Overall Rating
Overall Rating (20 Reviews)
4.9
(20 Ratings)(20 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
2
SCENERY
4.2
PRODUCTION
4.6
SWAG
4
The iconic Carlsbad 5000 is under new ownership headlined by Meb Keflezighi and a team of local runners. Known as the World’s Fastest 5K, race weekend promises a fast oceanfront course, healthy competition, and an energetic atmosphere for participants of all ages and paces. The “Party by the Sea” starts … MORE
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Recent reviews

    cedoyle REPEAT RUNNER '19

    This is a good race to set a PR since the course is flat and has few turns. Also, there are several races depending on your age and gender so … MORE

    This is a good race to set a PR since the course is flat and has few turns. Also, there are several races depending on your age and gender so it is not too crowded. There was new race management this year and everything seemed to go as planned, The cost was very reasonable and the shirt was nice. Of course, Carlsbad was as beautiful as ever.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    runforbeer REPEAT RUNNER '19

    I was so glad to hear that Meb and other locals purchased this race from Ironman (Rock n Roll). The differences in ownership were apparent from the second I arrived. … MORE

    I was so glad to hear that Meb and other locals purchased this race from Ironman (Rock n Roll). The differences in ownership were apparent from the second I arrived. Bib pick up was much easier than in years past, no longer was it hidden a few blocks from the actual expo. The shirts are great quality as is the medal, both with a simplistic yet classic design to them. The course was the same as in years past as it should be, still fast with a few small climbs. Meb was even giving out high fives in the start corrals and hanging out at the finish line socializing with runners. The beer garden and post race party area had much more room this year and the lines for beer were super short due to beer being for participants only. You can tell that runners that truly get it and care about the sport are in charge now.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    Bettejh1 FIRST-TIMER '11

    It has been a few years, but I remember this race well because of how many times I ran the course that day. I chose 20k above, but the year … MORE

    It has been a few years, but I remember this race well because of how many times I ran the course that day. I chose 20k above, but the year I ran it, it was the All Day 25k but 25k was not on the drop down menu.
    Anyway, Carlsbad 5000 is often referred to as the fastest 5k in the country. It isn’t because of the course, I think it because so many elite runners compete there.
    The course is pretty flat with some inclines, and a couple turns. The scenery is, of course, the ocean and beach, but you are elevated from it a bit and the start/stop area is a couple blocks inland.
    The All Day 25k was kind of surreal. You are running different heats of the race. It is a huge field so they break it up with starts for different demographics; if you sign up for the “all day” [now 20k] you get entry to all of them.
    And every one starts with the national anthem sung by the same person, the same announcements, the same start gun, area, same cheering crownd, etc….So by the 3rd one it starts to feel a little like Groundhogs Day (the Bill Murray movie).
    I tried to save my best effort for the heat in which my AG/gender would be noted; I think I did by a few seconds. My PR for a 5k shows as being at this race, but that is only because a few 5ks I ran faster are no longer in existence (Running Is For the Birds, Race for the Pier, etc) so I can’t claim those times.
    Because Carlsbad 5000 is such a well-known race, the organizers have made sure everything is nice, quick, streamlined, etc.
    I don’t really remember the medal; it is in a box somewhere, but the shirt was one of my faves and I still wear it occasionally after 7 years.
    I recommend this race as a nice mid-year road trip weekend, whether you are doing the 5k or more. It is just one of those races everyone hears about, so why not just run it? Good weather, nice course….and of course, Pizza Port! Carlsbad is a great little town and you can watch the elite runners finish, which is pretty mind-blowing if you get close the finish line. Its amazing to see humans run that fast so close up.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
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    4
    SCENERY
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    SWAG
    3

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    cedoyle FIRST-TIMER '18

    It calls itself the World's Fastest 5K and I cut over 2 minutes off my PR. So, I guess they are right. It is a flat course with two 90 … MORE

