I signed up for the Sasquatch Honey Badger Half Marathon to satisfy the Cal Half Series challenge. Admittedly though, I wanted to run their races last year when I first learned bout their trail races. They have about a half dozen races through trails all around the Bay Area. All different places than any other races I’ve heard about too. And they have a sasquatch mascot that actually runs the 5k course no less. Seeing this sasquatch out on the course is quite a site!
We weren’t familiar with China Camp State Park in San Rafael at all. We had to park off the main road then walk about a quarter mile to the starting point. It’s a gorgeous park full of wild life that isn’t bothered by people in the slightest.
The field of runners was smaller than most of the other races I’ve done but I like the intimate nature of this event. Bib pickup was the morning of the race and shirts were given out then too. There were enough porta potties to minimize long lines and everyone was very friendly… even the sasquatch was nice enough to humor the kids.
The half marathon runners gathered around the starting line where the race director gave some instructions which I wish I had actually listened to instead of fumbling with my phone and watch. Before I knew it, we were off!
I’m not a great trail runner but I do love to run trails. Pretty quickly, we were already in the thick of the park and down to single lane trails traversing the hills as we climbed our way to the top. Any time I run trails, I know I’m going to set any records so I like to stop and take pics of surrounding area.
Along the way, I found myself chatting it up with other runners and hearing about where they’re from and other races they’re into. It was nice to see how friendly everyone was. I even met a fellow from the Netherlands visiting the Bay and thought a run would be fun. He didn’t realize how steep this would turn out to be! The elevation changes were intense but the scenery was absolutely stunning. I was impressed with how well maintained the trails actually were and even how the wild life was just everywhere. A few times, I ran by deer actually on the trail!
I felt pretty sluggish by mile 10 and my legs were giving up toward the end. It was a tough outing for me. This course got the best of me yet somehow I managed to crack a smile when I ran into the event photographers…
Overall: 17 / 60
Official Time: 02:11:58
Yikes. This was my worst time for a half marathon but it was also one of the hardest courses. There was some major climbing late in the course that just broke me. But if you love challenging trail runs, this is a great race to try. The medal is nice and the free shirt is high quality too. Great snack after the race and free beers from Marin Brewing helps ease tired legs.
I may be crazy enough to try this again or I may opt for one of their other races… or I just be truly insane and try to run four of their races and tackle their Trail Braze Tour Pass. Who are we kidding, you know I’m going do that…