Overall Rating
Overall Rating (8 Reviews)
3.6
(8 Ratings)(8 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3
SCENERY
2.8
PRODUCTION
4
SWAG
4
2020 EVENT CANCELED, offering virtual race option. *** The Walnut Creek Half Marathon is a fun and exciting course for all; runners and walkers alike enjoy this course for its ever-changing scenery and spirited volunteers along the route. The course, which is mostly flat boasts both an uphill and a … MORE
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H (°F) 62 60 64 54 58
L (°F) 55 44 34 45 40
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Recent reviews

    ucd76 FIRST-TIMER '18

    Fairly small, local type run. Parking can be difficult so arrive early. Start was pretty much on time. All events started together. Small enough numbers to not really matter but … MORE

    Fairly small, local type run. Parking can be difficult so arrive early. Start was pretty much on time. All events started together. Small enough numbers to not really matter but a larger turnout could be problematic. Lots of different paces for different distances all along one fairly narrow pathway with active traffic.
    Flat course except for a significant pair of hills from 4.3-7. Also a steep downhill from 7-8. The final miles are through a park. Could use better markings as there are lots of turns.
    Overall a fun run. Lots of age group awards. A PR day for me despite the hills.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3
    My Media

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    susiehurrey FIRST-TIMER '17

    Big hill to climb, then to run back down. And towards the end, there’s a lot of turns. Otherwise, a nice course with a well run production. MORE

    Big hill to climb, then to run back down. And towards the end, there’s a lot of turns. Otherwise, a nice course with a well run production.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    PeteSinCA Apr 07, 2018 at 5:21am

    That hill just before the midway point isn't especially steep, but it is about two miles long, which is a challenge to one's endurance. Scenically, that hill and then the… MORE

    That hill just before the midway point isn't especially steep, but it is about two miles long, which is a challenge to one's endurance. Scenically, that hill and then the last quarter or so of the course are probably the most pleasant. LESS

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    PeteSinCA REPEAT RUNNER '16

    Event & Course Description: The course for the Walnut Creek Half Marathon is an out-and-back loop, about 10 miles on streets and roads, and the rest on park and greenway … MORE

    Event & Course Description:
    The course for the Walnut Creek Half Marathon is an out-and-back loop, about 10 miles on streets and roads, and the rest on park and greenway trails. The race starts on N. Civic Drive, near Civic Park. The first 4 miles (3 along Treat Boulevard) or so are a mix of business areas, shopping plazas, apartment complexes, and houses. Around mile 4 Treat starts leaving the city and going up a hill; around mile 5.5 runners turn onto Cowell Road, still uphill. This is the only hill, but is a bit over 2 miles long, gaining nearly 400 feet, with the steepest part on Treat Blvd.. Around mile 6.3 the course turns onto Ygnacio Valley Road, for about 3.5 miles (~1.5 miles of it downhill). Treat Boulevard and Ygnacio Valley Road are significant artery streets (more on this below). Around mile 9.8 the course turns into Heather Farm Park, and after an aid station and a 180-degree turn, turns onto a park trail. From that point the course follows several paved trails back to Civic Park and the finish area. The last 3+ miles of the half marathon course is the nicest part of the course, though the rural hills on Treat Boulevard and Ygnacio Valley Road are very pleasant. The latter half of the 3 miles on park and greenway trails is also the out-and-back 5K course. The 5K starts and finishes in Civic Park.

    Oh! Did I mention it? There were rain showers at times during the 2016 entire race. I got soaked! Last year was dry, but 5-10 degrees cooler. Also, for abut two miles along Ygnacio Valley Road runners faced (literally) significant headwind. Be prepared to deal with weather … it’s December.

    Organization & Production:
    The Walnut Creek Half Marathon is well organized, almost register-and-run. The online information is very complete. The only exception to r-a-r is parking, which has to do with the location, not a shortcoming of the organizer, Team BlueSky Events. There are plenty of parking lots near the check-in, start, and finish areas, but runners must choose where they want to park.

    As mentioned above, nearly 10 miles of the half marathon course is run on artery streets, and there is traffic. Team BlueSky had traffic control well managed, with cones along the course, and police officers (Walnut Creek and Concord) or traffic services company employees managing traffic. It feels odd at first, walking and running that close to moving cars, but it’s very well handled.

    There were very large mile markers at just about every mile (I think “Mile 4” was missing, and I didn’t see “Mile 6”, though it may have been obscured by the aid station located there). The aid stations were par for the course for a road race, offering water and sports drink. The stations were well staffed, with lots of encouraging volunteers.

