In an nutshell, the first half of the marathon course is a BEAUTIFUL (and I mean gorgeous!) scenic stretch that takes you along the Embarcadero, through hilly Presidio, Lincoln Park, and the ever lush Golden Gate Park. The second half is a bit lack luster in comparison in terms of both excitement, scenery, and race supporters. It's an out-and-back along the Great Highway to Lake Merced. If doing anything less than 26.2 miles is beneath you, then do the full marathon but the heart and soul of the race is really in the first 13.1. You get the same Tiffany necklace, a t-shirt, and 95% of the race supporter love!!
Are you wondering if this race is for you? In my opinion, it's not for serious, no frills runners. The race was undoubtedly planned to be high-energy fun and packed with amenities (and peddling Nike & partner product) rather than well-structured, competitive racing conditions. BUT I assume most of you run for fun, health, inspiration, (feel-y good qualities). If that is the case, this race is HIGHLY recommended (Especially, the half-marathon which gives you all the goods. The full is just an extra badge of honor.).
Here are all the reasons why I am looking forward to next year! The first half of the Nike Women's Marathon course is truly an adrenaline rush. Kudos to Nike for getting the below basics and luxuries right.
- Water, NUUN, nourishment, and aide stations at just the right intervals throughout the race.
- Post-race goodies distribution was a pleasure. Snacks and hydration were easy-peasy to pick up. Finishers were quickly ushered to their finisher shirts and Tiffany necklaces (the latter presented by hunky firemen).
- Other luxuries on route were organic chocolate bits, sunscreen for those who forgot to protect their hide, hand and face wipes after a orange slice food station. This last one was a thoughtful execution detail that made me happy. (I hate sticky fingers! Super distracting during a race.)
- Did I mention the course is stunning? (mostly).
Some of you might be thinking, SF is too challenging for me… all those hills! EEK! It's really not that bad.