Overall Rating
Overall Rating (35 Reviews)
4.2
(35 Ratings)(35 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.3
SCENERY
3.9
PRODUCTION
3.8
SWAG
4
EVENT DISCONTINUED. —- Join the nation’s leading distance runners to race through the beautiful streets of San Diego! With so many fun runs, mud runs, and color runs being launched nationwide, we noticed a decline in the production of competitive endurance events in the United States. This race was developed … MORE
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Recent reviews

    Bettejh1 FIRST-TIMER '15

    This event was a great idea: a half marathon that required a qualifying time. It made you feel kinda special to be "in". Unfortunately and for reasons unknown to me, … MORE

    This event was a great idea: a half marathon that required a qualifying time. It made you feel kinda special to be “in”. Unfortunately and for reasons unknown to me, it was not successful. For an inaugural race, it was fine; maybe a little unorganized but nothing glaring. The jacket was pretty poor quality, but it wasn’t an expected item. Anyway, I was glad to run it with my running pal, Kris, so it was good day!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    1
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    2

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    rpixley REPEAT RUNNER '15

    I like that this had a qualifying standard. While not hard to qualify, it did eliminate walkers--walkers are awesome and bravo for getting out there, but since I was shooting … MORE

    I like that this had a qualifying standard. While not hard to qualify, it did eliminate walkers–walkers are awesome and bravo for getting out there, but since I was shooting for a PR, it was nice not to have to dodge as many folks at the beginning. I like that we all got jackets, and that it started very early (it was still dark). The finish by the bay was cool too.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    K2ayers FIRST-TIMER '15

    While I am still relatively new to road racing, I was thoroughly impressed with the production, scenery, organization and commitment to excellence that this race offered. For those who don't … MORE

    While I am still relatively new to road racing, I was thoroughly impressed with the production, scenery, organization and commitment to excellence that this race offered. For those who don’t know, this was the first ever half marathon race with qualifying times. While the times were (to some) lax, they were benchmarks that inspired people to step out of their comfortable relaxed pace and push for better.

    While I ran my fastest ever half marathon, my overall finishing placement was my worst thus far. This alone told me that the competition was stiffer than any race that I’ve ever entered. It was an honor to run with such talented runners. The city of San Diego itself is amazing. I brought my entire family and we stayed a few days before and after the race just to enjoy the sites.

    From the expo to the awards ceremony, this race was Class – A (or classy…however you spell it – lol). Hopefully I’ll be able to come back and participate in this event again next year.

    A couple things that I think could really increase the draw to the race are listed below. I mention them simply because a 5,000 entry race that had less than 50% of the people show up to compete might want to know: “what could we have done better”.

    – Social Media: while early on the social media presence for this race was strong, it died out over the months. Twitter in particular went completely dry in 05/2015.

    – All articles and interviews regarding the race that I found were bunched up in April/May of 2015. If you hadn’t heard about the race by June, you were basically dependent on word of mouth.

    – While I have heard some griping about how the lax time restrictions were a reason why people didn’t enter, it was their loss. It was the fastest competition I’ve seen and who cares how fast the guy behind you is running….moving on.

    – Who knew Meb was coming? I sure didn’t! Things like this are selling features and if mentioned in the coming weeks via Social Media (I harp again) this could have increased participation by 20% alone. (just a thought)

    Don’t get me wrong, I had a GREAT time and I’m confident that if this race keeps doing exactly what it’s doing it has the potential to hold some of the most sought after spots in the sport.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    landisx4 FIRST-TIMER '15

    Event needs to mature. Expo, post race and photos lacking. Competition was against full marathoners. Tough! Great place and location though. MORE

    Event needs to mature. Expo, post race and photos lacking. Competition was against full marathoners. Tough! Great place and location though.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    M_Sohaskey FIRST-TIMER '15

    Like the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon I ran back in May, the USA Half is a race by runners, for runners. If your preference is for balloons, costumes and fanfare, … MORE

    Like the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon I ran back in May, the USA Half is a race by runners, for runners. If your preference is for balloons, costumes and fanfare, you’ll want to stick with the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Half in June. But if you’re a half marathoner who simply loves to run or who’s looking for a new type of challenge to motivate your training, then do yourself a favor and check out the USA Half. Its “qualifiers only” status and San Diego venue also make it a great option for 50 Staters looking for a distinctive California race.

    The course is solidly urban and isn’t necessarily PR-friendly, with the first half falling somewhere between “rolling” and “hilly”. But the second half makes up for the sins of the first, with a Kansas-flat profile and a final three miles that border the sun-drenched harbor and marina. At $95.00 + processing fees the race isn’t cheap, but it’s a solid value – in both production and swag, you get what you pay for (see below).

