What in the world??

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.

Effective promotional material: I wanna be as happy as these women! Source: Healdsburg Half Marathon

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!


Howdy! My name is Jen and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I like to eat, run, and blog, but not usually at the same time.

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8 comments on “What in the world??
  1. Cathryn says:

    You can only imagine how happy this post makes me. A downhill finish for the last few miles??? A human victory tunnel? Wine tasting at the finish line? I WILL NOT SLEEP TONIGHT FROM EXCITEMENT!!!

    • Jen says:

      Haha, you are too funny! The human victory tunnel sounds very cool, but I wonder if that’s special for the marathon finishers. We’ll have to make our own if that doesn’t pan out. 🙂

      Sorry to be a Debbie Downer, but I just realized: what goes down, must go up… meaning some uphill climbs before all that nice downhill at the end? Oh well, I’d rather have the hills early anyway. Bring them on!!

  2. Angela says:

    It’ll be an adventure!!! 🙂

  3. […] I realize that I’m a little type-A when it comes to races. I like to research the race. A couple of nights ago, I actually took a Google Streetview tour of the Healdsburg Half course. […]

  4. denise:) says:

    I’ve run both! Did you run this one yesterday (10/14/12)? I agree, there is confusion between these two races, but one has a full & half marathon and the other is just a half. Both share some of the same roads/area. Both are organized well. Both are at good weather times (foggy mornings in the 50’s). The one at the end of the month is the one with a very large hill climb at about mile 2 but mostly it’s rolling hills. Enough to keep things interesting 🙂

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9/2/18: Race to the End of the Summer 5K
4/28/19: London Marathon

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