Overall Rating
Overall Rating (11 Reviews)
4.8
(11 Ratings)(11 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.8
SCENERY
4.5
PRODUCTION
5
SWAG
5
The lagoon may or may not be home to a mysterious monster and lost treasure of pirates, but it is definitely home of riches in the form of trails to run! Bursting into spring, Brazen is heading to a park which encompasses a lagoon we’re not entirely sure is uninhabited. … MORE
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Recent reviews

    Profile photo of Raven Iacono
    sfdahliagirl REPEAT RUNNER '16

    Brazen Racing is the best by far when it comes to trail Races. They put their heart and soul into everything they do. I chose this race to report on … MORE

    Brazen Racing is the best by far when it comes to trail Races. They put their heart and soul into everything they do. I chose this race to report on even though I’ve run all their races because this one is special. Never before have I seen people step up and help one another like this race in 2015. It was a torrential downpour and people weren’t able to get up a hill. What I saw was the heart of Brazen. One person got to the top of the hill, turned around and helped the next person and so on and so on. AMAZING HEART from Sam and Jasmin to each and every streaker, volunteer and racer. Once you’ve come to one you will want to come back again and again.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    BOTTOM LINE: Enjoy trails? Want a terrific race day experience? You’ll never go wrong with Brazen. And that’s saying something since Sam, Jasmin & the team produce 26 races a … MORE

    BOTTOM LINE: Enjoy trails? Want a terrific race day experience? You’ll never go wrong with Brazen. And that’s saying something since Sam, Jasmin & the team produce 26 races a year. This was my 12th Brazen race (and my first since 2012, after which I moved to SoCal) and the experience was just as awesome as I remember. I even had the good fortune to meet a lot of amazing Brazenites and RaceRaves am-badass-adors in person for the first time at Goonies, which made the morning that much more special. Definitely looking forward to seeing my new friends again soon, before another four years elapse!

    Brazen has the most devoted following in the Bay Area and maybe the state, and that’s no hyperbole—136 (and counting) “streakers” including @mikebeckwith, @greeneyegirl9 and @ravyoly have run every Brazen race in a single calendar year, and some have done it more than once. You don’t command that kind of loyalty without taking pride in your product and caring deeply about your runners. The Brazen experience means family-friendly events, scenic yet challenging (!) courses, awesome swag and a post-race spread fit for a king. Even if you’re the last runner to cross the finish line a feast awaits you, so leave your craving for dry bagels at home.

    Goonies is the quintessential Brazen course, run on hilly trails (mostly dirt) through a hidden gem of a regional park (Lagoon Valley) with rewarding views of the park and lagoon. This in fact is one of Brazen’s strengths—Sam & Jasmin have the Midas Touch with their ability to find relatively unknown, out-of-the-way green spaces throughout the Bay Area (even in far-away Vacaville) and spin them into trail running gold. Lagoon Valley isn’t as hilly as some of their other courses, but it’s definitely hilly enough, and your calves and quads will no doubt agree. Admittedly it wasn’t my favorite of their courses—that would be Wildcat (with its views out over the SF Bay), and Rocky Ridge (toughest half marathon in the state!)—in part because it included two identical loops. But I actually appreciated the two-loop route at Lagoon Valley since I was able to get a sense for the hills in loop one and then pace myself accordingly in loop two. And my personal highlight at Goonies was a paved mile 12 that, thanks to its downhill trajectory, allowed me to build up a head of steam and notch my first-ever sub-7:00 mile on a Brazen course. Flying recklessly down that hill with only a mile remaining was an incredible feeling.

    PRODUCTION: From the runners to the photographers to the volunteers who mark the course, work the aid stations and hand out medals, everyone is part of the Brazen family. And corny as it may sound, as a runner you’ll feel like part of that family. But there’s nothing clique-y about a Brazen event—the team offers an early start for hikers, and in his pre-race announcements Sam makes sure to ask about first-timers and warn new trail runners that they should carry a course map to avoid taking a wrong turn. That said, the course at Lagoon Valley was so well marked with colored ribbons and flour arrows that even with my miserable sense of direction, I never missed a beat. Everything ran smoothly in Lagoon Valley, from parking to packet pickup (both a breeze) to the race itself. Turns out the course was roughly 0.2 miles short (my Garmin read 12.9 miles) due to the turnaround being in the wrong place, but I learned long ago as a trail runner to leave the type-A mindset at home, and +/– mileage on trails doesn’t faze me. The race itself is too much fun for that.

