(I wrote this post back in 2016 with a discount code for 2017. I’ve amended this post in July 2017 with a new code for 2018! Hope you can use it.)
Last year…I was ridiculously chuffed to be chosen to be a Kaiser Permanente SF Half Marathon and 5k race ambassador last week. (That mouthful is its official title). Thrilled to pieces. Because I really love the ‘Kaiser Half’ and I’m so excited to be part of it in a slightly more tangible way. And because IT COMES WITH A DISCOUNT FOR YOU PEOPLE!
You can save $5 on race entry with the code CAT5OFF (This is the 2018 code). Now, $5 isn’t going to change your life significantly but it would pay for 2 coffees or a gallon of milk or a couple of gels or a few birthday cards!! So bear that in mind!
I promise not to become some obnoxious nightmare constantly plugging the race but I am going to encourage you to run it, assuming you’re local, AND I’ll encourage you to use my code. In the interests of full disclosure, I get free entry if enough people use my code! The race is February 4th, so put it in your diary now!
I’ve run the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon twice…once in 2012 and once in 2015 so I have put my money where my mouth is TWICE and would totally recommend the race. And herewith are 15 good reasons why I think you should run it in 2017!
1 – Beautiful course
It is a really lovely course. You start by the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, run round the Panhandle, back into the park through the museums, cruise effortlessly (honestly) down through the park and out onto the oceanfront. You head down the ocean for three miles and then back up for three miles to finish in the park. It is beautiful!!
2 – VERY PR-able!
In 2015, I went for a PR and totally failed but if you manage NOT to set out waaay too fast, this is a VERY PR-able course. The first stretch is flat, then you get an incredible couple of miles downhill where you literally feel like you’re flying and you’re God’s gift to running. Then you have a flat six-mile stretch along the ocean. If you can hold it together mentally for that final stretch, this is the course to set a PR on!
3 – It measures accurately.
One of the things we most want in a race is accurate measuring, isn’t it! This race? Bang on. It’s certified as well.
4 – Portaloos.
The other thing we want most in a race is plenty of portapotties at the start. This race? Plentiful.
5 – Well organised
This race has been going on for 34 years now and they’ve got the organization down pat. From the shuttle buses from the ocean car-parking to the start line to the plentiful aid stations, you don’t need to worry.
6 – Motivation for winter training
We’re lucky in California that our winters are not British, Scandinavian or even Canadian, but most of us need a goal to work towards on the grey days and the dark mornings. The Kaiser Permanente SF Half Marathon & 5k’s early February date is an awesome goal to keep you running, eating well and training hard through the winter.
7 – Teaches you character
I’ve said that the course is PR-able and it is. But that second half along the ocean is mentally brutal. In 2015, I emerged from the park feeling a million dollars and with my 40th Birthday PR in the bag! Over the next six miles, I learned a lot about early race pacing, about mental fortitude and the guts to keep running when frankly you want to sit on the side and cry. This race is PR-able but it’s not easy!
8 – Good swag
Not everyone is motivated by medals but I am!! Runners of both the Half and the 5k get medals and cotton-blend T-shirts! You can upgrade and buy a tech shirt if you want.
9 – 5k for friends and family
If your cheering squad need some entertainment, there’s a 5k! I’m actually going to be running the 5k in 2017 rather than the half! The 5k is basically downhill so I’m going to be gutting it out for what will probably be my fastest 5k ever. My son PR’d the 5k when he was 5, so if he can, you can! Or your family and friends can!!
10 – Get your number mailed to you FOR FREE!
How blissful is this? For NO CHARGE, the kind people organizing the race will mail you your number. No more panicking in the early hours at the length of the packet pick-up queue. No schlepping into the city a day early to go to an expo. Just wait till your number pops through your letter box. Perfect.
11 – Riding on a school bus
Maybe this is a British thing but one of the highlights for me in 2015 was riding the shuttle bus from the oceanfront parking to the race start…on a yellow school bus. I had never been on one before and it made my flipping day. I was pleased to note the hatch in the roof in case I needed to do a Keanu!
12 – After-Race shenanigans
At the end of the race there’s a ‘party’ for runners and supporters alike. Lots of sponsor stands giving out freebie, food trucks for refueling… it’s a lot of fun!
13 – Birthday Brunch afterwards
My birthday falls the day after the race so BRUNCH, PEOPLE!!!
14 – No FOMO
SO many local runners do the Kaiser Permanente SF Half Marathon that if you don’t, you may feel a little…sad. Don’t be sad, come and run!
15 – Save money
And that’s you committed to running throughout the winter!
See you there?