My Profile

@PeteSinCA

San Jose, CA Raving since 2015 Active 1 week ago

About Me

  • Running club(s):
  • Rave race:

    Brazen Almost New Year's Eve, 2014

  • Race that's calling my name:

    Rocky Ridge, 20??, sighhhhhhh ….

  • I run because:

    To show me I (still) can!

My Races

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

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Half Marathon

Marathon

Ultramarathon

(Marathon or Ultra) + Half

Marathon + Ultra

Other

Future Races

Personal Bests (9)

Race Distance Location Date Result
12 hr San Pablo, CA Jul 8, 2017 7 mi
6 hr San Pablo, CA Jul 9, 2016 17 mi
Half Marathon Fremont, CA Mar 15, 2014 3:09:26
10 Miler Capitola, CA Oct 22, 2017 3:11:00
15K Aptos, CA Jun 19, 2016 2:25:45
10K San Jose, CA Nov 28, 2013 1:25:38
5 Miler Woodland, CA Jul 4, 2016 1:05:09
8K San Jose, CA Mar 2, 2014 1:02:38
5K Cupertino, CA Mar 26, 2016 40:56

Future Races (0)

Race Distance Location Date Paid

Past Races (152)

Race Distance Location Date Result My Raves My Performance
5K Campbell, CA Feb 10, 2024
10K Livermore, CA Jan 27, 2024 2:00:16
5K Mountain View, CA Jan 1, 2024 56:26
10K San Jose, CA Oct 28, 2023 2:08:30
5K San Carlos, CA Aug 26, 2023 1:39:25
10K San Leandro, CA Jul 29, 2023
10K Fremont, CA Jul 1, 2023 2:32:35
10K San Jose, CA Jun 4, 2023 2:04:21
5K San Jose,, CA Apr 29, 2023
5K Cupertino, CA Apr 8, 2023 53:37
5K Dublin, CA Mar 19, 2023 59:11
5K Campbell, CA Feb 11, 2023 59:26
10K Fremont, CA Sep 10, 2022
5K Oakland, CA Jul 16, 2022 1:00:33
10K San Jose, CA Jun 5, 2022 1:56:53
5K San Jose, CA May 21, 2022 55:27
Half Marathon San Pablo, CA May 14, 2022
5K San Jose, CA May 7, 2022 54:22
8K Castro Valley, CA Apr 16, 2022 1:49:41
10K Morgan Hill, CA Mar 27, 2022 1:56:39
Half Marathon Richmond, CA Feb 26, 2022 4:14:00
Half Marathon San Leandro, CA Feb 12, 2022 4:43:08
10K Fremont, CA Jan 22, 2022 2:22:52
5K Campbell, CA 2022 58:23
10K Mountain View, CA Jan 1, 2022 1:59:16
5K Santa Clara, CA 2022 59:50
Half Marathon Fremont, CA Dec 12, 2021 4:19:07
Half Marathon Fremont, CA Nov 27, 2021 4:20:23
10K San Jose, CA Nov 14, 2021 1:48:18
10K San Jose, CA Oct 31, 2021 1:44:30
10K Belmont, CA Oct 9, 2021 1:52:45
5K San Jose, CA Sep 19, 2021 51:19
5K Castro Valley, CA Sep 11, 2021 57:33
5K San Jose, CA Aug 22, 2021 51:39
5K San Leandro, CA Jul 31, 2021 52:38
8K San Jose, CA Feb 2, 2020 1:31:36
5K Mountain View, CA Jan 1, 2020 1:00:25
5K San Jose, CA Nov 28, 2019
5K San Jose, CA Nov 2, 2019
10K Campbell, CA Oct 19, 2019 1:58:00
10K Mountain View, CA Sep 29, 2019 2:01:44
10K San Jose, CA Sep 22, 2019 1:51:10
5K Richmond, CA Aug 31, 2019 1:07:49
10K Martinez, CA Aug 10, 2019
6 hr San Pablo, CA Jul 6, 2019 10 mi
10K Fremont, CA Jun 29, 2019 2:12:02
10K San Carlos, CA Apr 14, 2019 1:51:36
5K San Jose, CA Mar 24, 2019 54:21
10K Palo Alto, CA Mar 10, 2019 2:10:00
10K Richmond, CA Feb 23, 2019 1:49:44
10K San Leandro, CA Feb 9, 2019 1:53:51
10K Fremont, CA Jan 26, 2019 2:00:15
5K Mountain View, CA Jan 1, 2019 53:41
10K Santa Clara, CA Dec 2, 2018 1:49:16
10K San Jose, CA Nov 22, 2018 1:54:26
5K Sunnyvale, CA Nov 4, 2018 59:43
10K San Jose, CA Oct 28, 2018 2:19:04
10K Brentwood, CA Oct 13, 2018 2:34:38
10K San Jose, CA Sep 30, 2018 1:42:13
10K Los Gatos, CA Sep 22, 2018 1:49:41
10K Felton, CA Aug 19, 2018 2:12:59
5K San Jose, CA Aug 11, 2018 51:13
5 Miler Castro Valley, CA Jul 15, 2018 1:52:34
6 hr San Pablo, CA Jul 7, 2018
10K Sunnyvale, CA Jun 17, 2018 1:54:23
10K San Jose, CA Jun 3, 2018 1:59:10
10K San Pablo, CA May 19, 2018 2:12:11
5K San Jose, CA May 12, 2018 54:38
10K Danville, CA May 6, 2018 1:52:48
10K Fresno, CA Apr 14, 2018 1:45:00
5K Cupertino, CA Mar 31, 2018 50:48
10K San Jose, CA Mar 18, 2018 1:56:58
10K Richmond, CA Feb 24, 2018 1:49:37
Half Marathon San Leandro, CA Feb 10, 2018
5 Miler Woodside, CA Jan 21, 2018 1:57:19
Half Marathon Fremont, CA Dec 31, 2017 4:33:42
Half Marathon Fremont, CA Dec 17, 2017 4:23:49
10K Fremont, CA Nov 25, 2017 1:51:52
10K San Pablo, CA Nov 23, 2017 1:56:33
5K Sunnyvale, CA Nov 12, 2017 49:53
5K San Jose, CA Nov 5, 2017 51:03
10K San Jose, CA Oct 28, 2017 1:48:26
10 Miler Capitola, CA Oct 22, 2017 3:11:00
10K San Jose, CA Sep 30, 2017 1:47:53
5K San Jose, CA Sep 2, 2017 1:14:07
12 hr San Pablo, CA Jul 8, 2017 7 mi
10K Santa Cruz, CA Jun 24, 2017 2:31:56
Half Marathon San Jose, CA Jun 4, 2017 4:13:24
Half Marathon San Pablo, CA May 27, 2017 4:22:14
5 Miler Oakland, CA May 13, 2017 1:58:14
10K Berkeley, CA Apr 15, 2017 3:17:45
Half Marathon Livermore, CA Mar 18, 2017
10K Pacifica, CA Feb 18, 2017 2:21:05
5 Miler Woodside, CA Jan 21, 2017 1:48:17
Half Marathon Castro Valley, CA Jan 1, 2017
Half Marathon Walnut Creek, CA Dec 10, 2016 3:41:48
10K Fremont, CA Nov 26, 2016 1:38:34
10K San Pablo, CA Nov 24, 2016 1:45:30
10K Davis, CA Nov 19, 2016 1:34:26
10K Vacaville, CA Oct 22, 2016 2:04:30
10K San Ramon, CA Oct 1, 2016 2:32:57
Half Marathon El Sobrante, CA Sep 24, 2016 4:02:37
10K Felton, CA Aug 21, 2016 1:52:53
6 hr San Pablo, CA Jul 9, 2016 17 mi
5 Miler Woodland, CA Jul 4, 2016 1:05:09
15K Aptos, CA Jun 19, 2016 2:25:45
Half Marathon San Pablo, CA May 28, 2016 3:20:00
Half Marathon Oakland, CA Apr 17, 2016 3:39:56
5K Cupertino, CA Mar 26, 2016 40:56
5K San Jose, CA Mar 20, 2016 59:25
8K San Jose, CA Mar 6, 2016 1:09:03
10K Richmond, CA Feb 27, 2016 1:32:56
10K San Leandro, CA Feb 13, 2016 1:29:11
Half Marathon San Rafael, CA Feb 7, 2016 4:01:05
10K Pacifica, CA Jan 16, 2016 2:06:03
Half Marathon Walnut Creek, CA Dec 12, 2015 3:32:16
10K Fremont, CA Nov 28, 2015 1:33:50
10K San Pablo, CA Nov 26, 2015 1:37:50
Half Marathon Livermore, CA Nov 14, 2015
5K Sunnyvale, CA Nov 1, 2015 42:31
Half Marathon Redwood City, CA Oct 24, 2015 3:23:48.5
10K Campbell, CA Oct 17, 2015 1:28:34
Half Marathon San Jose, CA Sep 6, 2015 3:40:18.933
10K San Jose, CA Aug 15, 2015
Half Marathon San Leandro, CA Aug 1, 2015 3:33:05
6 hr San Pablo, CA Jul 11, 2015 16.85 mi
Half Marathon Saratoga, CA Jun 6, 2015 5:44:21
Half Marathon El Sobrante, CA May 9, 2015 4:46:56
Half Marathon Santa Cruz, CA Apr 12, 2015 3:26:05
Half Marathon Livermore, CA Mar 14, 2015 4:57:24
Half Marathon San Leandro, CA Feb 14, 2015 3:50:26
Half Marathon Fremont, CA Jan 24, 2015 3:23:34
Half Marathon Castro Valley, CA Dec 27, 2014 4:27:42
Half Marathon Fremont, CA Nov 29, 2014 3:31:42
10K San Jose, CA Nov 27, 2014 1:30:47
Half Marathon Morgan Hill, CA Nov 2, 2014 3:39:27
Half Marathon Redwood City, CA Oct 4, 2014
Half Marathon San Jose, CA Sep 6, 2014 4:17:06
Half Marathon San Leandro, CA Aug 2, 2014 3:24:21
Half Marathon Los Gatos, CA Jul 13, 2014 3:21:49
Half Marathon San Jose, CA Jun 1, 2014 3:17:09
Half Marathon Fremont, CA Mar 15, 2014 3:09:26
8K San Jose, CA Mar 2, 2014 1:02:38
Half Marathon Fremont, CA Jan 25, 2014 3:22:34
10K San Jose, CA Nov 28, 2013 1:25:38
Half Marathon San Jose, CA Oct 6, 2013 3:11:38
Half Marathon San Francisco, CA Apr 7, 2013 3:28:39
8K San Jose, CA Mar 10, 2013 1:08:52
10K San Jose, CA Nov 22, 2012 1:31:52
Half Marathon San Jose, CA Oct 7, 2012 3:31:29
8K San Jose, CA Mar 11, 2012 1:15:14
5K San Jose, CA Nov 24, 2011 49:30

My Raves

Event & Course Description:The Race to the Flagpole 10K and 5K benefits sports at Livermore and Granada High School athletics and athletes. The event starts and finishes in Independence Park. … MORE

Event & Course Description:The Race to the Flagpole 10K and 5K benefits sports at Livermore and Granada High School athletics and athletes. The event starts and finishes in Independence Park. The 5K is an out-and back from Independence Park into and back from Sycamore Grove Park. The 10K course follows the same course into and back from Sycamore Gove Park, but includes a loop around the perimeter of the park. Sycamore Grove Park is a rural park nestled into a hill on the southern edge of Livermore, with a vineyard on its east side. A creek runs through the park and walking/running/biking is only on the trails. It’s a really beautiful park.

Organization & Production: Livermore Granada Boosters have been putting on this event for quite a few years, so its well organized. It’s a fairly basic event, consistent with a community benefit event. The course was well marked, and a “sweeper” followed the back-of-the-pack 10K runners to be sure they were doing OK. There were two water stations near the 10K turn-around, and another near the 5K turn-around (which 10K runners also passed through).

Bib: The bib is basic white, with the number and the name of the event.

T-Shirt: The event Tee is a sort of grey-blue cotton-polyester. The front artwork has the name of the event across the top in white block letters. Below that is “75” in very large numerals, a stylized American flag and “years”. Below that is “Livermore Granada Boosters” and “1949-2024”. The artwork is much more attractive than my description.

Finisher’s Medal: The finisher’s medal and ribbon is a catalog item from Crown Awards, kind of like a second place medal (silver-colored) from a high school track event. I could have foregone, but I think the track event feel was the intent.

Finish & Recovery Area: I didn’t wander around the finish area other to observe that there were no park benches and that there were several tables which might have had snackie goodies.

My Results & Opinion of the Race: I did this event in 2015 when they had a half marathon distance. The organization and feel of the event in 2024 was very similar and good. What was “lost” from the half marathon was a 6-7 mile out-and-back along a country road between vineyards. For my taste, the loop around Sycamore Grove Park, which was retained, was and is the most pleasant part of the former half marathon and the 10K courses. I was very happy with my finish time, my best since 2022, and will consider doing this event next year.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

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Event & Course Description: The Kiwanis Resolution Run 10K and 5K benefits the Kiwanis service club and is run (or walked) on New Year's Day in Mountain View near the … MORE

Event & Course Description: The Kiwanis Resolution Run 10K and 5K benefits the Kiwanis service club and is run (or walked) on New Year’s Day in Mountain View near the south end of San Francisco Bay. Much of both courses use the eponymous Bay Trail. The views are of low lying marshes, and in the middle of both courses also of the edge of a landscaped golf course. The 10K course was out-and-back, with a little loop near the turn-around, while the 5K return splits off the outbound course about a mile into the return leg and follows a road along the edge of the golf course back to the start/finish area.

Organization & Production: The event is kind of no-frills, but very well done. Parking was plenteous and free. Check-in ran smoothly, the course was well marked, with course marshals at turning points, the water-only aid stations were well stocked with water and friendly volunteers … almost as if West San Jose Kiwanis has been doing this for many years … which they have. If the event is simple, it’s simplicity very well done. There is also a kids’ 1K run and gopher-herd.

Bib: The bib is basic white, with the number and name of the race.

T-Shirt: The T-shirt uses the same artwork the event has been using for at least several years (good use of $$), and this year’s cotton shirt was very red.

Finisher’s Medal: Only age group winners received medals, again good $$ use in an event for a charity.

Finish & Recovery Area: The start/finish area is a part of a park for kite flying, so it doesn’t have picnic benches (or baskets, sorry, Yogi and Boo-Boo). There were several chairs available for people who NEEDED one. There was a goodies table with fruit and snackie stuff.

My Results & Opinion of the Race: 2023 was my 4th time doing this event, hint, hint. It’s a good way to start the year, consistently well organized (including 2022’s short-notice-approval scramble), close to my home, and the ~10 AM start time is, ummm, friendly to those who party hearty New Year’s Eve (I’m boring, but don’t mind a little extra snooze time).

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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Event & Course Description: As the title indicates, this even was a benefit for Gardner Health Services, which helps low income people find healthcare services. The 5K and 10K distances … MORE

Event & Course Description: As the title indicates, this even was a benefit for Gardner Health Services, which helps low income people find healthcare services. The 5K and 10K distances were out-and-back, starting and finishing near Gardner’s facility in Alviso, using the Guadalupe River Trail. One side of the course is the river, reasonably pleasant. The other side mostly overlooks industrial facilities and yards, plus some apartment or condo complexes. The trail is paved and flat, except for where the trail goes under a few streets.

Organization & Production: The online and email information for the event is basically register-and-run. It’ll get you registered, to the event, and home again. In my opinion, the webpage and email undersells the event, by not mentioning information frequent runners would find attractive. The information not included was that it was chip timed (SVETiming!), the event T-shirt is tech-type, bibs could have the runner’s name, and that there would be a finisher’s medal.

The event was pretty well organized (although it started 10 or 15 minutes late). There were pre-race coffee and post-race goodies. There were several health and education-related booths (no hospice organization). Some dignitaries spoke and a Catholic priest did a brief ceremony and prayer (for Dia de los Muertos). A high school mariachi band participated before and during the start. The course was well marked (going off-course would have taken effort), and there were water-only aid stations at the 5K and 10K turn-arounds. There was some bunching of runners for the first half mile or slow.

Bib: The bibs had an orange background color, race logo (a decorated skull) and name, the bib number, and the runner’s name. Definitely, Very. Nice.

