I've run the marathon three times and the half probably six times. I did the 1/2 this race. Overall, it was a great event and a beautiful day for a run! I'd do it again in a heart beat!
With that said, I've learned my lessons or my running partners have in doing this race. For the newbies, you need to arrive at least an hour to an hour and a half ahead of time. (This applies for any race, LA, RNR, Chicago) We arrived in the parking lot at 6:00 and parked next to the sports arena. We had plenty of time to jog over to the porta-johns and take care of things and go back to get ready. No stress! Because of that, we didn't need to use the dredded baggage check.
Things to improve on:
1) Corral set-ups were a challenge, we were able to weave our way thru to Wave 2 and the 3:40 pace group, but it wasn't for the faint of heart.
2) Seperation of spectators, runners, walkers and local community - For some reason LBM is the only race I go to where there's way to many spectators mixed into the finish and start areas. I always thought that LA and RNR-SD finish areas were a pain, but maybe they have a real use. I was in the Wave 2 area and there were mothers, fathers and grandparents mixed into the crowd. Very touching, but this could be really dangerous.
3) The bridge - We didn't use it, all you needed to do was walk about 50 yards north and cross in front of the hotel by the lake and cut back.
As far as the Papa John's Pizza-Gate, it was rather annoying watching people walk out with six boxes of pizza, that weren't even runners or spectators, but in these tough economic times I figured I had other things to worry about. Frankly, the pizzas weren't part of the race food walk-thru at the end, they were a stand-alone truck from Papa Johns that was distributing them. But, from a PR point of view LBM needs to have a chat with it's vendors that it lets participate and make sure everyone is on the same page.
Overall, nice job, fix the corrals,
This is my 3rd year doing the "Bike Tour" version of the LBC Marathon...I love this event! Unfortunatley, this was not my best year for time. Oh well, I still had a blast! As long as they keep this race alive, I'll be here every year.
I do have to say though...the way the event organizer handled all those people going over that bridge was a HORRIBLE IDEA! The first 2 years, I don't remember it ever being that unorganized. It's always been managable. This year, I don't know what happened? It took my group of four people 10 mins to get across to the vendor section which wasnt that bad, however coming back over the bridge took almost an hour because we had to wait in a line just to cross the bridge! WOW! After riding 26 miles, the last thing I want to do is stand in a line just to go home. Booooooooo!
Please do not make the same mistake next year. Thanks!
I'll be back! Cheers!
I would really like to write a nice review telling every one what a great time I had, how wonderful the course was and how terriffic the organization was etc. etc. Unfortunately this is just not in the cards. The package pick was easy and although I was shocked at the way there were big piles of bibs sitting on tables it all seemed to work out. But that was kind of the end of the great. The expo was small and over crowded, with very few exhibitors. For a marathon of this size I was disappointed.
Fast forward to race day and I was glad I had stayed in one of the downtown hotels as traffic looked like a mess. So there we are in the corals and hundreds of people are pushing past us. I am looking around and there is the pacer so I know I am in the right spot. What is going on? Well all of the half marathoners are up front. Great! So then when we get out on the course it is jammed with all the half marathoners. It is fine until we get out on the beach and then it is a total mess. Runners are elbowing past, and I mean elbowing, walkers are three abreast. Come on! Get them out of the way start half marathoners 30 minutes after the last marathoner or do something but don't put them up front.
Ok we are past the half marathon turn off and there is some running room but where are the photo guys. Oh there is one and he is talking to his girl friend. No picture there. I am sure there is another photo op around the corner. Wrong! I can see the red sign but nobody around. Oh there he is eating a sandwich by his car. NICE! Real nice. So went the entire race. Ok I am coming down the finish line and where are the photographers!!! Oh there is one I guess I better run over and ask to get my picture taken. OOPS his battery is dead. WHAT!! Finally he is done and snaps a staged picture. I cross the line no photographers. OK there is a line up for photos after the race. It is huge because there is one guy with a camera taking pictures. But guess what after the pictures came out they don't have my picture. LOOSE THESE GUYS -- THEY STINK!!
I limp around the corner to find there is no food and wind up with a banana and an apple in a blue plastic bag. And I was expecting great. Silly me.
Sure there were good things. I mean how can you go to LA and not have a good time at Disneyland and Universal. We had a great meal on the Queen Mary. The race was ok but it didn't make my top ten list.
Hello from Eastern Canada. Great venue. Pre race announcers humorous and motivating. Volunteers great. Free admission to Aquarium, nice touch.