    It calls itself the World’s Fastest 5K and I cut over 2 minutes off my PR. So, I guess they are right. It is a flat course with two 90 degree turns and two 180 degree turns and the rest is straight. Received a nice shirt and medal and drank two beers while listening to an 80’s cover band. Very nice experience in a great town.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    daverunsarec REPEAT RUNNER '17

    This long standing event is a fixture on my annual calendar of races. I have run in the Carlsbad 5000 at least 15 times and it keeps me coming back. … MORE

    This long standing event is a fixture on my annual calendar of races. I have run in the Carlsbad 5000 at least 15 times and it keeps me coming back. an all day carnival of races ending with the elite men and women. Downside over the last two years is that this has been a Rock and Roll event and it seems disorganized–several races over the last two years have been disrupted just short of the finish line because of trains coming through the town. Seems like they can’t figure out when the trains are coming after all these years. Also, the quality of the expo has fallen off over the last two years as has the quality of the shirts.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    This a fun little race and very well put together! The course was nice with a good portion along the coast and the after race party was great! I was … MORE

    This a fun little race and very well put together! The course was nice with a good portion along the coast and the after race party was great! I was pleasantly surprised by the two free beers at the end 🙂

    DIFFICULTY
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    SCENERY
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    dtm3000 REPEAT RUNNER '17

    This is my second year running and again it was a wonderful experience. I just re-read my review from last year and it still pretty much sums it up for … MORE

    This is my second year running and again it was a wonderful experience. I just re-read my review from last year and it still pretty much sums it up for me so I will just re-post it next.
    A couple of new notes – Last year (2016) they offered a general 1-mile fun run as part of the Junior Carlsbad 5000 on the day before. I enjoyed this immensily last year and I am bummed it is longer happening. Running a mile under those conditions, picking up my bib and watching the kids run was fun.
    Last New Note: Beer Garden opens at 8am sharp. Bring your ID. You get 2 free beers.
    Here’s 2016’s review:
    “I’ve always heard about this run and I always wanted to do it even though it is about a 65 mile drive. I was lured in by a $20 pre-sale a whole year ago (they are again offering this pre-sale rate for 2017 until April 10, 2016).
    This was a great experience and lived up to the hype. The Carlsbad 5000 is billed as a fast 5k and it sure felt like that.
    This takes place in beautiful Carlsbad Village and you get some great ocean views along the way. It seems like the whole community is out there to cheer you on. This is now part of the Rock n Roll Run Series and is a great production with a great T-Shirt, great Medal and some great Swag. The Expo is a fine mixture of samples, promotions and retail shops. Even with as many people show up for this there was never any waiting for the portapotties.
    They run the races in 4 public runs that start as 7 am and then later in the morning they hold Men’s and Women’s Elite races which get some big media attention. There is a 20K experience available that allows you entry in to the first 4 runs.
    The run is capped off with a craft beer garden sponsored by a local merchant, Pizza Port (There are 2 drink tickets on your race bib) where they have a live band.
    Parking is wherever you can find it. I parked on Madison Street which was a little more than a 1/2 mile away. As I was looking for parking I noticed a couple of larger lots in the area but they looked pretty full.
    Some other things of note – There was one water station at the 1.5 mile mark….and…my only gripe – in the finish chute you are handed a great deal of swag but no bag. So everyone is left trying to juggle everything.”

    DIFFICULTY
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    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    cdmauger REPEAT RUNNER '16

    The Carlsbad 5000 is one of my favorite events, and has something for everyone. It's part of the Rock 'n' Roll Series, so the organization is top-flight and the swag … MORE

    The Carlsbad 5000 is one of my favorite events, and has something for everyone. It’s part of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Series, so the organization is top-flight and the swag is better than you usually see at 5Ks. But it’s the unique nature of race day itself that makes it a cut above the rest. The Carlsbad 5000 is not one race . . . it’s several. There’s a Junior 5000 for kids on Saturday, and then on Sunday there are seven races divided by age group: Men 40+, Women 40+, All 30-39, All 29 and under (and walkers), Wheelchair Invitational, Elite Women, and Elite Men. It’s an awesome experience to run your race and then stake out a spot at the finish line to watch the other competitors . . . up to and including the elite races which often feature Olympic champions and World-Record holders. Deena Kastor and Bernard Lagat are two recent examples. It’s also a great PR opportunity (they don’t call it “The World’s Fastest 5K” for nothing. If you are part of a running club, large family, or just have a lot of friends, this is a great way to share a race experience and cheer each other on.

