i have been running for 4 1/2 years - 8 1/2 marathons deep/ 1 full marathon completed.
CONS (to be worked on)
1) the starting gate - too busy! for those who have trained for 1/2 / full marathons should get priority on where they start, in the correct wave. for those who are attending to run for the hell of it to get a "marathon" under their belt, start them in the back. without any expectations, they should go last!
2) funneling - the course is relatively flat, but there were many funnels in the course where i couldn't pass walkers on the their cell phones asking the person on the other side of the phone "guess where i'm at!? ...i'm running the 1/2 marathon in Long Beach!!". it's hard to pass these "pedestrians" and not have enough room to hit your splits and make sure you make your determined time. this being my first time where there were restrictions to do just this, it didn't help my pace at all.
3) time clocks - i only saw one clock throughout the race... the beginning of the race!! Enough said. i ran the Honolulu full marathon last December and EVERY mile had a clock to see how everyone was doing and where they were at.
4) finish line stoppage - i finished, then i had to walk another 1/8 of a mile to get out of the recovery station. there were spectators funneling the runners because they were looknig for their loved ones. if the finishers had some space, EVERYONE can see their loved ones cross and recover with their family and friends. it doesn't help that i have to be stuck in a line for minutes after running many miles- i'm not looking to cramp.
5) baggage claim - what on earth happened!? having BC on the other side of the finish made absolutely no sense in my mind, plus waiting in line twice to just get the BC... on top of walking up and walking down a bridge of some sort with no signs!!!! unbelieveable!
6) names on bibs - this should be a permanent option! if you're not specific on what you want said on your bib, your first name should appear auotmatically! i know a few people who were pissed to not see their name on their bib and then see their family and friends with their names, it was a little discouraging.
This was my inaugural 1/2 marathon in Long Beach and it was an okay course. with this many runners there could've been more room for those runners who look to PR here. there were more things i was disappointed with than impressed with the organization of the event that i've seen consistently elsewhere but lacked here.
overall- great family and friends who ran this event with me.
This is my first time racing in Long Beach, and I appreciated a lot of it.
--The course was great. I was worried about the beach strand being too crowded since it's more narrow than a street. I personally didn't have too many congestion problems, though. The scenery was excellent.
-- The community support was outstanding. I wish every town embraced their marathon like Long Beach does. I really was struggling toward the end of the race and the spectators were really picking me up.
-- In the months leading up to the race, the organizers were excellent at keeping us informed via newsletters, social media, emails, etc. That's important to me and they get an A there.
-- The post-race recovery food was plentiful. Energy bars, apples, bananas, water, chocolate milk. I was so famished that I ate and drank it all.
-- The race offered text messaging and Facebook posting. The Facebook posting didn't work but a couple of my relatives received text messages at the end of the race telling them my time and pace. Though it didn't work as they promised, it was a neat little extra perk and I won't hold it against them.
-- I like the T-shirt and the medal. I'm not big into race medals but this was one of the nicer ones I've received.
-- Great volunteers. They deserve nothing but praise.
-- I signed for the half several months in advanced and because of that, it was a very affordable race compared to absurd prices like Rock N Roll Las Vegas.
-- The bridge to get back over to the rest of the world after the race had about a 30-minute wait. Then, as soon as I hit the first stair, my calves cramped up like you wouldn't believe, yet I had to keep going because there were 600 people waiting behind me. Not only did I not care to climb a bunch of stairs after running a long race, but I sure don't want to wait in line to do it.
-- I didn't personally have problems with the waves. I got into Wave 2 about 30 minutes before the start of the race so it wasn't crowded when I made my way up to the right place. However, I saw dozens of people jumping fences to try to get into the right wave, and even more trying to elbow their way to the front. A side entrance of some sort?
Overall, I'm glad I did the race and it was an overall positive experience for me, and I would recommend it to anyone. Once they fix the glitches that many racers ran into, this will be an excellent fall marathon for both Los Angeles-area racers and out-of-towners.
This was my first half marathon. I had a great experience along the course and did better than I expected. My neighbor (also a runner) advised us to go early to avoid a lot of the traffic getting to the closer lots. Getting to the race, going to the bathroom, lining up in our wave (2) and checking our bags was all rather painless. We did wait in line for a few minutes, but I expected that. I also think getting in to our wave wasn't a problem simply because we were there so early.
The post-race logistics were poorly handled. I felt faint waiting for the foot bridge (the banana in the goodie bag helped). Baggage claim was a nightmare. Like others, my sister and I ended up just going to the tent and finding our bags on our own. If we would not have done this, I'm sure we would have been out there in our wet clothes longer.
