Overview: A small, friendly 5K sponsored by Pepperdine University's 

When: January 23. 2016

Dockweiler State Beach near LAX.

Course access: Dockweiler is one of those places that seems as though it should be very easy to access, but is not. There's no direct bus to the beach, and the nearest mass transit stops several miles away. Rideshares, bikes or cars rule the day here.

Why: The race races money for Pepperdine University's Graduate School of Education and Psychology's initiatives to help foster care youth in Los Angeles County.

Number of Participants: I cannot find results anywhere, but this seemed to be a smaller race. I'd estimate it at 500 participants or less.

Pre-race: Painless packet pickup on race morning.

Course: An out and back along the flat, fast Vista del Mar. The course ran parallel to the Pacific Ocean, so runners and walkers were treated to wonderful ocean views and breezes for the entire race. There were ample water stops and the course was clearly delineated, with no problems crossing the parking lot. However, I did not notice mile markers or clocks along the route.


Chip timing: This is going to sound awful, but I honestly don't recall.

Shirt: Cotton t-shirt with the race name.

Swag: A great medal.

Expo: They had a small but mighty expo, with some really interesting booths from disparate companies, like Equinox gyms and US Bank. 

Would I Run this Race Again: Yes! This small, friendly race was a great way to start 2016.

Overview: The third annual Sean Brock Foundation's 5K/10K was a small race with major potential, but some significant organizational flaws.

When: May 16, 2015

Where: Dockweiler State Beach in Playa del Rey.

Course access: Accessing Dockweiler by mass transit is ridiculous: by and large, you can't. Getting here requires ride share or taxi services and a walk.

Why: The race provides funds for the Sean Brock Foundation, which supports educational opportunities for children of military personnel killed in the line of duty, as well as the California CPA Association.

Number of Participants:
I'm not sure. I saw bib numbers going up to 300; that would be a good ballpark guess.

Pre-race: There was a distinct lack of communication before the race. The only course map that was posted was a tiny photo from 2014 that was buried on Facebook; packet pickup information was posted late. The race started almost a half hour late, and the timing of the children's race was shifted from 10:15 am to 9, without any real notice. However, packet pickup was quick and efficient and the volunteers manning the table were friendly.

Course: For the most part, the course went along the flat, fast Vista del Mar road, parallel to the ocean. It's super pretty. Water stations marked the turnaround points. HOWEVER: the major flaw here was that getting to the finish line required runners to leave Vista del Mar and dodge cars as they traversed a parking lot entrance/exit area. There were no cones marking the path until the very end. This was downright dangerous for the runners, as well as unfair for any motorists trying to leave the area. 

I also had a very disturbing incident with a volunteer at this race. When I crossed the finish line and got my medal, another volunteer -- a middle-aged man -- came up and started frantically pawing at my bib, as well as the area of my body to which the bib was pinned. I had to ask him to back off and stop touching me. It turned out that he wanted the small tag at the bottom of the bib. Okay, how about asking? Race volunteers and staff should never be putting their hands on a runner this way.

This race also had many, many dogs, which is a personal pet peeve of mine. I wouldn't mind them if their owners kept them under control, but a lot of people seem to think it's cute when their dog jumps at you. It's not!

Timing: None; times were recorded from bib numbers. However, I have been able to locate results anywhere. Finish line clock provided. No mile markers.

Post-course food: The goodie bag included a Quest protein bar and some coconut water. There were also cups of water near the finish line and runners were offered another coconut water as they received their medals. Other than that, the only food was provided by Fresh Brothers Pizza, who were giving out samples.

Shirt: Shirt-sleeved black cotton shirt. I wasn't a fan of the design so this one will probably not be worn.

Swag: Large, very pretty medal.

Expo: Just a few things here and there, but Fresh Brothers gave out free pizza samples, there was a free massage station and there was an energy drink company providing small cups of their beverage.

Would I Run this Race Again: Probably not. It was really disorganized. I'm going to chalk this up to the fact that the race seems to be a very small affair and does not seem to be run by any established sporting event company. There are a lot of mom and pop races around LA, and most of them are well organized and efficient, though. However, this race really needs to work on its logistics, as well as how it conveys information to participants.

Karhu 5K

Mar. 25th, 2012 08:34 pm
Overview: The Karhu 5K was the sister race to the 13.1 Los Angeles half-marathon. It seemed that the race organizers treated the 5K as an afterthought, and it showed.

One of my major issues with this race was the lack of transparency and the inaccurate information. Changing the location to another zip code, and moving it from a busy municipal area to the hinterlands, really is a big deal. Runners often choose the race based on what they know about the course and their ability to get to the start line, after all.

My registration from active.com showed that the race was happening in Venice, going from the boardwalk to Windward Cicle. It wasn't. They showed really flashy medals on their website, but the 5Ks didn't get them. They didn't even have a chip mat at the start line. The indifference was apparent from start to finish.

When: January 15, 2012

Where: Dockweiler Beach, Playa del Rey

Course access: HA HA HA. Sorry, that was funny. The race was originally billed as being in Venice, which would have been easy to access. It was actually at Dockweiler Beach in El Segundo/Playa del Rey. There are exactly 0 buses that go to Dockweiler or anywhere within walking distance. I ended up taking a cab to the entrance and then walking a mile and a half to the start. There weren't any signs directing participants from either the path or the parking lot; I walked uneasily in the dark and looked for a crowd.

The race ended near Culver Boulevard in Playa del Rey. The Metro 115 ran there, but it was detoured significantly due to the race.
Number of Participants: 331

Pre-race: Packet pick-up was at an Equinox gym in Marina del Rey. Everything ran smoothly.

Course: Parallel to the ocean, from Dockweiler State Beach to Playa del Rey. The course looped by a sewage treatment plant at one point...ugh! Other than that, it was flat, fast and had gorgeous views of the Pacific.

Runners seemed to be mostly adults, but there was a diversity of ages, shapes and colors. Everyone seemed fairly subdued, and I had to wonder if they were annoyed about the race conditions too.

Chip timing: Yes, with a Chrono-track chip that was attached to the bib. However they did not have chip mats at the start line, which meant that finish times were by the clock, and therefore inaccurate. In addition, they had neither split times nor a clock at the end for 5K finishers.

Shirt: Yuck. It was a standard white T-shirt with an aqua "move and groove" logo. I never saw anything with the logo or slogan anywhere else on the course or website, so it seemed to be something they'd thrown in at the last minute.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Swag: None, except for a coupon for a free beer. After a race like that, a drink wasn't a bad idea. Despite advertising a very cool medal all over their website, nothing was given to 5K finishers.

Expo: So-so. The one shining asset was the kiosk where they were giving out free massages. There were a few interesting exhibitors, but there wasn't a huge variety. There were a few food trucks, and there was also a special private tent for runners who had trained with a specific charity team.

Would I Run this Race Again: Not in a million years.

Note: my review of the Karhu 5K was also posted on Race Grader in an edited form.


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