I originally shared this half marathon review on my blog, Catherine Chicotka, but then I created this blog to keep all of my running related content in one place. And with the Salinas Valley half marathon coming up in a few months, I wanted to share the review again here.
Last August I ran the incredibly beautiful Salinas Valley Half Marathon. I had seen pictures from previous races and it looked so scenic and beautiful I knew I had to run it. Also with being a book lover, I wanted to run the setting for many of Steinbeck’s novels. The area is actually known as Steinbeck country. I even read East of Eden before this race! Well, I started it. It’s a monster of a book and I didn’t finish until after the race.
2018: If you are interested in registering for the 2018 Salinas Valley Half Marathon – use the code “BIBRAVE10” for $10 off your registration! Register here!
Note: I received free entry to the Salinas Valley Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews! See my profile and reviews here!
Bib pick up took place at the Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital Farmer’s Market. There was free parking in the parking garage just past the farmer’s market. The goodie bags came with a shirt, race bib and safety pins, a calendar, and a souvenir wine glass! While it wasn’t your traditional expo, it was nice to pick up some fresh fruit!
It was a cool, foggy morning which made for a perfect start to the run. As the fog wore off, the sun came out and provided gorgeous views of the scenery. The on course entertainment was great! People who lived along the course sat outside to cheer everyone on. Every other mile had music and entertainment or an aide station with water and Gatorade. Fresh strawberries were available at one of the aide stations on course, which I declined with an upset stomach. Thankfully they were also available at the finish line, and they were delicious!
Everyone at the aide stations was extremely nice, cheering and encouraging runners to keep going. There were portable toilets at each of these stops along the course and plenty of medics riding around on bikes during the race.
By the time I reached mile six I was still in good spirits, despite having an upset stomach. I was happy that I was thinking the race was already halfway done. And it was turning out to be a beautiful day.
The announcer at the finish line was fantastic, looking up everyones names and cheering everyone on as they ran up to the finish line. Spectators and other runners that had already finished also cheered on. The photographer at the finish line really encouraged me to push for the last few strides to cross the line strong. I grabbed my medal which doubles as a wine stopper! But what I really wanted was to jump in the bucket filled with ice and cold water. It was pretty warm by the time I finished.
Chocolate milk, bananas, and some other snacks were also available at the finish line. Every runner (over 21) received a free beer as a part of their registration, but I didn’t grab mine because I still wasn’t feeling the best. I actually didn’t stay and hang out too long after I finished, so I didn’t get to try the BBQ either (available for a $11). I watched some of the awards ceremonies and looked at what the tents had. The prizes were bottles of wine!
Unfortunately there was a decent walk back to the finish parking lot where spectators could park and where the busses were. But it was nice to be able to return the favor and cheer on the runners finishing after me.
The Salinas Valley Half Marathon was beautiful, so I definitely plan on running it again this year (since this review is of the race in 2017 and I’m sharing it here in 2018). Have I convinced you to run this race yet? Because you should.
You can also use the code “BIBRAVE10” for $10 off your registration – so register here!
New this year in 2018, there will also be a 5k option! It is only open to 250 runners, so if you’re thinking about running the 5k, don’t wait to register!