T-Shirt: The shirt is bright lime green. The event logo is on the front, a decorated skull with the organization’s name, the year, on a purple circle. Around that circle is the event name, in orange, dark green, and fuchsia. It’s a really nice shirt, the nicest I’ve gotten in quite a few months.

Finisher’s Medal: The medallion is a decorated skull, grinning, not scary. The ribbon is purple, with the race name in white letters with several large orange and yellow flowers. The medallion is a bit smaller than is common (in the SF Bay Area, at least), but as a whole the medal is among the nicest I’ve received.

Finish & Recovery Area: I was the DLF of the 10K (not a surprise or disappointment to me), and while quite a few people had already left or were packing up, there was no lack of goodies and bottles of water. There was some seating nearby, though I just leaned against a fence to catch my breath and headed home.

My Results & Opinion of the Race: It sounds weird to me to say this, but I think the early bunching of runners for the first half mile or so probably affected my time by a couple of minutes, but not really materially (I still would have been DLF). This was a very well organized event, benefited a charitable organization, had very nice swag (did I mention that the swag bag included a packet of Lysol wipes and a Covid test?), and was on a trail I had not been on before (nice enough as long as I looked toward the river). There was a lot to like and I will consider doing the event in 2024.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5
My Media

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Event & Course Description: No Foolin' Foot Race was run in the city of San Carlos to benefit the parks department and trails maintenance. It could be called, "A Tale … MORE

Event & Course Description: No Foolin’ Foot Race was run in the city of San Carlos to benefit the parks department and trails maintenance. It could be called, “A Tale of Three Parks”. The start/finish area was in Crestview Park, which is basically a soccer field plus a few picnic tables and a small children’s play area. Two distances were run, 10K and 5K. Both sets of runners wound their way around the hilly trails of Big Canyon Park. 5K runners then returned to the finish. 10K runners coursed around the hilly trails of Eaton park and returned to the finish using Brittan Avenue and Crestview Drive.

Bay Area weather can get quite warm in the summer, but race day 2023 was very pleasant and overcast. The 5K course was fairly shaded, though I didn’t much notice. There were several nice panoramic overlooks, plus some nice views of wooded ravines. Other than short sections on streets and in circling the soccer field in Crestview Park, the courses were mostly single-track dirt, with several short bridges over small seasonal run-off ravines and sets of steps down short steep places. Did I mention that the course was hilly?

Organization & Production: As I mentioned in my title, the 2023 running was billed as the first annual. But for that billing, it probably would not have been apparent that it was a first-time effort. It was that well done. Necessary information was on the event webpages, including course maps with elevation profiles. Check-in was race day. Volunteers in the start/finish area and on-course were friendly and encouraging. The course was well marked with color-coded flags, signs, and course marshals. There wasn’t an aid station on the 5K course, and there may not have been one for 10K runners. In the two parks the trails were single track and hilly, so there wasn’t room for an aid station or to schlep in a table and water and etc.. The finish area had water, coffee, coffee cake, bananas, and oranges, that I know of. There were several picnic tables and seats for the soccer field for those wanting to sit. Race Tees were given out at the finish.

Bib: The bibs were distance color-coded: white background was for 5K runners; green background was for 10K. The bib number is in the center, with the event logo to the left of the number. The date is at the top, sponsor logos are at the bottom, and the distance is in the bottom right corner.

T-Shirt: The race Tee is white, tech type. The front has the circular event logo, two runners running through green hills, with the location and date above them, and the beneficiary below. Encircling this is a purple ring with the event name at the top and the parks department slogan at the bottom. The back has sponsors’ logos. The Tee might not quite be favorites-grade – I am spoiled by some organizers’ designs – but it is really really nice. There was no finisher’s medal.

My Results and Opinion of the Event: If I haven’t mentioned it already, the 5K course was really hilly. The website, as mentioned above, does include the elevation profiles with the course maps. I didn’t look at the profile carefully enough, so I was quite under-prepared. It is a challenging course. I kept on chugging and finished, but the last 10K runner’s finish time was 6 minutes faster than my 5K finish time. I’m not trying to discourage anyone from doing the event, but runners should be prepared for a good – and beautiful – challenge. Would I do No Foolin’ Foot Race again? If I believed I could handle the challenge (maybe do it a little better), I would definitely consider it.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
5
SWAG
3

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Event & Course Description: Zoom Firecracker was run in Quarry Lakes Park and along the Alameda Creek Trail. The 5K course is like a frying pan, with the handle being … MORE

Event & Course Description: Zoom Firecracker was run in Quarry Lakes Park and along the Alameda Creek Trail. The 5K course is like a frying pan, with the handle being out from and back to the start. The 5K course is almost entirely within the park, with views of the lakes. The 10K course (which I sort of did) is similar, except that it exits the park about midway around the “pan” for an upstream out-and-back leg along Alameda Creek, and then reenters the park. Half marathon runners did the 10K course, but a downstream out-and-back leg was done before reentering the park.

The part of the courses that was inside the park almost looks rural. The parts of the courses along the Alameda Creek Trail are OK, but while the creek is on one side of the trail, one can see houses and streets on both sides of the trail. July 1st is summer, and in 2023, the heat showed up. It was well into the 60s F when I started, and being slo-o-owww, it was about 81F when I finished. I would estimate sun exposure along the 10K course to have been 95% or greater.

Organization & Production: Coastal Trail Runs has been doing races at this venue for more years than I’ve been doing running events. They mark their courses with flags, sign boards, and chalk (or flour) very well. Normally, following the markings is easy when one pays attention. HOWEVER – getting back to my “sort of” above – this year one of the non-participants using the park moved a sign and misdirected runners off course. I followed that sign, and so did a group of 5K runners. I continued in a way that was off-course but basically the same distance as the section of the course I missed. Coastal marks courses very well, but they can’t prevent vandalism/sabotage. Welcome to trail running! It’s very rare, but vandalism does happen.

Aid stations were spaced as access to the course allowed. The aid stations I used had water, electrolyte drink, GU packets, and snacks. One of the volunteers at one station very kindly offered to and poured cold water on my head and back (very refreshing on a hot day). The volunteers at both aid stations were very encouraging.

Bib: Coastal’s bibs are fairly plain, other than being color-coded for distance. Yellow was 5K, Blue was 10K, and Purple was the half marathon. Beyond that, the bibs have Coastal’s logo and motto, and the bib number.

T-Shirt: Coastal’s race T-shirts are usually tech type, regardless of distance. For this event, my size, XXL, was cotton-polyester. The tech type T-shirts were dark purple, and the cotton-polyester shirt were bright pink. The front of the shirt has what looks like the burst of a fireworks rocket, and the back had sponsors’ logos. All in all, a very nice shirt. I think the pink showed the design better than did the purple.

Finisher’s Medal: The medallion is the fireworks rocket burst, with the race name and details (like the T-shirt). The ribbon is orange, with “2023 Finisher” in purple letters and numbers. Coastal uses the same medallion across several years. I have a 2019 finishers medal from this race that is the same. This design may be my favorite among Coastal’s medals.

Finish & Recovery Area: I had to go to work right after finishing, so other than grabbing a few snacks (Oreos and a couple of Almond Joys) I didn’t look around the recovery area. Coastal used one of the covered group picnic areas, so there were plenty of tables and benches at which one could rest and chat. Typically, Coastal has a fair number of different snacks, water, electrolyte drink, sodas, and sometimes bottles of beers in their recovery area.

My Results & Opinion of the Race: Heat and sun exposure are not my friends, so that was unpleasant. That aside, I finished and was happy to do so. Looking at the results page for the 10K distance, I see that I was second in the semi-geezers age group, as well as the DLF, Dead Last Finisher. I think some 60-somethings changed to the 5K or stayed home.

More importantly, I spent a bit more time at aid stations than I ordinarily would, and the volunteers made my race experience especially pleasant. Having cold water dumped on me was great! I’ve done Coastal events at Quarry Lakes Park multiple times, some in fall/winter, and now a couple of time in summer. Zoom Firecracker will be considered in coming years.

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5

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Event & Course Description: Beer City San Jose is, as its name suggests, a beer-tasting-after-you-run event (though extra tasting tickets can be purchased). Three distances were run, half marathon, 10K … MORE

Event & Course Description: Beer City San Jose is, as its name suggests, a beer-tasting-after-you-run event (though extra tasting tickets can be purchased). Three distances were run, half marathon, 10K (which I did), and 5K. The event started and finished in Lake Almaden Park.

All runners took a trail north out of the park and crossed a bridge to the Guadalupe River Trail. 5K runners went almost to the SR 85 under-crossing and turned back toward Almaden Lake Park. 10K and half marathon runners turned right at that point to circle a pond before heading back the same way. All runners then went under the previously crossed bridge to a picnic area across Lake Almaden from the start area. 5K runners then turned onto a bridge to complete circling the lake and run to the finish. 10K and half marathon runners went onto the Los Alamitos Creek Trail, turning around at different points along the trail. These runners returned to the park and to the finish area in the same way 5K runners did. It was simpler than it sounds.

The trails were a mix of asphalt and hard packed dirt, wide enough for two-abreast two-way traffic. I would estimate the 10K course was 70%-80% sun exposure, and the 5K course 90%-95% sun. Having done other 10Ks on the Los Alamitos Creek Trail, the half marathon course is probably around 70% sun. On race day it was warm and got into the 80s F in the afternoon. Two days later was a morning rainstorm, with the afternoon being cloudy and in the 60s F, so the weather can vary.

Organization & Production: This was the first running of what may become an annual event. The organizer, Scena Performance, has been organizing trail runs for quite a few years, albeit mostly in the North SF Bay Area. Consequently, what was done was done well. Whether anything was simplified to keep costs low while seeing whether participation would be good, I do not know.

Aid stations were spaced as access allowed, the farthest apart being about 2 1/2 miles. The first aid station, at the 5K turn-around, was water-only. The other aid stations had water, sports drink, and GU gel packets. Volunteers were cheerful and encouraging.

The start/finish area was corralled off from the park with plastic mesh “fencing”. Runners started from within the corral, each distance having its own start time. Each participating brewery had its own pavilion and table(s) around the inside perimeter of the corral. The corral let the organizer control who had access to the beers (very few children – with parents – and no non-participants). The only seating was outside the corral, and beer was not allowed outside of the corral (the rules of the park, I think).

Bib: The bibs had a yellow and orange swirled background, with the event name in white in the top left, the number in light purple in the center, and the runner’s name in light purple to the right and above the number. It was not distance color-coded.

T-Shirt: The event Tee is navy blue and 100% cotton. The front has the event logo where a pocket would be, and “Beer City San Jose 2023” in large yellow letters on the back. Very decent, IMO.

Finisher’s Medal: The “medallion” is in the shape of a key and is also a bottle opener. The ribbon has “2023” and “Beer City” in yellow letters, with pairs of filled beer steins in between. The background is purple, and the ribbon is a bit less wide than what is currently typical for running events. All in all, the finisher’s medal is nice, though not specific to the San Jose running (another running had been held in Santa Rosa).

Finish & Recovery Area: Medals were given out near the finish arch, and there also was a table handing out bottles of water. As described above, the finish area was a corral. Not all pavilions had sampling glasses (plastic, with the event name, very nice), so one had to look or ask around. I’m not into beer that much, but I tried a couple. There was also a table with bananas and some snacky item(s). There were picnic tables just outside of the corral, though beer could not be taken outside of the corral. Beer tasting ended at 1 PM, so even someone doing a 4 hour half marathon would have ample opportunity for tasting.

My Results & Opinion of the Race: Since this was the first, hopefully annual, running of this event, do take my seeming critical comments with a small block of salt.

That said, I’d say that what they did do was in most ways more than one would experience at a local school benefit or charity run, and more even than was done at Rock ‘n’ Roll events 10 years ago. Further, one is not likely to be able to sample beers from multiple craft breweries at those events. Other trail run organizers’ aid stations’ and recovery areas’ array of snacks are more elaborate, but future runnings of this event might also.

For me, perhaps the most significant part of a good race experience is the people, especially aid station, course marshal, and recovery area volunteers. In this respect Beer City San Jose was definitely a good race experience. I will definitely be watching to see if there is a second running.

DIFFICULTY
1
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4
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3
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Event & Course Description: The PanCAN (Pancreatic Cancer Action Network) Purple Stride is a series of 50 events (in 2023) nationwide to raise money for PanCAN. The 2023 Silicon Valley … MORE

Event & Course Description: The PanCAN (Pancreatic Cancer Action Network) Purple Stride is a series of 50 events (in 2023) nationwide to raise money for PanCAN. The 2023 Silicon Valley Purple Stride started and finished in Discovery Meadow, a green space next to the Children’s Discovery Museum in Central San Jose. The course sort of loops and wanders around nearby business and residential neighborhoods (some nicely maintained ~100-year-old Victorians!).

Organization & Production: This is the part of this Rave I’m not going to like writing. I proportion my expectations – and therefore my Raves – to the nature of the event. I have different expectations for a volunteer organized charity event than I have for a professionally organized (with volunteer assistance) event.

Registration is a bit odd, it’s free. But if you want an event Tee you have to donate or raise donations of at least $50. There are “buttons” in the registration process by which one can donate $50 or (IIRC) $100, or etc. or some custom amount. The event schedule, location, course map, and other important information is on the event site. There was only event day packet pick-up. Now for the part that could sound like the running snob I’m not …

As run, the 2023 Silicon Valley Purple Stride was a community walk, not a walker-friendly running event. It was not timed, and there were no bibs or finisher’s medals. The streets were not cleared or blocked, even partially. Walkers had to stay on the sidewalk more or less, making it a fairly choke point for the first one-third mile. Arguably, I failed to understand the nature of the event, so mea goofa.

There were directional signs along the way, which would have been good, but at about the quarter mile point there was a right turn sign that should have been a straight-ahead arrow. This sent the walkers into .6-.7 mile loop back to the start. So when we came to where we would have turned toward the finish arch we went straight, back into the course, went straight where we had turned, and eventually somehow managed to net 2.5-2.7 miles. If only for the safety of the people walking, a correctly marked course is pretty essential, not a running-snob thingy.

T-Shirt: After the above you might think, “They had one?” They did, a brand name, very purple, cotton shirt with a sort of mosaic of footprints forming a heart shape plus the name and logo of the event. As event shirts go, it is very nice, and the very purple color makes it stand out. And standing out was the point of the shirt. The event planners wanted people walking the event in central San Jose to be SEEN … and for people to be curious enough to wander over to ask about the event.

Finish & Recovery Area: Discovery Meadow is a large green space, and there were various pavilions for check-in, event-day registration, in-person donations, several sponsors, a food and water table (a pretty decent variety), and a stage.

My Opinion of the Race: I suppose this Rave could be taken as critical, but except for the mis-marked course, the event was done fairly for what it was. The problem, if you will, was my expectation that it would be a community/charity 5K run/walk like so many I’ve done. To borrow from an obscure movie, ;), it was not the running event I sought. It would be snobbish of me to criticize the Purple Stride for being what it was instead of what I expected. While volunteering might be a possibility, I do not plan to be a walker in future Purple Strides.

No cancer is good or nice, but pancreatic cancer is among the nastiest. The symptoms it causes early on are so non-specific that early diagnosis – early enough to have a chance for treatment to be effective – is difficult and not common. At the Purple Stride they said that the survival rate is about 12%. Meanwhile, because the digestive system of the person with the cancer is not functioning properly (the pancreas produces digestive enzymes), the person slowly wastes away almost to skin and bones. That was my uncle Gary’s (Gerhardt) experience. He was 48 or 49 when he died, never seeing his sons graduate from high school, marry, or his grandchildren. Pancreatic cancer is a cancer deserving hate and research into diagnosis and treatment is well worthwhile.

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1
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2
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Event & Course Description: The Big Bunny 5K benefits City of Cupertino Recreation department, and is run in the neighborhood of the City Hall. The start is on the street … MORE

Event & Course Description: The Big Bunny 5K benefits City of Cupertino Recreation department, and is run in the neighborhood of the City Hall. The start is on the street in front of City Hall and runs along the street and turns toward neighborhood streets, Runners do a loop around and through neighborhoods and then return down the street on which they started, to where they started.

Organization & Production: The event website has complete information – course map, schedule, where to park, packet pick-up time and location, etc.. There were numerous course marshals and some police or sheriff’s officers at key intersections.

