Overall a great race. Huntington Beach is a nice place to visit. Expo and race start were in the same place, right on the beach. After the race, they gave out ice that they strapped onto your leg, which I thought was great. Appreciated the pace groups. Loved the cheering kids throughout some of the miles in the first half! They were super cute and energetic. Did not like how monotonous the second half of the course was.
Save more energy than usual for the second half of the race- at least for me, I think the monotony of the up-and-backs on PCH made it much more difficult. I think it was a little cooler than average this year (~high 50s) and cloudy, but it was still too warm for me. With temperatures closer to average and sun, I'd be worried. Overall the course is very flat with a few small hills, with all inclines ending before the second half of the race from what I can remember. Race began at 6:30, but I would prefer an earlier start time because of the risk that it might be a warm day.
Plan your pick up place w your person before the race ends because most years I can't use my cell after the race as so many people are on cells. :)
By SA about 2014
Pre-Race expo was laid out nicely. I didn't wait in line; but at times, it seemed the line may have been a little long, but moved fast (based on what I could see from my Hotel room)! Restaurants are all pretty close by.
Race itself was good, temperature was nice, I wore a long sleeve / capris. When the sun came out around mile 20, it was warm, but at that point, everything is tough! Wind was bearable, though it does pickup as a headwind the last 5 miles or so. I enjoyed the course because it was easy to split up in to 4 - 5 mile segments.
Water stations / Volunteers were excellent. I never had a problem getting what I needed. My only complaint on the course was not enough Port-o-potties. Distance b/n was too far. I saw quite a few people sprinting across the road and jumping the sand dunes to relieve themselves (including one of the top ladies). Felt bad about that.
Course is flat, except for a couple minor hills the first 5 or 7 miles. Nothing unbearable. Not a lot of crowd support until the end. And when running along the ocean, you may have to dodge a tourist or 2, but they mostly move out of the way.
If you are trying to BQ, as I was, the pacers were excellent. I seem to think they were aware of the wind on the back 5. So they paced accordingly, not out of control.
I was from out of town, so I recommend staying at the Marriott or Hilton nearby the race start. Spend a day or 2 being a tourist - heading to Laguna, etc. Restaurants were all affordable, good food, no waiting.