The nerdy former academic that I am, I love researching everything I can about a race before race day. It not only helps me visualize the race, but makes me feel slightly more confident with every morsel of data that I gather. So imagine the kind of Google search nightmare that results when there are two half marathons with the same name, held 2 weeks apart.
I know what you’re thinking: MIND BLOWN.
Yes, there are two Healdsburg Half Marathons. The one I’m running in 2 Sundays is called the California Wine Country Healdsburg Half Marathon, organized by Events with Sole/ Run Wine Country. The other one is called the Healdsburg Wine Country Half Marathon organized by Destination Races. Confused? I am.
When I did a Google Search looking for race recaps, just about all of the reports were about the Destination Races event. It turns out that even though the races have nearly identical names, the courses are different enough that the information isn’t particularly helpful.
The only information I have so far:
1. AEW, who is running the race with me and has run this race twice previously, gave me the impression that it’s a well-organized event and that the course features gentle rolling hills, with definite PR potential. (This is based on a foggy memory of me asking her to help me decide between RnR San Jose and Healdsburg all the way back in June, so I can’t swear by this…)
2. From the race website, the course map indicates that there are 8 turns total of >90 degrees, which is so much better than the 40+ turns at the Oakland Half. The roads will be open to traffic, and the course is pretty much 1 big loop, so it’s unlikely that there will be a huge advantage from running tangents.
3. From halfmarathons.net:
“[The Healdsburg Half] features a downhill finish for the last few miles that will give plenty of runners a chance to notch personal record race times…
Along the race route, runners will pass along beautifully scenic tree-lined country roads through California’s historic wine making region, past century-old homes as well as many vineyard estates.
Run along terrain that’s made up of all paved surfaces throughout the race, the course features a mix of flat stretches and gently rolling hills through the wine country for the first several miles — including views of the area’s Dry Creek Valley and Alexander Valley — and then the last few miles take runners along a downhill stretch into downtown Healdsburg, all the way to the finish line at the corner of Vine Street and North Street.”
4. From Yelp! (of all places… though I think this is for the marathon, not the half):
5 stars: “Now my favorite marathon! (bumping Napa to 2nd place, Nike women’s to 3rd, and San Jose and others to distant also-rans). This review is for the Healdsburg marathon/half marathon Oct 16, 2011; not to be confused with another Healdsburg event of similar name. From reading older reviews, some are for the other race with a different race organizer, so those reviews don’t apply to this past Sunday’s event. Very well organized. Started on time. Friendly helpful volunteers at expo, start, and finish. Plenty of porta-potties (maybe add one more to the first or second water stop). Unique finisher’s medal. Wine tasting at expo and finish area. Beautiful, serene course. Helpful enthusiastic volunteers at water stops and finish line (human victory tunnel!). I never felt so good at the finish line since finishing my first marathon. Perfect weather. Very fast and efficiently managed computerized results with disposable (souvenir) chip timing. wooden-boxed bottle of wine for age-group winners! And complementary lunch at the finish!” — Bill L. of San Mateo, CA
It all sounds pretty good, but there’s a lot to be desired. Like, an elevation profile might be nice, or even a description of the surfaces? Anyone out there have any more info about this race? If so, please help your fellow runners out and leave a comment below. Thanks!