Bib: The bib has two (almost electric) blue stripes bordering a broad (very) pink stripe, which has the bib number and the event date. The upper blue stripe had the race name in pink, with a bunny for the “U” in “BUNNY”.

T-Shirt: The race Tee is light blue poly-cotton with the race name in large, (very) pink block letters. The “U” in “BUNNY” is an open Easter egg with a bunny popping up out of it. On the back, in white, is the logo for the City of Cupertino. Nothing fancy, but cute.

Finisher’s Medal: The finisher’s medallion is a rectangle, with the race logo described above on a light blue background. The ribbon has the race name, including a bunny, but what is eye-catching is that the color ombre-fades along its length from pink to light blue. The ribbon also has, lightly, eggs, flowers, and tree branches. Definitely very nice for a medium-sized (367 finishers) community fun run.

Finish & Recovery Area: The finish and recovery area was the Civic Center Plaza beside City Hall. The recovery area has quite a few benches for seating. A first aid station was in the area, as well as tables with water and half a billion bananas (would you believe I counted them?). Finisher’s medals were given out at a table rather than at the finishing arch.

My Results & Opinion of the Race: I pushed myself a bit more than a couple of weeks ago, and was quite happy with my finish time (a fairly flat course and an unobstructed finishing arch helped). This was the third time I’ve done this event, though not since 2018. It’s not a destination or must-do event, but it’s a well run community event and I may do it again in the future.

DIFFICULTY
1
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4
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2
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4
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Event & Course Description: The Shamrock 5K Fun Run & Walk is a community run that is part of a larger St. Patrick's Day festival. The course is a loop, … MORE

Event & Course Description: The Shamrock 5K Fun Run & Walk is a community run that is part of a larger St. Patrick’s Day festival. The course is a loop, starting on major street Dublin Boulevard and ending on a trail nearby. Runners go a half or three quarters of a mile through a business district, (you do the math) miles through 1950s- or 1960s-vintage residential neighborhoods, and the final mile and a quarter or so along the eponymous Alamo Canal Trail (an extension off the regional Iron Horse Trail).

Organization & Production: Because this run was part of the larger festival, it’s not easy to separate organization of the running event from that of the festival. That said, registering was easy, online information was adequate, and finding the race day packet pick-up (there were two pick-up days before the event, but not close to where I live and work) was easy. Parking information could have been clearer. The start was by self-seeding, with timing mats there and at the finish. The finish was on the trail, arch and timing mats. When I was finishing there were people greeting friends and partially obstructing the arch. I suppose this sounds a bit bare-bones, but registration was just $35. No complaints from me!

Bib: The bib is simple, white background, race and sponsor logos, and number.

T-Shirt: The race tee is white cotton, with the race logo in front and sponsors’ logos in back. I usually don’t like white race shirts (I’m already pale enough!), but the race logo has “SHAMROCK” and a 3-leaf clover in the center in green, two yellow concentric circles, with the year and race name in orange circling between the yellow circles. With those colors, white may have been the best background choice.

Finisher’s Medal: This was a no-medal event. At $35, no complaint from me.

Finish & Recovery Area: The finish was near a trail entry, so there was some space for finishers and friends to chat, but no seating or large gathering area. From the trail, finishers and friends walked into the festival, with vendors’ food and crafts booths.

My Results & Opinion of the Race: Even with going past a few people near the finish arch I was happy with my finish time (the hindrance was a second or two, if that). I would not call the Dublin (California) Shamrock a destination or must-do event, but to meet up with friends or if it was the best for my schedule, I’d readily do it again.

DIFFICULTY
1
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3
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3
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3
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Event & Course Description: The Valentine Fun Run benefits the City of Campbell’s Parks and Recreation Department. Both distances use the Los Gatos Creek Trail, and start in Campbell Park. … MORE

Event & Course Description: The Valentine Fun Run benefits the City of Campbell’s Parks and Recreation Department. Both distances use the Los Gatos Creek Trail, and start in Campbell Park. The 5K, which I walked, went about a mile and a quarter, almost to Los Gatos Creek Park, crossed the creek on a bridge, ran past Campbell Park, turned around, and ran back, crossing another bridge back into Campbell park. The 5K course is like a long, very squashed oval, with a short out-and-back tail. The 10K course (which I’ve done in past years) is out-and-back mostly along one side of the creek, with a small loop on the other side of the creek through some marshy area for a sort of turn-around. Except for this loop, both courses are paved, and are flat, except for some rolling near a street under-crossing.

The creek side of both sides of the trail has an almost rural feel, but the other side of the outbound trail has well-landscaped condo complexes and a mobile home park along it. When the 10K course goes past Los Gatos Creek park, runners pass the park and some percolation ponds (and maybe some geese). On the other side of the creek (from the 10K and out-bound 5K course) is a freeway. The trail is lower in elevation from the freeway, so it isn’t too noisy, and the visual is bushes and trees.

Organization & Production: Campbell’s Parks and Rec people have been doing this and a Oktoberfest themed event for quite a few years, so it’s well done. Registration is through the city’s online “store” (= no processing fee). Aid stations were water-only and suitably spaced for participants who aren’t experienced/frequent runners. I didn’t partake, but I did see a table with coffee and bagels in the start-finish area before the start of the event. Timing was done by SVE Timing, a very solid outfit. Finish times were posted online by the next day. Parking at the start/finish park is limited (possibly not even enough for volunteers), but there is a large shopping and business park about a quarter of a mile away that allows parking near business buildings that are not used during weekends.

Bib: The bibs are color-coded by distance (yellow = 5K; blue = 10K) and feature the artwork described below.

T-Shirt: The race T-shirt is black poly-cotton, very nice to the touch. The artwork has an athletic shoe, with “46th annual” above it, a heart where the shoe logo would be, and “Parks Make Life Better” at the toe. Below the shoe are the race name and “Campbell Parks”. All in all, it’s a very nice shirt (especially for an event with a low registration price).

Finisher’s Medal: OK, I’ll ‘fess up, I described it as a “mehdal” in a FB group. The medallion is lightweight metal, probably from some sort of sports awards catalog. In the center is a nicely done custom sticker with the race artwork. BUT, this event has a very low registration fee (with no processing fee tacked on), and the proceeds benefit City of Campbell Parks Department, which, among many other things, maintains the part of the Los Gatos Creek Trail that goes through Campbell. So I’m OK with the medal (besides, I’ll wear the Tee many times, but not the medal).

Finish & Recovery Area: The last 20-30 minutes of my walk it started to sprinkle and gradually became a fairly steady shower. So I really didn’t look around the finish area much beyond getting a bottle of water, my finisher’s medal, and then find a covered space to see if I won an age group medal (not even close!).

My Results & Opinion of the Race: I’ve been a bit lazy the past couple of months, in a couple of ways. This was my first running event since early December last year. I DNSed a New Year’s Eve Day event, due to rain (that turned out to be a downpour & washout) and procrastinated too long to register for a January event I like. I also lazily adapted half of my 2022 Rave for Campbell’s Oktoberfest Fun Run for this Rave. Anyway, I didn’t push myself, but still got a decent finish time.

Would I do this event again? Well, the event has been on my possibilities list for years, but another race organizer I particularly like always has had an event on the same day. So I’ll have to say it’s a “Maybe”, but not because there is anything wrong with this event.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
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4
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The 2022 Pinoy Runners Brgy. Bay Area 5K & 10K brought love of running (and walking), Filipino culture, and friends and family to Quarry Lakes Park for a 10K and … MORE

The 2022 Pinoy Runners Brgy. Bay Area 5K & 10K brought love of running (and walking), Filipino culture, and friends and family to Quarry Lakes Park for a 10K and 5K fun run. Some organizational aspects were pretty basic – e.g. timing table instead of electronic timing and no course map on the website (but course marking was good) – but all was well done. 5K and 10K runners did the same course, except 10K runners did it twice. The course was entirely within the very beautiful park, rather than moving the longer distance onto the Alameda Creek Trail, as many events do.

The cotton-poly race Tee and finisher’s medal are very pleasant, though my size, XXL, was not available, and I had to DNF. Given the size of the event, not having XXL was probably was to keep costs within reason. As for my DNF, I had been recovering from an injury and was under-prepared for the 10K distance. I was able to do ~4 miles.

The aid stations were well spaced and included Filipino goodies. As/more important were the cheerful and encouraging volunteers, at the aid stations and course marshals. There were also Filipino goodies along with the usual recovery area snacks and foods. All in all it was an excellent race experience, and I will consider this event in 2023.

DIFFICULTY
2
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4
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4
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Because I'm catching up after being remiss for a while, this Rave will be more brief than this event deserves. Urban Coyote's Oakland Redwoods 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon is … MORE

Because I’m catching up after being remiss for a while, this Rave will be more brief than this event deserves. Urban Coyote’s Oakland Redwoods 5K, 10K, and Half Marathon is run in Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park. The park is nestled in the hills east of Oakland, well out of the city, and absolutely beautiful.

Because the event is small, timing is “gun start” and chip-timed finish. The 5K, which I did, started on a different trail than did the other two distance and was an out-and-back that was the return leg for the other distances. The first part was an access road for several picnic areas (meadows and groves), but soon went up into the redwood forest. The course was uphill outbound, with some short rolling hills, and then back down the same way.

The race Tee was nice, except Urban Coyote doesn’t do my size, XXL. There was no finisher’s medal. These are reflections of where Urban Coyote is, as a business, and if they grow XXL Tees and finisher’s medals may come. All in all, I would consider doing more Urban Coyote events, as they suit my capabilities and schedule.

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3
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4
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I've Raved this race several times, and my main reason for this quickie review is that now that with Covid event shutdowns in (hopefully) the past, the Bay Area Dream … MORE

I’ve Raved this race several times, and my main reason for this quickie review is that now that with Covid event shutdowns in (hopefully) the past, the Bay Area Dream Mile is fully back. The start was, again, on Embedded Way, with runners gated in groups onto the course, to minimize bottle-necking at the trail entry (Yay!). The course was the very pleasant Coyote Creek trail. Aid stations were well placed and had plenty of water and encouraging volunteers. The race Tee and finishers’ medals were very pleasant (different medals for each distance). The one semi-hiccup was that the food truck that was catering the recovery food was swamped and tired sore-footed runners had a choice between a long wait in line or giving the food a pass (which I did, my sore feet overcoming my taste buds). The Dream Mile will be among the choices I will consider in 2023.

DIFFICULTY
2
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4
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4
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Event & Course Description: The Leigh Longhorn Stampede is a 5K that benefits Leigh High School students. Its mostly flat USATF certified course winds around part of San Jose's Cambrian … MORE

Event & Course Description: The Leigh Longhorn Stampede is a 5K that benefits Leigh High School students. Its mostly flat USATF certified course winds around part of San Jose’s Cambrian neighborhood. Since the area was developed in the late 1940s or the 1950s, it’s suburban homes with a fair number of mature trees. I’d guesstimate the course has 40%-50% shade.

Organization & Production: The event is low-key, but register and run. All necessary info is on the race website, with no gotchas. There is parking at the school, as well as in the nearby neighborhood that is not part of the course. There were a couple of water stations on the course, very appropriate for a family-oriented 5K. There were music groups at 3 points along the course, and cheer team girls near the start and finish.

Bib: The overall color of the bib is green (one of the school colors). It has a drawing of the school mascot, a charging bull, plus the bib number.

T-Shirt: The T-shirt is forest green cotton. The front has the green charging bull over a bright golden yellow circle. Around that circle are the race name and year.

Finisher’s Medal: The medallion is a about 1 1/2 inch diameter lead gray disc with stars around it. In the center is a mostly green sticker with the bull and race info. It’s semi-custom from Crown, but pleasant. I have very moderate expectations for charity/benefit events, so I’m quite happy with this medal. The ribbon is plain green.

Finish & Recovery Area: The start area was a street in front of the high school, and the finish was the school’s central quad. There were a good number of benches and picnic type tables nearby. Runners went through the finish arch and were given their medals and a bottle of water as they went into the quad. There was a table well stocked with bananas and other simple goodies – more than I would expect of a charity/benefit event.

My Results & Opinion of the Race: I’ve had slightly better 5K finish times recently, but since it was a fairly warm day, my time was probably pretty good (for me). I’ve been wanting to do this event for quite some time, but between other choices and two years of Covid pause, this was my first time. It’s about 10 minutes drive from my home, and was a pleasant race experience, so the Leigh Longhorn Stampede will be a consideration next year.

DIFFICULTY
1
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4
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3
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4

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Event & Course Description: All distances share the 5K course. I runs along part of the shore, in and out of eucalyptus groves. It then climbs through a grove up … MORE

Event & Course Description: All distances share the 5K course. I runs along part of the shore, in and out of eucalyptus groves. It then climbs through a grove up to an open ridge with 360-degree views. Coming down from that ridge, 5K runners turn right toward the finish. 10K and half marathon runner then head out toward the tip of the peninsula, in and out of groves, along more shoreline, and then through a grove to a split. 10K runners go to the finish, while half marathon runners repeat the whole course. The views are pretty amazing, and the Eucalypti smell pretty nice, too. I had signed up for the half marathon distance, but needed to bail out to do “just” a 10K. Under-prepared, warm day, sun exposure, and starting with a too aggressive pace work poorly for me (surprise, surprise, surprise!). That’s my fault. Nitro Trail, Dirty Dozen, and Nitro Turkey are wonderful race experiences.

Organization & Production: It’s a Brazen race. That means it’s register-and-run and well produced. A runner just needs to “worry” about getting there and getting home.

Bib: Brazen doesn’t do plain race bibs. The top has the same artwork as the race T-shirt at the top (described below), with the race name and date. The bib number and runner’s name is in a distance color-coded strip in the middle, and Brazen Racing’s logo is at the bottom.

T-Shirt: Brazen’s registration fee includes a tech type T-shirt for half marathon runners and a poly-cotton T-shirt for 10K and 5K runners. 10K and 5K runners can upgrade to a tech type Tee for a moderate fee (currently $7). The tech type T-shirt is bright golden yellow. The front has the prospector’s donkey described below, along with a small Brazen Racing logo.

Finisher’s Medal: Different people have different tastes, I get that. For me, the medallion is amazing, insta-favorite. The medallion is a copper-colored prospector’s mule (the venue is a former site for manufacturing explosives, such as a miner might use), about 3 1/2 inches long, nose to tail. The mule is loaded up with frying pan, bed roll, water bottle (wink, wink), shovel, and wood panels for making a shelter. The race name and info are on the wood panels. The degree of detail is amazing! The ribbon is dark brown, with a lighter brown lace-like pattern

Finish & Recovery Area: The finish/recovery area is a picnic area, with tables and trees. Brazen always has plenty of recovery goodies, including several flavors of It’s It ice cream sandwiches.

My Results & Opinion of the Race: I was disappointed in my outcome, but that was largely my doing. That aside, I’ve done Nitro Trail before, and probably will again.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
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5

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Event & Course Description: The Willow Glen 5K is a family-oriented event that benefits the Willow Glen School District. As the event name suggests, it is run/walked in the Willow … MORE

Event & Course Description: The Willow Glen 5K is a family-oriented event that benefits the Willow Glen School District. As the event name suggests, it is run/walked in the Willow Glen neighborhood of San Jose. The run starts on Lincoln Avenue, a main street, by Willow Glen Elementary School. It runs about a quarter mile through a downtown-like area, and then turns to wend its way around residential neighborhoods, returning to and finishing in the school courtyard.

Willow Glen is an older neighborhood, with very nice homes (some possibly about a century old) and lots of mature trees – very pleasant, and lots of shade. The course is all paved streets. The weather on event day 2022 was cool and overcast, near perfect (IMO), but 2 or 3 days previous had been sunny and warmer.

Organization & Production: The district has been running this event for quite a few years, and it is well organized. It’s basically register-and-run. The school courtyard was used for race-day registration and check-in, recovery area, and sponsors’ tables. The course is clearly marshaled, with SJPD and volunteers, and two water-only aid stations (in a 5K!). Runners self-seeded at the start, and parents with strollers did keep toward the back of the pack.

Bib: The bib has the T-shirt artwork at the top, and below that, the bib number in white on a green background.

T-Shirt: The T-shirt is navy blue, tech-type, with artwork in front and sponsors’ logos on the back and on the left sleeve. The artwork is not easily described. It has the race name and date, of course, worked into it, but had abstract drawings of a sunrise, a house with a garden, a fountain, willow trees, a person (?), a theater marquee, and a swimming pool … I think. The cumulative effect is way better than my poor guesscription. It’s a really nice T-shirt, much nicer than one might expect from a charity run.

