Picking a Half Marathon

September 13, 2012 at 10:18 am 14 comments

I’m in the market for a half marathon.

I’ll need at least four months to train (starting in October) so I want to run between February and April of next year. I’d like to make an adventure out of it and go somewhere I’ve never been, and somewhere that’s beautiful, so I’m looking around the various races in California.

So far I’ve found a few good options. I need to keep “shopping” around but here’s what I’m thinking, in order of preference.

4. Bay Breeze Half Marathon. Saturday, February 16.

Pros: it’s in Fremont (East Bay), which is where D’s parents live so it would be an affordable trip and we could get a family visit in too. Registration is $55, which seems relatively cheap. It’s on a Saturday, so I would have a recovery day without having to take a day off work. It’s very close to Reno. It’s an 8:00 start time–not too early.

Cons: It’s very close to Reno, and not exactly an exotic location. The course doesn’t look that interesting and the map is confusing.

3. Davis Stampede Half Marathon. Saturday, February 3, 2013.

Pros: it’s in Davis (home of UC Davis), and so even closer to Reno than Fremont. Course is pretty flat and goes through the town, which is a super cute area. Registration is less than $50.

Cons: I don’t know–boring and too close? It just doesn’t sound exciting, but I’m sure it’s a perfectly good course and race.

2. San Luis Obispo Half Marathon. Sunday, April 7.

Pros: I’ve never been to San Luis Obispo, the course sounds beautiful, it’s in April so I would have two extra months to train.

Cons: It’s about a 7 hour drive from Reno, and the race is on Sunday….so there would be a lot of driving right after the race or I would have to take a day off. It would be a bit of an expensive trip, too since we would have to get a hotel for a night or two. Registration is $95.

1. Surf City USA Half Marathon. Sunday, February, 3.

Pros: This half is at Huntington Beach, so D and I could make a fun weekend out of it. We have some good friends moving to the LA area soon whom we could stay with and D could get some surfing in. I’ve never been to Huntington Beach and the race runs right up and down the Pacific Coast Highway and sounds like a lot of fun.

Cons: We would definitely have to fly, but being able to stay with friends I am going to go see anyway should offset the costs of hotel rooms and gas money to get to Obispo. Registration is $95 and it’s going to go up/sell out soon. I looked at the website this morning at it said 1,200 slots left at that price, and an hour later there are 500 slots left. So it’s going to be a big race (20,000 runners) and maybe a more mellow one (aka Davis?) would be better for my first half?

I guess that’s the question and any advice would be welcome. Should I go with something close to home, maybe more mellow, or make a trip out of it and run in a big race in new territory? I could conceivably go do training runs in both Davis and Fremont, but that most likely wouldn’t be possible for the other two. For anyone who knows the area–any other suggestions for a good first half marathon?


Entry filed under: Half Marathon, Race. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

Lovely Blogs Picking a Half Marathon: Part 2

14 Comments Add your own

  • 1. grackleandsun  |  September 14, 2012 at 7:52 am

    Can’t help pick, but I think it’s awesome that you’re going to do a half marathon!

    • 2. Steph  |  September 14, 2012 at 9:23 am

      Thanks! I’m excited!

  • 3. Danielle (@itsaharleyylife)  |  September 13, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    a trip out of town if you can (: thats my choice!

    • 4. Steph  |  September 14, 2012 at 9:23 am


  • 5. Jenna  |  September 13, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    I can’t be of much help, but it’s great that you’re taking the time to do your research and check all your options before jumping into one! Good for u! Spa love!!

    • 6. Steph  |  September 13, 2012 at 1:55 pm

      Thanks Jenna! SPA love right back!

  • 7. Mindy @ Road Runner Girl  |  September 13, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Surf City sounds awesome! Good luck choosing!!

    • 8. Steph  |  September 13, 2012 at 1:55 pm

      Thanks Mindy!

  • 9. ejmaldonado  |  September 13, 2012 at 11:13 am

    I would suggest relatively flat, not a ton of people, and something with great scenery… ohhh, and a cool finish line… soo memorable:)

    • 10. Steph  |  September 13, 2012 at 11:21 am

      So the Surf City run hits all of those points….except the people….hmmm….how much do you think that matters?

      • 11. ejmaldonado  |  September 13, 2012 at 11:46 am

        Personally, not much at all… after thinking about it, they corral everyone in their pace times, so it helps thin out the crowd for sure… not to mention, it is mostly crowded at the start then spreads… i think the surf city half would be very cool to do… i’m excited for you!!! yay!!! you’re gonna do great:)

        • 12. Steph  |  September 14, 2012 at 9:24 am

          Thanks EJ!

  • 13. John  |  September 13, 2012 at 10:39 am

    You certainly have a good choice!

    • 14. Steph  |  September 13, 2012 at 10:48 am

      It’s true John! I’m lucky to be close to California and with no shortage of options!


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