Date: Saturday, March 12
Location: Main Street & Magnolia Avenue, El Cajon, CA
Cost: $89 for the half
Sweat level: 5/10 (due to how flat the course is)
Fun level: 8/10
M/F ratio aka. single factor: 1:2
What I wore: Spandex shorts, nike tank top, visor
- You can pick up your race packet on the day of the race
- This is an in-and-out race
- Plenty of parking out in East country, I showed up pretty late and had no issues
- The course doesn’t have any shade and can get pretty hot- hydrate well and bring a hat!
So background information: I live in UTC and am currently training for Ironman Canada. My coach had asked me to run a 5k so he could recalibrate my training times. I begrudgingly agreed because, well what choice did I have? But I am not really a huge fan of 5ks. I think they tend to be over priced and I can never really figure out how to pace myself for one. That being said, I thought I had found a relatively cheap and local race when I saw the St. Patty’s Day Half Marathon and 5k. My boyfriend lives out in North Park off of El Cajon Blvd so when I saw that the race was located in El Cajon I thought, “Awesome! I’ll get some warm up miles in and then head to the race start from the boy’s place!”. My lack of geographical knowledge / skills is probably pretty obvious at this point, but El Cajon is not the same thing as El Cajon Blvd (although apparently, they’re connected but that doesn’t mean they’re actually close in proximity). Everyone who has lived in San Diego for longer than 2 weeks probably knows this geographical fact but what can I say, I did not. Nevertheless, I had signed up and committed to the race out in East County and I wasn’t going to waste the money by not showing up.
When I arrived at the race, I was pleasantly surprised by how easy parking was. I feel like so often it is impossible to find anything close to the start of the race and I end up stressing out about where to park. The race had tons of support, a great DJ at the start line, and support every mile (even for the 5k!). This was one of the first races held in East County and you could tell the area took the event very seriously. There were tons of sponsors at the finish line, everything from food and drinks to cross fit studios where you could try out some fun exercises. I’ve done my share of races and this was one of the best finish lines I have ever seen. I was blown away by how friendly everyone was. The congenial atmosphere definitely made the experience unbelievably fun. Overall, the race was pretty flat. There is one minor hill, but it is really nothing crazy.
Despite the drive from SD proper, I would 100% sign up for the race again next year. I would love to do the half marathon there. The race can get pretty hot but they try to combat that by having a pretty early 7am start. Also fun fact: training in heat can be almost as good for you as training at altitude (See this Runner’s World article for some science behind that statement). So I say, bring on the heat!
Try this if: You’re looking for a flat half marathon and/or 5k that is really well supported.
Don’t try this if: You don’t want to drive out to East County and hate running in the heat.