Finish & Recovery Area: The finish area was pretty minimal. A lot of cut up bananas, bottled water handed out at the finish line, plus whatever was left of a bunch of Starbucks coffee that had been available before the run. There wasn’t any seating, but there were a couple of raised planters whose concrete walls served reasonably well.

My Opinion of the Race: I generally moderate my expectations for charity events, because I want them to use their funds as prudently as they think necessary. Other than being no-medal, this event, however, was on par with professionally organized running events.

As I mentioned, the school district has been doing this event for quite a while, but being a school district, they’ve probably had a lot of experienced people move on through the years, with new people in their place. I was particularly impressed by there being an aid station every mile, very family-friendly. Because this event is near me, ~15 minutes’ drive on streets, it will be a consideration in 2023.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
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4

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Event & Course Description: Coastal Trail Runs' SPASM Lake Chabot is, as the race name indicates, run at Lake Chabot, near Castro Valley. Five distances are run, 8K, Half Marathon, … MORE

Event & Course Description: Coastal Trail Runs’ SPASM Lake Chabot is, as the race name indicates, run at Lake Chabot, near Castro Valley. Five distances are run, 8K, Half Marathon, 30K, Marathon, and 50K, of which I did the 8K distance. The 8K course is a “Lollipop”, a mile and a half along the lake, an uphill and downhill 2 mile loop, and then returning to the finish along the same lake shore. The other distances do most of the 8K course, but instead of returning along the lake circle around the lake, including some distance upstream along Grass Valley Creek. That is the half marathon course, and the longer distances do parts or all of that course again.

The section along the lake is rolling and paved. The loop in the 8K course is dirt trail, with a half mile long fairly steep uphill, and a steeper quarter mile downhill. The half marathon course adds two more fairly steep hills, is mostly dirt trail. And for the longer distances, rinse-and-repeat as required.

Spring time weather in the SF Bay Area is quite variable. Within a week or two it can go from sunny and in the low 90s F to rainy and in the 50s F. This year on race day it was the latter, with rain for at least my slow first 3 miles or so (possibly more, later, after I headed home). It was wet and muddy, and I was soaked and a slip-and-fall gave me a partial covering in mud. This, too, is trail running.

Organization & Production: Coastal Trail Runs’ events are register and run. Necessary information is on the website, check-in is race-day-only and smooth, courses are copiously marked, and recovery area goodies are good.

Bib: Coastal’s bibs are fairly plain, except that the background color is varies with distances. Yellow was 8K. Beyond that, the bibs have Coastal’s logo and motto, and the bib number.

T-Shirt: Coastal’s race T-shirts are always tech type, regardless of distance. Because the 2018 race tee was not a favorite, I forewent the 2022 shirt, for a $5 discount. As it turned out, the 2022 shirt was a new design and fairly nice.

Finisher’s Medal: Like many Coastal medals, the medallion artwork for this race is somewhat abstract, wavy parallel white and blue lines to represent the lake water and frequent foggy haze above the water. Along the top is the race name, and along the bottom the logo of the sports medicine clinic sponsor. The ribbon is purple, gives the year and has the race logo. All in all, it’s a pretty nice medal.

Finish & Recovery Area: In addition to recovery are goodies, this park has a good number of picnic tables (but no Yogi or Boo-Boo) at which one can munch and rest.

My Results & Opinion of the Race: Because I had to be extra careful on the steep and muddy downhill, I assumed my finish time was significantly affected. I was very happy to finish and not be totally coated with mud after multiple slip-and-falls. Looking back at my 2018 finish time, I was actually a few minutes less slow in 2022, to my surprise.

Coastal is one of the Bay Area’s best trail race organizers and produces a consistently excellent race experience at a very reasonable cost. I will definitely consider doing this event in 2023.

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
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5

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Event & Course Description: The Wildflower Run benefits the American Association of University Women. It was run in northern Morgan Hill, in 10K and 5K distances, the 39th running and … MORE

Event & Course Description: The Wildflower Run benefits the American Association of University Women. It was run in northern Morgan Hill, in 10K and 5K distances, the 39th running and after a 2 year Covid break. I won’t try to trace the course in detail (I did the 10K distance), but will instead say that the area in which we ran is semi-rural, on the edge of the city, so we saw open fields, orchards, a vineyard, a new housing development, some larger “estates” (the best word I know to describe such homes), and some more ordinary suburban neighborhoods. The event started in the student parking lot at Live Oak High School, and finished at the other side of the campus, near faculty parking.

Organization & Production: As mentioned above, this was the 39th running, so the AAUW people doing the organizing have considerable practice. From checking out their website through leaving after finishing, the Wildflower Run is a register-and-run event. It’s fairly no-frills – no finisher’s medal, water-only aid stations – but what there is is done well. The course marshals along the course and aid station volunteers were consistently friendly and encouraging.

Bib: The bibs were fairly plain, blue for 10K, yellow for 5K, with the race name and bib numbers. The event is chip timed.

T-Shirt: Maybe I’m spoiled or not fully rational, but this was a sore spot for me. I “get” that charities need to use their funds carefully (it would be disturbing if they did not). So I dial back my expectations: cotton instead of tech-type is fine with me; I don’t expect amazing creativity or even a different design every year. When I picked up my bib and Tee early on race day, I was asked if a blue shirt instead of a red one would be OK. Thinking the difference was just color, I was OK with that, and left the shirt in my car (I usually don’t wear race shirts on the day of the race). I looked at my shirt after finishing, and saw it had the date “2020”. It’s a good quality cotton Tee, with a fairly interesting design, and obviously cost the charity money, but I wish the organizers had informed runners that some might receive shirts left over from previous years.

Finish & Recovery Area: I was tired enough that I didn’t check out what was in the area. In passing through it, I did notice cups with pretzel sticks and a lady handing out pieces of cantaloupe.

My Results & Opinion of the Race: Maybe I’ll get over it (or grow up) but what I mentioned above was disappointing. The Wildflower run was well organized, with friendly volunteers, and the scenery was more pleasant than many street/road events I’ve done.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

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Once over lightly ... maybe? I've Raved Brazen Racing's Victory event before, but 2022 was the first time I did the half marathon distance. So … it's and out-and-back, mostly … MORE

Once over lightly … maybe? I’ve Raved Brazen Racing’s Victory event before, but 2022 was the first time I did the half marathon distance. So … it’s and out-and-back, mostly on the Bay Trail, starting near a former Ford plant in Rosie the Riveter national park, with different turn-arounds for the three distances. It’s a Brazen race, so production is excellent, from researching the event before registering through leaving the parking lot to return home.

Probably the 10K (and 5K) course is the most scenic, pleasant on both sides of the trail. Some time after the 10K turn-around, the half marathon course has freeway or industrial buildings on the inland side and bay scenery on the other, until runners reach the Albany Bulb, which is entirely pleasant (why a peninsula into SF Bay is called a “bulb”, I don’t know). The one brief hill, on the half marathon course only, was on the Albany Bulb. Otherwise, the courses are almost literally flat.

The tech-type T-shirt is light blue, with a large red, white, and blue “V” (Victory ships were built where the park is now), and a white banner across it with the word “Victory”. Very nice, though not quite “favorite grade” for my tastes (Brazen always has excellent artwork, and this really is NOT an exception).

The medal, on the other hand, is the most to my taste of this event’s finisher’s medals that I’ve seen. In the background is a large white circle, with a red ring around it. In the circle are stars, and around the ring are the year in Roman numerals and the distances. The foreground is an eagle perched on an anchor’s flukes with its wings raised to form a “V”, and across its chest is a banner with the word “VICTORY”. The ribbon is blue, with the race information. For those who also ran in Brazen’s Bay Breeze, there is a connector medal (octopuses and eagles have a natural connection, right? 😉 ).

I was very happy with my finish time, the best I’ve done since mid 2017 (and half an hour less slow than two weeks previous). A running friend and I sort of paced each other by talking the whole way, which kept me from thinking about things that hurt a little or how tired I was getting. Brazen is consistently excellent, so I will consider doing Victory in 2023.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
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5

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Once over lightly ... maybe? Bay Breeze starts and end in Marina Park, and is out-and-back in three distances on the Bay Trail along the bay. I did the half … MORE

Once over lightly … maybe? Bay Breeze starts and end in Marina Park, and is out-and-back in three distances on the Bay Trail along the bay. I did the half marathon. For the half, the course was about half paved and half packed dirty and gravel. There is almost no shade on the course. Yesterday was mostly sunny and warm, but clouds and rain are possible in February.

It’s a Brazen Race, register-and-run. Well organized, well marked course (though going off-course usually would involve a swim), ample aid stations and recovery food. Very helpful encouraging volunteers … it’s a Brazen Race.

My tech-type tee is very red, featuring an octopus holding a bouquet of red roses – combining sea and Valentines Day themes. The medal is an octopus holding an anchor on a heart background.

My finish time was not great, ~70% because of non-preparation (= being lazy), 30% sciatica (I now know things that help, but wasn’t diligent in learning). Finishing was the BIG goal, because Bay Breeze was the last half I tried and couldn’t finish in 2018 before finally trying (and finishing) another in November 2021. Vindication? Revenge? Getting it behind me and moving on? Obviously Bay Breeze will be a consideration in the future.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5
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Event & Course Description: Brazen Racing's Coyote Hills Trail Runs is done at Coyote Hills Park in Fremont, CA. The hills border the southeast end of San Francisco Bay, and … MORE

Event & Course Description: Brazen Racing’s Coyote Hills Trail Runs is done at Coyote Hills Park in Fremont, CA. The hills border the southeast end of San Francisco Bay, and are just south of where Alameda Creek pours into the bay. In past years the start/finish area was in the park. This year the it was at a campground on the southern border of the park, not far from the Dumbarton Bridge.

The event was done in the three common distances, half marathon, 10K (which I did), and 5K. The courses shared some trails, and some were used by just one distance. The interconnected arcs, loops and out-and-back legs were more intricate than I could describe without being an insomnia cure. The best description would be that the courses were varying length tours of the park.

The 10K course was about 5% shade, and cumulatively a little over 1/3 paved. The courses were mostly gently rolling, but had 1 (5K), 2 (10K), or 4 (half marathon) fairly steep hills. It could be said to be a moderate intro to trail running, 🙂 . Every distance shared the hill about 3/4 mile from the finish, a .36 mile 10% grade climb up, and a 10% grade downhill of similar length.

The views were varied and pleasant – marsh, hills, and the bay. 10K and half marathon runners used a wooden causeway to cross a marsh. The weather was pleasant and sunny, neither too cool or too warm. But the event is done in January, so a few past years have had rain and mud.

Organization & Production: As mentioned, Brazen has been doing this event for quite a few years. My first time was in 2014. For those past runnings, runners parked at nearby DeVry University, and were shuttled to the park. DeVry moved, and the property owner was not willing to do this. Brazen learned this some 3 or 4 months before the usual race date and had to work out all new parking arrangements and reroute new courses with a start/finish area that had not been part of previous years’ courses. Only the event name and park were the same.

I usually describe Brazen races as register-and-run, everything so well organized that a participant just needs to register, get there, run their race, and return home. With all new courses and parking, the reorganized Coyote Hills event was still register-and-run. All courses were well marked with color-coded ribbons, chalk/flour, and course marshals at key turns. Covid adjustments were few, because Brazen has always done food handling at aid stations and the recovery area well.

Bib: Brazen doesn’t do plain race bibs. Bibs usually have some sort of distance color-coding. There is artwork (often shared with the race T-shirt), with the race name and date, bib number and runner’s name, and Brazen Racing’s logo.

The bib for Coyote Hills has a stylized coyote head (see below) in the top left corner, and the race name and distance across the rest of the top in block letters. In the center is the runner’s name in letters large enough to read an oncoming runner’s bib and cheer them on by name. Below that is the bib number, and across the bottom is Brazen Racing’s logo. The half marathon bibs were brown or burnt orange, the 10K bibs sky blue, and the 5K bibs yellow.

T-Shirt: Brazen’s registration fee includes a tech type T-shirt for half marathon runners and a poly-cotton T-shirt for 10K and 5K runners. 10K and 5K runners can upgrade to a tech type Tee for a moderate fee (currently $7).

Because Coyote Hills 2014 was my first trail event and first Brazen event, I upgraded to the tech type shirt. The T-shirt is black, and in the front is a string-art-style coyote head, one side pink, the other yellow. Below one of the coyote’s cheeks is the race name and year. Brazen Racing’s logo is on the left sleeve. On a Favorite-Meh-Bye spectrum, it’s clearly a favorite.

Finisher’s Medal: The medallion has a black background, and at the top, the string-art coyote head, with orange “strings”. The year is at the coyote’s muzzle, below that the race name in block letters, and in a small rectangle the distances, all outlined in orange. The overall effect is visually dramatic.

Finish & Recovery Area: It’s a Brazen race, so there were plenty of recovery snacks, and a bottle of water was given with the finisher’s medal. The area was a bit compact, but organizers have to work with what they have. There were just a few park benches for those wanting to sit down, BUT the usual start/finish area for the event just had few low fence railings. There were some portacans, and because of the adjoining campground, several permanent restrooms (some had showers … not sure if those were functioning, but if the same area is used in 2023 …).

My Results & Opinion of the Race: This was kind of another welcome back event for me. Brazen’s Coyote Hills is nostalgic for me, and it was the first event I’ve done since 2019 with significant hills. As to the hills, I’ve got a way to go yet (10% grade!), but it’s a start. I was initially a little disappointed with my finish time, but then I remembered that the actual distance was 6.6 miles instead of 6.22 miles. I finished vertical, self-powered, and with a decent (for me) finish time. I’ll take it!

Do I need to say I’d consider doing Coyote Hills Trail Runs in 2023? Brazen Racing consistently does well organized events, so I’ll be back for this and some of their other events, as fits my abilities and goals. I recently signed up for one of their February halfs. I checked out the price for a large international event organizer (not The Mouse). The price for the same time between registration and the event was $60-$65 higher. Very different experiences, but for me, all in Brazen’s favor (and other local trail run organizers!).

DIFFICULTY
4
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5
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Event & Course Description: Kiwanis Resolution Run starts and finishes in Shoreline Park Mountain View. The 5K course uses the Bay Trail outbound in in part of the return, but … MORE

Event & Course Description: Kiwanis Resolution Run starts and finishes in Shoreline Park Mountain View. The 5K course uses the Bay Trail outbound in in part of the return, but uses a golf course road for the rest of the return to the start/finish area. The 10K, which I did, is an out-and-back on the Bay Trail. As the trail name suggests, much of it is along the marshes at the southern end of San Francisco Bay. Both courses are mostly paved, and shade was perhaps 10%. It’s New Year’s Day, not usually warm.

Organization & Production: It’s almost unfair to review the 2022 running, because it was organized in half of the usual time, due to permit delays by the City of Mountain View. Also, courtesy of Covid, the race timing outfit they’ve used in the past was not available, so the run was not chip timed (which it usually is). In general, they had to do a lot of make-do. All the same, nothing particularly made for a poor race experience.

Probably the most noticeable organization change was that the actual 10K course was different from the map on the website. The map shows the course, lust before the turn-around, doing several tenths of a mile on paved street. As run, the course instead turned onto an unpaved section of the Bay Trail that heads right out toward the bay along a levee. Frankly, I hope they keep that change in future runnings. Running/walking on the levee with the marsh and marsh birds on both sides of the trail was much nicer than the paved street.

Bib: White background, race logo, bib number.

Race Hat: It’s not HeadSweats, but it is very nice. It’s white, tech type, and features the race logo. One thing I especially appreciate is that wher HeadSweats hats are a tight fit when adjusted as far as it would go, this hat fit nicely and could be adjusted larger.

Finisher’s Medal: No medal.

Finish & Recovery Area: I know they had fruit and goodies, but it was packed and gone by the time I finished. See below.

My Results & Opinion of the Race: I’m somewhat frustrated with my finish time (it wasn’t chip timed, but I used the stopwatch function on my watch). I had to do a cumulative total of about 10 minutes of rest stops because sciatica had one of my thighs really painful at times. But I completed the 10K and I wasn’t slower than normal by being lazy. I’ve another, more challenging 10K in a week, and I think I’m doing somewhat better.

