Sunday, August 5, 2012

Stopped for Traffic During the 2012 SF Marathon - 2nd Half Marathon. Event date: July 29, 2012

I had a very bad customer experience at the 2011 San Francisco Marathon (SF Marathon) which made me want to swear off their events until their event reviews are much better.  I'll save that race review for another day.  I never put that one up on my blog because I left the door somewhat opened for them to try to do the right thing.

The only reason why I signed up for the 2012 SF Marathon - 2nd Half was because it had partnered up with my favorite marathon, the Los Angeles Marathon (LA Marathon) for the LA/SF Challenge.

Those who complete the LA Marathon and either the Full, the 1st Half, or 2nd Half of the SF Marathon during a specified time period would complete the LA/SF Challenge and would receive a special medal.  And, who doesn't want a special medal especially if it involves your favorite marathon.

They gave me the wrong bib.

I was supposed to receive either the LA/SF Challenge bib or Half It All Challenge bib; I got neither.  I had to stop by the LA/SF Challenge and Half It All Challenge table for them to affix the correct sticker/stamp for me to get my bonus medals after my event. 

It really is no fun that when they mess up, you get stuck in a line for them to fix the problem.

Timing Chip Check Fail
Last year, when I checked to see my timing chip, it didn't know who I was.  This year, I went to check my timing chip only to find out their timing chip check machines were not working.
Timing chip checker not working.  I'd be worried.

Great Shirt Offer But...
Their registration machines were not working.

I went to try to get the pricing for 2013 events at the computer area they set up for the promo T offer.  Others were trying to register.  But, clicking on 'Enter" and clicking on the "Register" button went nowhere.  I am not sure if the connections were bad or if the links were dead because 2013 is next year; perhaps the 2013 links were not yet functional.

Several folks also tried to register using their smartphones.  Unfortunately,  no luck there as the SF Marathon page only brought up registration info for 2012.  When you click "Register," it only brought up the info that the 1st Half for this year was sold out and that there may be limited lots available for the other events at the expo.

I inquired at the Solutions area for the URL for registering for 2013.  They told me, "We don't know."

Pretty sad they have a nice T shirt off to promote 2013, and they can't even take people's money.

Race Day
The start area of the 2nd Half was a mixed bag.  The heating lamps were great, if you were able to get near one.  The number of porta potties were awesome.  But, they really need more garbage cans.  They also need more water and electrolyte beverage.

Ready or Not, We're Off...

Because the SF Marathon offers 2 half marathons, you really have to pay attention to the signage when running in Golden Gate Park.  If you do not, you can literally "finish" your 2nd Half by running thru the 1st Half's finish line.  And, since you paid so much money to run a half, you really don't want to run about 5 miles.  Or, do you?
The finish line for the 1st Half.  This is not the finish line for the 2nd Half.

Golden Gate Park at times is very pretty with all the trees, grass, and fresh air  Sometimes, it's hard to believe you are in a major city.  Eventually, you exit Golden Gate Park.

Exiting Golden Gate Park.

Because San Francisco is known for its hills, you really want to make up for the uphills by taking advantage of as many downhills as possible.  As I was picking up speed running downhill on Haight St., I was shocked when I got to Divisadero St.

Our race was stopped for traffic.  Note vehicle driving thru the cross walk.

I really couldn't believe it.  Us, runners, were stopped, so traffic could go thru.  I was NOT happy is an understatement, but I kept my head together to just keep moving ahead.

At one point, the course turned off near the new San Francisco Mint.
The new SF Mint.

The last hill of the SF Marathon and 2nd Half is around Mile 22.  Very glad some folks were cheering in this more deserted area of town. 
After being stopped for traffic during this race, a hi-five from the doggy made me much happier.

I believe doggy and kitty were part of the Sports Basement cheer squad.  Not too far away were the folks from lululemon.

The lululemon cheer squad was also on the course.  Thanks, lululemon!

If you are a baseball fan, running by AT&T Park, home of the SF Giants baseball team is definitely a highlight.
Upon approaching AT&T Park, do not be deceive.  The ballpark is farther away than it looks.

The race went by the Lefty O'Doul Gate.

After AT&T Park, the race heads to the finish and here's the finish ahead:
The 2nd Half (right) and Marathon finish line.

Chip:  2:36:41

I am very happy with my finish time.  This is a new personal record for me for this event as I was able to shave over 5 minutes off my time from the 2009 SF Marathon - 2nd Half.  Due to my work hours, I also wasn't able to train as much, so shaving off that much time made me incredibly happy.

On the other hand, I am not happy with being stopped for traffic in the middle of a race.

I also didn't see any gels on course during my race.


  1. Thanks for this report! We'll be doing this course next year so it was good to hear some details about it (although being stopped for traffic is a detail I could do without). I got the feeling that that could have happened to us towards the end of the first Half - it was kind of the luck of the timing I think. (And of course there were a few irate drivers who could not believe people not in SUVs were ruling the road.)

    Congrats on a PR at this event! (And having plenty of porta-potties!)

  2. Thanks, nothatlucas. Hopefully, you will fare better next year.