January 2, 2015

Golden State Half Series: 2014 Review

Around my birthday more than a year ago, I was bitching to my wife about feeling like crap and not being fit. She saw on Facebook that Livermore was hosting a half marathon through wine country and that I should do it. My initial reaction was laughter but then when I thought more about it, I figured why not. That race was what kickstarted my love of running and race events.

On their website I saw they had a race in Oakland too and being the Oakland fan that I am, I signed up simply because racing the Livermore event gave me a discount code for Oakland.

After racking up a few more races, I went back to their site knowing they had a race later in the year in San Francisco that went over the Golden Gate Bridge. It was pricey though by that time— easily the most expensive race I would pay for ($90). I justified it because it would mark a year of running/racing and also that it would complete the Golden State Half Marathon series that offered up some serious bling. By this point, I was a bling junkie and couldn’t run enough to get more medals!

Make no mistake— all three of the events are worth every penny.

Post-race Festivities

They all had great after-race parties. At Livermore, the wine was flowing with some great live music in the heart of their downtown. Oakland poured beer and live music set at a park in the center of the city. San Francisco was also serving beer and had easily, the most scenic views to enjoy.

Quality Goodies

They all gave quality shirts and the BEST finisher medals. Great designs and some serious hardware. One you completed all three, the Series medal didn’t disappoint either! Logo’d wine glasses, mason jar beer glasses, water bottles were also among the freebies. Not to mention the slew of free snacks from top-notch vendor booths.

Professional Grade

Every races was well organized clearly marked, plenty of aid stations/bathrooms and fantastic perks at the finish line. Well designed bibs (that you could customize if you register early enough). You really got the sense that the organization behind these races are true professionals and have plenty of experience to do it right.

Fun

Every type of runner comes out to these events and they can attract thousands! They celebrate all runners and really encourage anyone of any age and any speed to come out and enjoy the runs. Having fun is simply inevitable.

More about these races:

All three races ranked as my favorites of the year. I’ve already signed up for all three races again in 2015 because there is no way I’m missing them nor waiting only to watch prices go up. When/if they add more races around the Bay Area, I will undoubtedly throw my money at them.

If you’re considering racing, you can’t go wrong picking any one of the races but for a great way to experience the Bay Area, go for the series challenge and race all three. Then come find me and I’ll buy you a drink and we can share race stories :)

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