As I mentioned above, the 2022 running was thrown together in half their normal time. It showed in some ways, but West San Jose Kiwanis Club still organized a good race experience. Hopefully they’ll be able to do what they normally do for January 1, 2023. I won’t say I will definitely do this event then, but it will be among the possibilities from which I’ll be choosing.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
3
SCENERY
4
SWAG
3

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Event & Course Description: The Firehouse Run (TFR) is put on by Santa Clara Firefighters Foundation and other charities to support Santa Clara schools. It started near and finished in … MORE

Event & Course Description: The Firehouse Run (TFR) is put on by Santa Clara Firefighters Foundation and other charities to support Santa Clara schools. It started near and finished in the stadium at the University of Santa Clara. The 5K course was a loop, mostly through the neighborhood just to the west of the university. There was no 10K distance in 2022. The course ran through neighborhoods of homes, many of which are probably 80-100 years old, on paved streets. It has mature trees, so it’s fairly shaded for much of the course.

Organization & Production: TFR is pretty much Register-and-Run. The website information is ample, and pre-race emails were informative. Packet pick-up could be done at a local Sports Basement the day before the race or at the race venue on race day. There was plenty of parking in a covered U Santa Clara lot about 10 minutes walk from the start/finish area. The course was well “marked” by volunteers and orange cones at some intersections, and police controlling traffic at more significant intersections. There was a water-only aid station at the ~1.5 mile point.

Bib: The bib had orange numbers on a black background, with the race artwork, described below, in the top left corner.

T-Shirt: The race Tee is medium blue poly-cotton, soft to the touch. At the top left of the front is the name of the race including the year, below which is a fire hydrant wearing a firefighter’s helmet and sporting a ginormous handlebar mustache.

Finisher’s Medal: There were no finisher’s medals, except for sex/age group top finishers. It’s a charity race, so I’m good with that.

Finish & Recovery Area: Pizza! The area is the entry area for a football stadium, so there were no picnic tables or similar seating.

My Results & Opinion of the Race: This is a nice family- and neighborhood-oriented event. Lots of parents with munchkins ranging from strollers to middle and high school. It’s on my list of possibilities for 2023.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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Event & Course Description: The Oktoberfest Fun Run benefits the City of Campbell's Parks and Recreation Department. Both distances use the Los Gatos Creek Trail, and start in Campbell Park. … MORE

Event & Course Description: The Oktoberfest Fun Run benefits the City of Campbell’s Parks and Recreation Department. Both distances use the Los Gatos Creek Trail, and start in Campbell Park. The 5K, which I walked, went about a mile and a quarter, almost to Los Gatos Creek Park, crossed the creek on a bridge, ran past Campbell Park, turned around, and ran back, crossing a bridge into Campbell park. The 5K course is like a long, very squashed oval, with a short out-and-back tail. The 10K course (which I’ve done in past years) is out-and-back along one side of the creek, with a small loop on the other side through some marshy area instead of a turn-around. Except for this loop, both courses are paved, and are flat, except for some rolling near a street under-crossing.

The creek side of the trails has an almost rural feel, but the other side of the trail has well-landscaped condo complexes and a mobile home park along it. On the other side of the creek (from the 10K and out-bound 5K courses) is a freeway. The trail is lower in elevation from the freeway, so it isn’t too noisy or visually obtrusive.

Organization & Production: Campbell’s Parks and Rec people have been doing this and a Valentine themed event for quite a few years, so it’s well done. Registration is through the city’s online “store” (= no processing fee). Aid stations were well spaced for participants who aren’t experienced/frequent runners. I didn’t partake, but I did see a table with coffee and bagels in the start-finish area before the start of the event. Timing was done by SVE Timing, a very solid outfit. Finish times were posted online by early afternoon. Parking at the start/finish park is limited (possibly not enough for volunteers), but there is a large shopping and business park a quarter of a mile away that allows parking near business buildings not used during weekends.

Bib: The bibs were very pleasant, with tree themed artwork. 5K bibs had orange coloring, while 10K bibs had green coloring.

T-Shirt: The event Tee is dark gray poly-cotton. The artwork on the front has three silhouette people running past a water tower (the city’s symbol). The year is on the tower tank. Above the tower is the event name, and below the runners, the words “Campbell Recreation”. This is all in white, with a white shield-shaped outline. Around this in orange are two abstract wheat or barley stalks and another white outline. It’s a very nice event Tee.

Finisher’s Medal: When I did this event in 2019, there was no finisher’s medal (though the finisher’s steins are very nice, 😉 ). The event was not run in 2020, because Covid, and the 2021 event I did not do had a medal. The 2022 medallion has the shield shaped T-shirt artwork, with laurel leaves added along the side, and curled ribbons across the bottom with an oak leaf in the middle of the ribbons. The ribbon is dark gray, with orange stripes along the sides. The event name and the medallion artwork are along the ribbon between the stripes. All in all, a very nice finisher’s medal.

Finish & Recovery Area: I didn’t pay much attention to the finish area. There was a volunteer just past the arch handing out bottles of water, and a table nearby with more. The finish area was on a set of basketball courts, with grassy berms on two sides (to keep balls from rolling into streets). One berm has a low concrete wall, handy for sitting and resting. I suspect there were recovery goodies, I just didn’t go looking.

My Results & Opinion of the Race: I’ve been recovering and building back up from a muscle strain, so I wasn’t particularly aggressive, but my finish time was in the range I was hoping for. Campbell’s Oktoberfest Fun Run is very well done, very family-friendly (a kids run is part of the event, and I saw lots of child-parent pairs and runners with strollers), and 10 or fewer minutes drive from my house to the parking. I’ve done it before and probably will again. The only reason I haven’t done the corresponding Valentine themed event is that another organizer has an event I enjoy around the same time.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5
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Event & Course Description: Coastal Trail Runs' ZombieRunner Quarry Lakes starts and finishes at a picnic area in Quarry Lakes Park. I described the course pretty well in my December … MORE

Event & Course Description: Coastal Trail Runs’ ZombieRunner Quarry Lakes starts and finishes at a picnic area in Quarry Lakes Park. I described the course pretty well in my December 2017 Rave, so I’ll keep this brief. I did the half marathon distance, which means I did the short vertical stroke of the “T” and both out-and-back halves of the horizontal cross.

The park is very nice, and the picnic pavilion good for weather … which we did have a little, of the wet variety. It sprinkled fairly steadily during the first half hour or so of the half marathon. The course is maybe 20% shade … though that didn’t mean much this year, given the weather.

Organization & Production: Coastal could be described as “budget”, but their race experiences aren’t “budget”. Their events are what I call “register-and-run”. From complete information on their website through well marked courses, well staffed and stocked aid stations, and pleasant recovery area, runners’ “worries” are getting there (parking is not pre-paid), doing their distance, and getting home. One nice “upgrade” since mid 2019 is that timing is now chip start rather than “gun” start. I’m not fast and Coastal’s events aren’t huge, so the several seconds delay between the gun and my actual crossing of the starting line never bothered me.

Bib: Coastal’s bibs are fairly plain, except that the background color is color-coded for the distances. Beyond that, the bibs have Coastal’s logo and motto, and the bib number (whose first number is also distance-coded).

T-Shirt: Coastal’s race T-shirts are always tech type, regardless of distance. My shirt was white, which I usually don’t like (I’m pale enough!), but most of the shirts I saw were a medium slate blue. The artwork on the front was an abstract of the (Alameda) creek and tules, along with the race name, ZombieRunner logo (which includes a runner in shorts, Tee, and hat), distances, and date, all in a large rectangle. The back had the usual sponsors’ logos. The printing was done in bright (or BRIGHT?) orange and yellow, which on the white shirt is rather striking, in a good way. All in all, very nice.

Finisher’s Medal: The shape of the medallion is not easy to describe. It’s like an outer 90-degree arc from two concentric circles, very different from the simple disc when I did this event in 2017. The artwork is similar to that of the T-shirt. The ribbon is forest green, with the race logo and the word “Finisher”. Only the shirt has the date or year.

Finish & Recovery Area: It was under a group picnic pavilion. Perfect (not unique, but great for tired runners)! At or near several tables were a good variety of snacks, electrolyte drink, and ice chests with water, sodas, and beers. There was also a hot pot with some sort of stew or soup (I wasn’t sure trying some would have been a good idea for me at the time, so I’m not sure what it was). This is pretty typical for Coastal’s trail runs, though much nicer than many large-scale street/road events.

My Results & Opinion of the Race: I didn’t have anything to prove to myself and was nursing an unhappy Achilles tendon, so I was not aggressive in pace. DNF was a realistic option if the tendon started acting up. But a mile or so in it was clear that wasn’t happening, so I kept going, carefully. Anyway, I was able to complete the half marathon, and to my surprise, my finish time was over a minute less slow than two weeks earlier on the same trail (but different course). I was still almost DLF – which I expected to be – but I had spent less time at aid stations, evidently. So I am very happy with what I was able to do, needing somewhat less rest than two weeks earlier.

Coastal consistently offers runners an excellent race experience at a moderate price, and this event was no exception. ZombieRunner Quarry Lakes will definitely be a possibility in 2022 (December 11th, mark your calendars).

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
2
SWAG
5
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Event & Course Description: I've reviewed this race before, so I'll keep the course description brief. All distances – half marathon, 10K, and 5K – start and finish at a … MORE

Event & Course Description: I’ve reviewed this race before, so I’ll keep the course description brief. All distances – half marathon, 10K, and 5K – start and finish at a picnic area in Quarry Lakes Park. All runners do a partial circle around some of the lakes and go out onto the Alameda Creek Trail. Each distance has its own turn-around along the trail, and runners return to the park and complete the lakes loop.

Organization & Production: It’s a Brazen race. That means it’s register-and-run. All necessary info is on the website, courses are well marked, etc., etc., etc.. Runners’ challenges are getting there, running/walking their distance, and getting home. Runners familiar with road events may be surprised, perhaps, by Brazen’s well stocked aid stations. As always, Brazen’s volunteers are friendly and encouraging. More on that below.

Bib: Brazen doesn’t do plain race bibs. The stripe in the center with the bib number is distance color-coded (red = half marathon; blue = 10K; yellow = 5K). Above that stripe are the race name, the runner’s distance, the year, and the race T-shirt artwork. Below the stripe are the runner’s name (as chosen by the runner in registering) and Brazen Racing’s logo.

T-Shirt: Brazen’s registration fee includes a tech type T-shirt for half marathon runners and a poly-cotton T-shirt for 10K and 5K runners. 10K and 5K runners can upgrade to a tech type Tee for a moderate fee (currently $7). I did the half marathon distance, so my race Tee is tech type, bright blue, and short-sleeved. The front has the race name in yellow block letters, a turkey running out the Brazen arch chasing two running slices of pumpkin pie. The year is below the running figures. The Brazen Racing logo is on the left sleeve and the back is plain. My description doesn’t do the cuteness and humor of the shirt artwork justice!

Finisher’s Medal: Quarry Turkey is the second in a two-race series. Those who run and finish both receive the two races’ medals, plus a bonus connector. The Quarry Turkey medallion has a turkey wearing a race Tee with the letter “Q”, looking to his/her right. Along the left side of and below the turkey are the race name, year, and distances. The Nitro Turkey medallion is a mirror image, with an “N”, and the connector is a pumpkin pie with “You want a piece of me?” above and “Double Finisher” below.

Finish & Recovery Area: Brazen races always have extensive recovery snacks; the turkey races include pumpkin pie. I was waaaaaaayyyy too tired to survey what was available when I finished, though I did partake a little. The covered group picnic tables were very welcome!

My Results & Opinion of the Race: This was my first completed half marathon in 3 years and 11 months! Nearly 4 years! So I was VERY happy to have completed it … vertical … under my own power. My finish time was unspectacular (albeit my best in nearly 4 1/2 years), about what I expected. My big goal was to finish the half, so I’m very happy.

I’ve done Brazen’s Turkey races multiple times, so obviously I’m likely to do Quarry Turkey in 2022. The timing and closeness to my home are ideal, and it’s a Brazen race.

Because I was the very last finisher of the half, I got a glimpse of the degree to which Brazen keeps tabs on it runners. There were 4 aid stations, reasonably spaced along the course, numbers 1-4 in outbound sequence. When I reached Aid 3 on my return leg, it was clear they were expecting me, personally, and that became the more obvious as I progressed through Aid 2 and then Aid 1. It was clear that the volunteers were checking out my degree of awareness (as aid station volunteers should) and were encouraging me, personally. After finishing, in speaking with one of the RDs, I learned that my progress had been tracked among the RDs and the aid stations. While the RDs and many of the volunteers know me, I think a possibly struggling first-timer would have received similar attention and encouragement. As it was, Brazen and its community unknowingly made my “I’m back!” day extra special.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5
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Event & Course Description: The Vibha Dream Mile benefits an Indian education charity, and is run in several cities, including in Bangalore, India. The event in San Jose had three … MORE

Event & Course Description: The Vibha Dream Mile benefits an Indian education charity, and is run in several cities, including in Bangalore, India. The event in San Jose had three distances, 5K, 10K (which I did), and half marathon.

Vibha Dream Mile courses have evolved some through the years, but since I started doing their races have always been run on the Coyote Creek Trail in South San Jose. The change in 2021 from 2018 (when I last did the event) was that runners went directly from Embedded Way onto the trail, rather than running their first and last mile on streets. As the trail name suggests, it follows Coyote Creek, and runs from Anderson Reservoir northward into south San Jose. While the trail occasionally goes past several industrial parks or residential areas, it has a mostly rural feel. All in all, it is very pleasant.

On reaching the trail, 5K and 10K runners turned left, heading south on the trail to their respective turn-arounds. Half marathon runners turned right on reaching the trail and headed north, to a turn-around in Hellyer Park. They then ran past the start area to their turn-around near Metcalf Road in south San Jose. Southbound sections of the course are upstream, but only gently uphill, with some minor rolling.

Organization & Production: Runners were able to pick up their swag (in a reusable bag) the two days before the race and on the morning of. I did the former. Those doing the Friday or Saturday pick-up made reservations for their choice of hour-long time slots (no cost). This spread out pick-ups, because Covid.

Near the venue, there were designated parking (and don’t-park) areas with appropriate directing signs. From where I parked it was a ~.4 mile downhill walk via sidewalk to the start/finish area. Other parts of the parking area were nearer Coyote Creek Trail and may have been flatter. I’m just giving information, not complaining.

When runners go from Embedded Way onto the trail, they go through a narrow bottleneck several yards long. I knew this from other events held there. Vibha handled this in a way that I thought very clever. As each distance started – the half marathon in one group and 5K and 10K runners in a second, separated by half an hour – runners were released in groups of 10-20. This allowed some spreading of runners and thus mitigated the bottleneck. Very smart!

Aid stations were reasonably space, and offered water, electrolyte drink, and very encouraging volunteers. Besides the usual “rabbits” accompanying distance leaders, there were also course marshals riding up and down the course, looking for runners needing assistance. The course was well marked with arrows and had distance markers every mile.

Bib: The background of the bib is a silhouette of an adult and child running across a green fileld, with a blue sky, abstract clouds, and the Sun like a halo behind the adult. At the top center is the event logo and year. The left corner has a distance color-coded “swoosh” (half marathon = yellow; 10K = green; 5K = blue ) that tapers toward the center and gives the distance. The bib number was in white, outlined in black, and there were two sponsors’ logos at the bottom.

T-Shirt: The race Tee is long-sleeved teal-blue tech type. The collar is bright yellow. The front has the race logo, the adult and child runners with the Sun behind them, and the event name. Behind the runners in orange is a Golden Gate Bridge support tower, and below the partial bridge deck is the slogan for the race, “… a few miles for a million dreams …”. The left sleeve has the year, and the right sleeve, “Never give up”. The back of the shirt has sponsors’ logos in orange. It’s a very attractive shirt, IMO.

Finisher’s Medal: There were different medallions for finishers of the half than for those who finished the 5K or 10K. Again, not complaining, though race-bling-lovers might see this as inducement to do the half in 2022 (hmmmmmm …..). I didn’t get a good look at the medallion for half runners, but it was larger and copper colored, while other runners’ medallions had a brushed nickel appearance. My medallion is round and features the Dream Mile logo and slogan (half runners’ medallions probably were similar). Ribbons were color-coded for distance, 10K and 5 K ribbons the same color as on the respective bibs, and purple for half marathon finishers. Ribbons gave the race logo, distance, and year. All in all, a very nice finisher’s medal.

