Overall Rating
Overall Rating (1 Review)
4
(1 Rating)  (1 Review)
DIFFICULTY
1
SCENERY
3
PRODUCTION
4
SWAG
4
Join at Almaden Lake Park for the Beer City Half in San Jose. The Beer City Half Marathon includes a half marathon, 10k, 5k distances, as well as our new Questicorn – a unicorn-themed fun run/walk. The post-race celebration offers you a selection of brews from the great San Jose-area … MORE
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    PeteSinCA FIRST-TIMER '23

    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
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4
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