    The overarching patriotism of the event – from the name to the logo to the U.S. flags flanking both the start and finish lines – was a curious choice that wasn’t fully explored. I assume the star-spangled theme was in homage to the host city, which boasts a proud military (and specifically naval) history. In fact, several retired battleships – chief among them the USS Midway – now call the Port of San Diego their permanent home.

    Given its overt patriotism and proximity to Veterans Day, it seems appropriate that next year’s race include a tribute to current military personnel, veterans and fallen heroes. And why not partner with a charitable organization that supports veterans? Because honestly, given that nearly $8 of every registration fee already goes to the hot mess that is Active.com, I certainly wouldn’t protest if a portion of my registration went to a worthy cause like veterans programs. This would also help engage the community and increase civic support for the race.

    Overall, count me in for next year!

    PRODUCTION: As expected given the parties in charge (including the Race Director of the Boston Marathon), event production was spot-on and a high point of the race. The pre-race expo (what we saw of it, arriving as we did an hour before it ended thanks to SoCal traffic) was small and easily navigated. Race day itself went off without a hitch, from the firing of the starter’s pistol at 6:00am sharp to the immediate and efficient disassembly of the finish line at 8:30am. The course was impeccably marked, to the point that my Garmin chimed the mile just as I hit the timing mat at mile 10. If GPS units can dream, then mine at that moment dreamed of being the official timer.

    Aid stations (none of which I used, as usual) looked to be fully stocked, with vigilant volunteers calling out “Gatorade!” or “water!” as runners approached. As seems to be the case wherever I run, volunteers were friendly, encouraging and eager to help. Post-race snacks were plentiful, though finish-line festivities were minimal given the event’s constricted time limit of two-and-a-half hours (mandated by the city, I assume). And race director Ken Nwadike Jr made great use of his omnipresent camera, providing free race photos – always a much-appreciated bonus – courtesy of his own Runner Buzz Media.

    SWAG: The race swag is a definite selling point, and includes a colorfully patriotic “USA” medal emblazoned with a bald eagle, as well as a black-with-white-zipper USA Half Marathon finishers jacket (though the logo on front could stand to be a bit brighter and more readable). Curiously, the jacket zipper is designed for left-handers. In any case, the jacket is a significant and much-appreciated upgrade from the standard race tech tee. And the medal will definitely stand out from its less flamboyant brethren.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    Profile photo of kristy Lage
    cowlage FIRST-TIMER '15

    I absolutely love San Diego! This was my favorite half ever. I was concerned about the hills, however they were a piece of cake. A PR by 4 minutes! The … MORE

    I absolutely love San Diego! This was my favorite half ever. I was concerned about the hills, however they were a piece of cake. A PR by 4 minutes! The jacket & medal are too cool. I shared the picture album I was emailed for free. It rocked my world to have Meb on the course cheering everyone on & the high five he gave me! Definitely a “Boston” Half!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    No gear check :( No porta-potties at the start line area, race needs these. This race is about getting down to business. This isn't for walkers. I enjoyed the course … MORE

    No gear check 🙁 No porta-potties at the start line area, race needs these. This race is about getting down to business. This isn’t for walkers. I enjoyed the course except for the rental car parking lot area, not motivating after 10 miles. San Diego is beautiful and a great place to run. Thumbs up on the free photos. Race jacket is nice but no pockets?? Race merchandise was minimal and lacking appeal. Expo needs help, some life into it. Maybe it will be bigger and better along with the race merchandise next year.

    I felt the course was challenging. I love the USA themed running event. Great snacks and drinks at the finish line.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    jensking FIRST-TIMER '15

    I was attracted to this race because finally, a race I could qualify for! As a definite middle-of-the-pack runner, I was excited to challenge myself to meet my qualifying time. … MORE

    I was attracted to this race because finally, a race I could qualify for! As a definite middle-of-the-pack runner, I was excited to challenge myself to meet my qualifying time. Once I did that, I set an ambitious goal of running this race a full five minutes faster than my qualifying time. We drove the course the day before the race, which I *highly* recommend, as there’s more elevation change than just the one big hill toward the beginning. But knowledge is power, and with the right attitude, and surrounded by faster people, I not only made my goal time but smashed my PR by nearly 7 1/2 minutes! The power boost I got from seeing Meb at the 10K point cannot be understated – what an amazing thing for him to do. No fanfare, no entourage; just him, cheering us on. Incredible! Course support was good – I felt that there were plenty of aid stations, and the volunteers were efficient and friendly. There were volunteers on the course to bring our attention to tricky terrain or narrow areas, which was a nice touch. There could have been more porta-potties at the starting line, but it’s a rare race where that’s not the case. I was a tad disappointed in the quality and fit of the jacket, but I’m still happy to have it because of what it represents. And the medal is huge and beautiful! I would definitely do this race again.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    FastMav FIRST-TIMER '15

