Overall Rating
Overall Rating (18 Reviews)
4.4
(18 Ratings)(18 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.3
SCENERY
4.3
PRODUCTION
4.4
SWAG
4.4
Carlsbad is a winter marathon and half marathon unlike any other. From our ideal weather conditions to our spectacular coastal course, our award winning event will wow you. Our 26 fully staffed course support stations, continuous entertainment and unsurpassed volunteer support are just a few of our outstanding features. We … MORE
Local Weather (Jan 19)
2019 2018 2017 2016 2015
 
H (°F) 76 64 60 64 71
L (°F) 55 54 53 53 52
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Recent reviews

    This was one of the most exciting and swag-filled races I have ever participated in. The expo included so many vendors and give-aways, and I LOVE the performance long-sleeve and … MORE

    This was one of the most exciting and swag-filled races I have ever participated in. The expo included so many vendors and give-aways, and I LOVE the performance long-sleeve and the tech shirt that were included with registration!

    The views were stunning. It was incredible to run along the coast and see the water and palm trees alongside the road.

    I would not recommend the course for someone who has not been training and who is not used to hills. It felt as though the first 6 miles were consistently uphill, directly into the rising sun. By mile 6, I was overheated and exhausted. I really wish that it was possible to begin the half marathon with the marathon, which starts an hour earlier. With a little less of the sun’s intensity on the uphills, it might have been a bit more bearable!

    All in all, I really hope to run this race again someday when I am a little better prepared for the hills and the heat. It was a wonderful experience in a location that lends itself to a great vacation!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    RunKMacRun REPEAT RUNNER '19

    This is the first race in a three race challenge series. The races get a bit harder as the series goes along. You can bib pick up race morning for … MORE

    This is the first race in a three race challenge series. The races get a bit harder as the series goes along. You can bib pick up race morning for $20 and in 2019 they added a double down type challenge if you do the 5k before the 1/2 you get an extra medal.

    Great Race!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    runningriddles FIRST-TIMER '19

    This was a perfect marathon. Every aspect of it exceeded my expectations: super organized, great swag, easy to get to everything including parking, a beautiful course, not super big (almost … MORE

    This was a perfect marathon. Every aspect of it exceeded my expectations: super organized, great swag, easy to get to everything including parking, a beautiful course, not super big (almost 1,000 marathon runners), perfect weather, and friendly and encouraging course support through the entire race. All of these elements came together to yield my (by far) best marathon PR time of WELL under the 4 hour barrier. I cannot recommend this marathon enough. What a wonderful experience! For a full detailed writeup of my review, you can visit https://runningriddles.com/races/the-2019-carlsbad-marathon-in-carlsbad-california/.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    M_Sohaskey Jan 24, 2019 at 8:02pm

    Woo-HOO, well done and welcome to California, Aaron! Great blog report, too. A 13+ minute PR Is incredible; I can vouch for the fact that running along the coastline here… MORE

    Woo-HOO, well done and welcome to California, Aaron! Great blog report, too. A 13+ minute PR Is incredible; I can vouch for the fact that running along the coastline here is motivational, but you just proved it. Sounds like you'd run just enough recently to strengthen your body without wearing it down. And YES, it feels like just a matter of time before you're knocking on Boston's door. Great job and glad you'll have fond memories of your first West Coast visit... hope to see you back out here soon! LESS

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    runningriddles Jan 25, 2019 at 6:07am

    Thank you, sir! It was an incredible experience.

    Thank you, sir! It was an incredible experience.

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    Donnie FIRST-TIMER '19

    Heard about this event via an email and wanted to see if the hype was true. I registered for the Double Down challenge where you run the 5k then the … MORE

