Needs Improvement (about: 2004)|
Kyle EricSon from USA (12/6/04)
4-5 previous marathons
| 1 OC Marathon
Just ran the inaugural event, and would have to give it a grade of about a C+. To start with (and these are things I typically don't care about, but I know others do so I'll get them out of the way first), the expo was tiny, insignificant and was held in an empty warehouse. The 'goodie bag' consisted of a bunch of stuff that other organizations obviously didn't want (i.e., the 'Anaheim Angels 2002 American League Champions' backpack). As far as spectator support and on-course entertainment, the crowd was sparse at best and I only saw 1 band playing on the entire course (the poor weather probably had a lot to do with this, which I'll discuss later).
Now on to things that I do care about, and that's the course itself. This was without a doubt the most boring course I've ever run! How can you have a marathon in Newport Beach and never even come close to seeing the water or the beach? This is especially annoying in light of the race motto of 'surf, sand, sweat' (nope, on all 3 counts!). The majority of this course (perhaps 12-15 miles or so) is run on the 'bike trail', which is a euphemism for 'river bed'. Granted, it's one of the nicer river beds in SoCal, but it's still a river bed (which I never want to see again in my lifetime). Of course, the course was billed as 'flat, fast & fun' like all marathons, but with so much time spent on the river bed, you were constantly going up and down as the riverbed intersected cross streets and you had to run under them. The course also ended about 2 miles away from where it started, which made most people endure standing in long lines to ride a bus back to our cars (just what you wanted after you've just run 26 miles!). There also seemed to be next to nothing to eat or drink for the finishers, although there did appear to be a concession stand sellig items (unfortunately, I'm not used to carrying my wallet with me when I run).
The last negative I'll discuss is the timing of the event. In my opinion, scheduling events in December in SoCal is always going to be risky since December to February is typically our rainy season. This proved to be true this year as it rained all day, was about 55 degrees, with a constant wind of about 10 mph (I've never been so cold & miserable in my life). This event also comes in between other events that I think a lot of people also plan on running (Long Beach in October, Carlsbad in January, Huntington Beach in February, etc). I know I'm in the minority on this point, but I'd much rather have this event moved to the summer months when you don't have conflicting events and you know the weather is going to be nicer. I know people that worry about it being too hot, but it seems to me that if the starting time is pushed back to about 7:00 am, this avoids this problem and ensures that the majority of people will finish before heat becomes an issue (plus, I figure it's easier to cool-off on a hot day than it is to warm-up on a cold day).
All in all, I think this event has a lot of room for improvement, chief of which to me is the course itself, and until they remedy this issue, I'll skip this race entirely.