Correspondent Victor Dostrow ran a half marathon in San Francisco last weekend (July 26, 2015). Here is his report.
The San Francisco Marathon, which was recently certified as an Olympic Team Trial qualifying race, is associated with two half marathons, which run simultaneously with the marathon. The first H.M. is the first half of the full marathon and the second, oddly, is the second half. I ran the second H.M.
This was by far the largest race I have ever run, with some 18,000 finishers between the three events. It was massive, but it ran like a well oiled machine. The streets are closed off, and running in the streets of S.F. was, in itself, good fun. It was 59 deg., not particularly humid and a bit overcast at the gun: perfect race weather. We shortly merged in with the marathon runners, which created a fair bit of traffic for pretty much the entire race. The first roughly six miles is through Golden Gate Park, which was lovely. But, the exit from the park is onto Haight St. (yes, THAT Haight St.), into about a mile and half of gentle downhill. The iconic moment for my race was there: Seeing a solid mass of many hundreds of runners on Haight, curb to curb, stretching 1.5 miles into the distance is a sight I won’t forget. The finish is at the Embarcadero, with an impeccably staged series of stations for finisher medals, space blankets, water and so on.
The expo and the race were seamlessly organized, which is good given that there were 25,000 registrants (there is also a 5k). This is billed as a destination race. In this junior Carolina Runner blogger’s opinion, this is with good reason. Plan a nice summer trip to S.F., Uber liberally, and run one of these races. Note: The first H.M. incorporates a run over the Golden Gate bridge. My brother ran the first H.M. and says that alone is worth the price of admission.