I wanted to run the Badger Cove race last year but it was too close to other other races and I was too new to try and tackle so many races in one month. This year will prove to test my endurance since I’ve got a race every weekend of March. This half marathon through Livermore’s Del Valle Regional Park will start the challenge.
I’ve been to Del Valle park dozens of times but never spent time running the trails so I was actually looking forward to exploring the area for future workouts.
The race was put on by Brazen Racing which are always fun, affordable yet challenging courses.
We arrived without issue, found parking easily and had plenty of time to use the bathroom, stretch and get mentally prepared. The corral showcased runners of all kinds and the course started even earlier for hikers.
The start went out around the picnic areas and immediately went down to a single track trail which bottled necked things for the first couple miles. The first aid station was atop a small hill that was also a turnaround point. This was messy as it jammed people up causing some runners to cut it short to avoid those that stop. I don’t like cutting courses short because it feels like I’m cheating.
Once you get out of that, the course take you up to the first climb which was vertical. Having some experience with trails, I knew what to expect so I just kicked my gears down and ran it nice an easy trying my best to conserve energy. The course for the next 3-5 miles were twisting, turning, up and down routes through rolling hills with incredible views of the lake and valley. I slowed a few times at the peaks to take some pictures.
Around the 8 mile marker you bombed downhill what you just climbed toward the lake were you ran right along the edge. One small misstep and you’d slide down a daunting cliff. That was a little unnerving but still beautiful— all single track trails that are fun to run. The you start your ascending climb back up the hill through cattle fields heading toward the course you just ran.
There were a few double-back parts where the cross traffic what literally a four-way crossing. There was volunteer directing people but all the back-tracking is demoralizing in my opinion.
By this point, I knew I was on route back to the finished line so I did my best to push downhill and try to make a good time. I had actually been feeling good about my run though I wasn’t paying much attention to my time. When the finish line was in view, I finally saw my total time which was over 2 hours! My slowest time ever!! Yet the whole time, I had been feeling good about everything. Maybe I felt too good and needed to push myself harder after all.
In typical Brazen fashion, the medal was awesome and there was a huge assortment of snacks at the finish line- everything from fruit to candy and even It’s Its ice cream sandwiches. We hung out for a while, had fun taking silly St. Paddy’s style pictures with the kids then called it a wrap and headed home.
Overall, this was a challenging course that proved hot that day but offers up beautiful views and a enjoyable experience. I’ll probably run this again next year though I may opt for the 5k or 10k depending on my training plans. There’s more half marathon races in March that I know I could PR at so I may opt for a shorter distance in hopes to keep fresh legs for the races to come.
- Del Valle Region Park, Livermore, CA
- Overall: 31 of 220
- Age Group: 5th
- Official Time: 2:04:04
- Average pace: 09:11.3 Min/M