    My finish time was similar to last year. But unlike last year, not all the vendors were gone or leaving. Kudos all the way around! Whole Foods (I’ll forgo the common joke) provided after race food – bananas, oranges (both cut up), Dole fruit cups, Whole Foods bakery scones, and Health Warrior Chia Bars. Being a late finisher, Whole Foods had bagged their goodies and gave them to late finishers.

    Swag & Goodies:
    Bib: The bib was simple but nice. It has a red background for the half marathon or a green background for the 5K, the bib number, the race name, and the distance.

    T-Shirt: The race T-shirt is very nice, long-sleeved, tech type. Men’s shirts were gray, with maroon side inserts. Women’s shirts had the reverse color scheme, maroon with gray inserts. The front has a large tree in black and midnight blue, with “Walnut Creek” and “International” arched over the date, “Half Marathon, and the distances (half, 5K, and half marathon relay) in white letters. The back has the logos of the sponsors and the organizer. The left sleeve has the logo of the California Half and Full Marathon Series (more about this below). The right sleeve has the logo of the principal sponsor. The black color of the tree on the medium-dark gray of the T-shirt makes the tree easy to miss.

    Finisher’s Medal: The half marathon finisher’s medal is gold colored, large, substantial, and simple. Keystone shaped, it gives the race name, “Run Walnut Creek”, “Finisher 2016”, and a very large “13.1”. The ribbon is black, with ”2016 Run Walnut Creek” on both sides (as it would be seen if worn).

    I’ll say more about the series below, but I had participated in California Half and Full Marathon Series races, and received the medal for having done four races in that Series (the Walnut Creek Half Marathon was one of the must-do medal races participants could select). This medal is also fairly large and substantial. With a white border, across the top is “4 Race Challenge”. At the bottom is the name of the series on a maroon background. In the middle are two runners silhouetted by the rising sun, running from the Golden Gate Bridge to a surf board behind a grove of palm trees. Vertically along the surfboard is the year, “2016”. The ribbon is maroon, and bears the same information. Very nice!

    My Results & Opinion of the Race:
    My finish time was about 10 minutes slower than last year, but last year was dry and I don’t recall wind, either. So I’m pretty happy in that respect. From an organization POV, the Walnut Creek Half Marathon is a nice, well done, (mostly) street-road race (the ~3 miles on trails uses PAVED trails). Team Blue Sky really should decide whether to call it the “Walnut Creek International Half Marathon”, the “Walnut Creek Half Marathon”, or “Run Walnut Creek” – it’s no big deal for running the race, but having three names confuses “branding”, a marketing mistake. My personal preference is trail races, away from cities, so for me the scenery was mostly mehhhhh. The views of the hills in the section I noted above were very nice, however, and there was some low ground fog over the city. From the hills runners saw lots of trees poking up through the mist, also very pretty.

    I probably won’t be doing the Walnut Creek Half Marathon in 2017, but that has to do with other races I’d like to do that are likely to be around the same time frame. From a medium-sized road race experience perspective, I definitely recommend the Walnut Creek Half Marathon.

    OK, so what is the California Half and Full Marathon Series? Let me start by saying that I have no inside information or relationship. What follows is what I’ve seen on the Internet plus some intelligent (I hope!) guessing. The Series is managed by Team BlueSky Events, who does organize a couple of events in the Series. The Series is a good mix of trail, rural road, and city street races.

    On the organizers’ side, the Series appears to be cooperative marketing. The organizers are mostly independent single events or small-scale organizers. The Series is put together every year, so previous years’ events may not be part of a current year’s series (or may not join the series by the beginning of the year, but join a little later). I assume participating races pay a fee and in return receive publicity on the Series website (https://calhalfseries.com/) and promotion in emails from the Series to runners who have done Series races or signed up on the Series website or Facebook page. Team BlueSky Events does not participate in putting on other organizers’ races. The races are whatever they are (I have seen negative raves for one Series race in Southern California, so do a little research before signing up – for ANY race – starting with RaceRaves).

