Overall Rating
Overall Rating (2 Reviews)
4
(2 Ratings)(2 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3
SCENERY
5
PRODUCTION
3.5
SWAG
3
We’ll forgive you if you have trouble concentrating on the road ahead of you while running The Humboldt Redwoods Marathon, Half Marathon, or 5K. After all, you’ll probably be looking up at the old growth redwood trees which tower over the course! The Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California’s largest redwood … MORE
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Recent reviews

    roxy031 FIRST-TIMER '19

    I decided to do this as my 2nd marathon, since it is relatively close to me (I'm in the Bay Area, so it was just a 4 hour drive). I … MORE

    I decided to do this as my 2nd marathon, since it is relatively close to me (I’m in the Bay Area, so it was just a 4 hour drive). I couldn’t find much information online about the race beforehand, so I wanted to leave a thorough review in case it helps other runners in the future. More details will follow, but in summary, it’s a great race, on a beautiful course, and is definitely worth the trip!

    The race takes place on Avenue of the Giants in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, in Weott, CA. The drive from the Bay Area was beautiful. I was surprised that the elevation wasn’t higher – only 300-400 ft above sea level, which was nice since I was coming from sea level. The giant redwoods are beautiful, and there were some changing leaves that made everything even prettier than usual!

    Packet pickup takes place near the race start, which is in Founders Grove. If you’re coming from 101, it’s exit 663, but you can also get to it from exit 667. It’s a very simple packet pickup – you get your bib, and your shirt, with a nice tote bag. The tote bag has a Hammer Gel inside, and a cool sticker. There’s some other merch for sale from years past, and that’s about it. It’s all outdoors under tents. There are some picnic tables and nice views in case you want to hang out and have a picnic after your long drive.

    There’s an option to do packet pickup before race morning, and even though the race starts at 9 and we wouldn’t have to be there super early, we opted to do it the day before just to get familiar with the area and eliminate stress on race morning. We also drove through some of the park and went to the visitor’s center, which is also really cute!

    We stayed in Garberville, which was about a 25-min drive from the race. There are a few closer places, but I chose the Best Western in Garberville just based on familiarity with the hotel chain – I didn’t want to end up somewhere with uncomfortable beds or no ice machine or anything else that would add stress! And it was a fine place to stay – it’s right off the 101, so it’s easy to get in and out. Garberville is not very exciting and seems like it’s a bit sad in general, but there are a few restaurants (we ate at the Humboldt Bar & Grill, which is in walking distance of the Best Western) and there’s also a really cute store across the street from the hotel that you should definitely check out if you’re in the area! It’s called The Blue Moon and it’s the oldest shop in Garberville, and has lots of kitschy gifts and jewelry and chocolates and random things.

    We left the hotel around 8 am Sunday morning and the temperature was around 37 degrees – pretty chilly! The sun was coming out though and in the sun, it felt warmer. There were plenty of portapotties near the race start, and some dogs to pet, which is always nice. The race started promptly at 9 am with no fanfare, and we were off. There are people cheering at the start, and then you’re pretty much alone with the trees and volunteers and other runners until you’re back at the race start at mile 13.

    The half marathon and marathon run the first out/back together, so you turn around at mile 6.5. The course is completely shaded by the giant redwoods, and it was great running weather, though a little chilly (I’d much rather be cold than hot though!). The first half is completely flat. There is a slope to the road in some places, and I always try to avoid running on slopes, but in some places it was unavoidable. It wasn’t terrible though, just something worth noting.

    At mile 13, which is back at the race start, the half marathoners go to the right to finish, and the marathoners continue left. This road is also almost completely shaded except for a few sections, but it’s hillier. Gentle rolling hills, so they never feel especially difficult, and it feels like it’s mostly downhill after the turnaround at mile 19.5ish.

    It’s a small race. There were only 130 or so people running the marathon, and maybe 600 running the whole race (there was a 5k and 10k as well as the half), so once the half split off, it was pretty lonely on the course. I didn’t mind, I was running with my husband, but if I’d been running alone it might have been tougher for me. Having other runners nearby is helpful for adrenaline and moral support, so if that’s something that’s important for you in a race, I’d stick to the half on this one!

    The one thing about the 2nd section that was a little annoying was that it was open to traffic. There were police escorts for the cars/trucks that needed to get by on the road, and it wasn’t constant, but it happened often enough that it was frustrating to have to move to the very edge of the road to let traffic pass. Especially on parts where the road was sloped and it was easiest to run in the middle, because that’s where there was the least amount of slope, but you couldn’t run in the middle because of the traffic.

    The aid stations were pretty frequent and I never felt like too much time or distance passed between them. A couple of the aid stations near the end had watermelon and banana and possibly other foods. Plus Gatorade and water. The aid station volunteers were very friendly.

    The shirt for the race is a long sleeve wicking material, and the girls’ version is v-neck. They’re pretty true to size but the sleeves are pretty tight. The design of the shirt is nice, and the medal as well. I’m not one who collects medals or even keeps them usually, but I will probably keep this one.

    Long story short, this is definitely a great race, and a beautiful course! This same race is also run in May, and I think either of them are worth a trip to Northern California to do.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    jeanfrancois848 FIRST-TIMER '17

    This was my first Humboldt Redwoods Half and I totally fell in love with the course. It's fairly flat and easy, and you are surrounded by giant redwood trees the … MORE

    This was my first Humboldt Redwoods Half and I totally fell in love with the course. It’s fairly flat and easy, and you are surrounded by giant redwood trees the entire way. The trees provide a lot of shade so no worries about heat or sun exposure. It was actually really cold before the start but warmed up nicely during the race.
    Some things to know:
    – This is really in the middle of nowhere (which is a good thing!) but that means most lodging will be a drive away. We stay at Miranda Gardens and loved it. Nice cabin in the woods. We took a few days to discover the region, hike, see the giant trees. Don’t just do the race, Explore!
    – The expo is small and picking up your Bib on race day is probably sufficient. The volunteers were nice,
    – Parking on race day is super easy. They have a gigantic lot (but it’s dirt and gravel, I could not recommend a very low clearance car).

    I had people from Colorado next to me and they commented “oh we have trees in CO, but nothing like those!”.
    There is also a river running along the course…

    A MUST DO! At least once. PS It was dry and clear, but that time of the year can be rainy. Just beware

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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