    Heard about this event via an email and wanted to see if the hype was true. I registered for the Double Down challenge where you run the 5k then the half marathon. This was a long weekend trip for me as I live in Texas and saw this as an opportunity to mark off California on my run states.
    So this was the half marathon portion of my Double Down Challenge. The 5k was held prior to the half. There is about an hour between the starts so I had about 35 or so minutes to recover before the half. Registration – online. Easy. No issues. Great email communication with multiple emails as well as Facebook updates.
    Packet pickup was at an expo. Parking was free as it was held at a tent they put up in the mall parking lot where the event was to take place. Packet consisted of a long sleeve tech shirt that I will actually wear and your bib. If you registered for the challenge you got two shirts There were multiple vendors at the expo, most of the running community types.
    Race day. Parking once again super easy and free in the same mall parking lot where the expo was held. No traffic issues. I was parked about 45 minutes prior to the 5k start. There was also a full marathon that started about 30 minutes prior to the 5k but still no parking issues.
    Pre race. There were some vendors set up but for me just completing the 5k I just wanted to rest, eat something, hydrate, and put on some dry clothes and get ready for the half, so I didn’t explore prior to the run.
    The expo tent was open for bag check and just to hang out if desired. Plenty of portojohns were available.
    Starting line- they had an honor system wave start. I think there were seven waves. A few minutes between each wave start. Pretty orderly. Signs were posted with predicted finish times so one could line up in the correct pace wave in a perfect world. But it was a good system for the first two waves. I wasn’t around for the others but have to think they were also smooth. They did have pace groups which is always a nice bonus.
    Course- this was an out and back on city streets. Both sides of the road were blocked so lots of room to run Elevation – this was a hilly course or more hilly than I expected. I also know everyones definition of a hill is different. I will attach my Nike Run map from my race for whatever that is worth. But it could be just me as there were some fast times turned in race day. No real serious hill but several of them and of course you get to go down them.
    Scenery- it was great for us land locked Texans. running beside a park most of the first mile and last mile, past some stores and some homes, down what seemed to be the Main Street in Carlsbad with shops and dining establishments, then along the coastline where you viewed the waves crashing, surfers surfin, birds flying, and all the sounds that go with it.
    Course support- plenty of water stations with Enthusiastic volunteers and spectators along most of the course. Most stations if not all had both water and sports drink. There were also a few stations with energy gels available. Medical staff were also present along the route.
    Finish Line- finisher medal awarded, bottled water, Ice cold chocolate milk, and a snack bag is provided.
    Post race- a few vendors are available providing freebies and a few selling food items as well as race event gear.
    A results tent to look up your time was present.
    Awards- three deep in 5 year age brackets. A ceramic tile was the award with the event info, bracket, and place printed on it. Also they gave you a stand to display the award, a nice touch.
    A great well run event from start to finish. If you are in the area or are planning a trip to San Diego/Carlsbad, I would say you won’t be disappointed

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    M_Sohaskey Jan 24, 2019 at 8:51pm

    Did you see the pelicans gliding out over the ocean? Always a cool sight in Carlsbad. Congrats Donnie, the Double Down's no joke on the legs! As if 13.1 miles… MORE

    Did you see the pelicans gliding out over the ocean? Always a cool sight in Carlsbad. Congrats Donnie, the Double Down's no joke on the legs! As if 13.1 miles weren't enough, running 'em after 3.1 miles and a cool-down had to feel a bit like interval training. Carlsbad's a beautiful area and a solid choice for CA representation. Glad you made the trip, and hope you can join us out here again for one of the Golden State’s many other beautiful races! LESS

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    Donnie FIRST-TIMER '19

    Heard about this event via an email and wanted to see if the hype was true. I registered for the Double Down challenge where you run the 5k then the … MORE

    Heard about this event via an email and wanted to see if the hype was true. I registered for the Double Down challenge where you run the 5k then the half marathon. This was a long weekend trip for me as I live in Texas and saw this as an opportunity to mark off California on my run states.
    So 5K. Registration – online. Easy. No issues. Great email communication with multiple emails as well as Facebook updates.
    Packet pickup was at an expo. Parking was free as it was held at a tent they put up in the mall parking lot where the event was to take place. Packet consisted of a long sleeve tech shirt that I will actually wear and your bib. There were multiple vendors at the expo, most of the running community types.
    Race day. Parking once again super easy and free in the same mall parking lot where the expo was held. No traffic issues. I was parked about 45 minutes prior to the 5k start.
    Pre race. There were some vendors set up but I didn’t go in that area. The expo tent was open for bag check and just to hang out if desired. Plenty of portojohns were available.
    Starting line- mass start no corrals No issues.
    Course- this was an out and back on city streets. Both sides of the road were blocked so lots of room to run Elevation seemed like the first mile was all up hill started as a gradual incline then as you came closer to the highway crossing it got steeper. The next mile seemed level and the final mile had a little climb back over the highway then mostly downhill to the finish. I will attach my Nike Run map from the race tha shows the elevation or at least what my watch and Nike thin about it.
    Scenery- it was mostly good running beside a park most of the first mile and last mile, past some stores and some homes.
    Course support- one water station that you pass twice. Enthusiastic volunteers and spectators.
    Finish Line- finisher medal awarded, bottled water, Ice cold chocolate milk, and a snack bag is provided.
    Post race- a few vendors are available providing freebies and a few selling food items as well as race event gear.
    Awards- three deep in 5 year age brackets. A ceramic tile was the award with the event info, bracket, and place printed on it. Also they gave you a stand to display the award, a nice touch.
    A great well run event from start to finish. If you are in the area or are planning a trip to San Diego/Carlsbad, I would say you won’t be disappointed

