EXPO: The Expo was held Friday, November 7 10:00 a.m.- 8 p.m. The Earl Warren Showgrounds Exhitbit Hall.
You can see the Sponsors here: Link to Sponsor List
The Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation of Santa Barbara held a spaghetti dinner during the Expo. The dinner was delicious and totally filled my empty belly. We had been on the road for over 2.5 hours and I was pretty darn hungry This was the perfect way to kick off The Veterans Day Marathon experience!
We stayed at one of the host hotels, The Marriott Courtyard Goleta.
Now that I have run quite a few Half Marathons, I’ve become pretty picky about the “morning of” situation. I don’t like a big morning hassle. I was very pleased to see that between The Santa Barbara Marathon Race Staff and The Marriott, this particular morning situation was easy breazy! The hotel had a Half Marathon van that took us right to The Santa Barbara City College where we hopped on a school bus for our ride to the start line. The race staff also provided a bus that took the Full Marathoners directly to their start line. So, even though my husband and I had two different start lines, it was no problem and neither of us had to drive.
RACE DAY: Saturday, November 8. The Half Marathon started at 7:15. It was an emotional and exciting start. We were honored to be able to look up right before our start to see the flyover of The Missing Man formation in honor of all those who have lost their lives in service to our country. Beautiful. Emotional. They gave all and we can never forget their sacrifice.
The course began in Santa Barbara’s semi-rural suburbs, winds through the Las Positas Valley, then enters the scenic Mesa community overlooking the American Riviera (I took that description from their website – it’s right on). The course was as beautiful as it sounds, tree-lined trails, no city street running, and there was only one major half-mile climb before the 2 mile descent to the beach and Leadbetter Beach Park. The Veterans Final Mile was the real kicker though. I had been anticipating it during the entire race but once it hit, wow…again, emotional. Volunteers handed us little flags that we got to run in with. This is the first time I have ever stopped during a race to take a picture. I am sure you can see why…
In my opinion, this race was the perfect race. There were enough runners around to keep it exciting while there was enough room during the entire course that we weren’t tripping over each other. It was scenic. Most of all, It was a race in Honor of The Heroes of Our Country, Our Veterans. What could be better than that?
After I crossed the finish line, I enjoyed what I think may be my new favorite post-race beverage:
I’ve never tried it before but it was delicious and I felt GREAT the rest of the day!
Not a bad place for post-race party right?
Here’s some cool stuff we got to see….
An added bonus to running in Santa Barbara is visiting Santa Barbara. It is a beautiful city. Before we headed home, but after showering!, we visited downtown Santa Barbara.
Tons of nice shops and restaurants. It was difficult to choose where to enjoy our post-race meal. After we walked around for a while, we decided on Chase and were definitely pleased with our choice. Because the weather was absolutely perfect, we chose a lovely corner table on their outdoor patio. The food and the service were both extra-delightful.
I AM GIVING THIS ENTIRE RACE WEEKEND IN SANTA BARBARA AN A+ AND DO HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT TO ANYONE CONTEMPLATING THIS RACE.
Side Note to this Half Marathon Race Review: My husband ran the Full Marathon – his thoughts were that the 2nd half of his race, which was the Half Marathon course, was the best, and most scenic portion of the entire 26.2.
I hope you found this race review helpful.
Thanks for stopping by!