with fantastic scenery with the course running along the Pacific Coast Highway with views of dozens of surfers. The weather was perfect for running this year with cloud cover, very little wind, and cool temperatures. They seemed to have fantastic spectator support from some pre-teen / teen group or organization? At least for the first half of the Full, there were dozens and dozens of kids cheering us on with as much gusto as they could muster. They were awesome! There were very few hills of any kind. I’m from Fargo, and even I thought the course was fairly flat. The water stations were as good as could be with exactly what they’re supposed to have. Bananas were also found a couple times throughout the race. At the end of the race, it was nice to see an orange and the usual water, banana, and other food items. For me, it’s practically REQUIRED for the finish line to have chocolate milk, and I’m thankful to say they had my wonderfully tasting chocolate milk waiting for me! The medal was awesome. I did the San Francisco Marathon in July of 2016, so I also was able to pick up my California Dreamin’ medal with a spinner on it … nice! Everything about this race was really, really nice. I do wonder if the length of the Full was a little more than normal. I believe it was more like 26.56mi, according to my GPS. This is significant to me, because, well, I had a time of 4:00:06! I would’ve gotten under 4hrs, if it was a tiny bit shorter … perhaps 23 miles would’ve been nice. Ha. Seriously, more clocks along the route would’ve made the race perfect … some races, for example Charlotte, have a clock on every mile marker.
Also, a big thanks goes to the Double Tree Club on Hutton in Santa Ana! They did a surprisingly good job making all of the runners feel welcome there! They had a perfect pasta meal the night before. They had the luxurious bus ride to and from the marathon. They even greeted the runners after getting shuttled from the finish line back to their hotel with loud clanking of pans while lined up at the entrance to the hotel! Lots of congratulatory noise after an exhausting, fulfilling day. Then, the hotel finished it off with a Super Bowl party in their restaurant.

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2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

RickSawThat FIRST-TIMER '19

Revel Races are so well organized and from the moment you get to the expo you feel part of the Revel running Community. Coach Paul's talk about the course and … MORE

Revel Races are so well organized and from the moment you get to the expo you feel part of the Revel running Community. Coach Paul’s talk about the course and advice was so great and made me feel like I knew what was coming throughout the course when I was running the next day. I would highly recommend this race but prepare for a cold morning before the start.

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1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

victortsi2 FIRST-TIMER '17

13.14 miles, about 350' of gain. Very well organized race that started right on time. Weather was very nice at the start (57 degrees). I was the 1:30 pacer for … MORE

13.14 miles, about 350′ of gain. Very well organized race that started right on time. Weather was very nice at the start (57 degrees). I was the 1:30 pacer for this race and it seemed like it could be a nice course to run a fast time. A lot of expectators along the course. Plenty aid stations, nice medal and awards to top 3 in different age groups. Will come back next year for sure to wither pace or race.

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1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

runwalksarah REPEAT RUNNER '19

For anyone who read my 2018 Revel Big Bear review, you already know about my misadventures with the buses to/from Big Bear High School. I was hoping the bus system … MORE

For anyone who read my 2018 Revel Big Bear review, you already know about my misadventures with the buses to/from Big Bear High School. I was hoping the bus system would be better this year. Spoiler alert – it wasn’t. I’m getting ahead of myself though. Let’s start with the expo, shall we?

Last year the race was on Sunday, but this year it was moved to Saturday. The expo was at National Orange Show Event Center from 10 am – 6:00 pm on Friday. Battling Friday afternoon LA traffic was a nightmare. I left work in Pasadena at 2:30 pm and didn’t get to the expo until 5:40 pm!!!! I was able to get my packet without a problem, but many of the vendors were already packing (or packed) up. If you download the Revel app, you can collect codes from various vendors for points that can be redeemed towards free races (I got Revel Big Bear for free by collecting points through the app). If you collect all the codes you are also entered into a raffle for great prizes. Despite the vendors packing up, I was able to get all of the codes but one. No one was at the Revel coaching program booth. Luckily a friend gave me the code so I was still able to get entered into the raffle. If the race continues to be on Saturday, I highly recommend having the expo run slightly later. 6 pm is just too early with Friday traffic in LA. Practically all of my friends left work early and barely made it to the expo in time.

For an additional fee, you can pick up your packet on race morning and save the stress of Friday night LA traffic.

Ok, time to talk about the buses. Repeat after me: I will not stay in Big Bear and pay $30 to take the bus from Big Bear High School. I will not stay in Big Bear and pay $30 to take the bus from Big Bear High School. I will not stay in Big Bear and pay $30 to take the bus from Big Bear High School.