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    bbkins52185 FIRST-TIMER '19

    Everything from packet pickup to parking, to picking up age group awards was efficient, easy, and well run. Ran the Double Down Challenge (5k + Half Marathon) and really enjoyed … MORE

    Everything from packet pickup to parking, to picking up age group awards was efficient, easy, and well run. Ran the Double Down Challenge (5k + Half Marathon) and really enjoyed it, there was a perfect amount of time between the two. My only criticism is 1-2 of the aid stations used the wrong cups (reached for water and got Ultima or reached for Ultima and got water) but that is honestly all I could come up with! Awesome experience!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    splitter FIRST-TIMER '14

    This course runs along the ocean for the most part, although there was a stretch near the airport which was rather boring. Well organized and lots of people. Part of … MORE

    This course runs along the ocean for the most part, although there was a stretch near the airport which was rather boring. Well organized and lots of people. Part of the Triple Crown series

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    booski REPEAT RUNNER '18

    Very well-organized half marathon, from the expo down to the finish line. Course was a little hot this year by the end, and there are some rolling hills, but it's … MORE

    Very well-organized half marathon, from the expo down to the finish line. Course was a little hot this year by the end, and there are some rolling hills, but it’s quite scenic and enjoyable. Love that they actually assign you to a corral, and love the extra finisher’s jacket included in the price. Great race! I’ve run the half twice now and would do it again.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    HalfSpeedQueen FIRST-TIMER '18

    The course was along the ocean with a wonderful, refreshing breeze. The aid stations were plentiful and well staffed. My favorite part was the community support for the runners. Coming … MORE

    The course was along the ocean with a wonderful, refreshing breeze. The aid stations were plentiful and well staffed. My favorite part was the community support for the runners. Coming off of the holidays, my time was not as good as I could have hoped. However, this race reminded me why I love running in Southern California.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    RunKMacRun FIRST-TIMER '18

    This is the first race in the Triple Crown series. All 3 races are around the San Diego area. You must pick up your bib or have pay a race … MORE

    This is the first race in the Triple Crown series. All 3 races are around the San Diego area. You must pick up your bib or have pay a race day fee of $20. So plan ahead. They did allow others to pick up bibs for you if they had a copy of your ID. Plenty of parking. This race also offers a full marathon and 5K as well as the 1/2 option.

    Very hilly. Started a bit latter in the morning so it was a bit warm. Beautiful beach scenery along the entire course.
    Will be back in 2018.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    halftwisted FIRST-TIMER '17

    I had heard about this race for a couple of years and thought I would try it out and I was not disappointed. This was a well organized event from … MORE

    I had heard about this race for a couple of years and thought I would try it out and I was not disappointed. This was a well organized event from start to finish complete with awesome volunteers, aid stations and great scenic ocean views. The town of Carlsbad really knows how to put on a great event and I am already signed up for 2018.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    cdmauger REPEAT RUNNER '16

    Carlsbad is a deceptively challenging course, with only one significant hill to deal with (very early in the race) but lots of rolling hills along the coast. Rarely is it … MORE

    Carlsbad is a deceptively challenging course, with only one significant hill to deal with (very early in the race) but lots of rolling hills along the coast. Rarely is it completely flat, and this takes a toll over 13.1 miles. The expo is nothing fancy but it gets the job done, the Carlsbad shirt and medal are always among the best, and this year they added a 1/4 zip jacket to the swag package. As far as logistics, it couldn’t be more convenient. Free parking at a mall, which is right at the start/finish line. Carlsbad Village is a wonderful area, so this makes a nice weekend getaway and “race-cation.”