    SWAG: With 26 events per year, you couldn’t fault the Brazen crew for mailing it in and designing a reusable template for their shirts and medals. But they don’t. On the contrary, their t-shirt and medal designs stand out in my collection, and their swag consistently gets rave reviews from their runners. I’m not a huge t-shirt guy (they even give runners the option to opt out of the tee and subtract $5 from the registration fee), but the Goonies skull-and-crossbones design is strong, and strategic parts of the medal glow in the dark (see photo). Sam even designed new age-group medallions specifically for Goonies, just as he had for their previous Tarantula race in Los Vaqueros. Just another example of the attention to detail that made Brazen the 2015 Best Trail Racing Series of the Pacific West region, according to Competitor Magazine. And unless the voting is rigged 🙂 , look for them to reclaim their title in 2016.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    Profile photo of Stefan Ryser
    Stefanryser REPEAT RUNNER '16

    This is a great course, downhill paths are runnable, the views with the lake are just great. It is quite a small race. Brazen had it in March, but this … MORE

    This is a great course, downhill paths are runnable, the views with the lake are just great. It is quite a small race. Brazen had it in March, but this year only in October, as the park wasn’t available in March. I like it as an October run, even though it rained the day before, the course wasn’t muddy as in previous years. Truly one of my favorates.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    Profile photo of Michael Beckwith
    mikebeckwith REPEAT RUNNER '16

    This is one of my favorite races. It's out at Lagoon Regional Park in Vacaville. It starts with a lap around the lake, then two loops. While it has just … MORE

    This is one of my favorite races. It’s out at Lagoon Regional Park in Vacaville. It starts with a lap around the lake, then two loops. While it has just under 2,400 feet of elevation gain, I find this course easier than a couple others that have only 2,000. I think it’s a bit more spread out and runnable. I got my fastest Goonies time this year. This was undoubtedly because of the cool temps that lasted all morning. The sun never really came out until I was done. The views are great at this course. There are some tough small climbs. Some cool single track downhill, and some paved parts (especially mile #12) which you can get a really fast mile at (all downhill). Post race snacks, Volunteers, on course aid stations, Crew, Bling, everything was TOP NOTCH. As it always is at a Brazen Race!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    Profile photo of Barbara Rausch
    noneleft FIRST-TIMER '16

    First time running Goonies. I was supposed to run the half marathon, but i dropped down to the 5k because of an injury. This race is run at Lagoon Valley … MORE

    First time running Goonies. I was supposed to run the half marathon, but i dropped down to the 5k because of an injury. This race is run at Lagoon Valley park in Vacaville. The course is run on some pavement, gravel, and dirt. I enjoyed the 5k course. Most of the course (2.2 miles) is run around the lagoon. It is flat. At mile 2.2, you reach the hill. You climb for about .25 miles and then drop down the hill and then a small hill/flat area to the finish. The down hill was a little technical with roots and rocks. You had to watch your footing. Total elevation was 320′ and 3.1 miles. All in all a pleasant course.
    The single aid station was at mile 2.2. It was stocked with the usual water, sports drink, Gu, and sweet and salty snacks.
    All participants receive a race shirt. Tech tees for the half marathoners and cotton for the 5k and 10k. All finishers earn a cool race medal. Brazen had a race specific age group medal for this race, too. This one looked like a pirate’s coin. I was lucky enough to score a 3rd place in my age group for the 5k. I was totally excited.
    Brazen Racing is a top notch race production company. If you haven’t run one of their races, check them out. You won’t be disappointed.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    Profile photo of Pete Storz
    PeteSinCA FIRST-TIMER '16

    Event & Course Description: Brazen Goonies is run in Lagoon Valley Park in the hills southwest of Vacaville, CA. The start/finish area is at the north end of the lake, … MORE

    Event & Course Description:
    Brazen Goonies is run in Lagoon Valley Park in the hills southwest of Vacaville, CA. The start/finish area is at the north end of the lake, and the course for all three distances, half marathon, 10K, and 5K, could be described as a figure 8, with the start and finish at the neck between the two loops. I did the 10K, but the three distances share much of the same course. All three distances start by doing a loop around the small lake in the park, about 2 miles. Just before reaching the start runners are turned onto the second loop, and come to an aid station. After the aid station, runners climb a short, but very steep hill, and then back down, also very steep. At this point 5K runners turn toward the finish, climbing out of a little valley, and then on to the finish.