    I am an autistic athlete who regularly competes for Special Olympics, and I run marathons and half marathons. Two weeks before this race, I had run my personal best half … MORE

    I am an autistic athlete who regularly competes for Special Olympics, and I run marathons and half marathons.
    Two weeks before this race, I had run my personal best half marathon time of 1 hour 26 minutes 4 seconds. The Big Sur Half Marathon had everything a runner could possibly want.
    Considering the USA Half Marathon was the first ever qualifiers-only half marathon, I had HIGH EXPECTATIONS for it to be infrastructurally sound. Unfortunately, USA Half Marathon lacked the basics and the extras. These deficiencies with the USA Half Marathon were extremely dangerous!!!
    Thirty-six hours prior to the race, I contracted food poisoning, but thought I had recovered enough to run anyway. After 3 miles, I knew I was in trouble. Nevertheless, I soldiered through for another 5 miles until I reached MCRD. At that point, my pain level, and the lack of security on the track, prevented me from finishing.
    I noticed along the route that there were very few porta-potties and very far apart (Two porta-potties every 2 to 3 miles). At about mile 7, the only restroom available was a gas station bathroom, with a long wait to get in. Having to wait over ten minutes to relieve the food poisoning gas and diarrhea was excruciating because it was starting to press into my diaphragm.
    The race also failed to have medical personnel cyclists, and was very short on police officers. There was only one officer every half mile or so. I did not have much of any options for getting help if I desperately needed it. Another reason why I stopped at MCRD is that place happened to have more than one security person (there was an officer and two Marines). What was also EXTREMELY SUPREMELY DANGEROUS was a disoriented homeless person was standing IN THE MIDDLE OF THE TRACK facing oncoming runners and yelling things at runners. NO ONE ESCORTED THAT PERSON OFF THE TRACK AWAY FROM RACERS AND FANS!!!!! IMAGINE IF THAT PERSON WAS SOMEONE SPECIFICALLY TARGETING THE RACE, LIKE IN BOSTON!!!!!
    If there had been mobile medics, and a stronger presence of track security, I would have felt safe enough to continue the rest of the way.

    Speaking of lack of security, there were no officers at the start line, and there were no escorts to take runners from finish line to start line in the dark.

    Another one of the most shameful parts about the USA Half Marathon was it did NOT have uniformed honor guard for the opening ceremony. If this race is going to use a military emblem as a medal and call itself USA Half Marathon, runners better have the opportunity to thank our brave military personnel in person for their courage in defending this country. Especially considering San Diego is a military city, the failure to have uniformed honor guard at the course is unacceptable!!!

    If I am ever going to choose to run the USA Half Marathon again, it better have the infrastructure and patriotism from now on!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    1
    My Report
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    1
    My Media

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    Profile photo of Wilfried Birleanu
    nashpa2002 FIRST-TIMER '15

    I got my qualifying time 6 days prior to the race in the Silver Strand Half. I wasn't planning to run this one in under 2 hours, especially taking into … MORE

    I got my qualifying time 6 days prior to the race in the Silver Strand Half. I wasn’t planning to run this one in under 2 hours, especially taking into consideration the Pershing Drive grueling uphill (Silver Strand is relatively flat, whatever ups and downs in that race can’t be called hills). But the course was awesome, the weather was just right and about one mile before the finish line the 2 hour pacer caught up with me and literally yelled at me for slowing down so I picked up my feet and finished in 1:59:02, 19 seconds faster than my qualifying time. I really wish this race will gain steam and become what is intended to be. I know the qualifying standards will get tighter but that is exactly what I need in order to break my cruising for pleasure habits and kick it up a notch.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    Profile photo of Aracely Zuniga
    shrympy FIRST-TIMER '15

    Love the Swag! Finishers Medal and jacket were Cool! I loved the fact that because you had to qualify for this race, there wasnt' too many people on course! Also … MORE

    Love the Swag! Finishers Medal and jacket were Cool! I loved the fact that because you had to qualify for this race, there wasnt’ too many people on course! Also loved that the pictures were free to download! I would totally recommend this race to everybody!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5

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    Profile photo of Kyrah Ayers
    kyrah FIRST-TIMER '15

    Beautiful scenery, great competition, well organized. Can't wait to come back next year. The weather was perfect and the course was challenging and amazing. MORE

    Beautiful scenery, great competition, well organized. Can’t wait to come back next year. The weather was perfect and the course was challenging and amazing.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
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    pup650 FIRST-TIMER '15

    The bad: not enough staging area support- runners needed gear-check, pre race munchies and more accessible porta-potties. The jacket's logo is kinda tacky and too big, and the jacket itself … MORE

    The bad: not enough staging area support- runners needed gear-check, pre race munchies and more accessible porta-potties. The jacket’s logo is kinda tacky and too big, and the jacket itself is so-so.
    The good: there were no first-time runners blocking the course! The invitational concept is exciting and the unanimous veteran vibe is a confidence boost. The municipal support along the course was fantastic (Thank you San Diego PD!).

