Overall: 17 / 2,695
Division (M 40-44): 7 / 172
Gender (M): 16 / 1,165
Had a good Silver Strand Half Marathon. Although not a PR, it was my second fastest time for this distance. The race itself was pretty basic, but the highlight was the very flat course. The field size was about 3,000, there were adequate port-a-potties, and the shuttle from Imperial Beach to the start line was uneventful. They also had other races (5K, rollerbladers, 10 miler) going on concurrently, but they didn’t seem to interfere with the half marathon.
The race started at 7:30 am and I caught the shuttle around 5:30 am. I woke up at 4:15 am, getting about 8 hours of sleep. My breakfast consisted of a banana, a couple Clif Bars and cup of coffee. Then I drove to the shuttle area located at the Imperial Beach Plaza, about a 20 minute drive from my house. Not a lot of public parking in the Imperial Beach area, but was able to find an off-street parking space about a quarter mile from the shuttles.
Being one of the first runners to be dropped off at Sunset Park in Coronado, it gave me some time (had over an hour and a half wait) to look around the beach area – really nice! The start area was not all that organized, but given the small size of the race, it wasn’t difficult to figure out and navigate. They had a bag drop-off area and a little bit of music playing on the loud speaker, but that was pretty much the extent of the entertainment at the start. There seemed to be plenty of port-a-potties, I was able to use them a couple times without too much of a wait.
The weather at the start was a little chilly (high-50s), but sunny. I’d prefer it be colder, but it was still pretty good running weather. There are no corrals, so you pretty much can find your own place. I was able to find a spot at the very front.
The start of the race was uneventful, they basically blew a horn after a short countdown. I stuck to my pacing strategy from the start, clicking the first mile off at 6:37, then fell into a comfortable pace of 6:26 ~ 6:31 from miles 2 through 10. Given how flat the course was, I was able to maintain a steady pace throughout the entire race. But after mile 10 I began to feel a little fatigue and slowed a bit clicking off 6:36, 6:35 and 6:36 for miles 11 – 13. I was hoping to run sub-6:30 for these last few miles, but just didn’t have it in me today. Given that my pace throughout the entire race only varied by 11 seconds per mile (6:26 fastest mile, 6:37 slowest mile), not sure I would have done anything differently.
After the finish, you get your medal, water and refreshments. There was a nice setup of booths and live music in the Imperial Beach Plaza and I stuck around for about 30 minutes before heading back to my car. Luckily, since I parked in Imperial Beach, I didn’t have to take the shuttle back to the start or another parking area.
Organization: The organization okay. Picked up the bib and t-shirt at Road Runner Sports. Not a great venue to pick up you number, the store was a bit of a distance from my house, the parking was limited and the store was a crowded. I guess there may have been an Expo the second day of bib pickup, but I didn’t see it since I picked up my number on the first day. Catching the shuttle to the start was relatively easy, there appeared to be adequate port-a-potties, there were plenty of fluid stations, although for a half marathon, I usually never take any and didn’t for this race either.
Weather: About as good as you could ask for, but wish I brought my sunglasses – sunny, a little breeze off the ocean with temps in the mid-60s.
Course: The course flat and fast. Probably the flattest half marathon course I’ve ever run on. Almost no hills, and the hills it does have, are small and short. If you looking to PR a half marathon, this is the course to do it on. Not the most scenic course, but it has its moments – starting at Sunset Park, passes the Hotel Del Coronado, brief areas where you can see the beaches, and finishing at Imperial Beach Pier Plaza.
Fan Support: Almost non-existent, other the very end. The course runs along a state highway from Coronado to Imperial Beach, so be prepared to be lonely for long stretches.
Entertainment: Not much along the course, although there was some live music at the finishing area.
Overall, I give a thumbs up for this race, primarily for the fast course. The race is relatively low key and gets the basics right, but if you are looking for all the gimmicks of the big city races, you may be disappointed. Definitely plan to run this next year.