    10K and half marathon runners turn in the other direction, and after about a flat mile, climb a fairly steep hill, then another hill, and then a third hill. These hills aren’t as steep as the first hill, but they’re not gentle. Between the second and third hills there’s about .4 mile along a ridge that’s fairly flat. After topping the third hill the trail goes down to a road and an aid station. At this aid station, 10K runners take the road toward the finish, a steady but not too steep downhill, with the last mile or so fairly flat.

    Half marathon runners turn the other direction from the aid station, and do an out-and-back (up and down a hill) leg of about a mile and a half. Then they head back down toward the finish area, but repeat the second loop of the short steep hill, three hills, the out-and-back hill and then finally down to the finish.

    Going around the lake and from some of the hills and ridges runners have some really beautiful views of the lake and the oak-clustered hills in the park. I’d guesstimate the courses to have been 35%-40% paved, but with wide packed gravel and dirt shoulders paralleling much of the paved roads for those who prefer to avoid pavement On the other hand, most of the rest of the course is single track trail. The course is probably 90% exposed, making sunscreen an absolute must, as well as adjusting one’s pace if the weather is warm (it was partly cloudy in 2016, with the temperature under 70°F). Parking is plentiful, and the park entrance may be a half mile from I-80 exit.

    Organization & Production:
    I know I have to explain this, but it’s a Brazen Racing race. That means lots of good things for runners, from checking it out for the first time through leaving after the race, and even a little after.

    The race information online is very complete, including course maps and elevation profiles (the latter could use improvement, as the vertical scale numbers are not easy to read), and directions to the venue. Registration is easy, and Brazen sends out a very detailed race instructions email several days before the race. Check-in, whether a day or two before the race or race morning is easy. Brazen usually has results online within 12-24 hours after their races.

    The course will be very well marked. Aid stations will be well positioned, with friendly and encouraging volunteers, and the array of drinks and energy-boosting snacks (candies, cookies, fruit) is close to amazing.

    The finish area is very welcoming, from the people handing out finishers’ medals and bottles of water to the even greater array of recovery & celebratory goodies to the welcoming people – volunteers, fellow runners, and runners’ family & friends. It feels like a family picnic!

    Swag & Goodies:
    Bib: The bib background color varies with the distance: orange for the half marathon; light blue for the 10K; yellow for the 5K. The top left is the race name. The top right has a skull and cross-bones logon (green eyes!) and the date. Below the race name is the piratic distance, “Ten Kilometarrghs” and under the logo is the bib number. Below that is a black stripe with the runner’s name in letters that look like they are made of bones. And then across the bottom is the organizer’s name and a couple of hash tags for the race.

    T-Shirt: The tech T-shirt is red. The front has the skull and cross-bones race logo, with the race name above the skull. To the left of the skull is the date, and to the right is the location. Across the bottom is the motto, “Never say die”. On the back the Race name forms a circle, with the motto between the words of the name. Around the top of the circle are the distance, and around the bottom is the race date. Below that are the logos of the race sponsors and organizer. I think it’s going to be one of my favorite race Tees!

    Finisher’s Medal: Words can scarce do the finisher’s medal justice! It’s roughly an oval, 4 inches on the long axis, and 3 inches on the short axis. It features the same artwork as the from of the T-shirt, with the race name, motto, and the skull’s eyes in glow-in-the-dark green. It’s off the chart amazing! The ribbon features the skull, the race name, the motto, the date, and the distances on a gray wood-grain background.

