I love this race -
BUT - and there is always a BUT.
1. There were no police or people to direct traffic. We got off the 405 to the 710 at 5:45 and it took us 1:15 to get to Broadway Avenue
2. The number of people who have to walk side-by-side. In one case, I couldn't pass a group that was four abreast. As I kept trying to run around them, they would move to the side I was running. I kept saying "Excuse Me" - and when I finally was able to pass them, they said...."Hope you can run faster now!" in a snide way.
3. The number of people talking and texting on their cell phone. They aren't watching, so they walk right in front of people. I so long for the days when MPG players were not allowed and people actually had to listen to what was going on around them.
Now - the plus sides.
1. The Waves are excellent - well organized.
2. Beautiful course
3. The volunteers along the race course were wonderful. Special thanks to all the EMT's that i saw during the last two miles - just there in case anyone needed them.
4. The volunteers at the end....they made finishing even better. From the man who gave me the medal, the woman who walked over to me with a bottle of water, the people providing bags of food.....it was great. We didn't want for anything or have to look for anything. I really like the fact that our after race food was in a bag - This way every racer got the same thing, instead of non-racers getting food.
5. Spectators were fabulous.
I've done this race before and will definitely do it again - the organizers are really together and they listen to the racers. Thank you for a great morning.
This was my second year at the LB marathon. I thought I knew what to expect.
THE COURSE. It was a good, enjoyable course once I got through the crush of people who shouldn't have started before me. (I know I'm a 5-hour marathoner so I start in the 5-hour pack ... makes me wonder why the fat ladies with the bouncing fanny packs, marching six abreast don't start in the 7-hour wave ... I'm just sayin'.) The seaside part of the course is very nice. It's mostly concrete, so it's hard on the legs and feet but that's what you expect from an urban race.
SUPPORT. The volunteers were right on time; they were friendly and supportive. There was ample water, gel and other stuff--even for those of us who started in our appropriate wave. Don't know whose idea it was to have chocolate milk at the end, but that's pure genius!
TRAFFIC/PARKING. We all paid to park, so why couldn't the City of Long Beach do a better job of herding us into our spots? I spent an hour STOPPED on the 710 freeway because I followed the directions to my appointed lot. Besides, the city had already soaked me for $10 to park at the Expo so I felt even MORE ripped-off while I stewed in traffic!
WAVE START. This would be a good idea if the walkers were made to start in the appropriate wave. See "fat ladies with bouncing fanny packs" above.
Overall a good event with a couple of serious glitches. My tenth marathon, and the first with my daughter.
Pro: The race was good, with the usual problems of mixing runners and walkers, especially near the end. Water stops were abundant, and cheering, while generally sparse, was enthusiastic. The finish area was good, and having the food trucks there was a nice idea.
Con - The bag afterwards was a nice idea, but a little thin - maybe the organizers were counting on us to patronize the trucks? Of course the biggest problem was the bag pickup. I've never seen anything like it, from NYC (10x size) to Avenue of the Giants (.1x size). That, combined with the inaccessability of the bag pickup itself, seriously impacted our enjoyment of the marathon. The screwup of the bags isn't just inconvenient - it could be a matter of health and safety. Getting out of wet clothes after a marathon is crucial. I know, because after my first I didn't change, got hypothermic and had to to go to the Red Cross Tent. Since I don't think there were any medical services over there, the organizers may have just gotten lucky. The other glitch was the reporting. My daughter and I vanished from the system and had to complain to the IT folks to get reported out. It then turned out that the reporting that we saw at the time was wrong.
As with most of the events I participate in walkers and joggers have no idea why they are asked to estimate their time for an event. If you estimate you will complete a 1/2 marathon in 3-3/12 hours, do not get into a wave for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. The runners have to dodge around you and this create's a dangerous situation.
Organizers should take a que from events like the Bolder Boulder in Colorado, (30,000 for a 10K), assign bib #'s per wave based upon estimated running time, and allow room for runners to get to their wave (you have 6 lanes of road way - use them). This will help get the slower participants out of the way of the runners.
All in all a great run, very beautiful and seanic course.
Work on the start, pedistrian bridge (2 instead of 1), and bag check.
I love the Long Beach Course! I now have completed the Half Marathon for seven consecutive years. It's always very well organized! My question is...what do you have for Legacy Runners? Surf City gives their Legacy Runners a special shirt after the third consecutive year. Does Long Beach offer anything like that?
I have always done the Long Beach 1/2 marathon. The marathon is great and it is a local race for me since I live in Torrance. Expo is always a good one with lots of vendors and lots of room in the aisle. The only issue I had was with the bag pick up after the race. Boy that was unorganized. Gee! It took a good 40 minutes to get my bag! I would suggest next year do the bags by the alphabet 26 letters and then you can group them faster! Also arrange tables so one can walk through to pick up the bags!