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    olau822 FIRST-TIMER '17

    Logistics: Nice day off race bib pickup. For the size of the marathon, it should be allowed like any other smaller races without the extra fee. Also ran out of … MORE

    Logistics: Nice day off race bib pickup. For the size of the marathon, it should be allowed like any other smaller races without the extra fee. Also ran out of the 1/4 zip so settled for a woman’s to give as a gift.

    The roving medics on bicycles saved my bacon on mile 19 when I got a muscle spray for my calf. Having medic stations all spread out doesn’t really help a runner if they cramp up and are lying on the ground. These roving medics were a lifesaver! Any big race should consider having this kind of roving medic on bikes. I’ve seen too many runners with big cramps later in a marathon and a med tent is too far away.

    Nice views along the beach. The only boring and really hilly portion is a turn out loop during the middle of the race when runners have to loop towards a business park and freeway. If they had kept it only along the beach, it would have been better.

    There were many after race booths for food and drinks. Everything is conveniently located next to a mall so parking was free and many food options nearby.

    Cool medal with etching on both sides!

    Many gels along the route and plenty of drink stations.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    RunSarahRun FIRST-TIMER '17

    Yay: - free parking - relatively flat course (~3 small hills) - excellent community support (lots of random residents cheering) - lots of volunteers cheering and holding funny signs - … MORE

    Yay:
    – free parking
    – relatively flat course (~3 small hills)
    – excellent community support (lots of random residents cheering)
    – lots of volunteers cheering and holding funny signs
    – mile one’s water station has alcohol! I thought it was a myth but someone said it was real
    – Gu was provided twice on the half marathon distance (not sure about full)
    – love the two gender specific, long sleeve, tech shirts (moisture wicking). Got same size in both but one fit super big. They let me exchange my unworn shirt after the race was over.
    – smooth bib pick up and layout of the expo
    – good for beginners
    – the brown paper bag they hand out to the runners was well done. Not chaotic and didn’t have to worry about them running out of bananas, etc.
    – loooooots of port-a-potties along the way
    – lots of live band playing music along the way
    – distance specific medals
    – quick posting finish time results and pictures
    – after the race, the giant bib pick up tent had a bunch of heaters on! Awesome place to go and get warm and meet up with others

    Nay:
    – wasn’t as scenic as I was expecting, but perhaps my expectations were off
    – would have been nice to be able to pick up my bib on the day of the race without paying an extra $20 fee
    – expo was just okay. It would’ve been nice to have more vendors and free samples

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    4

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    mahesh3566 FIRST-TIMER '17

    TriCrown is a must do race series if you are as race crazed as I am. Carlsbad, La Joll and San Diego (AFC) courses are some fo the beautiful courses. … MORE

    TriCrown is a must do race series if you are as race crazed as I am. Carlsbad, La Joll and San Diego (AFC) courses are some fo the beautiful courses. I believe we have most amazing runners that participate in these races, and every time I run a race here in San Diego, my heart fills with gratitutde and joy! here are 5 reasons I like this race and why you should too!
    1. Beautiful Course which was not as Hilly
    Its not a flat course, or all down hill course, but its relatively sane. with few hills here and there. Its an out and back course, so if you go down, you come back up and if you go up you eventually come back down, so it all balances out at the end. The course is beautiful, running by the ocean for majority of it. Its absolutely breath taking when I got to mile 3/4, and to look at the entire course, and the ocean view by it! Their course runs about .1 longer, so be patient with your Garmin time and the race finish line!

    2. Aid Stations and Cheer all through the course
    I have run races, where I absolutely saw no one in the course cheering. (its true!). But this is a race to remember for people that showed up and cheered along the entire course, Not just at mile 1, but all the way to mile 6 and back! Aid stations were plenty. If I am not mistaken, it seemed pretty much every mile had an aid station, with water and electrolytes. The Volunteers were some of the best I have ever seen. Tons of them! Super Cheerful! Even if you aren’t feeling upto running,t his crowd will sure pump you up to get a PR!

    3. Generous Free Parking right by the start line
    Parking is always a nightmarish situation when I plan my San Diego county races, but this one is a cake walk. Being out and back course, where you start is where you finish, it gives you so much convenience, not having to be Bussed to the start line or anything like that. The start line is by a mall, so there is plenty of parking. So you don’t have to rush to get there any earlier than you need to. It’s right by the freeway so it wasn’t any hassle to get to the mall with street closures. I liked the convenience of it!

