This past Sunday, I ran a race not to race but to enjoy with my family. Perhaps one of the best races that I have been part of not because of the course or running a PR but because of the event. As a San Francisco Giants fan I had seen the “Giant Race” before on Facebook. So this last year, I thought to myself this might be a fun one to get out and do, not to mention the enjoyment I have going to San Francisco. This weekend was different for many reasons, the first my wife joined me in on the race, participating in the 5k while pushing our son in the BOB Revolution Jogger. The other difference this weekend was that my cousin Loren (@lonorona) ran his first half-marathon.
The “Giant Race” had more of a race feeling to it, it was literally like a day at the ball park (and in this case AT&T Park). Thousands of people walked, parked and shuttled to AT&T wearing their Orange & Black standing outside of the ball park as the 5k, 10k and Half Marathon races started. Coming up to the ball park you saw the normal race day items, the start line, tables full of water and rows of port-o-potties. Along with all of these race day set ups was the “event” side of the run, booths handing out orange head bands, the runners dressed up in their favorite player’s jersey and everything else you could imagine as a Giants fan.
The race started at 8:05 am for the 5k group. So with that start, it gave us running the 10k and half marathon about 30 minutes before our start time. My cousin and I dropped off our gear at the FedEx trucks just yards away from the starting lines for the corral. One of the nice things about the start and finish at the ball park was that rather than waiting for some of the port-o-pottie lines to open up we enjoyed the fact that the ball park was open for runners to use the restrooms. And for all of you that have run races before, the joy of using a real rest room has a feeling like no other!
So here we went the course starts just outside AT&T Park, we moved and spent most of the time running on the Embarcadero, something for me I was familiar with having ran the SF Marathon 3 years now. As we ran past some of the more known landmarks like Pier 39 / Fisherman’s Wharf, the course took us up Fort Mason, which was really the only hill that you had to run up on the run. Continuing along the course we hit the Marina district before turning around and heading back through the back side of Fort Mason before reaching the Embarcadero. With about 2 miles left the run was pretty simple for my cousin and I, he started to struggle a little as his feet got tired but like a champ he gutted it out to the finish. As we got closer to the ball park the crowds and cheers started to increase, and AT&T Park was now in plain sight. There is a different joy and feeling I got running into the ball park and running along the warning track before crossing the finish line in left center field.We finished the race at a time of 1 hour 44 minutes 23 seconds … great run with my cousin running his first half marathon at a decent time (averaged 7:58 per mile).
Now outside of the race itself the “Giant Race” had some pretty nice runner’s swag for the Giants Fan. Along with the typical technical shirt that most race supply runners with, this race included a Matt Cain bobble head which was created as a runner, sporting some running shorts, a tank top and head band. At the finish each runner (5k, 10k & Half Marathoner) were welcomed with a nice piece of bling, to show your finish. Most Half Marathons provide medals at the end but giving one to each 5k and 10k runner is something different that I have not seen before.