Sunday in mid December, CA, 8:00 AM Start, Fairplex, Pomona.
Catherine Gallagher opines:
The start/finish line is at the Fairplex in Pomona, which is built to handle crowds. That means parking is easy, bathroom crowds are acceptable, and the mass exodus at the end is hassle free.
What really helps the race retain it's hometown feel are the middle school and high school students. Lots of them. No, really, LOTs of them. The race has about 6,000 participants and 3,000 of them are students. Nearly all of them are running as part of Students Run LA. Straight from their website: "The mission.. (of SRLA)... is to challenge at-risk secondary students to experience the benefits of goal-setting, character development, adult mentoring and improved health by providing them with a truly life-changing experience: The training for and completion of the ASICS LA Marathon." Oh yeah, and the website also quotes that 95% of the SRLA students finish high school.
The adults start first. Students about 1/2 hour later. Which makes it even more...um...humbling when 12-year olds begin to pass you. But their enthusiasm and dedication is so infectious that even scrooge would have to smile.
And lest we forget, this is a HOLIDAY Half. A large portion of the runners are dressed in holiday garb: made even more fanciful by the contest run for best costume. This year (2013), they handed out paper Santa hats and bells to every participant. The T-shirt has consistently been top notch: tech shirt with a great holiday design just right for wearing to the Flyer's holiday run a few days later. The medal is a snowflake (penguin for the 1-mile waddle), and there is a special award for those who do the race 3 times, not necessarily in a row.
The run itself is fun and interesting. One starts and ends by running on the Fairplex racetrack. Then, out and over to Bonelli Park for a run around Puddingstone lake. The course is gently hilly and mostly on asphalt.
All in all a reasonably priced, fun, community holiday event that you will be glad you did!
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