Saturday, April 6, 2013 the girls of DoEpicRuns.com ran the Hollywood Half Marathon in Hollywood, CA. This was mine and Erin’s second year running this race (we shaved 23 minutes off our time from last year!) and Lauren’s first. Here’s a breakdown of the race.
For a race of this size, traffic wasn’t bad at all and the road closures were easy to get around. Runners were allowed to park at the Hollywood and Highland Center, so parking wasn’t an issue. We arrived around 5am and tried to get into a bathroom to get our war paint on, but we were quickly thwarted by Hollywood and Highland security (damn them for being so good at their job!), so we got ready at the car. We made it to the starting line just in time for the race to start at 6am.
After a lot of complaints following their inaugural event in 2012, the race organizers at SuperHero Events changed things up this year. Instead of starting at Universal City Walk, we started on Hollywood Blvd in front of the Chinese Theater. The course ran up Hollywood Blvd through Silver Lake and then looped back around, ending at Sunset and Vine.
There were a lot of improvements over last year. First and foremost, “the hill” – an incredibly long and steep incline up Cahuenga Blvd at the tail end of the race – was gone. Seriously, facing that hill at THE VERY END was brutal last year. This year’s course was mostly flat – there was some hilly terrain from miles 6 – 8, but it wasn’t unmanageable.
Also – last year, they ran out of water cups less than halfway through the race. I’m not a germaphobe, but it was pretty gross guzzling water straight from the jug when you thought about all the other runners that had done the same thing before you. This year, there was plenty of cups at every aid station.
Here’s my issue with the course this year (and last year to be honest) – once you get past mile 1, the course is kind of, well, boring. Don’t get me wrong, the race organizers do as much as they can to make things exciting – there are DJ’s and bands stationed every couple of miles. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that there isn’t anything particularly interesting to look at. It’s just block after block of urban landscape. Maybe it’s just me, but if I’m going to run for 13.1 miles, I would much rather be in nature than on the streets of Hollywood.
All in all, the experience of this year’s Hollywood Half Marathon was pretty great. We all fueled properly for the race (carbed it up beforehand and then downed some Clif Shot Bloks along the course – seriously, those things are like heroin for runners) and kept a good pace throughout. When things started to get tough towards the end, we totally appreciated all the runners who already finished who lined up to cheer us on (aren’t runners the best?). We all crossed the finish line within a few minutes of each other, guzzled some water and drove home for a much deserved nap.
Did you compete in the Hollywood Half Marathon? If so, what’d you think?