Women’s Running Half Marathon San Diego Race REVIEW + and a question

The Women’s Half Marathon was held in San Diego on February 24th; the 2014 date hasn’t been released yet.

This year was the inaugural race for the San Diego location, and there were about 2000 runners.  I think the early registration price was $75 and it went up to $125 at the expo.

The Women’s Half is a 5 race series that’s now called Women’s Running Series.  The other race locales are Bloomington, MN, Nashville, Scottsdale/Phoenix, and St. Petersburg, FL.

The company that owns the Rock ‘n’ Roll races recently bought this race so it will be interesting to see what changes are made.

THE HOTEL

The host hotel, the Sheraton San Diego Marina and Harbor, really surprised me – it was awesome.  The grounds and pool area is gorgeous, the rooms are big and elegant, it was a great place to stay.  Definitely pleasantly surprised!

The race offered rooms for $149 with discounted parking, but I did Priceline and got a room for $79 with the parking so maybe research online for good deals beforehand.

THE EXPO

The expo was also held at the hotel as well as a morning shuttle to and from the race.  The start was only a couple miles away so the shuttles were running pretty regularly; I waited maybe 10 minutes.

The race expo was in a hotel ballroom, and it was ehh, just okay.  Not big but I’ve seen a lot smaller too.  We did receive an issue of Women’s Running with Dorothy on the cover!

The race shirt I have to say was… predictable.  Women=light pink.  I guess I would have liked to see something beyond the usual and standard, but I did hear the shirts are changing for next year?

THE COURSE

The course was like the shirt, ehhh.  Some parts were really pretty: running along the water as the sun was rising.  And other parts weren’t as much (running in a big circle in a parking lot).  San Diego is gorgeous and there’s so much waterfront that I had high expectations for an awesome course and wished it would have showcased a little more of SD.

It is very flat and fast though, save for one bridge that you go over twice.

THE RACE

The race itself was run very efficiently; I didn’t notice any problems at all.  It started on time, there were plenty of porta potties when I used them, volunteers were friendly, it was well run all around.

The race started and finished at a large park which provided plenty of room so nothing was too crowded.  I liked that there were even outdoor heaters before the race:

THE POST-RACE

This race had AWESOME post-race food, so much stuff and different than usual things like hummus and chocolate bars.  Kristin and I both got tons of fun goodies including granola bars, energy bars, pita chips, dried edamame, granola samples, coconut water, pretzels, bananas and about a million more things.

Beyond the food, there was also a smoothie truck and a post-race concert.  The big open park would be a great area for families to celebrate mama’s race or have a picnic.

I got a ride with Kristin back to my hotel, but the shuttles were running and taking runners back as well.

THE SUMMARY

Overall, I think this was a really well-run race, and I don’t really have any big complaints.  It’s a women’s-focused race (men can run but can’t win awards) so it was interesting to see a male 1:35 pacer.  hmmmmm…

It will also be interesting to see how this race/series changes in the future under new management and how it differentiates itself.  There are a LOT of races in Southern California so why choose this half as opposed to the SD half (going on right now), Rock ‘n Roll half, La Jolla half, Safari Half, San Dieguito Half, Silver Strands Half, AFC Half, etc?

Just intriguing to think about from a business and branding standpoint – how do you make your race different?  What makes a women’s race, pink shirts?  Stuff I like to ponder.  Obviously there’s plenty of runners and the demand for more races is growing.

The medal was cute and massive with a charm in the middle that could be put on a necklace or bracelet:

Overall I’d rank it a 8.07 out of 10.

{My race recap}

If you were choosing between two races, what would be the deciding factor?  What’s the most important reason for you choose? 

Location, time/fitting in your training plan, cost, friends and other people doing it, charitable cause?

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