Get it? Got it. Good.

If you aren’t looking for a “racecation” weekend in Big Bear, on race morning the most practical thing to do is to take the free shuttle from the base of the mountain in San Bernardino up the mountain to the race start.

For those wishing to stay in Big Bear (don’t do it), the race offered roundtrip transportation to/from Big Bear High School for $30. Half Marathoners were told that our bus loading time was between 4:00 – 4:30 am. The Full Marathoners were told that their bus loading time was between 4:30 – 5:00 am. Our confirmation e-mail stressed not to be late. I like to arrive to races very early, therefore I was at Big Bear High School a few minutes before 4 am. The buses arrived a few minutes after 4. The handful of us who were there immediately walked over to the first bus to arrive. We were told we couldn’t board the buses yet as they needed to figure out which buses would be for the Half and which buses would be for the Full (at least at this point, all of us were there for the Half). We stood around in 22 degree weather until approximately 4:15 when we were directed to a bus that had been designated as a Half Marathon bus. The bus then sat until 4:37 when we finally left for the start. It took approximately an hour to get to the starting line. We pulled up to the starting line at 5:37 and were allowed to get off the bus at 5:40. As we got off the bus, they reminded us that gear check was scheduled to close at 5:45 am (in 5 whole minutes). I immediately got in line for a porta-potty. The line moved relatively quickly (thank goodness for small miracles). I stepped out of the porta-potty at 5:53 (8 minutes after gear check was scheduled to close and 7 minutes until the race start), then dropped off my bag at gear check (yay, they weren’t closed). I then walked up the road to the start. There was zero time for me to warm-up or stretch (as someone who has been running marathons for 14.5 years, my broken-down body is at a point where I NEED to stretch before a run) and no time to find friends.

I was in a bad mood at this point. Again. Fool me once Revel, shame on you. Fool me twice? Shame on me. This was a repeat of the exact same headache from last year.

Like last year, there was no national anthem. We simply started moving forward. I didn’t realize we were starting until I was about 15 feet from the start. On the other side of the road, people were still walking up to the start.

The course is mostly as advertised — downhill and fast. It is the least scenic of the Revel races I have run (Canyon City, Mt. Hood, Rockies and Big Cottonwood). As I mentioned last year, the best views are all in the first half of the Full Marathon. The course is rather boring once the Half Marathon joins the party.

The aid stations and volunteers were great. They provided runners with water and Poweraide. The website and race program said that some aid stations would offer Honeystingers, but I never saw any. Perhaps they were saving them for the Full Marathoners. I loved running by the Hawaiian dancers.

Upon crossing the finish line, runners were provided with bottles of water, chocolate milk, bananas and towels soaked in ice water. Upon exiting the finisher’s chute, runners could use tear-off vouchers on their bib to receive a slice of pizza, an ice treat and a spiked seltzer beverage. I loved the matcha flavor of the ice treats. Usually we get a donut with melted glaze from sitting out in the sun, so I was thrilled for something new and interesting. Many people were upset that the beer garden was serving spiked seltzer instead of beer. I didn’t mind. Last year they served an IPA, so anything is an improvement!

There were a variety of photo backdrops for runners to take finisher photos.

The buses returning to Big Bear High School only run once an hour. Last year it took us 2 hours to get back up the mountain as the buses take the race course back. I was prepared for this. I was thrilled that it only took us an hour and 40 minutes this year!

I told my husband I wouldn’t run this race again next year. I only ran it again this year to get the Triple Reveler medal (a medal earned when you run 3 Revel races in a year). In actuality, I probably will run it again. Legacy runners were given bibs that were a special color and said “Legacy Runner.” Darn it. Stupid Revel. I love stuff like that. I guess I’m probably going to run it again next year.

On a positive note, the race offers free photos. I like free photos.

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1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

ktown68 FIRST-TIMER '16

Overall I would recommend this race. It is small so you are never crowded. Water stations are almost every mile!!! The only negative was a lack of direction in some … MORE

Overall I would recommend this race. It is small so you are never crowded. Water stations are almost every mile!!! The only negative was a lack of direction in some areas. They had fliers on poles/trees telling you which way to go but it made you think twice before making a turn. Also, at the finish line there was no bottle of water, just little cups like on the course. Nice shirt and medal was just OK. I would run this race again.