    Other details to keep in mind:

    – Carlbad Village is rather confined, so parking is tricky.
    – The “expo” is outside and very small. Give yourself time for bib pickup.
    – The finish area gets crowded as the day goes on, so if you want a prime spot to watch the elite races, plan ahead.

    DIFFICULTY
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    SCENERY
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    escharmann Apr 07, 2017 at 2:07pm

    I've heard that this is a fast one! It must be awesome to get to watch some of the professional runner as well.

    I've heard that this is a fast one! It must be awesome to get to watch some of the professional runner as well.

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    mahesh3566 FIRST-TIMER '16

    have run a race back in 2012 (surfcity), but Carlsbad 5k is my first official Race where I ran for time. Never having run a 5k with chip timing and … MORE

    have run a race back in 2012 (surfcity), but Carlsbad 5k is my first official Race where I ran for time. Never having run a 5k with chip timing and serious stuff like that, I didnt know what to expect. I showed up with my bf and our friends to the race without realizing what an amazing experience I was in for! Its one of the popular 5ks out there, and the race medal is one of the top 10 best race medals!

    Best:
    1. Every one gets an awesome finisher medal.
    2. 2 beers at the end of the race at the beer garden(one of the local brewery beer, not the corona or can stuff)
    3. top notch tech tshirt.
    4. if you register ahead of time, its only 20 to 25$ to register for the 5k.
    5. there is no half marathon and other types of races, so you wont feel bad after you finish your 5k, and you see these half marathoners and full marathoners storming off, making you feel so little and stupid for your 3 mile run lol. this is important for me!
    6. the race is pretty serious, with olympic elites making world records here.
    7. the course is so beautiful right by the ocean. The race finishes before even you realize.
    8. everyone runs. all ages, all body shapes, fitness level. there is a train track so watch out!
    9. they allow race day pickups which is amazing especially if you are out of town person that treks here just for race. it seems choatic but its an organized choas to pick up packets on teh race day! and somehow they manage it well.
    10. just to make you little special, they have first 250 finisher medals which is nice. to give you a sense of achievement even if you dont make top 3.

    things I didnt like:
    unfortunately there is nothing bad to say about this race.

    Tip:
    1. once you finish your run, head out and register for the next year right away as they offer the cheapest registration price here. (i paid 50$ on the regiration day, but for next year i paid 20$ which pays itself with all the freebie/goodies).

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    RunKMacRun REPEAT RUNNER '16

    This is a great course. They offer a 20K all day challenge. Might try that next time. The beer line was longer than the porta potty line :) Part of … MORE

    This is a great course. They offer a 20K all day challenge. Might try that next time. The beer line was longer than the porta potty line 🙂 Part of the Rock n Roll series so the swag is great.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    nthome REPEAT RUNNER '15

    If 5k races are your thing, this is the race to do! Carlsbad really supports the runners and the atmosphere can't be beat. The race has a series of 5ks, … MORE

    If 5k races are your thing, this is the race to do! Carlsbad really supports the runners and the atmosphere can’t be beat. The race has a series of 5ks, just “pick your poison” (so to speak) based on age group.

    Stay into late afternoon and watch the elite runners which is really mindblowing!