    Much to my surprise, I placed third in my age group. Brazen recently changed to age group medals designed for each race. The colors are gold, silver, and bronze, and the Goonies age group medals are about a 3 inch circle. The design is a compass rose, with the name and motto in center as on the back of the T-shirt. Just below that is the organizer’s name. Circling these is a ring with “Age Group Winner around the top, the distances around the bottom, and little skulls at the sides. The around the edge are the points of the compass, with scroll work between each point. It’s jaw-dropping amazing!

    My Results & Opinion of the Race:
    On the whole, I’m pleased with my results. I didn’t study the elevation chart as well as I might, and was probably too aggressive during the flat loop around the lake. As a consequence, I had less energy for the hills, especially the ones later in the race. I was able to recover some in the final downhill, and pushed myself again. I didn’t bring much energy into the finish that should have been expended on the trail. In balance, it could be that I gained more early than I lost later. So I’m just going to study better, plan better, and be a little less afraid of pushing myself.

    Would I do Lagoon Valley again? Very likely. I like trail races. Brazen is one of the best race organizers in the SF Bay Area, if not THE best. The people – organizers, volunteers, and runners – are all wonderful people. 2016 set a personal mark for the 10K in Goonies, and there’s always the half marathon, which is part of Brazen’s Ultra Half Series.

    On a personal note, Mr. RaceRaves, Mike Sohaskey, ran the half at Goonies. I got to meet him, and found him every bit as friendly, helpful, and encouraging in person as he is on the RaceRaves site and RR’s Facebook page. I hope I’ll meet Katie sometime soon!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    Profile photo of Patricia Venerable
    patvencool REPEAT RUNNER '16

    The weather today was beautiful on this fully exposed course. Great views of the surrounding area. Well defined & marked trails. Well stocked aid stations. Fabulous spread at the finish … MORE

    The weather today was beautiful on this fully exposed course. Great views of the surrounding area. Well defined & marked trails. Well stocked aid stations. Fabulous spread at the finish line. Fabulous finishers medals.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5

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    Profile photo of Chris Shuttlesworth
    cardinal91 FIRST-TIMER '14

    The year I ran this, it was in a heavy rain, turning the course into a gooey slip-n-slide. There's a huge hill, which became very difficult to climb and descend … MORE

    The year I ran this, it was in a heavy rain, turning the course into a gooey slip-n-slide. There’s a huge hill, which became very difficult to climb and descend in the mud. But it has a nice variety of terrain, including running around a lake, and I would like to try it again sometime in better weather. Like all Brazen races, the shirts, medals and post-race spread (even in the rain) were awesome, and few races are as well-organized as Brazen events.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    Profile photo of Angela Prewitt
    AngieYP REPEAT RUNNER '15

    This is one of my favorite races. The 5k is pretty easy with only one steep hill to climb. It has paved paths, dirt path around a lake and mud … MORE

    This is one of my favorite races. The 5k is pretty easy with only one steep hill to climb. It has paved paths, dirt path around a lake and mud if it is raining. I have done the 10k in the past and it is more challenging, but beautiful with fun single track areas to keep you interested, and a zig zap portion also. The medals and tshirts were great.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    Profile photo of Kelley Wick
    zephoral39 FIRST-TIMER '15

    Absolutely awesome! Brazen is our favorite series and we are trying to do as many as possible. This was my fist 5k ever and after that, I was hooked. Great … MORE

    Absolutely awesome! Brazen is our favorite series and we are trying to do as many as possible. This was my fist 5k ever and after that, I was hooked. Great aid stations, the BEST medals and best food after the race!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    Profile photo of Stefan Ryser
    Stefanryser REPEAT RUNNER '14

    I love this course, first you run around the little lake, then up the hills, down a gravel road. The views are great. I ran the 10K course in 2013 … MORE

    I love this course, first you run around the little lake, then up the hills, down a gravel road. The views are great. I ran the 10K course in 2013 and wanted to do the HM in 2014, and enjoyed it. In addition the HM is part of the Brazen Ultra Series, when completing you get a coaster. Brazen’s finisher medals are great and always depict the theme of the race. This was one of the races, where it rained the entire time. That was just an additional bonus of the adventure. Brazen’s organization is always great; this race is one of their smaller ones (they did 26 races in 2014, and produced more than 100 since 2009), and feels like a friends and family event, where all runners are welcome, between elites and hikers.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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