Race Recap: The San Francisco Marathon (2nd Half) 2019

Still trying to catch up on my race recaps for the year but better late than never!

The San Francisco Marathon continues to be one of my favorite races – I love seeing so many friends along the course and running through our hometown streets (literally, the course runs past our home). 2019 was my third year running the race, my second year as an ambassador and my first year not running the full marathon. With the Chicago Marathon on the horizon and my injury not fully healed, I decided to play it smart and register for the half marathon.. but more to come on that.

Although I try to keep this recap as unbiased as possible, just a disclosure that I was a race ambassador again this year!

Events

  • Full Marathon
  • Half Marathon – First Half
  • Half Marathon – Second Half
  • 5k Fun Run (Saturday)
  • 5k Race (Sunday)
  • Ultra

Expo

This expo is fun – I highly recommend going on Friday so that you can take your time, walk around and enjoy yourself. This year, I went on Saturday after the 5k Fun Run to help out at some of the tables so unfortunately, I didn’t spend a lot of time looking around. Pro tip: If you think that you’ll run the race the following year, make sure to register at the expo for THE LOWEST price + an additional discount.

5K Fun Run – Saturday

Instead of the free official shakeout run in years past, the race hosted a 5K Fun Run this year. The course wrapped around Fort Mason, also where the expo is also located. It felt a little cramped with the number of runners but it was a nice way to shakeout before the Sunday races (assuming you don’t go too fast here). Know ahead of time that this fun run will probably not be your 5k PR.

Half Marathon (2nd Half) – Sunday

I was pretty relaxed about this race since it was a half marathon and I had zero intention of truly racing it (lol in hindsight). I definitely don’t recommend being as relaxed as me.. if I left just 5 minutes earlier, my Uber/Lyft would’ve been half the price – watch out for the pricing surge on race morning. Luckily, I arrived with just enough time to use the bathroom, talk to a few friends and then line up in my starting corral. The corrals were crowded – I had friends who couldn’t even make it to their corral and had to start outside the corral gates so plan to arrive early!

The second half marathon course turned out to be as fast as I hoped that it would be – there seems to be an argument among local runners about which half is easier between the first and the second.. and let me tell you after my experience, it is 100% the second half. We start off on a long downhill in Golden Gate Park followed by some rolling hills, though I don’t remember noticing anything significant. From there, you leave the park and have another nice long stretch of downhill as you run towards the Mission-Potrero Hill-Dogpatch area. Know that there are uphills along the way but every time you go up, you run down after. Although the second half is not as “scenic” as the first half, you get to run by the new Chase Center and Oracle Park (formerly AT&T Park) on the way to the finish line.

Now let’s talk weather.. I heard a lot of complaints about the weather being too hot. Maybe it’s because I didn’t run the full marathon or maybe it’s a result of the three years I spent in North Carolina but I didn’t find it to be that bad. I recall low to mid 60s maybe? Plan accordingly.. dress for warm weather and pay attention to hydration!

And my personal results? A HALF MARATHON PR OF 5 MINUTES (1:43:18), on a day where I thought I was just going to jog and barely make it to the finish line. Honestly, I don’t know if I’m more shocked that I PR’d unexpectedly or that I finally executed negative splits. The half marathon distance is still my least favorite distance but I feel a lot better about the distance after this race execution. Now I can’t wait to see what I can do when my injury is finally healed!

What’s Next?

Here are two great fall races (and discount codes) in the Bay Area:

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