    Only downside to this race is the horrible parking situation. Get there early and I mean EARLY and even then, be prepared to go up and down residential streets to find a spot. Otherwise, this is THE 5k to do in Southern California!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
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    3

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    dtm3000 FIRST-TIMER '16

    I've always heard about this run and I always wanted to do it even though it is about a 65 mile drive. I was lured in by a $20 pre-sale … MORE

    I’ve always heard about this run and I always wanted to do it even though it is about a 65 mile drive. I was lured in by a $20 pre-sale a whole year ago (they are again offering this pre-sale rate for 2017 until April 10, 2016).
    This was a great experience and lived up to the hype. The Carlsbad 5000 is billed as a fast 5k and it sure felt like that.
    This takes place in beautiful Carlsbad Village and you get some great ocean views along the way. It seems like the whole community is out their to cheer you on. This is now part of the Rock n Roll Run Series and is a great production with a great T-Shirt, great Medal and some great Swag. The Expo is a fine mixture of samples, promotions and retail shops. Even with as many people show up for this there was never any waiting for the portapotties.
    They run the races in 4 public runs that start as 7 am and then later in the morning they hold Men’s and Women’s Elite races which get some big media attention. There is a 20K experience available that allows you entry in to the first 4 runs.
    The run is capped off with a craft beer garden sponsored by a local merchant, Pizza Port (There are 2 drink tickets on your race bib) where they have a live band.
    Parking is wherever you can find it. I parked on Madison Street which was a little more than a 1/2 mile away. As I was looking for parking I noticed a couple of larger lots in the area but they looked pretty full.
    Some other things of note – There was one water station at the 1.5 mile mark….and…my only gripe – in the finish chute you are handed a great deal of swag but no bag. So everyone is left trying to juggle everything.
    I picked up my packet the day before when I ran the new 1-Mile Run. That also was an enjoyable experience and I cover that in a separate review.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    dtm3000 FIRST-TIMER '16

    This is a new run added to the existing Junior Carlsbad 5000 occurring the day before the big run. Even though the event is a 65 mile drive for me … MORE

    This is a new run added to the existing Junior Carlsbad 5000 occurring the day before the big run. Even though the event is a 65 mile drive for me I was lured in by the chance to pick up my Carlsbad 5000 packet and to run a mile in a very competitive setting. And it was only $15 for a great T-Shirt, great Medal and great Swag.
    The timed run takes place in beautiful Carlsbad Village at 9:15am in one big wave. An MC with a mic walked the crowd and asked everyone to stage themselves by their expected time. This run and all the Junior Runs use all the facilities that the big race will use the following day so it really is an great experience.
    The event is now part of the Rock n Rock Race Series so all production and swag are top-notch. The expo hit all the right notes with a good mixture of sampling, promotions and retail stores. A local restaurant – Pizza Port – offered a pizza slice with any beverage purchase.
    Parking is pretty much just wherever you can find it. Both days I parked on a residential street of Madison about a half a mile away. I am looking forward to this event next year and staying in town.
    The Junior Carlsbad 5000 is a series of races for 12 and under. Here is their schedule:
    1 Mile – Age 12 (Grand Ave. between Madison St. & Jefferson St.): 7:20 am

    1 Mile – Age 11 (Grand Ave. between Madison St. & Jefferson St.): 7:30 am

    1 Mile – Age 10 (Grand Ave. between Madison St. & Jefferson St.): 7:40 am

    1 Mile – Age 9 (Grand Ave. between Madison St. & Jefferson St.): 7:52 am

    1 Mile – Age 8 (Grand Ave. between Madison St. & Jefferson St.): 8:10 am

    1 Mile – Age 7 (Grand Ave. between Madison St. & Jefferson St.): 8:18 am

    1/2 Mile – Age 6 (Grand Ave. between Roosevelt St. & Madison St.): 8:30 am

    1/2 Mile – Age 5 (Grand Ave. between Roosevelt St. & Madison St.): 8:41 am

    1/4 Mile – Age 4 (Carlsbad Blvd. between Grand Ave. & Carlsbad Village Dr.): 9:50 am

    Toddler Trot – Age 3 (Carlsbad Village Dr., between Washington St. & State St.): 10:00 am

    Diaper Dash – Age 2 & Under (Carlsbad Village Dr., between Washington St. & State St.): 10:10 am

    DIFFICULTY
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    SnailSandy REPEAT RUNNER '15

    Well run race with good shirt, nice medal, good finish line organization. Race day packet pickup, makes it nice for out-of-towners. Generous beer garden, although the beer was not to … MORE

    Well run race with good shirt, nice medal, good finish line organization.