I really enjoyed this race. I thought it was well-organized and a fun time. I did not check any bags, so I didn't have to deal with that headache like others have written of. Some of my time splits did not show up on my race results but that's ok. Also, the Facebook wall posting did not work. I wrote BazuSports about that. They claimed I was the only person to complain, so let them know if your times didn't show up through Facebook and/or text. The negatives I encountered were: the feeling of over-crowding at the start and people pushing to get through to a higher wave; coming out of the port-o-potty around the 10K mark, which was facing the opposite direction of the race, and almost getting hit by someone on a moped; and the big red bus that came zooming at me while crossing an intersection around mile 22. Scary. I guess I kinda took for granted that the crossing guard would make it stop. I guess not. I also heard some people complaining that the course was longer than 26.2. I have no idea if that's true but that's probably makes a difference for those trying to PR or Boston qualify. The volunteers are always appreciated and this race had some of the best. Parking was a breeze with the pre-pay option. Lastly, I was kinda sad when I came across the finish and heard my husband and kids screaming for me through a tall fence. I understand if it was a safety issue but still a little unexpected.
Overall, a fun local race that I have been wanting to do since I moved to the South Bay. The negatives were overshadowed by the positives. Oh and the Kids' Fun Run on Saturday was also great.
Great Race. Awesome weather for a long run and super post-race support. Two big gripes. What the hell with the traffic situation? Can't long beach do something about the back up off the freeway (like maybe post one of those cops who was parked on the bridge having coffee and donuts at the light backing up traffic for at least a mile)? What's up with the double fencing preventing runners from lining up?
The race consisted of mostly (16000) 1/2 marathoners and (4000) full marathoners. There could have been better placement of restrooms and water stations along the course such that they didn't impede the runner's traffic. Intermittently allowing cars to pass through the course was not desirable for anyone who's concerned about their race time. The expo was kind of light on vendors. The goody bags were light on goodies and heavy on marketing material. The part of the course along the beach and through Belmont Shore was scenic and nice but the parts of the course that contained the first and second leg of the race on opposite sides of the street made for a bit of a boring run. I've run the 1/2 and the full before. It is doubtful that I'll run either again.
I cannot believe this event did not sell out at some point-there were way too many people!!! I've done 30 races in the past 3 years and this was the most crowded. The area at the start and finish could not handle the large number of people. This was my 4th time running the Long Beach half and I don't remember the past ones being so bad. I hope that next year the number of participants is limited to an amount that can be better managed. Also, the masses of people at the expo made it unpleasant, if not impossible, to shop and look around. On a positive note, the weather was perfect for running and the volunteers were fantastic!!! I loved the red drawstring bag that was given out at the expo.
This was my 15th bike marathon, 8th for LB and did 7 with L.A. I like the ride because it is such familiar terrain. Not real crazy about all the twists and turns we do in the very beginning, with some portions of the ride where we funnel down to very narrow openings, but overall a nice ride. The ending of the bike marathon was different this year and I liked it. We were funneled to the right, received our medal quickly, offered a bag of fruit and bottle of water and right into the check-in for bikes or right out into the parking lot. We always put our bikes back in our truck, and then return to the festivities. Although this year we did not partake....the line for the bridge was way too long. So we just left. After reading what everyone else wrote about it, I'm glad we didn't stick around.
The water stations and Gator-aid stations were plentiful, and it seemed like there were more people out in support for the bike ride. Volunteers at those stations were GREAT! We don't often see the bands as they don't start that early. We'll do it again..but I hope they get the issues resolved for the runners so this event continues. Not all marathons offer a bike ride (L.A. just recently stopped theirs). I can't run 26.2 miles but I can ride them!
This was my fourth Long Beach marathon and my 18th marathon.
Pros: loved the weather, the course and scenery. The volunteers at the water stations were great. Loved the art on the mile markers. The Cliff Pacers were fantastic. Starting the race in waves based on pace is a good idea.
Cons: I have never encountered such cramped starting conditions in any marathon, including LA. While I expect some crowding at the being of the marathon, it really should not take 9.5 miles for the pack to thin out. Please see all of the comments made by other reviewers as to how this could be improved. (Hint: start the half-marathon AFTER the marathon and provide access to the waves for people who don't get there early.) Better differentiation of the mile markers for the various races at the being of the course would be appreciated. Also, the goody bag at the end seemed spartan in terms of food and nut-allergies should be taken into account when giving out food bars. I'd also prefer an energy drink that doesn't look like Windex.
This was my 4th half marathon and 2nd at Long Beach. This is a great track to run. Running along the beach and thru millions row is great. Price is very reasonable.
the negatives are plenty. The funneling of the people across a crowded bridge was rediculous. The food after the race was almost non existant. SF has a much better system with a lot more food options. Suvineers with Long Beach logo is scarce and expensive. Expo is a waste of time.
Expo: I liked it, I had reviewed the info on the website and checked out the convention centers website so I knew right were I was going. Flow through the expo was OK around 1pm on Saturday so I was able to see everything and make a couple puchases. I agree with others the goodie bags could have had less paper, other races direct you to a website for that kind of stuff and if you want the coupon you can print it out.
Pre-race: Used the bathroom before I walked to the starting line so no comment there. Corrals, again I got there early and walked right up to Corral 1 were I belonged. I do think that side entrances would have been helpful to the people behind me and the wheelchair athletes and bicyclers who showed up late had to fight through the crowd.