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1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

mjramsey FIRST-TIMER '19

This was a great race. I was prepared for the first 7 miles of rolling hills. Then at mile 9-20 the course becomes this amazing downhill!. So fast!..At mile 20-26 … MORE

This was a great race. I was prepared for the first 7 miles of rolling hills. Then at mile 9-20 the course becomes this amazing downhill!. So fast!..At mile 20-26 the course is still downhill, but not as extreme so it’s not as hard on your quads and hamstrings. Everything associated with this race was well planned and well executed. I will probably do another Revel race after this experience!..

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1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

RunKMacRun REPEAT RUNNER '19

This is a point to point race so plan on being there early. Buses for the half and full leave from the same parking lot but different sections. Make sure … MORE

This is a point to point race so plan on being there early. Buses for the half and full leave from the same parking lot but different sections. Make sure you get on the right bus. Revel offers the option to mail your t-shirt and bib for a fee otherwise you have to go to the expo or have someone pick your stuff up. Great race. Great production. Lots of food at the finish.

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1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

adeleon56 REPEAT RUNNER '16

I thought it was race. I really liked the new (for me) course. Support was amazing not only with scheduled entertainment but community support was amazing. People in the various … MORE

I thought it was race. I really liked the new (for me) course. Support was amazing not only with scheduled entertainment but community support was amazing. People in the various communities that the course took us through were supporting the race participants with water, fruit, and various snacks to help get us through it. It meant a lot to me especially since I was struggling to finish this huge undertaking. Everyone was very nice. Would definitely recommend this race.

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1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

pfelix REPEAT RUNNER '16

Though hilly, this is a nice race on Memorial Day. Love the "personality" of this race! The first 3 miles it's pretty packed, then 5k's turn off leaving still quite … MORE

Though hilly, this is a nice race on Memorial Day. Love the “personality” of this race! The first 3 miles it’s pretty packed, then 5k’s turn off leaving still quite a bit, then after the 10k turn off the half participants have wide open spaces. The last half of the race is on the bike path/trail so you’re off the main streets. Nice finish expo too.

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1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

RedjacketRunner REPEAT RUNNER '16

It is difficult to fairly rate this race due to the horrendous weather conditions. It was supposedly in a scenic area, but I couldn't see it because of the driving … MORE

It is difficult to fairly rate this race due to the horrendous weather conditions. It was supposedly in a scenic area, but I couldn’t see it because of the driving rain, low cloud cover and the wind. I was soaked to the bone by mile 7 and spent about 20 minutes during the entire race hiding in porta-potties just to get out of the rain for a minute. My hands were so frozen I couldn’t open my GU or tie my shoe lace when it came undone. There were police officers out on the course near mile 17 handing out mylar sheets which was much appreciated as the one I started with had long since shredded and blown away with the wind.

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1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

RedjacketRunner REPEAT RUNNER '17

Utah spring weather is notoriously unpredictable and Ogden frequently has bad weather years (torrential rain or unseasonably high temps) but this year was not one of those years! It was … MORE

Utah spring weather is notoriously unpredictable and Ogden frequently has bad weather years (torrential rain or unseasonably high temps) but this year was not one of those years! It was perfect race weather! The scenery was beautiful and included running down two canyons, around a lake, spring flowers, and two waterfalls. The aid stations had different themes (the volunteers choose their theme, decorations, costumes, signs and music) and each one was so fun! Each one made me laugh! I really enjoyed the “motivational”/ funny signs that lined the long hill at mile 14.

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1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

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cpwofford0990 FIRST-TIMER '18

This was my 4th Marathon and it was a blast it was a beautiful scenic run on a gentle down hill course. I took 10 mins off my last PR. … MORE

This was my 4th Marathon and it was a blast it was a beautiful scenic run on a gentle down hill course. I took 10 mins off my last PR. The expo was great too I would run this again

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1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

LArunner FIRST-TIMER '17

Two months back, I was searching for a July half-marathon and was delighted to see one along the coast in beautiful Ventura. I've run that stretch several times and it … MORE

Two months back, I was searching for a July half-marathon and was delighted to see one along the coast in beautiful Ventura. I’ve run that stretch several times and it is some of the most gorgeous landscape coastal CA has to offer. My runs always fly by and I feel complete joy watching the waves crash, families play and dogs chase frisbees. What a perfect location for a half! Without question, this would be the race for me and I trained accordingly. I made travel plans and arranged to be in Ventura the weekend of the race.

And then…at the last minute…the race organizer emailed everyone and announced that due to the “skyrocketing costs” of permits, the race would be changed to the Ojai bike path. UGH! Are you kidding me? I’ve already run a half there and it really wasn’t my favorite. The path is narrow, meaning that passing people can be tough and you have cyclists to contend with. The path runs along some sketchy parts of the area (I always smell pot there).