Finish & Recovery Area: Embedded Way is a cul de sac city street, so there weren’t any tables. On the other hand, instead of the usual snack items there was catered (and tasty!!!) Indian food, as well as oranges and bananas. Hint Water also had a pavilion offering finishers their drinks. The catered food was basically a light meal pre-packaged in take-out style containers (because Covid). Many (including me) took their food home to eat it there – very convenient (and did I mention “tasty”?).

My Results & Opinion of the Race: I was originally planning to do a vigorous but comfortable pace, but got lazy and was a bit more aggressive than planned. So I was a bit faster than I expected. There are worse “problems” to have, LOL.

All in all, runners’ greatest “worries” were getting to and from the event. Everything from signing up to leaving the parking area was smooth. As can be seen below this Rave, I’ve done and reviewed this event before. I came into it expecting a very pleasant race experience, and Vibha easily met that experience. I will definitely consider doing this event in 2022, whether in its more usual June time frame or, as in 2021, later in the year.

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Event & Course Description: I've Raved this event several times before, so I'll try to be brief. ZombieRunner Halloween has four distances, marathon, half marathon, 10K and 5K. It starts … MORE

Event & Course Description: I’ve Raved this event several times before, so I’ll try to be brief. ZombieRunner Halloween has four distances, marathon, half marathon, 10K and 5K. It starts and ends in Hellyer Park. All runners start with a loop around the lake in the park, and then going out and back along the Coyote Creek Trail, with different turn-around points. Marathoners did the half marathon course twice.

The trail rolls gently, and outbound is upstream, so it is a gentle uphill. The eponymous trail follows the creek, and has a largely rural feel for much of the course. Definitely a very pleasant course.

Organization & Production: Coastal Trail Runs is an excellent race organizer, and this was no exception. Coastal is low cost, and there are at least a couple of ways in which costs are reduced, but which do not really lessen runners’ race experience. Aid stations were well stocked and staffed (Covid-appropriate, of course) with encouraging volunteers. Masks were optional for runners, and I did not notice many using masks, especially on the trail.

Bib: Coastal’s bibs are fairly plain, except that the background color is varies with distances. Yellow was 5K, Purple was 10K, Green was the half marathon, and Orange the marathon. Beyond that, the bibs have Coastal’s logo and motto, and the bib number.

T-Shirt: Coastal’s race T-shirts are always tech type, regardless of distance. I chose the no-shirt option this year ($5 less for registration), as the Halloween event shirt isn’t my favorite among Coastal’s shirts (Coastal uses the same shirts year to year, with occasional changes). In 2019 it was black, with an orange jack-o-lantern, a purple jack-o-lantern and bats, the race name and distances, and the name of the main sponsor, ZombieRunner Coffee. Not my favorite, but more mid-range than disliked, and it helps Coastal keep its registration fee lower (a trade-off I very much appreciate!).

Finisher’s Medal: As with shirts, Coastal uses the same medallion year to year for each race, changing every few years (2018 was the first year for the current medallion). The Halloween medallion is a favorite, shaped and painted as a vampire bat in flight. The ribbon says “Finisher”, gives the year, and has the race logo, a runner with a jack-o-lantern head with bats about the head. In 2021 and 2018 the ribbon was black; in 2019 it was orange.

Finish & Recovery Area: The recovery area is a covered group picnic area, with lots of tables. That I noticed, there were a jug of water one could use to refill a water bottle, an ice chest with bottles of water and, possibly, sodas. On a couple of tables there were Oreos, several kinds of chips, and candies. I didn’t notice everything, being a bit tired. It was pretty much the same spread Coastal normally had Pre-Covid.

My Results & Opinion of the Race: This was my second in-person 10K since October 2019 (the first being just 3 weeks earlier). Being flatter than that previous event, I was fairly aggressive and bettered my optimistic goal finish time by about 5 minutes. I was very happy about that.

Except for 2020, I’ve done this event every year since 2017. But for Covid and wanting to make note of the effect of appropriate safety precautions, I probably would not have reviewed the 2021 running. Coastal Trail Runs is very consistent, generally excellent, offer a great race experience, and are a good value. I will definitely consider doing ZombieRunner Halloween again in 2022.

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Event & Course Description: The Belmont Water Dog Run has two distances, 5K and 10K (which I did). It's run in the city of Belmont, and part of the 10K … MORE

Event & Course Description: The Belmont Water Dog Run has two distances, 5K and 10K (which I did). It’s run in the city of Belmont, and part of the 10K course goes through Water Dog Lake Park.

Both courses are out-and-back, with the two distances sharing the 5K course. The start and finish are in an area behind the Belmont City Hall. Runners follow Ralston Avenue to a shopping center just before Avenida de las Pulgas (love that name!) and do a loop through it. 5K runners turn left onto the Avenida, turn left onto El Verano Way, left onto Ladera Way, merge onto Maywood Drive, and then take Ralston back to the finish. The 5K is entirely on city streets.

10K runners turn right from the shopping center onto the Avenida and go back to Ralston. Ralston Avenue is then followed to Lyall Way, and then to the Water Dog Lake Trailhead. Lake Road Trail winds through Water Dog Lake Park, goes past the lake, and runners turn around near where they meet the John Brooks Trail. They then retrace their steps back to Avenida de las Pulgas, turn right, and then follow the route starting with El Verano that 5K runners took to the finish.

So about half of the 10K and all of the 5K are on city streets. Boring? Not really. Even though Ralston Avenue is a main artery, the course went mainly through a residential area, with homes I’d guess were built in the 1930s or 1940s. More to the point, there were lots of mature evergreens, nice visually and nice for shade. The part of the 10K course that 5K runners didn’t do was an unpaved trail with lots of close trees (more shade!). Except near the entrance to Water Dog Lake Park, few buildings were visible from the trail, other than some homes in the distance. Whether on streets or in Water Dog Lake Park, this was a pretty scenic event for both distances. What surprised me a bit, being less than well prepared mentally (I’m usually very mental!), was that the first half was almost entirely uphill. It wasn’t super steep, but the sort of uphill grade that slows and wears. On the other hand, except for a very brief steep hill, the inbound course was mostly downhill.

Organization & Production: I’m going to say up front, some of what follows has to be taken with a Covid-sized and -shaped block of salt, and keeping in mind that this was a small-medium sized charity event. That’s a convoluted way of saying that there were some information/communication things that could have been done better, and probably would have, had this been a normal year.

Because the event had to be put together very quickly, some things weren’t nailed down until within a few weeks of the event. As a result, the website couldn’t be updated, and much important information was communicated in mass emails a couple of weeks before the event (being a first-timer and a bit of a Nervous Nellie, I exchanged several emails with the Race Director (RD), who was VERY helpful). Assuming, as seems reasonable from what I saw, there will be a next year, I’m sure communication will be much improved.

Now, race day. Because Covid, officially there was no race day packet pick-up. One of the things I was able to set up with the RD was for me to be able to do that anyway. I doubt I was the only one. So I showed up I bit before 6:30 AM (free parking, 3 or 4 blocks from the event), and my bib and shirt were there.

Event timing was done by SVETiming, so the start/finish area was appropriately situated and set up. The course was well marked with chalk, coned off areas on streets, signs, and course marshal volunteers plus police officers. Once on the park trail, there were few possible wrong turns, and these were coned off. Pay attention to arrows and signs, don’t wander into car traffic, and a runner would have no problems following the course.

For 10K runners, there were 3 aid stations, reasonably located and spaced. All were well staffed with friendly volunteers and offered both water and electrolyte drink. What a runner saw and experienced in starting and on course was as well done as any running event.

Bib: Bibs were not personalized (I’m fine with that, personalized bibs cost more $$). The bibs were color-coded, green background for 10K and blue for 5K. The green background surrounds a white rectangle that has the bib number. The background has several “B” logos, the letter partly formed with a dog’s head and neck silhouette, along both sides of the white space. Across the top in distance colors was the distance, and across the bottom the race name and the date. Only the bib has the event date.

T-Shirt: The race T-shirt is gray, tech type. The front has “BMT WTR DOG RUN”, groups of three white block-letters arranged vertically. The “B” is the dog’s neck and head logo. The back is is plain.

Finisher’s Medal: The medallion has the letter “B” logo in blue, surrounded by a silver metal ring. Around the top half of the ring are “COMMUNITY * AWARENESS * EDUCATION” and around the bottom are the several distances and special events (a children’s fun run and a “Fido Mile”). The top and bottom legends are separated by little white doggie bones. The ribbon has a sky blue center, with gray, darker blue, and gray stripes along both borders. The center has little education-oriented drawings, and along the center section are the event name and the distances and special events. Definitely a nicer medal than I would expect at a charity event!

Finish & Recovery Area: The finish area and the surrounding area are an open space between the Belmont City Hall and the Belmont Historical Society building. Finishers went through the arch, received their medal, and received a baggie with some fruit and a snack. There wasn’t any seating, but that’s the nature of the area. There were also a good number of portacans in the area.

My Results & Opinion of the Race: My finish time was around my optimistic goal finish time and on a course that was a bit tougher than I expected. So I’m very happy with that.

I do not judge hugemongous national organization’s, local organizers’, and charity races the same way. What I expect is proportioned to the nature of the event. That said, while my overall experience might have been less than what normally had been done (this was the 4th running), because Covid, I will definitely consider doing the Belmont Water Dog Run next year. My bottom line is that the 2021 Belmont Water Dog Run was a really well done family-friendly community charity event.

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Event & Course Description: The Viva CalleSJ 5K is run in central San Jose, starting and finishing by the SAP Center (where the San Jose Sharks hockey team plays). The … MORE

Event & Course Description: The Viva CalleSJ 5K is run in central San Jose, starting and finishing by the SAP Center (where the San Jose Sharks hockey team plays). The course is basically two different out-and-back legs. From the start on Barrack Obama Blvd., between the SAP Center and the Arena Green West, runners turned onto The Alameda, toward Santa Clara. The turn-around for this out-and-back leg was at Lenzen Ave., a couple of blocks past Race St.. Runners then went back through the starting arch and turned onto W. St. John St., followed a little jog left then right, and turned around at N. 1st St.. Runners then returned by the same route to the start/finish arch.

The course is mostly through older small business areas, not especiallyscenic, but interesting to see how modern businesses have adapted older buildings. Runners went under (and back through) the SR 87 freeway at two points along the course.

Organization & Production: I think the two best adjectives for this event would have to be quirky and very low key. The event was not chip timed, so runners received bibs sequentially according to how they checked in. They had packet pick-up the day before at the Sports Basement in Campbell (which I did) the day before the event and at Arena Green before and during the event. Even though I checked in an hour into packet pick-up, I was the first “runner” and received bib number 1 (I’ll take “Things That Will Never Happen Again” for $10, Art).

The largest part of the event was bike rides, a 20 miler and a 40 miler. They started half an hour before the runners. There was no officiated run start. 8:00 AM came and one of the runners said “Go!” Other runners started their run as they arrived and checked in, donned their bib, and got otherwise ready. I remember seeing bib number 63 out on the course, and after I finished I saw bibs with numbers in the 70s being given out.

There were no porta-cans near the start area (you know, for those last-10-minutes-before-start pit-stops). Eventually I found there was a whole line of them … nearly quarter of a mile from the start area, on the second out-and-back leg. In the event’s FAQs webpage it said, “along the Viva CalleSJ route and at Activity Hubs”. As best I could tell, they were just in the one location. IMO, at least some should have been near enough to the start/finish area to be visible in the area. There was a one-stall set of restrooms in the Arena Green.

Bib: So, very low key … bibs given out sequentially … that means plain white bib, right? Nope! It’s one of the cooler bibs I’ve received. The background is dark blue, with an orange stripe across the top that has the event logo and name. The artwork shows a business district with a mix of tall and not so tall buildings and palm trees, with a Day-of-the-Dead-style skeleton couple riding a bicycle through the area. The woman is carrying a banner that says, “Viva!”, and the bicycle frame and front wheel spokes are the words, “Calle SJ”.

T-Shirt: The event T-shirt is dark blue cotton. It has artwork similar to the bib, except that it adds a bike-helmeted skeleton-child riding their bike in front of the bicycling adult skeleton-couple. There is an orange ring around the artwork, and the date is added below the event logo. I’ve given up on having favorites, but this event Tee is that kind of nice!

Finisher’s Medal: The medallion has the same artwork as the T-shirt, and adds a blue outer ring concentric with the orange ring. It’s a spinner within a spinner! The date spins within the artwork, which spins within the blue outer ring. As with the T-shirt, it’s “that kind of nice”!

Finish & Recovery Area: Meanwhile, back in LowKeyville … Arena Green West is a park with picnic tables (no pic-a-nic baskets, sorry Yogi) and LOTS of mature shade. A perfect recovery area. I did see a table with fruit near the pavilioned tables for check-in and and for receiving finisher’s medals, but there were no signs making obvious from a distance what the tables were.

My Results & Opinion of the Race: For this event and last week’s Bad Bass 5K I had a goal, a finish time under 50 minutes (yeah, I’m not fast). The course for Bad Bass was too rolling for a finish time goal, but I achieved the goal at Viva CalleSJ. A flat streets course with the most challenging “hills” being going under a freeway twice was ideal.

Viva CalleSJ is the oddest combination of very low-key with high-end elements I’ve seen. I should add that it’s very family-friendly – not tightly scheduled, nice wide course. I saw several youths running the course, and at least one tandem stroller. Taking it as an intentionally low-key event, locate some porta-cans near the start/finish, have signs for the check-in, snacks, and medals tables, and have a few volunteers telling people what’s where and where to go, and it’d be near-perfect.

Would I do Viva CalleSJ again. Well, maybe. It’s on my 2022 list of possibilities, but I did it this year because there were few Bay Area running events in September 2021 that were suitable for my current capabilities. The June lifting of Covid shutdown plus parks having to reorganize their staffing plus organizers having to cherry-pick from their backlog of events made for fewer doable (for me) events in September 2021. I expect 2022 will be closer to the full pre-Covid array of choices, and my capabilities are improving. On the other hand, I know that for what it intends to be, this is a very well done event, and close to my home. I’d definitely consider doing Viva CalleSJ again.

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Event & Course Description: Brazen Racing's Bad Bass is run at Lake Chabot Regional Park near Castro Valley. It has the usual distances, 5K, 10K, and half marathon, though, being … MORE

Event & Course Description: Brazen Racing’s Bad Bass is run at Lake Chabot Regional Park near Castro Valley. It has the usual distances, 5K, 10K, and half marathon, though, being a trail event, the actual distances are a little longer. The 5K, which I did, was actually 3.35 miles. The event name refers to Bass Cove on the lake.

The 5K course, which is used for all three distances, runs on asphalt pavement along the scenic east shore of the lake, out and back. A bit past the 5K turn-around, the 10K and half marathon courses split, with the 10K course continuing in out-and-back fashion. The 10K course climbs a ~500-foot, 3/4-mile hill, gives a brief respite, then does another 100-foot climb in a quarter mile, and then another couple of tenths to an aid station and the turn-around. That steep downhill is steep and rutted, not trivial.

The half marathon course does a little loop – a mere 250-foot hill – before doing the big hill it shares with the 10K course. The half course then continues to circle the lake in a sinuous hilly course, with the last 2 1/2 miles along the south shore of the lake being flattish (rolling just enough to keep tired runners annoyed) and slightly downhill.

Organization & Production: It’s a Brazen race. That almost says what needs to be said. Brazen is organization to a “T”, and they’ve been doing events at Lake Chabot for years. It didn’t affect me, since it’s hard to go off-course on the 5K course, but Brazen’s course marking is excellent, with mile # markers to help runners track their progress. Runners “worst worries” are getting there before and getting home after the event.

I was being aggressive, within my abilities and the course, so I didn’t look over the aid station table to survey their goodies. I did notice that all volunteers were masked (and probably gloved, at least for food handling, Covid), and they offered water and electrolyte drink. Brazen uses Ultima Replenisher. What the station had was probably raspberry flavored, based on the color and the odor I noticed while passing through (one of Ultima’s better flavors, IMO).