    Race day packet pickup, makes it nice for out-of-towners.

    Generous beer garden, although the beer was not to my taste (hops too strong).

    Parking can be tough, so get there early.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
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    ohseachelle FIRST-TIMER '15

    Speaking from an amateur participant view, it was quite the experience to run beside and witness some of the worlds top speedy contenders. Setting records left and right was enough … MORE

    Speaking from an amateur participant view, it was quite the experience to run beside and witness some of the worlds top speedy contenders. Setting records left and right was enough to have anyone push for their PR.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
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    5
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    5
    SWAG
    4

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    Marinaw262 REPEAT RUNNER '15

    As many know, this is a great race to PR- a lot of flat/downhills, and good weather; Not to mention, the majority takes place on a nice ocean front stretch. … MORE

    As many know, this is a great race to PR- a lot of flat/downhills, and good weather; Not to mention, the majority takes place on a nice ocean front stretch. Of course, I was too busy running as fast as I could to notice 😉 But thankfully, the finish is also a couple blocks from the ocean, so one can always return after running. Tips : Arrive early, there is no “designated” parking. Every man for himself on the streets nearby, and in the old downtown of Carlsbad, that is not always easy. I would opt for race-day packet pickup. It is MUCH faster than going to the expo, and you miss nothing since the expo is all out doors, and there on race day (It is in some parking lots on the block between the start and the finish). The expo is pretty good, with lots of booths and goodies. You start on a slight uphill stretch for about a quarter mile, before making a turn onto the oceanfront street, then it is an out and back, until you come to the turn onto the finish line block at mile 3, a downhill stretch (which starts about half a mile out). Couple local beers are included with the entry, and drinking beer after a 3 mile run at 7AM is perfectly acceptable 🙂 Or, you can opt for the 20K, which means you do 4 of the five 5Ks that are run that day (most likely the “Elite” race, the last race of the day, is not included- that would be embarrassing to “run,” anyway. haha). Then you could space the beer drinking out better until mid – morning 😉

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    M_Sohaskey FIRST-TIMER '15

    BOTTOM LINE: The Competitor Group bills the Carlsbad 5000 as its "Party by the Sea". It's an apt description – Carlsbad isn’t a 5K race so much as it is … MORE

    BOTTOM LINE: The Competitor Group bills the Carlsbad 5000 as its “Party by the Sea”. It’s an apt description – Carlsbad isn’t a 5K race so much as it is an entire morning of 5K races. But even more than the races themselves, it’s a celebration of running. What better venue for a high-stakes race than a low-key coastal town like Carlsbad?

    After running it, I now understand why the folks at the Competitor Group have branded this their signature event. Maybe the race gets obscured by the other 2,000+ races held in California every year – but the truth is, Carlsbad is a not-so-hidden gem.

    The course is surprisingly hilly; according to my Garmin, the total elevation gain and loss over 3.1 miles exceeded both the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon I ran in November, and the Disney World Marathon I ran in January. Total elevation gain of the course (413ft) slightly exceeds elevation loss (387ft), and while the uphills are noticeable, I most appreciated the fact that the home stretch on Carlsbad Village Dr from the final turn to the finish line was all downhill. A great way to end a fast race.

    Granted I’m used to paying marathon and half marathon fees, but the Carlsbad 5000 is very affordable – registration ten days before the race cost $40 (plus a $5.99 processing fee), and I was able to find a discount code online that saved me an additional $10. The fact that I was able to sign up for this race so cheaply less than two weeks out still surprises me.