    From a runner’s perspective the Series website has a calendar, on which one can see the various Series races on monthly calendar webpages, very useful for planning. The site also has a map, which shows race locations, handy for those wanting to find and do a certain number of Series races. Because most Series races are indies and small scale organizers, the Series is an opportunity for runners to learn about races of which they previously may not have heard. The series includes events pretty much the full length and breadth of California, from San Diego to Redding and Eureka, from a couple of races at Lake Tahoe to a race along the coast on Monterey Bay. The heaviest concentrations are in the Los Angeles-San Diego, San Francisco Bay, and Sacramento-Tahoe areas, but definitely not exclusively so. So the series could be used to plan a vacation or trip around a particular event (there’s a half marathon in the Humboldt Bay Area I’d love to do!).

    How does the series work? For runners, it’s easy. Run races in the Series throughout the year, and do one of the “medal races” at the end of the year. Well, sort of, but I’ll get to that. Nothing to sign up for but the races one runs. There are medals for people who do 4, 7, 10, 15, or 20 Series races (half or full marathons). The sizes of the medals are proportional to the number of races run (the 20 race medal must be a chiropractor’s delight!). Running the 3 Series (non-medal) races through the year was easy for me to plan, as two of the organizers were ones in which I was interested. On the other hand, doing 10, 15, or 20 Series races would pretty much plan out a runner’s year (not that that would be a bad thing!). There are 3 medal races in Southern California, in November and December. In Northern California there is one medal race in late August, the Santa Rosa Marathon and Half, and the Walnut Creek Half Marathon in December. On finishing at Walnut Creek, I found the awards tent, told the person my name and number of races, he looked at a printed list, and handed me the medal and (cotton) T-shirt. Very easy.

    One last word about the Series. BlueSky also has a separate Series for Oregon (I counted 17 races on their map, so far) and a new Series for Washington (I counted 9 races on their map, though that may increase as they grow). With the number of Oregon and Washington races not too far from Portland, it would not be impossible for a runner to do 4 Race Challenges in both states. It would entail a bit more driving (especially for the medal races!), but a southern Oregonian or northern Californian could, similarly, do 4 Race Challenges in both states.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    5

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    hollybluedog FIRST-TIMER '15

    Most of this run is on urban streets. Lots of support along the route and good traffic control (though you are running on roads with traffic) I LOVE the view … MORE

    Most of this run is on urban streets. Lots of support along the route and good traffic control (though you are running on roads with traffic) I LOVE the view from the top of the hill as the route turns back, and running through the park was beautiful. At the finish line there were a lot of booths with information on other races, and running products. However, not anything good to eat or drink :(. Overall this is a good race, I was able to do a decent run even though I’d been struggling with injuries interrupting my training.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    krkelly27 FIRST-TIMER '15

    This was a nice easy course if you're a beginning runner. Very flat and easy to navigate. Not great swag though. The race was definitely cold too, so dress warm! MORE

    This was a nice easy course if you’re a beginning runner. Very flat and easy to navigate. Not great swag though. The race was definitely cold too, so dress warm!

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    Jen_L FIRST-TIMER '15

    I agree with the previous 2 reviews, one of which is exceedingly comprehensive. I don't regret signing up for it, but I don't think I will run it again in … MORE

    I agree with the previous 2 reviews, one of which is exceedingly comprehensive. I don’t regret signing up for it, but I don’t think I will run it again in the future.
    Pros: very well-organized, medium sized field (which I prefer), nice race t-shirt, decent weather, easy logistics.
    Cons: very expensive for a not-very-scenic, not easily PR-able course. I probably wouldn’t choose to run this again, but it’s a fine race.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    2
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    UKCathryn FIRST-TIMER '15

    I can't add that much to the review above which is incredibly comprehensive but there are a few things I'll focus on. - this course is hard. It's not likely … MORE

    I can’t add that much to the review above which is incredibly comprehensive but there are a few things I’ll focus on.
    – this course is hard. It’s not likely to be a PR course (although clearly some will PR on it). There’s a tough 2-mile hill at M4.5 and then a fairly long stretch on an actual muddy ‘path’ at about M11.
    – it’s also expensive! $100-ish.
    – the shirt is amazing, I love it! Nearly worth the $100 🙂
    – no gels on course (so carry your own)
    – good expo at the end

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    1
    SWAG
    5

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    PeteSinCA FIRST-TIMER '15

    Course Description: The course for the Run Walnut Creek half marathon (aka Walnut Creek Half Marathon) is a clockwise out-and-back loop, about 10 miles on streets and roads, and the … MORE