The race was brought 8 miles inland, off the coast, which meant (in a blistering SoCAL July) that the race was hot and humid. Really unpleasant!

When I sign up for a race, I expect only minimal changes to the course. This organizer materially changed the course of the run after collecting everyone’s entrance fees. Unbelievable. Don’t sign up for this race unless you are flexible with running a mystery course.

I should mentioned that the organizer never apologized for the change in course.

I added one “shoe” to my score because the volunteers were sweet and there was water, gatorade, and potties every 1-1.5 miles as promised. Also, the other runners were really cool…good etiquette and very friendly types. Everyone honored the “waved start” recommendations.

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1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

cdmauger REPEAT RUNNER '16

For me, the highlight of the 2016 Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Half Marathon weekend was getting to meet our Olympic marathoners Meb Keflezighi, Amy Cragg, and Shalane Flanagan. There … MORE

For me, the highlight of the 2016 Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon weekend was getting to meet our Olympic marathoners Meb Keflezighi, Amy Cragg, and Shalane Flanagan. There aren’t any other sports where you can actually compete against the best in the world. (Okay, “compete” is over-stating it. Shalane and Amy beat me by about 35 minutes . . . but you get the point). Rock ‘n’ Roll SD is one of my favorite events. The expo is always state of the art, with lots of vendors and usually an appearance by an elite marathoner or two. On race day, the parking and shuttles are convenient and hassle-free, with easy access to the starting area. The course is pretty fast for the half marathon, especially the last three or four miles. Definitely a PR opportunity. Nothing not to enjoy about this race, especially if you’re already a fan of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Series.

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1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

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090775candice FIRST-TIMER '17

For my first half marathon I would love to say thank you it was a blast the people and volunteers that helped out. I did this race in memory of … MORE

For my first half marathon I would love to say thank you it was a blast the people and volunteers that helped out. I did this race in memory of my dad who pasted away three years ago and I told him I would stay fit and do things that I thought I would never be able to do and this is one of them.

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1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

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jcnosewicz REPEAT RUNNER '17

I have run this race 13 times. I have watched it grow from year to year. This is good and bad. With more runners, its difficult to pass the slower … MORE

I have run this race 13 times. I have watched it grow from year to year. This is good and bad. With more runners, its difficult to pass the slower ones, the walkers and the runners who stop right in the middle of the water stations. It’s a pretty race with predictable weather conditions – almost always cool. It would be helpful to have more entertainment on the course. Maybe a little longer time between starting the waves. Also, somehow try to keep the walkers in the last wave. I know, from racing other races, this is always a challenge. Btw, the volunteers were and always are amazing! Love them out there!

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monet11991 REPEAT RUNNER '17

I have been running this race since 2010 and it never disappoints. Last year it was hot but the organizer came through having more than sufficient water stations and volunteers. … MORE

I have been running this race since 2010 and it never disappoints. Last year it was hot but the organizer came through having more than sufficient water stations and volunteers. The high schools in the city participates as volunteers and they are amazing kids. This year there wasn’t much band on the course. also, for the past few years they’ve had Snail’s Pace as their pacers and they’ve done an exceptional job providing more than enough pace groups. Very friendly and encouraging bunch. Somehow this year they picked up a new pacing group–I didn’t really see much of them. It would be nice to have the old pacers back for next year.
This race is enjoyable no matter what weather you get.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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Fitbrit REPEAT RUNNER '16

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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Profile photo of Lauren Oh
lauren.0h4 FIRST-TIMER '16

This was my 3rd marathon overall, but first in San Francisco even though I live here. My first marathon was in New York, and my second was in Chicago, so … MORE

This was my 3rd marathon overall, but first in San Francisco even though I live here. My first marathon was in New York, and my second was in Chicago, so I had fairly high expectations for running this marathon in my hometown. What a colossal disappointment. I second everything Kevin stated below, and I’m just so shocked at the lack of support this city has for runners. This race made me not want to run any other race in San Francisco again, half or otherwise. I feel like we were all a huge inconvenience to drivers and residents of the city, and that’s not how it should be at all!

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
4

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drquinndsa REPEAT RUNNER '19

Tough but as usual, a stunning trip around the lower Sierras. Try jumping the Tuttle Creek, raging high! Xlnt management, and enjoyed pasta dinner night before. Footing is good, and … MORE

Tough but as usual, a stunning trip around the lower Sierras. Try jumping the Tuttle Creek, raging high! Xlnt management, and enjoyed pasta dinner night before. Footing is good, and the firs 4 miles of climbing meant that teh climbing was over then! Fun – will be back!

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
4

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