This was my first marathon, so I don't have much basis for comparison. That being said, I found this race to be both excellently organized and with a great course. The frequency of water, Powerade, energy gel, medical, and Kool 'n Fit spray stations was very helpful, as was the distribution of restrooms. The course was everywhere well-marked. The scenery was beautiful -- especially in the first 10 miles, which were largely along the beach. I will definitely run this race again.
This was my 6th marathon and one of the BEST organized races I've done. From the wave starts (great idea!) to the course and the frequent water/medical aid stations - it was a very professionally run event from start to finish.
My ONLY two complaints are:
1. To get back to the bag retrieval and the conventrion center required walking over a narrow covered bridge with stairs on either side (painful after 26.2 miles). The line to enter this bridge was very long - something that definitely needs to be worked out for next year.
2. The Jet Blue bag retrieval was a complete mess. The race organizers should look into this and help Jet Blue develop a more effective system. If I do this race again next year, I will NOT bother checking a bag.
Other than that, I LOVED it!
Great full marathon course, but I give this event a poor rating due to poor planning in the post race area:
1) Poor layout for post race booths, including location of bag check (why on the other side of the bridge???).
2) Ridiculously long line to pedestrian bridge. I had to wait at least 20 minutes!
3) Jet Blue Bag Check. I couldn't believe how unorganized. Some people had to wait an hour to get their bags. That is unacceptable!
This was my first 1/2 marathon, so I don't have much basis for comparison. I thought this race was organized and had a beautiful course. The frequency of water, Powerade, energy gel, medical personnel and bathrooms was very good. The course was well-marked.
One thing I found that was on the downside...there were very few people allowed along the course to cheer people on. Roads were blocked so that friends and family members could not get to the streets along the course without walking long distances. One of the fun things is to have lots of people along the way to keep you motivated.
I'll definitely do the race again.
I didn't check a bag, which seems to be what most people are upset about...
That said, I feel like I can address most of the other concerns/complaints people are having about this marathon:
The website clearly advertised that you should plan on arriving 1-2 hours early. Also, it said that it can take up to an hour to get from the 710 to the race start, so look into alternate routes.
I read both of these suggestions and followed their advice: exited the 710 on Anaheim instead of Broadway, got to the parking lot just before 6AM. At that point, the lines for the restrooms were still pretty small (about 10 people when I got in line, close to 30 by the time I got in line a second time). I headed for the race start at 6:40 and found "pushing through the waves" to be pretty easy... A simple "excuse me" worked.
The course was nice and flat (my only complaints are purely due to my legs' dislike of banked roads, particularly those within the first 6 miles of the race), and the support - pacers, water stations, restroom availability - was fantastic.
Other than the bag check, which seems to be a valid logistic problem, I think the majority of the woes that have been cited so far could've been avoided by leaving home just 15 minutes earlier.
1. Bag drop/pick-up was a nightmare. There's a huge parking lot on the correct-side of the street that could be used. Just put it closer to the water from where the runners come thru around Mile 6. 2. Music in the beer garden was too loud. Band was great, but after a race, I want to talk to my friends over a beer, not yell at them. Forget the great bank, and put some similar mixed-music track at a lower volume. 3. Structure the corrals so that there is control as to who gets into each corral. I run a 3:30 marathon or a 1:40 half; I should not have to run around walkers; and I should not have to get into a corral 1 hour before the start of the race. Have entry gates and police who gets into each corral. Otherwise it's a mosh-pit. 4. Despite my criticism, it's a great race, great location, finishing area was good, beer garden managed correctly. Really love this race.
I no longer live in the area, but for over 10 years, my friends and I have made this event our yearly "girls weekend". It was a fun run, but I almost missed saying goodbye to one of my friends because I had to wait so long to cross the bridge. I was in line over 45 minutes and of course, I hadn't factored that into my plans. PLEASE reconsider this for next year. The other concern with having a pedestrian bridge is that there were runners in major pain who had to hike up those stairs to the bridge. Not fun! Other than that, it's a terrific event! I loved the mileage markers. Very cool art. Well done kids!
this was my first FULL marathon, but being that I've done other races, I felt the organization on this was AWESOME! great idea for the waves... unkudos to the idiots who got there late and had to push through the waves to get to their respective time. NOT OUR FAULT, maybe you should have been a little more organized yourself to get there when you needed to!!!
anyways, the encouragement and support from the volunteers, the city of Long Beach, and all the vendors. I will definitely do this race again! the course was beautiful, a little dry during miles 16-19, but I think it was the wall I was hitting.
Thanks LB for doing such a wonderful job!!
The race is very organized and the volunteers are awesome. Its a great race to run where you feel very supported by the spectators, volunteers and race officials.
WAVES: The waves are a great idea, however there should be a path along the side or something where you are able to get to the wave you need. I arrived about 25 minutes early and wasn't able to get to my appropriate wave (nor were a ton of other people) because of access.
PARKING/FOOTBRIDGE ACCESS: The footbridge access is awful. i have done this a few times, so know how to get around it, but perhaps there should be signage or something to give people options. I know the footbridge access at one point had over an 'HOUR' wait. Thats just too long for people who have just run their heart out.