I ran the Half this past May and will not run it again. The course isn't laid out very well. In the first 3 miles or so there are a few turns through a residential neighborhood. Too many turns, in my opinion, slows down your time. But the worst part about this race was going under the bride. HUGE bottleneck! A race with 8,000 runners is a pretty big race. The trail going under the bridge is about 6 feet wide. That's A LOT of runners trying to get through. HORRIBLE!
If you're racing just to have fun, it's a good race. If you're racing for time, I wouldn't recommend it.
Runnergirl is correct about lots of turns thru Corona del Mar. But hey, this is one of the prettiest stretches of the Pacific Ocean. It's worth it. Net decline in elevation for halfers more than make up for turns or tight trail under bridge. Anyone that wants to run a serious time should love this course. Just line up in front and fly. Make sure you don't start from back and have to weave thru half marathon walkers. I ran the full marathon and can say the new layout was much better than before.
I ran the full marathon this year and had a great time x2 (I had fun and PR'd). I love the fact that the course runs through the beautiful beach community of Corona del Mar. And, since it's at the beginning of the race, you can actually enjoy the ocean view! Running through the back bay has a very calming effect on the soul which is important when you are trying to settle into your race pace. I haven't decided whether to run the full or half next year but I will definitively be back!
Loved the Half, but I have to admit I was running just to finish, not to set a PR. There was a bottleneck at the bridge, but I didn't get upset over it. Support was good, they had water for everyone.
I think January is better than May (much cooler for running although the weather was fine this year). The bottleneck at the bridge is a bummer, especially if you are going for a PR however I really liked the course and besides the bridge and the short, steep hill towards the end of the back bay, I loved the course. Hope they keep everything the same in the future except for the bridge!
I absolutely LOVE the new course! Ocean views, the back bay, what a beautiful route! I also prefer May versus January so I don't have to train during the holidays! Well done OC Marathon! I'll be back.
The course will be pretty much the same with a couple minor and better changes and with a wave start, there will not be any bottlenecks at the 8' wide path that goes under Pacific Coast Highway at the Bay Bridge 5.25 mile mark.
I've run the "big" LA, NY and even SD Rock n Roll marathons and I have to say that the OC Marathon is an exciting race with an exceptional course. You just can't beat the ocean views and scenic back bay run with optimum Spring morning temperatures. With a net downhill first half and a super fast flat second half, one small bridge "bottleneck" is no big deal. I love the new finish at the OC Fairgrounds which makes the race more enjoyable for both runners and spectators to celebrate! The cost for either the full or the half is remarkably reasonble for the tech t shirt, finisher's medal and course support. Signed up again for the full! Woo-hoo 26.2!
I did not think the bottleneck was that bad. I enjoyed this course, especially through the neighborhoods. I just hope they have the bathroom situation figured out this year...last year was RIDICULOUS.
I like the fact that there will be a wave start this year. I had to wait forever for a shuttle and by the time i got to the start, it took me about the first three miles or so before i could feel comfortable in my pace. I just ran a half in Long Beach last October and the wave start makes a big difference. Surprised OC didn't already have that in place.
I'm sorry to be negative but this event just hasn't been well run. I've done it and I've done the race "across town" - the Cinco de Mayo Half (they're on the same day again this year) and the other guys just have it down so well. Maybe it is the size or the venue but there isn't reallly a comparison in the enjoyment of the experience between the two.
The other one is genuinely for charity, too.