Posted by Lauren
A new race to add to the books! On Sunday I ran the Santa Rosa [half] Marathon.
From their website:
The primary goal… is to promote and stage a quality, flat, fast, accurate, and festive half and full marathon to be enjoyed by our community, spectators, and all the participants… as they start and finish in picturesque Juilliard Park after looping the entire length of the scenic Santa Rosa Creek Greenway.
I have some positive and negative opinions of this race, but let’s start at the beginning:
Five weeks before the race, participants received an email stating that all three races (full, half, 5k) would start an hour earlier than planned. I appreciated the announcement, but thought the timing was a little too close to the race. Luckily it didn’t affect my plans too much and I know the race directors made the change with the weather in mind.
I woke up at 5:40 am (after pressing snooze a few times) and was out the door 15 minutes later. I was staying with my pal Kyle, who lives only 2 miles from the start line. Lucky! Right?
I parked close to the start line, in the designated mall parking structure, and followed runners to Julliard Park. With about 10 minutes before the 6:30 start, I heard the announcer warn of a 15-minute delay. More time to stretch!
The gun went off around 6:46 and I felt a good rush of energy for the first……. 5 minutes? HA.
(I really want to post this recap, but I don’t have the cord to plug in my Garmin. Erg. If I wait, this might never reach the interwebs.)
Mile 1 looped around a portion of downtown Santa Rosa. Mile 2 we entered the Santa Rosa Creek Trail. Mile 6 we cleared the trees and could finally see something unique, but that only lasted 2 miles. Mile 7 we turned around on the creek trail. This is when I mentally wanted the race to be over. Mile 12.5 we re-entered the streets of downtown Santa Rosa. And then it was over. << shortest recap ever.
1. HOT AIR BALLOON!!!! I want to go on a HAB ride!
2. Spotted a few vineyards… it only took six miles of boring to get to them. Sheesh.
3. Glimpse of corn fields… reminded me of Illinois and put a smile on my face.
4. Ran through a bubble machine at Mile 11?
5. The scenic finish line with lots of crowd support!
6. Free pancakes and coffee for finishers (mmm syrup)
7. Live music courtesy of Midori & Ezra Boy, a high energy rock band from Santa Rosa. They were really good and mixed a few covers in with their originals on the set list. Plus my friend knows their guitarist from high school.
8. Beer ticket for one of the best NorCal beers – Lagunitas!
9. A friend at the finish line! Kyle and I hung out until 10:30 and I think he’s convinced to sign up for his first half marathon :) I’m so grateful that he let me crash at his house, went with me to the expo, showed me a cool dinner spot (more on that tomorrow!), and woke up early on Sunday to support me at the finish line! Thanks Kyle!!
10. Incredible race “bling” – a bottle of wine from DeLoach Vineyards, a spinning medal, and a race jacket instead of a tech tee. They go all out in Santa Rosa.
Official time: 1:48:11 – pace: 8:16
I loved everything about the race EXPERIENCE, except 70% of the race course. The expo was top notch, the weather was just right on race day, bag drop was a breeze, and everything after the race was perfect (vendors, pancakes, beer garden, live entertainment). The course, however, was a snoozefest. I’m sure the marathoners have something else to say since they spent 13 extra miles on Santa Rosa backstreets; but, for the halfers, 11 miles on a creek trail reminded me of my running routes near home. And that didn’t make it seem “special.” I love exploring new towns, and I wish the course had meandered more though Santa Rosa. If they change the course, I’d be tempted to sign up again. We shall see!
Question: Do you care more about race perks or the course?