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    Lcwitt FIRST-TIMER '15

    What I loved about the race: course, jacket, post race food, size, time of year/weather, Meb's high five Things that could improve: more porta potties I will do this race … MORE

    What I loved about the race: course, jacket, post race food, size, time of year/weather, Meb’s high five
    Things that could improve: more porta potties

    I will do this race again for sure as long as they don’t make the qualifying times too hard! Great organization for a first year race. I hope they sell out next year so they keep putting this race on!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    Peter FIRST-TIMER '15

    I forgot how hilly San Diego can be. The race was tough but very smoothly run. I am not sure how they promoted this race, but I did not hear … MORE

    I forgot how hilly San Diego can be. The race was tough but very smoothly run. I am not sure how they promoted this race, but I did not hear much about it on the running blogs or press. I am really surprised they did not even come close to selling out. I may be in the minority, but I thought the jackets were rather cheap. The $20 official t-shirt was also not impressive. I liked the merchandise from Greenlayer – but they had about 20 items left when I showed up at the expo at 2pm. I agree with another comment – it was nice not to have local bands – just a group of competitive runners.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    Profile photo of Rebecca Jones-Pelegrin
    beccalifornia FIRST-TIMER '15

    Inaugural usually means something will go wrong but nothing did. The race went smoothly. There were no bands or music along the course and I liked that for a change. … MORE

    Inaugural usually means something will go wrong but nothing did. The race went smoothly. There were no bands or music along the course and I liked that for a change. It was about being focused and getting it done. I liked the quiet of myself and other runners.
    The one thing that could be improved was that the Expo folks allowed people to try on their jacket and exchange sizes. I have a very small friend that couldn’t leave her job early so had to settle for a jacket that was too big as her size was gone by the time she got to the Expo

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    slsadler FIRST-TIMER '15

    Given who the race organizers were, and given all the pre-race hype of it being such an exclusive race, I expected a bit more. Other than seeing Meb on the … MORE

    Given who the race organizers were, and given all the pre-race hype of it being such an exclusive race, I expected a bit more. Other than seeing Meb on the course, which was awesome, there wasn’t much more. I did like the competitive nature of the field and like the concept of a serious half marathon vs just a fun race with a bunch of bands and costumes. Course was tough with the long brutal hill in the very beginning (where I pulled a hamstring sadly) so doubtful you got many PR’s. Expected more elite racers to be there and surprised and disappointed that Dave McIlivray wasn’t there. Obviously they only used his name. Not sure whether I’ll do this one again or not.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5

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    luther102 FIRST-TIMER '15

    This was a great race/run with a well thought out course. It featured some of San Diego's finest waterfront scenery on the back 6+ miles. The choice of a finisher … MORE

    This was a great race/run with a well thought out course. It featured some of San Diego’s finest waterfront scenery on the back 6+ miles. The choice of a finisher medal, the jacket in lieu of a t-shirt (t-shirts were optional to buy for $20, a bit steep if you ask me), and the experience was top notch. Perhaps a slightly shorter hill at the beginning would be OK but the course has some of the similarities of the America’s Finest City (AFC) half marathon. I liked the competition of the better runners, the qualifier really worked here.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    CrystalC FIRST-TIMER '15

    I really enjoyed this race - the course went through great neighborhoods and had some beautiful views of San Diego and the bay. Only semi-complaint was having to run through … MORE

    I really enjoyed this race – the course went through great neighborhoods and had some beautiful views of San Diego and the bay. Only semi-complaint was having to run through the car rental lot towards the end. Otherwise a great course. Not too difficult either, the big hills were done in the first few miles. Best part? Getting a high five from Meb at mile 6.5! The finish area and swag were nice, also.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    Profile photo of Shari Thron DeLuca
    jsdeluca FIRST-TIMER '15

    Good course, some gradual yet not difficult climbing early on that gets you to the highest point where it then catapults you downhill to the awesome flat section where you … MORE

    Good course, some gradual yet not difficult climbing early on that gets you to the highest point where it then catapults you downhill to the awesome flat section where you can develop a nice steady rhythm to finish strong! Good course support, although I am not a fan of Gatorade products. LOVED seeing Meb at the halfway point!! I loved the idea of qualifiying for this race, the faster flow of runners on the course enabeled me to keep a steady pace to hit my PR goal of under 2 hours for the first time ever! The finish line support was great, I would like to have had a different variety of food items than what there was available. Yellow bananas would have been more appetizing as well as bagels, pretzels, oranges–please consider for next time! Overall, it was a well organized event!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    2
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    2

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  1. Races
  2. USA Half Marathon Invitational