I guess January 5th is close enough to New Year's Eve to legitimately classify for a New Year's party. And anyway, who really needs an excuse to party (i.e. run a half marathon at night)?
I had been pretty excited about this race, ever since they announced it. Starting and finishing in downtown LA, running around and inside Dodger stadium at night, this was a concept that definitely got my approval.
I miss city-running...the life, lights, dodging people, outsmarting street lights... I guess it's part of my nostalgia for London, where my obsession with running all began at my first race, the London Marathon. But back to the New Year's Race.
|Downtown LA...the views were incredible|
The Expo was small, but organized and relatively un-crowded. I spent some time at the San Francisco Marathon booth, trying to make sure no one walked by without considering to sign up. Expect the usual gear and gadgetry...and the ever-present Clif bar samples table.
The Swag gets a mention because I love the idea of a race hoodie. My race tech shirts are taking over my apartment, but a warm and comfy hoodie is always a welcome addition.
The Start was a little delayed, which is not entirely surprising. It was an inaugural race and clearing the roads in downtown LA on a Saturday night does not sound like simple math. There were too many corrals to count (ok, I think 16) and I moved to 7 with a friend...meaning we left with a 20ish minute delay versus the original 9pm start time. Despite the corral system, the course was a little crowded for the first mile or so (but I did enjoy strategically navigating around people).
Tip...get there early! Freeway exits and streets get jammed, as expected. I found street parking a few blocks from the start, but had I waited in line for the lots...well, I may still be there.
The Course was great - in my opinion. I've heard it called a "hilly rat maze" and pure hell. I had an amazing time. Fine, the endless miles around Dodger stadium got me a little dizzy, but there was a certain thrill in having no clue which way we would turn next. From what I hear, the route will be changed for next year. I'd do the race again with the same route. In fact, give me more hills, please. The total elevation gain was apparently ~1,200 feet...which is virtually flat ;-)
The finish line was supposed to be an amazing party...except it was not. It was simply too cold for people to stick around, which is unfortunate. I collected my free drink and moved on, in style, to Hooters. Yes, Hooters. Don't ask.
I have to admit, I was determined to have an amazing time, which is probably why my review is all rosy. I put my legs on cruise control and wished I could just run all night. I may have been more refreshed at the end versus the start...I call it 2 hours and 2 minutes of pure therapy. Not to mention, having done 15 miles that morning (and 53 miles on Monday of the same week) meant I was adequately warmed up, I guess. All in all, the race ended an 85-mile week which I am pretty happy about.
(Photo credits: www.newyearsrace.com; www.marathonfoto.com)