Bib: Brazen doesn’t do plain race bibs. The Bad Bass bibs had distance color-coded stripes at the top and bottom, yellow for 5K, blue for 10K, and orange for half marathon. The race name and logo (see below) and year were in the top stripe. The bib number and runner’s name were in the middle white stripe, and Brazen Racing’s logo was in the bottom stripe.

T-Shirt: Brazen’s registration fee includes a tech type T-shirt for half marathon runners and a poly-cotton T-shirt for 10K and 5K runners. 10K and 5K runners can upgrade to a tech type Tee for a moderate fee (currently $7). I didn’t upgrade, but the tech and poly-cotton shirts were both olive green. The front features the race logo and name, with the year and distances. The logo has a grinning fish in sunglasses, a Brazen T-shirt, a black leather jacket (he’s a BAD bass!), and a green/blue plaid kilt (don’t ask, I don’t know). The back is plain, and the Brazen Racing logo is on the right sleeve. All in all, a very nice shirt.

Finisher’s Medal: The medallion is similar to the T-shirt artwork. The ribbon is glossy black, with the race name, year, and distances. It’ll display nicely! I was also third in my age group (I hope they found all those guys I knee-capped, 😉 ). The age group medallion has a fish with sharp teeth, the race name across the top, and “Age Group Winner” below the fish, all in the traditional gold, silver, and bronze coloring. The third place ribbon is glossy brown plaid, has the race name, and the place info.

Finish & Recovery Area: I didn’t explore the recovery area very much, but there were multiple flavors of It’s It ice cream sandwiches (a Brazen tradition), lots of packaged goodies (Covid), and a good number of picnic tables, some shaded, to sit at. What’s not to like?

My Results & Opinion of the Race: Though I’ve done Brazen events at this park before, I had never done Bad Bass, and had never done the 5K. I had a particular finish time goal for either Bad Bass or next weekend’s 5K. I didn’t reach that goal, even when adjusted for the slightly long distance, but given the rolling ups and downs of the course, I’m happy with my finish time.

Like I said above, Bad Bass is a Brazen Racing event, and I’ve been a fan of their race experience for nearly 8 years. I’m trying to work back to being able to do courses with challenging hills and longer distances, so I hope to be back at this and other Brazen Lake Chabot events. Doing Brazen’s Quarry Turkey half marathon is my next big Brazen goal.

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Event & Course Description: The Stars and Strides 5K and 10K is run in central San Jose, benefiting the Valley Medical Center Foundation. The start and finish were near the … MORE

Event & Course Description: The Stars and Strides 5K and 10K is run in central San Jose, benefiting the Valley Medical Center Foundation. The start and finish were near the Discovery Meadow Park, near the Children’s Discovery Museum. The 5K course does a sort of squared figure-8 using First, Second, and Reed Streets (going under I-280 three times), and then does a sort of dogleg loop that returns to the finish area using First Street (going under I-280 again). The 10K basically does this twice.

My preference is trail run scenery, so keep that in mind with what follows. The course goes through, mostly, older business and residential areas, some possibly a century old. The buildings and residence range from vacant storefronts to open businesses, plus mostly nice multi-story residence. Not my favorite scenery, but still more interesting than the homogeneity of some suburban courses I’ve done. One thing I appreciated was that this course did not use the parts of central San Jose used by events such as the Rock-n-Roll San Jose Half.

Organization & Production: It may be because this is a charity event, and possibly because it is the first running (and also post-Covid-shut-down), but some basic information about the event was posted to the event’s website fairly late. The email contact person was helpful and responded quickly. If the event is done again next year I think the information will be more complete, earlier, and the event may also be more publicized.

The start was in three corrals, divided by estimated pace, 10K and 5K runners together, starting 5 minutes apart. Unfortunately, the intro speakers went long, so the first start was 10 minutes late, with 4 minute separation for subsequent corrals. The delay wasn’t huge, but a bit irritating for some who had been standing around for up to half an hour, raring to go.

Bib: The bib has the race logo (see description below), the distance, and the charity name on a white stripe at the top. The middle is the bib number on a wide, distance color-coded stripe (the distance in the top is the same color), green for the 5K distance I did. The stripe on 10K bibs was blue. There is a narrow white stripe across the bottom with the logo of the sponsor of the particular distance.

T-Shirt: The T-shirt is tech type, light grey. The front has the race logo, the race name in red, blue, and green, the distances and two runners in black, and the charity name across the bottom in blue. For my tastes it’s neither spectacular nor meh, though for a smallish charity race it is quite nice. The event sponsors are on the back in black.

Finisher’s Medal: There was no finisher’s medal. It’s a charity event, so I’m fine with that. It should be noted that a nice medal could attract more runners. On the other hand medals are an expense. So charity event organizers have to weigh the attraction vs. the expense and the net benefit to the charity in making the choice.

Finish & Recovery Area: Discovery Meadow was spacious, even for the almost 700 participants plus family and friends, plus volunteers and booth people. Unfortunately, the recovery snacks were limited to GoGo Squeeze packets, a bag of pretzels, and Hint water, plus the bottles of water given out near the finish arch. Kind of disappointing, but definitely Covid-impacted, and maybe a bit more more I’ll touch on below.

My Results & Opinion of the Race: My finish time was about a minute faster than a 5K I did 3 weeks ago, so I’m pretty happy with it. There is definitely room for improvement, organizationally (fewer politician speakers, with trap doors where they stand would be good, 😉 ). However, this was the first running of an event that was originally planned to be done on July 4. Thank you, SARS-CoV-2 virus, thbbbbbbbbt! This had to have impacted what planning could be done, and what kinds of recovery snacks could be available.

Under all those circumstances, I think it was a good first effort, and it will be among my possibilities for July 4, 2022.

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Event & Course Description: Brazen Racing's “Breeze” events – this one was Summer Breeze – start and finish in Marina Park in San Leandro, and are, mostly, an out-and-back on … MORE

Event & Course Description: Brazen Racing’s “Breeze” events – this one was Summer Breeze – start and finish in Marina Park in San Leandro, and are, mostly, an out-and-back on the Bay Trail. The one partial exception is the 5K course, 1 mile of which loops around Faro Point, which forms the Small Boat Lagoon near the park (also home to hundreds of squirrels!). This year, for the first time, I did the 5K distance. The other distances are 10K and half marathon.

Organization & Production: This was Brazen’s first event after the Bay Area’s 15+ month Covid shutdown. I didn’t notice some of the aid station and recovery area details, but the only change to normal Brazen excellence were in snacks and food types and handling. Foods were all packaged, and handling was by gloved volunteers. Registering and check-in were all smoothly done, as usual.

Bib: Brazen doesn’t do plain race bibs. Bibs are usually distance color-coded. There is artwork in the background (often shared with the race T-shirt) with, running from top to bottom, the race name and date, bib number and runner’s name, and Brazen Racing’s logo. My bib for the 5K had golden stripes at the top and bottom, was personalized, and had a shadowy flowered pattern in the background.

T-Shirt: Brazen’s registration fee includes a tech type T-shirt for half marathon runners and a poly-cotton T-shirt for 10K and 5K runners. 10K and 5K runners can upgrade to a tech type Tee for a moderate fee (currently $7), which I did. My tech tee is white, with the race name in gold-bordered blue letters and the date above and below. The distances are in a dark pink ring around the name, and the ring is bordered with flowers in ombre rainbow pattern colors. The left sleeve has the Brazen logo and a flower in blue. The back is plain, no race sponsor logos.

Finisher’s Medal: The medallion is about the size of the palm of my hand. It features a muscular Neptune surfing on two dolphins, trident in his left hand and a water bottle in his right hand. His red “muscle shirt” has a Brazen Racing bib and he’s wearing golden shorts. To his right, vertically, is the year in yellow, and to his left the race name in orange and the distances in light blue. Across the bottom corner in yellow script is “We’re back!”

Finish & Recovery Area: As noted above, I didn’t notice much about the one aid station I passed, except that the volunteers handing out water and/or electrolyte drink wore gloves. In the recovery area there was a line with guide ropes for the snacks, and the coolers for the It’s Its ice cream sandwiches were a few yards away. The variety of snacks was a bit less, by Brazen standards, because it all had to be packaged. Obviously, there was no cut up fruit, courtesy of Covid. Other than the lack of fruit, I doubt anyone unfamiliar with what Brazen did pre-Covid would have been disappointed. And the It’s Its, being packaged, were “back”, in four or six (I forget) ice cream flavors. I was not disappointed!

My Results & Opinion of the Race: This was, for me, post-Covid in two respects (not that the virus has disappeared or is unserious). It was my first in-person event since February 2020. And while I have done similar distances on trails near me and on treadmills at the gym, it was also my first event since having had Covid in January. I was fairly aggressive, by my capabilities, and am very happy with my sub-53 minute finish time.

As for the event … Brazen! Is! Back!!!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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Event & Course Description: My course description from 2016 is pretty good. The name, “408K” refers to the original area code for San Jose, “408”, and to the 8K distance. … MORE

Event & Course Description: My course description from 2016 is pretty good. The name, “408K” refers to the original area code for San Jose, “408”, and to the 8K distance. The section of the course that wends through the Rose Garden neighborhood is pretty pleasant, mostly pre-WW2 homes I think. There is a 180-degree hairpin turn during the 4th mile, something many runners find irritating. The final mile is called the “Mariachi Mile”, and there were six mariachi bands spaced through the mile (which otherwise is not very scenic).

Organization & Production: Run Local (formerly called Represent Running) has been organizing the 408K for several years. Run Local organizes races to benefit various charities, and the 408K was begun, even before Run Local became the organizer, as a benefit for the Pat Tillman Foundation.

There were 3 starting waves, divided according to runners’ estimated pace (part of registration). The course was well laid out and marshaled by volunteers and San Jose PD. The two aid stations were water-only, well staffed, and positioned in miles 3 and 4. There was a large-ish refreshments and recovery area, but I didn’t explore it. A decent goodie bag was given finishing runners in the finishing chute, just after receiving finisher’s medals. All in all, the 408K is a well organized medium-large running event

Bib: The bib has a white background, with the bib number and runner’s name in the center and bottom. These are color-coded for the starting wave. At the top left is the Amazon.com “smile” logo, and at the top right the 408K logo. Toward the bottom corners are light silhouettes representing the San Jose Sharks hockey team and the San Jose State Spartans

T-Shirt: The race T-shirt is teal blue (San Jose Sharks) tech type, with sponsors’ logos and date on the back. The front has custom artwork that includes “San Jose”, the San Jose State Spartans’ and Sharks’ mascots/logos, and at the bottom, the race logo. It’s a very nice race Tee!

Finisher’s Medal: The medallion is basically the same as the T-shirt artwork. The ribbon is white, with the race logo and “2020” along it. My description doesn’t do it justice!

My Results & Opinion of the Race: I had two “objects” in doing the 408K this year. It was a, “Can I still do this?” for me, and my daughter did the race “with” me (she finished half an hour ahead of me). She lives in China, so it was a special part of her visit home. I was very happy with my finish time. The 408K is a very well organized event and I will consider doing it again next year.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
3
SWAG
5
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Event & Course Description: The Resolution Run is a 10K and 5K event that benefits Kiwanis run on New Year's day. I did the 5K (like I did last year). … MORE

Event & Course Description: The Resolution Run is a 10K and 5K event that benefits Kiwanis run on New Year’s day. I did the 5K (like I did last year). The start and finish was in a large open field. All runners cross about 3/4 of that field, follow a trail that parallels Stevens Creek, and then turn to run along side a marsh. The trail curves around a slough. About 2/3 around the slough 5K runners turn left, while 10K runners continue around the slough and continue along the marsh. 5K runners go about half a miles to a turn-around, then go back around the slough and onto a trail that parallels a golf course access road. Runners are then turned onto the open field again, completing what amounts to a loop with a tail in the middle of it. Meanwhile, 10K runners continued along the mash, did a little loop with a short out-and-back leg, and then came back the way they came. Except for about a half mile at the start and finish which is packed dirt and crushed recycled street pavement, the course is paved (though there are parallel packed dirt paths along some of the trail).

Organization & Production: This race is what I call “register-and-run”. All a runner has to worry about is getting there (not hard) and running or walking their race. Information is complete, there were two pre-race packet pick-up days plus at the event. The aid station that 5K runners went through twice was water-only.

Bib: The 5K bib has a white background with the bib number in the center, the race timing company’s name across the top, and website across the bottom, all in black letters. Plain and functional.

T-Shirt: The race T-shirt is light lime green cotton. The front has the race logo in aqua, white, and purple, including “2020”. The back has sponsors’ logos in purple.

Finisher’s Medal: This race only had medals for over-all and age group place. Others received a “Participant” ribbon. I could have foregone the ribbon, but I suspect it didn’t cost the organizer very much. This is a charity race, so I’m good with the decision not to have finisher’s medals (though some charity races do).

Finish & Recovery Area: In the finish area there were apples, oranges, bananas, and coffee cake. There were no picnic tables or benches in which one could sit – sorely missed by me, but that’s the venue, not something the organizers could change.

My Results & Opinion of the Race: While I was over 6 minutes slower than last year, I was actually expecting a slightly slower finish time. I’m not getting younger. This is a really well done event, and the venue is not very pleasant and not used by many other events. I’ll be considering again next year.

DIFFICULTY
1
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
3
SWAG
3

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Event & Course Description:The Trailblazer Race was run in Shoreline Park in Mountain View, CA and benefits Friends of the Stevens Creek Trail. Two distances were run, 10K (which I … MORE

Event & Course Description:The Trailblazer Race was run in Shoreline Park in Mountain View, CA and benefits Friends of the Stevens Creek Trail. Two distances were run, 10K (which I did) and 5K, with 530 finishers between the two distances.

Looking at the course map for the 10K, it looks like two loops with a connector between and a short out-and-back tail on the second loop. In the event, 10K runners did ~3/4 of the first loop, ran the connector, did the second loop with tail, ran the connector again, and completed the first loop. The 5K course was the first loop plus the loop connector as an out-and-back tail.

The start/finish area was a large open field designated for flying kites (being by the bay, it often is a breezy area). The course is flattish, mostly along and through the marshes along the shore, with the last mile or so alongside a golf course access path. When it comes to ocean scenery, I like rocks, cliffs, and breakers, but this course was very pleasant and serene. The surface was a mixture of crushed rock and sand and pavement (I didn’t pay attention to proportions) and was 90%-95% exposed (Hello? Jug of sunscreen?). Being early fall, weather can vary considerably, from very warm to somewhat chilly. This year was chilly (by SF Bay Area standards), in the low 50s F at start time.

Organization & Production: While there is room for some improvement, basically this was a register-and-run race. Information was complete and the course was well marked with arrows and plenty of course marshals. Access was easy, parking ample. Pre-start announcements were done by bullhorn, and being toward the back of a 200+ person pack, they were basically inaudible to me. The course markings and marshaling were such that going off course would require trying, so not hearing the instructions didn’t matter in that respect. And then at the end the announcing of age group awards was kind of disorganized, but I doubt many who won awards had the energy to be impatient. There were two water-only aid stations, well placed, with plenty of water and encouraging volunteers.

Bib: The 10K bib has a white background, with the organization and race names at the top, with the year and distance. In the middle is the bib number, and at the bottom are the logo of the organization and a sponsor. Bibs were mailed, so when I received mine I assumed all bibs were white. But when I checked in and hung out I found that 5K bibs were yellow background.

T-Shirt: Since this was a charity race, my expectations as a whole were quite moderate (I don’t say that disrespectfully). The race T-shirt is a light tan cotton Hanes Beefy-T. The front has a very large abstract drawing of a rabbit running between hills and along a creek. My words don’t do it justice, but it’s an instant favorite for me.

Finisher’s Medal: There were no finisher’s medals, which I’m fine with for a charity race (use the $$ for the important stuff!). However I caught a glimpse of an age group medal, and it looked like a VERY nice woodallion. Just to give an idea of the “crowd”, when they gave out age group medals for the 5K men over age 80, all three medals were given! Geezers rock!

Finish & Recovery Area: By the time I finished, chatted some, and waddled over to the food table, “all” there was was plenty of water (which I needed!) and a goodly quantity of cereal and granola bars, also quite welcome. I saw boxes from bananas and heard rumors of trays of coffee cake. I’m not a banana person, but having some of the latter would have been nice. But as a whole I was not disappointed. Managing supplies of goodies for a group of uncertain size and appetite is no small task. I think they did rather well.

