The expo was very well run. I was kind of disappointed about the music - this was my first Rock 'n Roll run, so I was expecting plenty of music to be on the course. Instead, there were only a handful of bands, and the headliner band at the finish wrapped up early, so you would have had to run about a 3:45 marathon to catch any of it (assuming you started with one of the forward corrals). Also, for a city the size of San Diego, I was expecting more spectators cheering along the course. There were many stretches that were completely deserted. Given the price of travel, lodging, and generally being in San Diego, and weighing that against the experience, I don't think I'll do this one again.
The course begins with some rolling hills, and I paced to conserve energy for the big hill, which I expected at mile 23. Instead, it felt like the uphill portion began at around mile 19, with a steady uphill to the freeway at about mile 22. It drops onto the highway, and there's a steep hill all the way to around mile 24. So save plenty of gas for that last hill.
Definitely would recommend staying in a hotel near the finish line. I also got the pre-race VIP package mainly for the private porta-potty access, but if you don't make it to the start line at the exact moment the race starts, it takes about 30 minutes for all the corrals to pass, so you won't miss anything.
Well organized and lots of crowd support
By SS about 2017
This marathon was very well organized and had a lot of crowd support. There was lots of water and Gatorade on the course.
The course was nice, but not fantastic. Mile 22 to 25 was on the highway which was uphill. This was boring and mentally very tough. I didn't know anything about the course so it came as a surprise. I should have learned about the course beforehand. Once we got off the highway there was people everywhere and we started going downhill! Very nice finish. It was a bit of a walk to the after party and area where you picked up your jackets, but it was good to walk a little after!
The expo was nice. My husband was looking for a printed map so he'd know where to find us, but we couldn't find one. If you want a paper map, make sure to print one at home.
Overall it was a nice marathon. The volunteers and the crowds were amazing!
They also dedicated an entire street to remembering those that lost their lives in the military. They had hundreds of pictures, it was very touching and reminded us that the marathon isn't really that much of a struggle compared to what many people have been through.
Be prepared for the long hill at mile 22!
Not very many porta potties at the start, so get there early!
Print out a map ahead of time if you think your family will need one.
There were many Airbnb and VRBO choices within a mile of both the start and finish. Many are very economical.
By DSB about 2017
San Diego is home away from home for me so I was fairly biased in favor of this race from the beginning. The expo was terrific, as is to be expected from a Rock-n-Roll event, there were plenty of vendors to talk to and lots of good information. I didn't have any issues with parking at the expo, it was a pain to pay $15 to park at the convention center but most big city events are going to gouge you on parking, especially if it's in a downtown area.
I used the shuttle system to get to the starting line, which meant standing in a long line at 5AM but it moved fast and was way better than fighting for a parking spot. The biggest problem pre-race was way too slow of corral releases which meant that a lot of people spent over 30 minutes slowly shuffling towards the start line. This wasn't a huge problem, but when you're fired up and ready to get going, that's a long time to shuffle around after the starting gun has been fired.
I loved this race, love the city, and really appreciated how well run the event was from start to finish. In typical Rock-n-Roll fashion, there were plenty of opportunities to be separated from your money and the event has a very corporate feel to it at times. But, I would highly recommend this event and hope to be able to run it again in the future.
The course itself could have used some more water front views but the section in Mission Bay was great. It was a big out and back but it was along the ocean so it was a great view. I liked the neighborhoods we ran through and thought it was a good mix of houses and eclectic local shops and restaurants. Fan support in those areas was great, plenty of cheering people and you could definitely feel the support. About the massive hill on Highway 163 from mile 22 to 24 that everyone talks about in regards to this race.
I honestly don't mind a race throwing a big challenge in the later miles, I run a lot of hills in training so I don't mind them that much. My issue with this stretch is that running on a highway is just not a lot of fun, especially that late in the race when you're dog tired and need all the distractions you can get. Once you get over the novelty of running on a closed highway, it's a long slow climb that never seems to end with very little scenery and no fan support because you're on the highway. All that being said, once you reach the top it's all downhill to the finish.
By MN about 2016
He volunteers, the route, the basements, the organization are very good.
The weather is very humid so take a lot of water during the race.