Every year, since I’ve been running, I have wanted to run the Santa Cruz Wharf to Wharf race. The problem?
1) The race sells out in about 30 minutes – if you’re not online to sign up right when it opens, you’re out of luck.
2) It falls on the weekend after my birthday and I’m almost always out of town for my birthday.
I solved those two problems by deciding to spend the weekend after my birthday in Santa Cruz and using those super speedy race sign up skills I’ve learned from Run Disney to be online 5 minutes prior to the race registration opening and VOILA – I’M IN! Ditto for my husband, since I signed him up too and then told him after 🙂
The race runs from the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk to Capitola – an easy 6 mile trek. Some rolling hills, but fairly flat with some beautiful views on the way.
We got into Santa Cruz the Thursday before and hung out, went to the beach, went to the Mystery Spot, basically just chilled and lived the beach life for a few days. It was awesome. Got in a few runs too!
Sunday rolled around and Rob and I sloooooowly got up and got out the door. Let me tell you, it was difficult to get going after sleeping in for 3 days in a row.
Once we got to the Boardwalk, we were super excited!
They had reasonably priced parking and shuttle service to the boardwalk, but we just parked in the Boardwalk parking lot. A little steep ($15), but it was fine.
They had several corrals set up, both Rob and I were in corral one, but we had a friend running in corral 3, so we went back and met up with her. Running with friends is way more fun!
After a beautifully sung National Anthem, they started the race right on time. It took us about 5 minutes to get over the start line, but once we were off, the music started. SO MUCH MUSIC. It was kind of amazing.
The course is all along the coast, which is beautiful, but there was one downer.
The course was SUPER crowded. There were so many people running, which made it really hard to find a pace. There were a lot of walkers, which are fine, but when you combine lots of walkers with a narrow course and a ton of people, it starts to get congested. Usually, I find that races tend to thin out after mile 3, but the crowd was pretty thick the entire 6 miles.
Now, let’s go back to the music. Holy moly! I would say this race has 10 times more music than any Rock’n’Roll Half I’ve done. It seemed like every half a mile there was a band playing. Funky bands, bagpipes, Grateful Dead cover bands, marching bands, you name it, they had it!
We had a great time on course. I think I was smiling a lot. It was a really fun 6 miles!
Once we crossed the finish line we headed over to grab some water and then our goody bags that had our t-shirt. I was a little bummed it was a cotton t-shirt and not a tech-t, but I’ve already worn it a couple of times so I think I like it more than I want to admit.
After we grabbed everything, we went to catch the shuttle back to Santa Cruz. I have to say, they are SUPER well organized in terms of transportation. We didn’t even really have to wait in line, we were on a shuttle right away headed back to the parking lot.
All in all – I really want to do this race again next year. The energy, the music and the course was amazing. I’m hoping to set an alarm on my calendar to be ready to sign up for 2016!
Next up is the Disneyland Half Marathon…YAY!!!
QOTD: What race have you done with the best course music?