Race #27 Virtual Harvest in Huntington Beach
After taking a break from just about everything this summer, I kicked off my return to half-marathons in the perfect Southern California setting—Huntington Beach. It feels great to be back on the path.
Thanks to the option to complete the Harvest Half-Marathon as a remote “runner,” I chose a six-and-a-half mile stretch of beach from Huntington Beach’s State Beach to Bolsa Chica.
This was a much gentler return to walking 13.1 miles than a one hour drive at 6am. No need to start in the morning cold and finish in the early afternoon heat. The weather can change significantly between 8 and 11:30am. I chose an afternoon start in a breezy, sun-shining 76 degrees. The tourist season is all but over. Away from the Huntington Beach pier, it was often just myself and a handful of bicyclists or joggers. No crowded spaces along the path. The epitome of Southern California easy living.
While remote races do not count toward my qualifying 100 Half-Marathon Club officially timed events, virtual races are an opportunity to complete the race you wish existed.
Huntington Beach’s largest half-marathon race, Surf City Half Marathon, comes with bands galore, GU gel, cheering spectators and all the post-race bells and whistles a girl expects from a large race. I completed Surf City twice—2016 and 2017. The only downside to Surf City is that it is so huge, you hardly notice that you’re near the water as you tread faithfully up and down Pacific Coast Highway from band to pit stop to band to pit stop and so on.
I’m more interested in checking out new races than becoming a legacy participant of any particular race. It may be years before I complete the Surf City Half-Marathon again.* As for Huntington Beach proper, I’ll be back for a remote race sooner than later.
*Post update 5/2019 - I completed the Surf City Half-Marathon with two friends. It was their first half-marathon. Wonderful experience!