    4. Swag Swag Swag
    Best Swag. Period. Part of the bib pick up, they gave me a tech long sleeve T which is almost $20 worth. And a 1/4 zip jacket, which is almost $50 worth. Its well made, and infact, I got a wrong size so my boy friend loved wearing it to work today. Its absolutely beautiful looking jacket! I usually get medium for jackets, but go with your regular tshirt sizes for jacket as well. the Medium I got ran too large.

    5. Beer Garden (with one beer)
    I love when races have beer garden. Its not so much I love drinking beer, but it usually gives me an excuse to sip something and sit down and reflect on my race and socialize with fellow runners who have just finished races. Its hard to stop and ask someone how their race was at the finish line, but its nice to chat with people at a beer garden. I am glad they had one here. (AFC – please take notes!). For the first time Carlsbad Half Marathon/Marathon had beer garden with my favorite Ballast Point Brewery beer. We were only given one beer, which is kind of sad, but I am glad we had that. (More beers next year? Pls!)

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    meriwether1983 REPEAT RUNNER '16

    This is a great race with almost all flat terrain. There are a couple small hills, but nothing like my hometown I train in. My second best PR was here, … MORE

    This is a great race with almost all flat terrain. There are a couple small hills, but nothing like my hometown I train in. My second best PR was here, and the scenery and spectators make it all worth it.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    skydivemom FIRST-TIMER '16

    Nice out and back road course, a good portion with ocean view. Swag: normal, medal and tech shirt. Large expo, smooth bib pickup process. Porta Potties out of toilet paper … MORE

    Nice out and back road course, a good portion with ocean view.
    Swag: normal, medal and tech shirt.
    Large expo, smooth bib pickup process.
    Porta Potties out of toilet paper race morning.
    Great volunteers, plentiful aid stations.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    nthome FIRST-TIMER '14

    This was my 7th half but first time doing Carlsbad. I'm a fan! I'm adding this race to my "do it every year" list. Here's what I liked about it: … MORE

    This was my 7th half but first time doing Carlsbad. I’m a fan! I’m adding this race to my “do it every year” list.

    Here’s what I liked about it:
    * First and foremost, it’s an out-and-back course — no shuttles to start line, blah blah blah. I’m always a fan of races that start/end in the same place.
    * PLENTY of parking at the mall. Traffic getting in/out wasn’t bad at all.
    * WAVE start — as in, they actually DO start in timed waves. It was very organized.
    * FANTASTIC crowd support! Usually during these races, there are stretches with no one to cheer you on. The people of Carlsbad really show up and line the course pretty much the whole way (only place I can think of that didn’t have much support was near the turnaround — miles 7/8-ish). Several bands along the way, too.
    * Water and fuel stations at pretty much every mile! I dont think I’ve ever seen a race that starts water stations at mile 1. This one does.
    * Course is relatively flat and fast. There are a couple of minor grades but for the most part, this is a net downhill course. If you’re looking to PR, THIS IS A GOOD ONE!

    (edited to say: this is NOT a hilly course. Not even close. This is just about as flat as a course can be. Minor grades which immediately go back down. I guess if it’s your first half marathon, those minor grades may seem like “hills” but no … they aren’t. This course is NOT … let me repeat is NOT rolling hills). The steepest elevation change is 34 ft with a gradient of 0.5%. Seriously. Ok, moving on ……

    What I didn’t like:
    * Nothing major. Post-race baggie was a little lacking. Just a banana, cookie and a mini-Clif.
    * Another review said there was no water just chocolate mile (TruMoo!) but … there was water. It just wasn’t as obvious. I know cause I don’t drink milk and sought out the water. So yah, they could have made sure the water at the end was a little more obvious.
    * The tech shirt and medal for this one are nice — nothing special but nothing to complain about (I heard last year’s medal was pretty ugly??)

    As for traffic, well … almost all of these races have some traffic getting in/out. Getting out of this place isn’t difficult if you think AHEAD and park near an exit. Duh, right?? After all, you’re about to run 13.1 miles … what’s the big deal if you park a little further out. I considered it a warm up and was out of the parking lot in 15 mins.

    I did the AFC San Diego Half last year (third in the Triple Crown series) and will plan on doing this one again to start the Triple Crown in 2015! I wish the Triple Crown series was like Beach Cities Challenge and was consecutive and not calendar year … if so, I’d be on my way to earning it. Oh well. Loved this race. Will be back!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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  1. Races
  2. Carlsbad Marathon & Half Marathon