Overview & Background
Carlsbad is a gorgeous beach community nestled in the northern part of San Diego County, and outside of Boston, I am not sure you will find a more run positive community. It’s home to the world’s fastest 5k the Carlsbad 5000 which has been the course for multiple world records since its inaugural race in 1986.
I am very familiar with Carlsbad growing up just down the road in Escondido, so it caught my eye immediately when I saw their Instagram ad. Carlsbad Marathon is run by InMotion Events a family owned and women-run business founded in 1981.
Unfortunately, Deanna and I did not make it to the health & lifestyle expo on Saturday because of LA traffic coming from a business retreat in Oxnard so we are not able to speak about it, however, if it was anything like what we saw when we picked up our bibs on race, and the post-race celebration it must have been awesome.
The race swag was definitely a place were Carlsbad Marathon separates itself from the pack! The pre-race giveaways were top notch they consisted of a beautiful gray long sleeve shirt, a 1/2 quarter jacket (with a different color for male and female), presented inside a drawstring tote bag. If you went to your local running store and purchased this you would probably spend close to what the race entry fee is.
The morning of the race was run so efficiently based on your own predicted time given at registration they put people into waves so you were with other runners of a similar level. This is smart for so many reasons because for bigger races you have individuals from all over the running spectrum. You have people that are looking to qualify for other races, you have people looking to PR, there are people that did this as part of a weight loss goal or people petrified if they will be able to finish. It may not be the best experience to put the person worried if they have what it takes to finish next to the elite runner hoping to shave a few minutes off their personal best. So big ups for the way the executed the waves.
Bathroom situation was good, and if you know race mornings at all, you’re aware of how important that can be. There was plenty of parking but you might end up being a good distance away if you are doing the half marathon because it is the last race of the day which means Full Marathon and Surf Sun Run 5K participants have probably already taken the prime parking spots. If you’re at all nervous about parking, Lyft and Uber are also great options, but we’re always early to races to allow for warm-up time.
Bag check was on point and frankly, I wish we had just checked the bag because the last thing anyone wants to do after running a half or full marathon is take a long trek looking for your car in a mall parking lot! One thing that must be highlighted is the giant heated tent that housed the expo, bib pickup, bag check etc. So smart, more races should do this!
No big surprise here, the course is amazing with 90% of the course running along the Pacific ocean! That said it is not an easy course by any stretch as it is pretty much rolling hill after rolling hill. The spectators brought some extra energy with all their clever signs and an unusual amount of “tap here to power up!” held by kids and adults alike that made the rough points at little more palatable. There were plenty of bathrooms on the course if needed. The support stations were energetic and enthusiastic.
At the end of the course, there was a train of supplies from bottles of water, astronaut blankets, chocolate milk, and someone handing a brown paper bag packed full of snacks!
The Atmosphere, Post Race & Overall
As I said in the intro Carlsbad is a run positive community and that showed through in everything that they did! This race was a runner’s paradise from the free Ballast Point beer, to the many photo stations with props whether you were a beginner or an elite runner this race left no one behind.