Along with the positives comes some constructive criticism. Many hotels/ expo info booth not informed in particulars regarding Aqua boat or if bridge open for pedestrians until evening prior to race. More music along the course would have added to the experience. Perhaps informing runners that if they wish to take a walk break, moving to the sides would allow those continuing to run, to do so. Food post marathon dismal and inadequate.
My first Long Beach Marathon:
1. Good flat course; scenic.
2. Weather was great.
3. Lots of water and great to have Powerade.
4. PR at 3:48! Yahoo!
5. Nice to have the students cheering at Long Beach State!
6. My Garmin showed 26.32 mi; pretty close.
7. Chocolate milk at the end!
Not so good:
1. Food at finish ? a little blue bag? You are kidding me! I asked for a second, and was told no. There is really a difference between people?s needs. If you walked, you might not need as much food for recovery. Check out RnR San Diego; at least they have plenty of food in the finish area.
2. Bag check disaster ? I won?t check bags on Jet Blue, that?s for sure! Check RnR San Diego; they do a pretty great job.
3. No TP?? - It was a little disappointing to discover there was no toilet paper in the restrooms after the race. Maybe you could do a re-fill during the race??
4. Walkers! Can we start them after the runners? And can the walkers be in one lane and the runners in another from mile 24 on? We were dodging them to the finish.
5. Can we get the marathon runners out first? The sidewalk is really jammed up along the beach. The roadway at the beginning too.
6. No cold wash cloths at the end.
7. No split time for 13.1 mi? Didn?t even pick up 2 of my times. I noticed some people missing timing chip pickups because of poor placement on the road; they would run along the curb, and the strip didn?t go to the curb!
8. Early mile markers were misplaced.
9. Expo ? sparse. Really?
10. I read in the comments that there was pizza! Maybe signs next time??
11. No clocks on the course.
In all, a good course, scenic and cool. I will return.
The course and weather were great; everything, no so much. The expo was small and crowded; people were pushing strollers in there and there was no room for that. There was nothing at the start except for coffee; no bagels, water, bananas, nothing; very disapointing. The end was a disaster. Barely any food or water. My feet were killing me and my bag was at the bag check; which was not on the finish line side which makes absolutely no sense. After running for 13 miles, I was not about to stand in line for an hour to get my other shoes. I ended up having to walk around the fence to get over to the side where the bags were adding another 1/4 to 1/2 mile to my race when my feet were already hurting badly. There were only kids at the bag check area; no adult supervision at all and they had no idea what they were doing; runners were having to go back there to find their stuff.
The course was good; but everything else was a mess, I doubt that I will do this race again.
I am one of the early start walkers and I was very upset by the comment that the guy that was talking on the loud speaker said about the walker early start. Saying that we take up the whole road and the runners can't get by us. I always walk on the very edge of the side walk. Regardless of early start or not I still will start in the front so I have enough time to finish it. If you want to complain about people being in the way why don't we talk about the specators. They were right on the course in the begining. I had to move around them which was super annoying. By the time I finished the race there a lot of the free food they give away was gone. My mother who did the half marathon got a lot more free goodies in her bag than I did. The pizzas that they were giving out was long gone by the time I came in. My dad who did the bike race said people who were watching the race were taking 10 pizzas per person. Here I pay all this money so people who are watching get all the free food. They should have a rule one food product per racer only! They should have to show the bib and have it markerd off by colors per free food item so you can't keep going back up. I was also really looking forward to the bagels and there wasn't any. My mother got pushed into a line that was going on the bridge and she didn't even want to get in line. Now why don't we talk about pictures. Last year I must of had 20-25 pictures, this year two at the very end. My mother who did that half had none. This is my second year doing this race and I have to say 2009 was much better. Aren't things suppose to improve and not get worse. I am unsure if I will do this race again next year. That comment that was made in the beginning of the race really struck a nerve with me.
This was my first Marathon and I loved it. There were plenty of hydration areas, people were friendly all along the course, I was even surprised by the amount of nutrition along the way. From others comments it seems they did not plan ahead and bring their own nutrition and such. What ever happened to being self sufficient? My only gripe, and this is for the runners, not the promoters, why throw your water cups all over the place? There are trash receptacles just after most of the water booths, throw it in there instead of littering the track.
I had a great time for my first and would definitely be back. Great job on putting it together!
Everything was great - until the end. After running the 1/2 Marathon - I had to wait for over 2 hours!!! to get my bag I had checked at the "JetBlue" Baggage claim! It was a total mess with no organization what-so-ever. Then, trying to get out of Long Beach was a nightmare. They had posted in the paper handed out at the event of when streets were going to be reopened - which didn't happen. At 2pm, all the roads were still closed - so another hour and half to go the seven miles back to my home! After all of that - it turned out running the half was the easiest part of my day!
