Sunday, November 14, 2010

DIY Half Marathon

How do you put on an event like a half marathon?

This is mostly a rhetorical question, I suppose.  I know it involves permits and coordination with the city, police and fire departments and any other number of municipal offices.  Liability insurance would have to be secured.  Vendors for services like chip timing, photography and start/finish line infrastructure would have to be hired.  You can't have a race without entrants, so there is plenty of marketing that would need to be done.  A service like Active.com would have to be brought on for registration processing.

At some point there is bound to be a problem with the permit application and your dreams of being a race director will slide perspicuously close to the edge of a chasm.  In fact, this will probably happen a few times throughout the process.

Then there is the money.  And you'll need a lot of it before you sign up your first runner.  You can spend your own, but like my Daddy always said - "Why spend your own in business when you can spend someone else's?"  Finding sponsors is an obvious solution - but where do you fit this in?  You've got a classic "chicken or the egg situation", where you'll need the money before you actually have a race but it's going to be tough to get the money without a race.  Think the studio tapes/record company scene from Boogie Nights.

And then finally, you need to find an army of volunteers to make everything from aid stations to course marshaling happen.  I'm certain I am forgetting a lot as well.

Sounds like a lot of work, huh?

San Gabriel River

Well, that's unfortunate because I may have stumbled upon the perfect half marathon course.  For conversational purposes, I'm calling in the "River To River Half Marathon".  Theoretically, the race starts in a marina/hotel complex just north of the San Gabriel River Jetty, crosses into Seal Beach and follows Ocean Avenue through town.  It then turns east onto Seal Beach Blvd and then south onto Pacific Coast Highway where it crosses the Anaheim Bay Bridge.  From there the course cuts south into the exclusive seaside neighborhood of Sunset Beach.  At about the 5 mile mark, the course crosses into Huntington Beach, merges onto the multi-use path, and ends 8 odd miles later feet from the banks of the Santa Ana River.

Santa Ana River

It's not like I'm the first one to discover this route.  I can think of 4 races that use the Coast Highway in Huntington Beach, with the Surf City Marathon being the most notable.  But to me, there is something cool about running from river estuary to river estuary where the distance just happens to 13.1 miles.  There is a certain natural order of things feeling about it that appeals to me.

Of course, there would be a much simpler and DIY way to do this - just get 10 or 15 or 20 or more people together on a Sunday morning and just run it.  Permits?  Who needs permits?  All we'd need is someone to start a stopwatch and record times at the finish line plus a few more people with water, gels and whatever else along the route.   After all, we are just a group of friends out for a run.  And maybe the next year it's just a bigger group of friends.

As to an entry fee - How about everyone brings a bundle of firewood and a full cooler for a post race beach barbecue?

Think about it, this would be fun.  I hereby nominate Kovas and Chris K to the planning committee, they need something positive to work on together after all that Ipad business.  Do I hear a second?

15 comments:

Docrunner @Tri2Thrive said...

That's my 'hood.. sign me up! I notice it's a point-to-point, so you'll also need shuttle buses. Or, you can make it an out-n-back full marathon! I can man the Medical Tent.

valen said...

too far, mate. but a great idean nontheless

Kovas Palubinskas said...

I'm in. Please send the Lear for our monthly meetings, increasing to biweekly and then weekly closer to the target date. On the jet I need a vegan chef and a Swedish Massage therapist on call. The limo should be understated and available 24-7 for the duration of my visit. Thank you in advance (and for the advance).

Christi said...

Sounds like a great idea!

Chris K said...

Kovas and I have kissed and made up. But, I'm way in for scouting this course with you. Probably after Surf City though. Looks awesome. BTW, look at Kovas "bit timing" it in his comment. Typical.

Big Clyde said...

I love the idea, but too soon for me. I have a 10K as my next goal and then will train for a half. But, depending upon the timing, I would make the trip from AZ. Maybe a Spring AND Fall run?

Glenn Jones said...

So an out and back would be a full marathon? I've gone NB pier to HB pier and back, but it never crossed my mind to do an HB to Seal Beach as a long run. That would be a pretty cool run.

Speaking of low key races, have you heard of <a href="http://www.charliealewineracing.com/> Charlie Alewine Racing </a>?

lindsay said...

Hey I'd be in, if I wasn't on the other side of the country! Kovas is walking a thin line with his list of demands...

TRI714 said...

Im in. Howed you get back ??

Lesley @ racingitoff.com said...

I actually had a friend who did a similar thing for a friend of hers who couldn't afford to sign up for one of the bigger races, but wanted to conquer her first half. They lined up family and friends at every mile marker to cheer her on and hand out water. It was their own half marathon. Fun concept! Wish is wasn't so stinkin' far away!

Jason said...

I'll be out there in April for 70.3 IM CA.....maybe I can stay a few days extra and schedule this in as one of the volunteers.

Stacey said...

Good luck with the planning!!!!

Pretend this is real said...

Great idea! I love it. Sometimes the runs with friends are the best ones anyway. (Then see where it goes.)

Adrienne said...

Sweet! I could pick up EMZ, Boring runner, Lazy Bones runner and other Phoenix peeps and bring them out to Cali. Of course tell Chris and Kovas I will need a entire cooler of diet coke at the finish. Sounds fun :)

Aimee said...

If I lived there I would definitely run it!

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