Sep. 26th, 2015

Overview: The Santa Monica Classic returns after a one-year hiatus, stronger than ever.

This race ran as the Santa Monica 5000 and the Santa Monica classic for over a decade. In 2014, however, it seemed to have been taken over by a different race director -- Generic Events -- and became the much more gimmicky Santa Monica Runfest. Runfest, which was reviewed here, had a costume run and an untimed 3K in addition to the standard 5K and 10K. For 2015 it appears that the race has been restored to its former format and theme, which is very welcome. The race is considered part of the LA Marathon series.

When: September 13, 2015

Where: Santa Monica.

Course access: The start line was at the beach near Ocean Park Boulevard, which is close to several Big Blue Bus lines, including the 1 on Main Street. It's also a 15-minute walk from the 3 and Rapid 3 on Lincoln Boulevard.

Why: The race provides funds for the Santa Monica-Malibu School District.
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Number of Participants: 1281 finishers in the 5K; 1436 in the 10K.

Pre-race: Good communication and final race instructions from the race directors answered all questions. There was packet pickup available at a local festival in Santa Monica on Saturday, but pickup on race day was fine. They had plenty of volunteers and lines were short.

Course: The course was the same as the 2014 Runfest --- and I am guessing the previous Santa Monica 5000 and Classic races too. Runners started at the beach but quickly made a few turns and ended up on Main Street. They continued on Main Street to Colorado, turned left, and completed the last mile or so on Ocean. The finish line for both the 5 and 10K was adjacent to the entrance to the Santa Monica Pier.

There was one water station, toward Mile 2. At two or three points the course was not closed and runners had to wait to be waved through by the police, which was odd.

Timing: Gemini Timing. What was weird is that the bib had a d-tag but runners were also provided with a shoe tag we were allowed to keep. I am not sure which was the actual timing device, or if both were.

Post-course food: Plenty of bagels, bananas and Clif trail mix bars. Well done.

Shirt: A very classic design with the race's trademark stripes on a heathered blue shirt. What's kind of cool is that from a distance it looks like a cotton tee; it's actually a tech shirt. I did NOT like that runners had to collect their shirts at the Expo AFTER the race.



Swag: Large, very pretty medal with an ocean wave, a lifeguard shack and the Santa Monica Classic stripes.

Expo: Pretty small, but had one or two interesting tables that don't normally show up at race expos, like Megabus.

Would I Run this Race Again: Yes.

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