I have run about 40-45 marathons and this one was very well done: a no hassle start; easy to find parking close to the start line; plenty of water and energy drinks; gels on the course; plenty of toilets; scenic and pleasant course; good fan support; nice medal; nice goody bag at the end with healthy food and water; Michelob beer garden for adults; and a great start/finish and staging area. Way to go Long Beach!! I tried to get in last year but it sold out. I didn't have anywhere close to my PR and it wasn't my day, but this could have been a PR course. Good job.
After skimming through some of the other comments, I am surprised that people have so many complaints. If you want to see a hassle, go to New York or Boston and sit and wait in the (literally) freezing weather on muddy, frozen grass for 5-6 hours while you wait for the start. Then you will still have to wait in a port-a-potty line for yet another 1 hour -- all BEFORE the start. And, these courses don't have as much support as Long Beach. So, if anyone is considering this marathon, please DO NOT let these negative comments deter you. Long Beach was a well-run and pleasant race near the beach, parks, lovely Long Beach State and back to Shoreline Village. What's to complaint about?
I respectfully disagree with Michelle West's description of the Long Beach Marathon compaing it with with world class marathons. At least you know what to expect at New York and Boston Marathons with their wonderful organizaitons, Long Beach by comparison was amatuer'ish with so many forseeable foo-pahs, that it was unbelievable. Boston and NYC have aide stations every mile and fast recovery of warm up packets at the end. Long Beach was a near riot, with a small footbridge to acquire your warm ups and NO organization to bag recovery personnel. NYC and Boston controls spectators and limits access to the starting corrals by bib numbers. Long Beach start was another near riot with people jabbing and jamming others to get up into their position. The porta johns at Long Beach ran out of toilet paper after the long wait to get into them. The finish was no better, with near riots to get warm ups on the other side of an inadequate bridge, and grossly inadequate food for runners. Michelle West is correct in that there was a nice medal and a very nice T-shirt provided to runners, but she sounds delusionial in her description of the other elements of the race. I have run Long Beach for the past three years and this year was a disaster by comparison. There is always hope that next year may be better (it couldn't be any worse). Lets hope race organizers will provide a discount in 2011 to the runners that suffered thru the 2010 events, we deserve it.
The good: The weather was perfect. Nice views along the water. Nice shirt.
The not good: (1) Driving in that morning was horrible, bumper-to-bumper or stopped. Could there have been alternate routes to the parking lots? (2) The course was almost entirely on concrete - very bad for the knees. (3) There should have been a very large area at the finish line for runners only, to jog and stretch and eat whatever their bodies required from a large selection of appropriate, healthy foods. Instead I could hardly get through the crowds at the finish line, there was no space in which to jog to ease my body to a stop, I had to go a ways to find room to stretch, and the selection of food for runners was limited to the small bag I was handed. (4) Needed more signage regarding dropping off and picking up of runner's bags. The pick-up was incredibly disorganized. Needed to have the bags divided by bib number, and a JetBlue bag person or two at each station to collect the bag for each runner whose bib number was within that range of numbers. So, 0-1000; 1001-2000; 2001-3000 (or in groupings that are manageable) and so on.
I was very disappointed in this marathon for the following reasons. The starting area was a disaster. Why have "waves" set up when no one can get to the wave in the first place? 6 foot chain link fences on both sides with no in/out and people clamoring over them so that they could possibly get to their wave...and then security telling those that did that to go to the back of the mass crowd. The pacers were going off of "gun time" and setting a pace that was totally unattainable if you were trying for that specific time. For example, the 3:50 pace group started so far behind the gun that the pace leader was running a 7:55 pace at mile 13...huh? How does a 7:55 pace equal a 3:50 marathon time? That's way too fast. The first 10 miles roughly of this race is run on concrete...and for anyone not used to running on concrete, it sucks. My knees and feet were done by mile 10 and I still had 16.2 to go. The finish was horrible for spectators trying to see you finish. The race had one whole side blocked from view, so you could only see runners finish from one side along with the throng of other spectators trying to view as well. The sweat check area was such a mess that there were some people waiting 2 hours to get their bag! The bags were just thrown in a pile and volunteers were digging thru them. The hotel we stayed at was on the course and there wasn't in/out of the hotel except before 5 am or after 10 am. So, once again, my spectators couldn't get anywhere to see me along the course. Those were just some of the issues that I ran into. Would I run this race again? Uh, definitely NOT. The water stations and aid stations were great though, and that's about all the good that I saw associated with this race.
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