    Course Description: The course for the Run Walnut Creek half marathon (aka Walnut Creek Half Marathon) is a clockwise out-and-back loop, about 10 miles on streets and roads, and the rest on on park and greenway trails. The race starts on N. Civic Drive, near Civic Park. The first nearly 2 miles is on Civic, through downtown Walnut Creek, turning onto Treat Boulevard. The next 2 miles or so there are housing neighborhoods on runners’ left, and shopping plazas and businesses on the right. About mile 4 Treat starts up a hill, leaves town around mile 4.5, and at mile 5.5 the course turns onto Cowell Road, still uphill. This is the only hill on the course, but the uphill portion is a bit over 2 miles long, gaining about 390 feet. At about mile 6.3 the course turns onto Ygnacio Valley Road, for about 3.5 miles. Civic Drive, Treat Boulevard, and Ygnacio Valley Road are artery streets, the latter two fairly busy (more on this below). At about mile 9.8 the course turns into Heather Farm Park, and after following the driveway for a couple hundred yards, turns onto a park trail. The course now follows several such trails back to Civic Park and the finish area. The last 3+ miles of the half marathon course is easily the nicest part of the course, though the rural hills on Treat, Cowell, and Ygnacio Valley are pleasant,and the suburban neighborhoods are OK. The latter half of the 3 miles on park and greenway trails is also the 5K course. The 5K starts and finishes in Civic Park. Besides the regular half marathon and 5K the half could be done as a relay, and there was a half-mile (around Civic Park) Kids Fun Run for kids 12 and under. Fun Runners got their own T-shirt, bib, and finisher’s medal. Organization & Production: The website information is fairly complete (the site doesn’t mention the race day packet pick-up). The sign-up process was easy. There were a couple of informational emails in the week or two before the race. Parking is offsite, but there are quite a few lots nearby in downtown Walnut Creek. Race-day packet pick-up was in Civic Park, near the finish area. It was done smoothly in two stages, bib pick-up and swag pick-up (including the T-shirt). Course monitoring and marking were done well. One would almost have to try, to go off-course. On the several artery streets a very wide lane was coned off for runners (1 1/2 – 2 car lanes). There were police officers or people from a traffic services company at every intersection or exit from a condo complex or shopping plaza. Runners of the half encountered 6 aid stations. The first 3 had water and Gatorade; the latter 3 also had cut up oranges. The aid station volunteers were mostly helpful and encouraging. Each runner’s start and finish were individually timed. At the finish, runners entered the lane, crossed the finish mat, received their medal, and came immediately to tables with water and goodies. My memory is probably incomplete, but I remember oranges, cinnamon pinwheels, and Cliff Bars being available. I finished among the last 10 or 20, and there was plenty available late in the race. Swag & Goodies: T-shirt – The race T-shirt is long-sleeved, beige, with orange side insets. The front has “Fifth Year Anniversary” and the race name in light blue with parts of letters in dark blue forming a tree, the distances, and the date. The upper right sleeve has the major sponsor’s logo; the left has the logo of the California Full and Half Marathon Series. The back has more sponsors’ logos and the organizer’s logo. Bib – The bib is orange with the silhouette of a tree in gray. Across the top is the distance. Below that the bib number, and then at the bottom is the race name and the name and logo of the major sponsor. Finisher’s medal – The medallion is a silver metal disc with cut-outs to accommodate the ribbon and between the three lines of text in red. The top line is “2015”; the middle is “Run Walnut Creek”; the bottom is “13.1”. The ribbon is dark red, with the tree logo at the back center, and “2015 Run Walnut Creek 13.1 Finisher” down both sides from the neck, and on both sides of the ribbon. My Results & Opinion of the Race: While the hill was not the steepest I’ve done, the uphill being over two miles long definitely slowed me down and drained a lot of energy. On the way downhill and a bit after, my right calf gave several twinges, as if a spasm almost started. Being careful of that also led me to be less aggressive. For all that, my finish time was a little over 3 1/2 hours, with which I’m quite happy. The race organization, from registering to walking to my car after the race was all very well done. Nothing was amazing, but it was all well done. The swag – T-shirt, bib, and medal were all excellent. All in all, it was a very good race experience. The one drawback, in my opinion, is that the race is really pricey. I registered in the October1 through December 1 time window, and the fee for the half marathon was $95 – almost as pricey as a Rock ‘n’ Roll series race! Would I do this race again? Run Walnut Creek is the Northern California mandatory year-end race for the California Full and Half Marathon Series. I plan next year to do several of the races in the series to earn a series medal, so I’m planning to do this race in 2016.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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