Monday, September 26, 2011

Giant Race Half Marathon Review: Growing Pains and Brian Wilson. Event date: August 27, 2011

This was the 2nd annual Giant Race, benefiting Project Open Hand.

Originally, I wasn't going to run this year because last year's half marathon course wasn't all that great.  I didn't like last year's course.  The intersection blocking wasn't great.  The course also was a tease, where half marathoners ran past AT&T Park on the way back only to run around in the drab areas of Mission Bay, with there was nothing much to look at and no one cheering also.

When they announced it was a new course, I decided to make a run for it.

No Pre-Race Packet Pickup.
I was disappointed with the no pre-race packet up for most runners.  New this year:  You have to purchase a baseball game tix to get into the Pre-Race Pickup.

If I paid a registration fee, I can't see why I should pay more money to get into the race expo.

It also made no sense to pay for a baseball game tix for a game the evening before a half marathon, since I have to get some shut eye and wake up early for the half marathon.

FedEx gear check and pickup was smooth.

Porta potty lines were not too long and steadily moved along.

The Race.
Getting into a corral was a challenge.  Lots of folks congregated at the coral entrances when there was plenty of room in the middle.

Wave 1 before the race started.

Getting closer to the Start.

Off we went.

The first 3 miles were congested.  Many folks were running on the sidewalk to avoid the congestion but were eventually waved back into the streets by course marshals.

Making things more congested this year for the Half Marathon distance is because they added a 10k distance this year.  They took 2 out of 3 lanes for the 10k during those first 3 miles; one lane was for turning around the 10k and the other lane was for the returning 10k folks.

Here are a few pics from the course:

The Ferry Building.

Pier 39.

Fisherman's Wharf.

Fort Mason hill.

During Mile 5, I was running along.  I saw up ahead what looked like some fan who looks a lot like the San Francisco Giants closer, Brian Wilson.

Only when I got closer, I realized it was really him.  He was standing in the middle of the street, cheering on the half marathoners.  When I got to him, he was totally surrounded by fans.

Here's a pic of SF Giant, Brian Wilson, as I went by.

The course continued past Crissy Field and back thru the following to AT&T Park:

  1. Fort Mason hill
  2. Aquatic Park
  3. Fisherman's Wharf
  4. Pier 39
  5. The Ferry Building

Returning towards AT&T Park.

The Finish is just up ahead.

Chip:  2:32:37, which I am happy with.

After I finished, I quickly realized that things were a mess.  I received my usual bottle of water and bling; this was fine.

What wasn't fine was that I was handed a yogurt but no spoon.  It was followed by being told the advertised granola had already ran out.

I followed the line of other runners up the stairs and onto the concourse.

Things then came to a screeching halt.

The Post Race Goodie Bag and Food Line Jam.

Eventually, the masses slowly moved forward.

I picked up a goodie bag, a Safeway bag, a bagel and a banana.

Next, came the Tim Lincecum bobblehead.

After the bobblehead came the T shirt pick up area.  Some folks were upset they had ran out of their shirt sizes.  Fortunately, I was able to get a Men's L.

The masses then slowly moved towards the Post-Race Expo area.

Finally, I reached the Post-Race Expo.

I made it over to the advertised chocolate recovery booth area, where there was nothing left.  It seemed they had ran out and had already packed up.

At this point, I was very disappointed.  Why advertise something when they can't deliver?

I was also disappointed that due to the start and finish times, those who did the 5k and 10k would nail all the food before some of the half marathoners even finished.

The only highlight in the Post-Race Expo area was the World Series Trophy.

Pic of the World Series Trophy and me.

Ran Out of Medals.
Afterwards, I found my friends and went to lunch.  It was suppose to be a celebratory lunch, but it didn't feel very cheery.  They had ran out of medals, and I was the only person at our table who received a medal after finishing.

  1. Beautiful baseball stadium
  2. Finish on the field of a beautiful baseball stadium
  3. Tim Lincecum bobblehead
  4. Post race, everyone can pose for a pic with the World Series Trophy
  5. If you didn't have a camera with you, they had photographers who can take a pic of you and the World Series Trophy.  A print:  $20.  Digital download:  $30

  1. No free Race Expo.  If you want to attend, you must purchase a baseball game tix.
  2. Scheduling the Half Marathoners to run into the back of the 5k, including those pushing strollers
  3. Only 3 corrals.  They really should have more.
  4. Ran out of some shirt sizes
  5. Ran out of medals
  6. Congestion on the course
  7. Congestion during the last mile or so
  8. Congested post race areas

Would I Run it Again?

I really wanted to like this one because I love baseball and love finishing on the field of a baseball stadium.

On one hand, it is only the 2nd annual running of this event.  It has growing pains that needs to be worked out.

OTOH, however, if you see a race event schedule the start of a 5k event 1 hour and 30 minutes after the start of the Half Marathon event and they both share the same finishing course; common sense would tell you that it's going to be a mess.  This is poor planning, and it's an event to avoid until their bugs are cleaned up and their race reviews are better.

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