Race: I did the Full and started in Corral 1 so traffic wasn't terrible but could have been better if the Half and full starts were staggered. The Full could start at on time then let the half go off in waves 15-30 minutes later. walkers also could have started earlier to get them off the narrow sections of the course so the runners don't have to zig-zag to avoid them. Water/fluid stations were well manned and thanks to all those vollunteers you were great. There could have been better traffic control after the half and full came back together in the last couple miles, lots of people walking at that point and somewhat difficult to get around them without cutting others off, sorry to any of you I cut off but if I'm still able to run I'm not going to stop to politely pass between 2 groups of runners/walkers. Finishline photo area was undermanned, other races have multiple photographers with backdrops, the line was 20-30 deep so we passed.
Post race: The food bag was a joke 2 bars, a banana, and an apple. I guess all the sponsors wanted to hand out free was the paper in the goodie bags. Finisher's area wasn't well marked and volunteers gave bad directions. We asked 3 different volunteers were the CA dreamin booth was to get our medal and were sent 3 different directions. Finally we saw someone wering the medal and she pointed us to the booth that was well marked unless you were standing in front of it. Didn't use the baggage drop and didn't go over the bridge so no comment there.
Overall, I like the course and course support was great. Might come back and/or recommend the half but not the full.
This was my 4th Long Beach full marathon and 22nd overall marathon. First I have to say Long Beach is my favorite marathon; flat and fun. That said here are the good and bad of this marathon.
1. I love the staggered start time. It made it better for the areas that get bottled up.
2. The fans as always are some of the best.
3. The volunteers are second to none!
4. The course is one of the best in Southern California.
That said here are the things that need improvement.
1. At the start line I had to listen to a lot of political propaganda. I?m glad the people in the military ran a marathon in Iraq; but for me that war and all subsequent countries we have been invading are not in the name of freedom but stealing their oil and other resources. Lets not make this marathon political or I will stop running it.
2. The expo had almost zero free stuff. The things it did have, there were long lines for; very discouraging. I would have been better off to pick up my package and left. Even the package had almost all advertising junk.
3. They did not have cotton shirts for purchase. I like to purchase at least 2 cotton t-shirts to wear after the marathon. The quick dry shirts are nice but they are more for working out.
4. Finally at the finish line they had prepackaged apple, banana and a small protein bar. It would have been nice to have a bagel or some salt chips. Carbs and sodium people! That is what a person needs after a 26 mile run. It is almost like the people promoting the marathon have never run one. I don?t think the bags cost more than 50cents a piece with all its contents. I paid $100 to enter... hmm
5. I wont even talk about the poor job done at the gear return area, I?m glad I never use that service.
6. Oh yes; one other thing, were did these catering trucks come from? Really. Did we not pay enough for the marathon entrance? It seem like the marathon has really gotten to commercial.
Over all I think I will sit out a few Long Beach marathons and run others.
I had the best time at this race. It was a very scenic and stimulating run. The crowd was positive and huge.
The only things that were a problem were: the traffic coming into town before the race, the bridge to get back over was an insane wait, and the fenced in crowded line up at the beginning.
But over all this was by far one of my favorites Ive ran.
My third Long Beach Half Marathon I loved the wheather awesome course the volunteers were great like always. My negative point is the Expo suck, it was to small not a lot of vendors like San Francisco or Surf City they are great. Need improvement on Expo.
I have completed 5 marathons in the past 3 years. Negatives outweigh the positives, so I would not recommend this race.
- Volunteers: outstanding
- Pre-Paid Parking: extremely convenient and very much appreciated, especially being able to purchase on-line and then print out the parking permit
- Packet Pick Up: streamlined which made it convenient for pick up
- Scenery: so-so
- Time Clocks: none seen on the race course til the finish line?sigh
- Spectators: sparse pockets of cheer along the marathon course
- Baggage Drop Off/Pick Up: located on the wrong side and disorganized. It was brutal on tired marathon legs to have to walk up and down stairs to get from the finish line to pick up my bag. Perhaps have the baggage drop off adjacent to the finish line? While bag check in was not an issue, it took over 15 minutes for 1 bag to be located with the help of over 5 volunteers.
- Pedestrian Bridge: logistically this was a choke point as it was the only main way to cross the course. Also, it was unsafe in the dark wee hours of the morning as the covered walk way (including going up and down the stairs) was completely unlit.
- Race Shirt: liked that it?s a technical shirt and that a women?s cut is offered. However, the colors are drab (while the ones for sale sported much better colors and design). Recommend that separate shirts be offered for half and full marathoners so that runners can have a shirt that matches the distance that they achieved.
- Post Race Food: the chocolate milk hit the spot, but slim pickings beyond that in the post food recovery bag
- Goody Bag: sparse on the goodies and heavy on the advertisements ? spare the paper.
- Porta Potties: more needed near start line