1st Saturday in November, Azusa, CA, 7:00 AM Start.
For info: click on race name above.
Bob Spears Opines on the 2015 event.
Both the Marathon and Half Marathon races run down Highway 39 in the Angeles National Forest above Azusa. It is a downhill course; many people use this marathon as a Boston Qualifier. Note: to qualify for Boston you only need to do the distance in a given time, the downhill is an added advantage. If you are trying to qualify for the Olympics, the course needs to be flat.
The Marathon begins roughly 25 miles up Highway 39 at the Crystal Lake Cafe. Runners make their way down Crystal Lake Road for two miles before connecting onto Highway 39 (San Gabriel Canyon Road). Runners then remain on Highway 39 for the next 23 miles, most of the way with a smooth and steep downhill grade; a total of 5,134 feet of decent.
The REVEL Canyon City Half Marathon course offers some of the best scenery of the Route 39 San Gabriel Mountains and Angeles National Forest, including views of Azusa Canyon, San Gabriel and Morris Reservoirs, and the San Gabriel River. The Half Marathon begins roughly 12 miles up Highway 39 near the parking area of the West Fork trail. The start is the same picnic area that the Foothill Flyers use for their post-Thanksgiving Turkey Burner. Runners will make their way down Highway 39 for the next 12 miles, most of the way enjoying a smooth downhill grade. The half has a total of 933 feet of decent.
After leaving the canyon, runners continue running south on Azusa Ave. With one mile to go the course turns east on 9th St and continues to Palm Dr. The course finishes with a quick jaunt onto Foothill Blvd where the finish line is located adjacent to where you parked at Azusa Pacific University.
Because this is a canyon run, the race organizers have a few challenges that they solved very well. They have to get everyone up the canyon for a 7am start. They convoy all the runners up the hill on busses beginning at 4am. Parking and loading at Azusa Pacific was smooth and well organized. Busses are not just school busses; some are nice warm tour busses. Because it is cold at that hour, your gear bag contains a free thermal blanket and a pair of disposable gloves. To reduce the amount of discarded clothes on the road, the gear bags are large and have your bib number attached. Whatever you wear to keep warm will be transported to the finish line by the "bag truck" at the starting line.
The aid stations are every 2 miles and, like the start, have plenty of port-a-potties. I was impressed that the race director did not cut costs by reducing the number of portable toilets. The finish is well organized, the medals are BIG, (at least three times bigger than other races!) and, in addition to the usual bagels, bananas and water, they had Marie Callender's pie! I had two pieces of pumpkin pie - nice. At the finish, there is a bank of computers. Fifteen minutes after you finish, you can get a printout card of your time, place (both overall and gender) and pace.
The expo is in a warehouse in Irwindale and was quick and efficient. All the electronic notifications from the race are well done and easy to use. Their computer and tech systems are very supportive. Next year's Revel Canyon race is November 5, 2016. They allow runners to sign up as teams. I suggest that since it is such a well-run race the Foothill Flyers enter a team next year. I plan to be there.
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