The finish area is an open field, i.e. no picnic tables or places to sit down to rest. But that is balanced by the plenteous room for exhibitors (they had several) and tables for goodies, and plenteous parking.

My Results & Opinion of the Race: I was hoping for a bit better finish time, but was hindered some by some physical stuff. But I still had a decent, for me, finish time. I would not call this event spectacular, but it was very well done in just about every respect, and the trail scenery was very nice. I will definitely keep it in mind next year!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
4
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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The course description I gave for last year's running is a good one. I'll just add that of the several suburban trails I've seen doing events like this, the Los … MORE

The course description I gave for last year’s running is a good one. I’ll just add that of the several suburban trails I’ve seen doing events like this, the Los Alamitos Creek Trail could be the nicest. My one, fairly minor in the context of the whole race, criticism from last year was fixed. How it came to be, I don’t know, but this year the little loop to the finish was clearly marked. Woo hoo!

The race T-shirt is very nice, similar to last year’s except being red instead blue, still with a white inset at the sides. The finisher’s medal is a good sized disc, custom designed. It has the race logo and information in pink, light green and dark blue characters on a sky blue background – pleasantly colorful. Neither will be favorites, but that’s a reflection on the context in the SF Bay Area, not anything like a criticism or “faint praise”. The T-shirt and medal are definitely nicer than what might be expected at a charity event organized by a local running club.

OneMile4OneChild is a great family-community event. Lots of outgoing people, lots of family participation, and volunteers were EVERYWHERE (recognizable by their distinctive T-shirts). The aid stations were well-staffed and beyond. The volunteers’ T-shirts were nicer than at least one race T-shirt I’ve seen this year. The recovery area food was plentiful and varied. I REALLY appreciated the recognition given to volunteers while I was recovering.

I wasn’t going for a particularly ambitious finish time, but did better than I hoped for. All in all this was a great race experience, as good or better than some professionally organized events in which I’ve participated. My 5-Shoe rating is well-earned!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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Event & Course Description: Coastal Trail Runs' Zoom Dynamite event was held at the park at Point Pinole. This is a really beautiful setting – once the site of an … MORE

Event & Course Description: Coastal Trail Runs’ Zoom Dynamite event was held at the park at Point Pinole. This is a really beautiful setting – once the site of an explosives manufacturer, hence the name of the race – with coast and bay views and fragrant eucalyptus groves. I’ve done events in this park on pretty much the same course 12 times now, and am not tired of the venue. The courses are mostly dirt fire roads with some double- and a little single-track trail.

Zoom Dynamite featured 3 distances, 5K, 10K, and half marathon. The 5K course was a loop, also used by the other distances. It traveled the southern coast of the point along open trail, in and out of small eucalyptus groves, crossed the tip of the point, and then went through another eucalyptus grove and down the center ridge of the point back to the start/finish area. The 5K course is has a few brief, not at all steep, hills. Just before reaching the finish area, the 10K course turned to start a loop around the other part of the Peninsula. It crossed the base of the point, out to a marsh area. It then looped through and along the marsh, and then finished using the last mile and a half of the 5K course. Half marathon runners did the 10K course twice (you won’t get bored!). All runners go along at least some coast, through eucalyptus groves, and along an open elevated spine with panoramic views of San Pablo Bay. The courses aren’t flat, but the 2 longest uphill climbs (one of which 10K runners did twice) are about a quarter or half mile each, with about 50-70 feet of climb.

There was 1 aid station. 5K runners came to it near their mile 2 and then finished. 10K runners came to it twice, the second time near their mile 4.7. Half marathon runners came to the aid station 4 times.

Organization & Production: Coastal is one of the SF Bay Areas best race organizers. The course was well marked. Coastal’s aid stations always have plenty of water and electrolyte drink, and a selection of sweet and salty snacks (usually including fruit, though I didn’t notice at this event). There were only around 200 participants in this event, so unlike Coastal’s usual practice, all runners of all distances were started at the same time.

Bib: Coastal’s bibs are fairly plain, except that the background color varies with distances. Yellow was 5K, Blue was 10K, and Orange was for the half marathon. Beyond that, the bibs have Coastal’s logo and motto, and the bib number.

T-Shirt: Coastal’s race T-shirts are always tech type, regardless of distance. My T-shirt is sort of a fluorescent chartreuse, though I also saw some that were sky blue. The front has the race name as a logo, with a cluster of dynamite at the upper left of the words, and a runner at the lower right. Below that was the race information, including the date, and on the back were the logos of the race sponsors.

Finisher’s Medal: The finisher’s medallion is of a nice size and weight disc. It has a bundle of dynamite and the race information (except the date) on a black background as the bottom half, and alternating royal blue and silver rays for the top half. The ribbon is a light salmon pink with the race logo and information and the year. I also won third place in the old goats age group. It is a disc with a banner across the bottom, and is not race-specific.Around the top rim is Coastal’s slogan, “Have fun out there”. In the center is “3rd”, with a runner above it. The banner across the bottom has Coastal’s logo, and at the bottom of the disc the logo for Coastal’s Zoom Running Events, which are not hilly and are family-oriented.

Finish & Recovery Area: I didn’t look around a lot, but Coastal’s recovery area normally has 5 gallon jugs of water and electrolyte drink, lots of salty and sweet snacks, and ice chests with bottled water, sodas, and beer. I didn’t notice or look for the latter. As I was leaving the RD was firing up the grill, though I didn’t see what he was going to cook (usually some sort of sausage). The recovery area was a good sized picnic area, with plenty of tables and shade.

My Results & Opinion of the Race: For me this was a best laid plans kind of deal. The original plan was that my wife would do the event with me, sort of capping off her recovery from foot surgery in the latter half of last year. Well, she had a problem with her other foot and was unable to do the event. One of the reasons we had chosen this event was the beautiful and varied scenery in this park. So at several points along the course we Facetimed. It was as close as we could come to her being with me and seeing what I was seeing. For that reason – going slower so my phone didn’t shake too much and stopping at several scenic points – I really wasn’t going for a great (for me) finish time. It was very enjoyable for both of us. Part of a great race experience is what you bring with you and how you “use” what you do and see.

Summing up, Coastal Trail Runs is an excellent organizer, Point Pinole is a really beautiful venue, there was a special brief run for the really young kids, and the weather is usually very pleasant and occasionally warm near the half marathon cut-off time (12:30), getting there is easy and parking is plentiful. I really don’t understand why the turn-out was so small. Anyway, great organizer, great race, I’d do Zoom Dynamite again.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
4

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Though my performance wasn't spectacular, I was encouraged by what I was able to do at Dirty Dozen to try the 10K at Bear Creek. The elevation profile – viewable … MORE

Though my performance wasn’t spectacular, I was encouraged by what I was able to do at Dirty Dozen to try the 10K at Bear Creek. The elevation profile – viewable on Brazen’s webpages for the race – is quite challenging, but the major climb is early in the race, so I thought I could take it on. Yeah, no. Like all Brazen events, Bear Creek is well organized, but I’m not up to Bear Creek 10K right now. Ah, well. My daughter was with me, and we dropped out at the first aid station, a bit more than two miles in. The aid station was well equipped with liquids, goodies, and encouraging volunteers. In other words, Brazen Racing Normal. I don’t know if I’d do Bear Creek again, but it’s not due to deficient organizing or lack of beauty along the course. I’d just have to work up to the challenge.

DIFFICULTY
5
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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No sarcasm, it really was fun. I've done Brazen's “Breeze” races – Bay Breeze in February and Summer Breeze in August – a number of times, but this was my … MORE

No sarcasm, it really was fun. I’ve done Brazen’s “Breeze” races – Bay Breeze in February and Summer Breeze in August – a number of times, but this was my first time volunteering for one. Brazen’s aid stations are always pretty varied. Water, electrolyte drink, and Coke. Several flavors of GU gel in packets. Potato chips, pretzels, Rice Krispy Treats, Payday bars, Oreos, Jelly Bellys, gummy bears, plan and peanut M & Ms, Skittles. Bananas, oranges, and watermelon.

We had a large crew, 7 I think, but it took quite a while to set it up. Our station was about a quarter of a mile before the 10K turn-around. We didn’t see 5K runners, but Summer Breeze is among Brazen’s more popular races (flattish course along the shore of the bay, usually decent weather in August … what’s not to like?!). So we were BUSY! Brazen staggers starts, so just as the less fast half marathon runners were thinning out the faster 10K runners started coming, and being somewhat close to the turn-around, we soon had 10K runners coming and going. Then the well spread out half marathon runners came … all in all, I think we went through about 9 gallons of electrolyte drink, and over 10 gallons of water.

The weather was pleasantly cool well into the morning, and even toward the end of the half marathon didn’t get super warm. One thing that was very cool was that we knew the last half marathoner who would be coming through our station on her return leg was doing her first half marathon, so we gave her a really great reception when she arrived. Later I learned that she did complete her first half!

Volunteering at aid stations can be very busy and serious (one of our tasks was to look out for runners in trouble), but it’s also lots of fun!

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
4
SWAG
5

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Event & Course Description: Most Brazen Racing events feature specific distances (usually half marathon, 10K, and 5K). Dirty Dozen mixes 12-hour and 6-hour endurance events with 10Ks and 5Ks in … MORE

Event & Course Description: Most Brazen Racing events feature specific distances (usually half marathon, 10K, and 5K). Dirty Dozen mixes 12-hour and 6-hour endurance events with 10Ks and 5Ks in the morning and afternoon. It is pretty much a dawn-to-dusk running and picnic party for runners and their families & friends. A catered barbecue lunch is included in registration for all times and distances, and can be purchased for their families and friends.

Dirty Dozen is run in Point Pinole Regional Shoreline park. It uses a 5K (actually 3.37 miles) course that loops around half of the point. 6-hour and 12-hour runners do as many laps as they can during their time (insert “loopy” joke here). 5K runners do the loop once and 10K runners do it twice. In the final hour of each endurance events a .4 mile loop is opened for those who cannot do one more full lap in their remaining time, but who want to do another mile or two.

The course is, I think, among Brazen’s more beautiful courses. It runs along the shore for a while, goes through a eucalyptus grove for a bit, runs along a cliff above the shore, then climbs (not too steep) through another eucalyptus grove to an exposed ridge with panoramic views of San Pablo Bay, and then back to the start/finish area. The weather in 2019 was mild, with a pleasant cool breeze while running along the exposed shoreline and ridge. The course is probably 30%-50% shade.

Organization & Production: Dirty Dozen is register-and-run. Participants just need to worry about getting there and back. Brazen has used this park’s trails since its very first trail run. So the course is well marked. There was one very amazing aid station – volunteers and goodies – at about the two mile point, and another equally amazing aid station in the start/finish area. Brazen’s aid stations usually have a wide range of snacks, but Dirty Dozen is over the top of at least two hills, so to speak.

Bib: Brazen doesn’t do plain race bibs. Bibs usually have some sort of distance color-coding. There is artwork in the background (often shared with the race T-shirt) with, running from top to bottom, the race name and date, bib number and runner’s name, and Brazen Racing’s logo. My 6 Hour bib is orange, except for the center stripe with my name and bib number. The artwork depicts race mascot “Clocky” stepping out of UK style police box, and to the left of that ancient Egyptian people.

T-Shirt: Brazen’s registration fee includes a poly-cotton T-shirt for 10K and 5K runners. They can upgrade to a tech type Tee for a moderate fee (currently $7). Instead of a race T-shirt, 6 and 12 hour runners receive a hooded sweatshirt, and may purchase a race T-shirt, also $7. This year I did not buy a Tee. The hoodie is zip-up and light green. The front has “DD X 2019” in white, in the middle, 2019 being the 10th running. The back, also in white, has the same artwork as the finishers medal.

Finisher’s Medal: Dirty Dozen had two different finishers medals, one for the endurance runners and another for the 10K and 5K runners. I did not see the artwork for the 10K/5K medal, but it was good sized and substantial (viewed from the back). The endurance medal is a coaster, brass colored and in a steampunk style. Around the edge of the main disc are gears and wheels. The main disk is made to look like the date setting dial of a Wellsian time machine, with 2019 selected. Around the edge of the disk is the rest of the event information. The ribbon is yellow-orange with gears in the background and the event information in black along the ribbon. It’s one of my two favorite medals since, well, Dirty Dozen 2018.

Finish & Recovery Area: The catered lunch was from a barbecue restaurant, yum! Brazen normally has a wide array of cakes, cookies, pie, and chips in its finish area, plus several varieties of It It ice cream sandwiches. I was pretty full from lunch, and didn’t look carefully (or partake), but I think what I saw was easily more than Brazen’s “ordinary”.

My Results & Opinion of the Race: This was my fifth year doing Dirty Dozen. Does that say enough about what I think of the event? The endurance events tell you what you can do. I was less than happy with what I learned, but it has helped me realize what I can do to improve on that. This year was special, because my daughter did the event with me which I think spurred me on a bit. Seeing Mike and Katie was really cool, too!

DIFFICULTY
3
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
5
SWAG
5

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Event & Course Description: Coastal Trail Runs' Zoom Firecracker Run is based in Fremont's Quarry Lakes Park, and three distances are run, half marathon, 10k (which I did), and 5K. … MORE

Event & Course Description: Coastal Trail Runs’ Zoom Firecracker Run is based in Fremont’s Quarry Lakes Park, and three distances are run, half marathon, 10k (which I did), and 5K. The 5K did a circuit around the park. The 10K and half marathon did a partial circuit, exited to the Alameda Creek Trail and headed upstream (left) to a turn-around. The 10K reentered the park and completed their circuit of the park. The half marathon kept going downstream to where they crossed the creek and headed back upstream. They crossed another bridge, went to the park entry, and completed their circuit of the park.

The surface for the 10K course was mostly or entirely packed dirt and fine gravel, and basically flat. I’d estimate the course is 80%-90% exposed. Late June weather can be warm and sunny, and it was sunny but not too warm. Inside Quarry Lakes Park one can hardly tell one is in the middle of a city. The Alameda Creek Trail, on the other hand almost always has houses or a mobile home park on one side, and the creek on the other (with a channel that has been modified to prevent flooding and bank erosion, more practical than pretty). It’s not my favorite trail course, but it’s still more pleasant than central San Jose or a tract home residential neighborhood.

Organization & Production: Coastal does well organized races, as a whole. There were four aid stations on the overall course. 5K runners came to just one, at the point where 10K and half marathon runners reenter the park. 10K and half marathon runners came to their first aid station at the upstream turn-around. Both next came to the park reentry aid station. 10K runners turned into the park, did a short loop back to that aid station, and then on to the finish. Half marathon runners had two aid stations along their second out-and-back, one on each side of the creek. Then they went past the park reentry aid station and on to the finish.

Coastal generally marks their courses well, and I had no problem. At least a couple of runners went off course and another almost did at a point where a chalk arrow had gotten trampled a bit. I did see it, but tired people can make mistakes.. The aid stations had a couple of snacks (that I can sort of remember), water, and electrolyte chews.

Bib: Coastal’s bibs are color-coded by distance, but otherwise just have the bib number and Coastal’s slogan, “Have fun out there”.

T-Shirt: Coastal’s race T-shirts are always tech type, regardless of distance. My T-short was white, with a fireworks burst and the race information on the front, and sponsors’ logos on the back. It’s a very nice race T-shirt.

Finisher’s Medal: The finisher’s medal was the fireworks burst with the race information but no date. The ribbon is lavender colored, with “2019 Finisher” along it. It’s not quite a favorite, but it is very nice.

Finish & Recovery Area: The recovery area had bottled water and sodas, that I saw. Coastal usually has beer, but I didn’t see it. There was a good variety of snacks like chips, pretzels, and candies. After resting for a while at one of the picnic benches – it was a covered group picnic area – I had a very tasty grilled sausage in a suitable roll.

My Results & Opinion of the Race: It’s important for summer pretty much anywhere to be careful about hydration and wearing sunscreen, and I was. But I got a frustrating reminder that I don’t do well with more or less constant full sun exposure. Ah, well, I’ll learn and hopefully do better.

Looking over my medals from this year, Zoom Firecracker was my first Coastal event for 2019. That is a schedule thingy, not a reflection on Coastal Trail Runs. Coastal does excellent events and respects budgets without skimping. I know I’ll do more Coastal events this year, and already have one planned.

DIFFICULTY
2
PRODUCTION
5
SCENERY
2
SWAG