This past Sunday, I joined 5,000 other runners for the Inaugural Encinitas Half-Marathon in Encinitas, California — a hip little surf town just north of San Diego. Friends, this was my favorite race that I’ve done in a LONG time! Between the oceanfront course, the swag, the great energy of the community/volunteers, and the race organization — everything was perfect and set runners up for a fun, unforgettable 13.1 miles. I’d highly recommend adding this race to your calendar next year if you’re local to Southern California. Heck, even if you’re not local – buy a plane ticket and make a vacation out of it! This race is fun, unique, and SO worth the trip.
The Course: 13.1 miles starting at Moonlight State Beach, north through funky Leucadia (lots of volunteers and cute families cheering here!), back through Encinitas, by the ocean in Cardiff and Solana Beach, and back again to Moonlight. There were rolling hills, but nothing too outrageous.
One hill was steep, steep, STEEP but it only lasted 45 seconds. I almost walked it, but once I saw this t-rex at the top, how could I quit?
The majority of the course was along Highway 101. Just absolutely gorgeous!
The Swag: Nothing like it! In our burlap race bag, we received so much — protein bars, vegan protein powder, organic sunscreen, chemical-free toothpaste, organic lotion, BioFreeze (always appreciated), stickers, Kicking Horse coffee, and so much more! After the race, there was a REAL post-race breakfast with oatmeal, granola, bananas, coconut water and coffee — including our own Encinitas mug! It was awesome. And the medal and the shirt were pretty impressive, too!
The Organization: I had never been a part of an inaugural race, so I’ll admit that heading into it, I was a little worried about how well things would be organized and if everything would run smoothly. How pleasantly surprised I was! You could’ve fooled me and told me that the sweet folks at Surfing Madonna had been doing this race for 10+ years! On race day, everything was seamless. The logistics were perfectly mapped out, it was never too crowded before, during, or after the race, they had the PERFECT amount of port-a-potties (no long lines!) and they just took really, really good care of us. I was so impressed! Even the volunteers were fantastic.
A lot of friends from the local running community took part in this race! These are my friends Angie and Andie — we ran 11 miles on the trails together the week before the half. Andie (in the middle) is a rockstar and ran TWO halves back to back that weekend to ring in her 40th birthday! You go girl. I ran into friends Smitha, Ali, and Kimberly, too — so many people came out to be a part of the first year!
As always, I am so thankful for my sweet husband who makes the time to never miss a race or a long run of mine. He is so supportive, takes all the stress and planning of race day away, and I can’t imagine any race without him!
For more details, photos, and to register for next year’s race, visit Encinitas Half-Marathon. I’ll definitely be back — and I hope to see you on the course next year!