    My only – “complaint” may be too strong a word – objection would be that moving back the start line on Grand Avenue this year added ~88 yards (or in my case ~19 seconds) to the commoner’s course, or “Peoples Route” as it’s referred to on the race website. For a marathon 88 yards is negligible, easily falling within the margin of error for those not running the tangents. But for a 5K race 88 yards is over 1.5% of the distance, so it’s critical to get that measurement right. Not a deal-breaker by any means, but something for the organizers to keep in mind next year. Although the name rolls off the tongue, I doubt they want to rebrand their signature event the “Carlsbad 5080” (“Fifty-Eighty”).

    PRODUCTION: It’s tough to beat a race that’s run only a few yards from the ocean. Or at least that’s what the course map showed – my laser (read: pained) focus during the race precluded me from appreciating my surroundings in the moment.

    I’m not sure how runners in the later races fared, but running in the first event of the morning meant parking near the start line was a (ocean) breeze. I made a porta-potty stop, ran my warmup mile + striders, picked up my number directly adjacent to the start line (easy race-day bib pickup, how awesome is that?), and attached my timing chip to my shoe in time for the national anthem… all within 30 minutes. Thanks Competitor, for a seamless pre-race experience.

    My only critique of the production would be, as noted above, that the course was 0.05 miles too long, a buzz kill for those of us chasing PRs and/or a well-defined finish time like 20:00.

    On the other hand, the chance to meet and take photos with the elite runners more than made up for the added distance. For a race with significant prize money at stake, the organizers do a fantastic job of maintaining a low-key vibe and allowing spectators post-race access to the elites. Where else can an age-group runner stroll up to and shake hands with world-class athletes like Bernard Lagat and Deena Kastor? I felt like a kid on Christmas day, except in this case Santa Claus was real.

    That said, there’s a lot to recommend here even for those runners who aren’t stargazers. It’s a premier race in a relaxed oceanside venue (the “relaxed” part comes once you cross the finish line), a solid opportunity to test your mettle and your fitness level. Plus it’s a great value – the entry fee ranges from $20 (early) to $40 (late). And if you really like running the course, you can sign up for the “All Day 20K” and run it four times to earn special 20K swag.

    Speaking of swag, I was pleasantly surprised to receive not only a blue Leslie Jordan short-sleeve tech tee (always high quality) but a cool medal as well featuring women’s world record holder Meseret Defar. Not to mention some decent snacks in the finish chute.

    The new elite course, with its tighter loops and two added hairpin turns, seems designed more for the spectators than the runners. But whereas the effect of the new course on finish times remains to be seen, the organizers may want to reconsider the sequence and timing of the events if they hope to see Sammy Kipketer’s course record of 13:00 challenged anytime soon. I didn’t envy the elites having to run in the heat of the day.

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    Peter REPEAT RUNNER '15

    Very nice race - very scenic and very fast. The 20K is running all four of the public 5K races (because of the train schedule, the races are staggered every … MORE

    Very nice race – very scenic and very fast. The 20K is running all four of the public 5K races (because of the train schedule, the races are staggered every 1+ hour). They have a lounge area for the 20K participants and you get a special medal. Only problem was they ran out of water in the lounge area and they did not bother to cut up the oranges. The outdoor women’s 5K world record was almost set this year – Genzebe Dibaba missed her own record by 2 seconds.

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    daverunsarec REPEAT RUNNER '15

    Carlsbad 5000 is an annual event that has a full day of 5k races that starts with the masters in the morning and finishes with the world-class elites just after … MORE

    Carlsbad 5000 is an annual event that has a full day of 5k races that starts with the masters in the morning and finishes with the world-class elites just after noon the course runs through Carlsbad with most of it on Ocean Street with great seaside views. About 8000 runners total make it about 2000 people per race so plenty of people to chase or to run against. Always a good time

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    daverunsarec REPEAT RUNNER '14

    A festival of 5k's that starts with the masters run at 7 am and ends with the best runners in the world at noon. incredibly scenic course through Carlsbad and … MORE

    A festival of 5k’s that starts with the masters run at 7 am and ends with the best runners in the world at noon. incredibly scenic course through Carlsbad and along the ocean. very fast course.

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