Surf City Half Marathon Race Report – Kevin Sasse

surf city half marathon starting lineRace: Surf City Half Marathon

Runner: Kevin Sasse

Race Date: 02/06/2022

Location: Huntington Beach, CA


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3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

  1. Fun to start and run along the beach (on the highway) for the majority of the course
  2. Well supported with water or electrolyte every 1-2 miles
  3. Well organized race

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

Nothing major. Could be a little crowded for some.

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

I enjoyed the opportunity to try my speed on a mostly flat course. The weather this year was warm for a Portlander, so I committed to dressing light even though those around me started with long sleeves.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

  • Although this course does not have a lot of elevation, it might be a misnomer to call it “flat.” The climb around mile 3 or 4 seems to flatten the elevation profile to potentially mislead you into thinking the rest of the course is flat.
  • There is a decent downhill from miles 4 to 6 that should be utilized to make up some time lost on the climb between miles 3 and 4. Also, the climb from mile 9.5 to 11 feels tougher than it looks.
  • The Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort in Huntington Beach was right across the street from the start line, which was amazing. There were other hotels available as well, but otherwise you would likely have to take a shuttle.
  • Sanchos Tacos after the race!

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

The hotel I was in didn’t serve breakfast until 7:00 and I hadn’t planned on another meal so I ate my race fuel for breakfast.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Although the race is on the Pacific Coast Highway for the majority of the time, it is still slow getting going out of the chute. The run started in waves, and wave 1 was pro runners AND anyone planning to run under a 2:00 half marathon.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

You can see the beach for the majority of the course, minus a quick diversion through some neighborhoods.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

It is relatively flat, so a quick course overall!

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

This race seemed exceedingly well-run.

Competition – Is there a strong field?

There are all kinds of runners, from elites to joggers. Family friendly.

Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.

Early registration provides discounts, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

There were gels at mile 8, and alternative water and electrolyte every 1-2 miles, but otherwise no race fuel during the course.

Weather and typical race conditions

This year’s event was sunny and warm, but it has been colder in the past.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

It’s very easy to spectate along the course, and especially the mile or so near the finish/start line.

How’s the Swag?

The medal is a surf board and is unique. The shirt was a comfortable and long sleeve technical shirt. There’s also a big race expo to get free samples and purchases.

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

9 out of 10. Super fun as a mid-winter escape. Can be a little pricey, given its location.

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