On March 24th I ran the Paso Robles Half Marathon. Next year’s race dates are not up yet – so stay tuned.
The expo: There wasn’t one. This is a small race of a few thousand runners and the packet pick-up was up a windy road on the grounds of a hot springs spa.
There were 3 tables set up – one to pick up your bib, one to get your shirt and one to check that you were in the computer.
I didn’t sign up before hand so I did same day registration and they didn’t want to take a credit card?! The people at the registration table were obviously volunteers and super nice, but they didn’t really know how to handle same day registration and I stood there for over 10 minutes while they figured it out.
The starting line: Since it was a small race getting to the area was easy (even though it was a small street to find and park at). There was plenty of parking in an open field and people directing traffic.
There were also plenty of porta-potties. Obviously this is priority #1.
The race started on time. There were no corrals, but it was easy to find a spot if you wanted one in a certain area. This didn’t seem like a competitive race with tons of people fighting for the front.
The Course: It’s hilly, but has long stretches of flat too. There was one hill toward the end that made me want to quit running. But, we are in central California wine country so it is gorgeous. There was no gels or chews on the course, but most aid stations had water and a sports drink. The weather on race day was cool and drizzly – I thought that was perfect.
You run through a rural area with vineyards and long windy roads. There is not a lot of crowd support, but the aid station volunteers were cheering!
Around mile 12 there is one last BIG hill that sucks. Then, you run through a trail-like area for the last mile. It would have been cool if not for the fact that it was drizzly and muddy.
The finish line: You get a commemorative wine glass NOT a medal. I kinda love this! But, I thought there would be booths pouring wine at the finish line (hello, if I’m in wine country I want to be borderline drunk at all times). No, your race packet had a card with a list of wineries where you could get free tastings over the weekend, but that didn’t help numb the pain of a hilly half immediately.
But, there was no post race food – I was handed a water after getting my wine glass, but that was it. That’s fine for a super cheap race, but this was $65 (which I know is cheap compared to some races but that’s just because we’re numb to sky high prices now).
Other stuff to do / eat in the area: This is a great destination race because it’s wine country! You can do tasting and enjoy the beauty all weekend before the race!
At the same time, this is not a great destination race because you’ll be tempted to partake in wine tastings all weekend! Guilty as charged.
Ben and I drove out to the coast to enjoy the day on Saturday too. There is a lot to do in the area, but you need a car (and a designated driver).
We stayed at the Marriott – it’s one of the few “in between” options in Paso. I feel like so many other places and SUPER fancy or super tragic. (Luckily, one of my clients gets me a discount!)
Price: $65 – for being a small race (and really seeming like a small race) I thought this was overpriced. There was no post-race food that I saw.
Overall: I had a good time – a lot of that is because I had a really good weekend overall. Outside of the registration issue the rest of the packet pick up and the race went smoothly. I would do it again if only just to get some more wine…
You can read my Paso Robles Race recap here.
“if I’m in wine country I want to be borderline drunk at all times”
hahhaha, I agree! $65 is expensive, especially if there was no food or wine at the end. That’s cool they gave you a list of free places that you could hit up afterwards, though.
Porto-Potties…..yes, they are priority #1….and sometimes #2 ….if you know what I’m sayinnnn’
Jenn @ Run It My Way says
Great review, I love that you’re very honest about it!
I have a bit of an issue with a race that charges $65 and no medal… That’s kind of my own thing, and I don’t really care for races 10k and under (though if it was my first 10k I’d probably want a medal, lots of people work hard to be able to do a 10k and a medal is a nice badge of honour for doing it!) but I really draw the line at a half marathon – if I’m running 21 freaking km’s there better be a medal! Especially 21 HILLY km’s (and when you paid $65)! Forego the t-shirts, have just the wine glass as the momento (very cool idea!) and a medal. Marathons NEED to have medals IMHO. There’s something wrong about training so hard for a race and soldiering through it that you really deserve one.
SR and I had an argument about this too! She’s on your side (as are most races!).
Those portable potties are the worst 🙁 I dislike them with everything in me. Yuck!
Such a great destination when one can do wine tasting all weekend long – wow!
Shay @ Whine Less, Breathe More says
Ugh hills, my frenemy. I know I have to do them. But that doesn’t mean I don’t dread them.
The wine glass is pretty cool, but glass things don’t last long in my house.
Eating as a Path to Yoga says
Looks like you had some nice views, but they sure didn’t shower you with amenities and swag.
Losing Lindy says
I wouldn’t run it, I would be one of the cheerleaders on the sidelines handing out wine 😉
Megan @ Run Like a Grl says
Nice review. I agree though, they should have definitely given you a celebratory glass of wine at the end! Whats up with that?! Haha. But at least there were enough porta potties!
LOL! “if I’m in wine country I want to be borderline drunk at all times” Made my day. I think Paso does another half in November too…considering signing up. That would be a weekend of 2 of my favorite things: running and wine!
Erika@ You Just Did What says
I think it would be TOUGH to be in wine country and be hydrated well enough for a long run. Kudos to you on the hills! Those can be killers!!
I did this race with my family 5 years ago and loved it. Although it was pretty slow for me considering all the drinking we did beforehand 🙂 Did you guys get a chance to go to Cambria? It’s 30 mins west on the coast, and beautiful.