Welcome to RUN THIS WAY!

This is a journal dedicated to reviewing 5K races in Southern California, primarily in the greater Los Angeles area. The author of Run This Way is an anonymous female 5K participant and professional writer.

Questions and Answers about Run This Way

The author's criteria for reviewing 5Ks

2016 races

2015 races

2014 races

2013 races

2012 races

2011 races

Please note that all opinions and reviews expressed reflect the author's personal views and experiences, and may not mirror those of all other participants. The author is not responsible for any changes in race organization, format, transportation details or anything else.
What makes a good race? It's different for everyone. My letter grades can be broken down as such:

A: Practically perfect in every way, to quote Mary Poppins. These are races that are well-run, friendly, and really enjoyable. There might be room for improvement here and there, but I walk away from these races with a smile on my face.

B+: Almost an A, but not quite. These races have room for improvement in one major area, such as failing to feed runners after the race or snippy volunteers, but are overall very good.

B: Not great, not horrible; these races are middle of the road and have more than one area that needs improvement.

C: Major issues with organization, safety, course structure, et al.

D: Almost a complete failure of a race.

F: Just a horrible experience with no redeeming value whatsoever.

When I review races, I consider:

1. Safety. This, above all. Were there water stations at appropriate intervals? Was the course clear of obstructions and traffic? Was it well lit? Did I feel safe? Were any people who were causing disruptions promptly removed? If I had needed help during the race, would I have been able to find a volunteer or medic fairly quickly?

2. Did I have fun? This, of course, is a very subjective criteria. Needless to say, I could (and do) run or walk 5K on my own any day of the week, without fanfare and without registration fees. If I'm doing a race I have expectations for something more than that--and it's all about fun, for me.

3. Organization. Was the race well organized? Was packet pickup smooth and fast? Were volunteers able to answer questions? Was there ample information on how to get to the start line on the website/in the registration email? Were race marshals present along the course?

4. Honesty. Did the promises made by the race organizers match the actual experience?

5. Runners. What were the other runners like? Was there a convivial vibe, or did it feel like the Cornucopia at the Hunger Games? Were unruly kids or unleashed dogs running amok on the course? Did I get run over by a stroller?

6. The course. Aside from safety, addressed in point #1, what was the course like? Were the miles and turns well-marked? Were there unusual or interesting sights to see along the route? Was the course well-designed? Was it accurately measured at 5K?

7. Packet Pickup. Was there packet pickup on the day of the race, or did they inconvenience runners by forcing them to go to an expo a day before? Was packet pickup fast and efficient?

8. Charity Who's getting the proceeds from this race? How much? Is the race doing any outreach?

9. Swag. Greed rears its ugly head. Are the medal and shirt well-designed? Did they run out of specific shirt sizes?

Things I do NOT consider in my reviews:

1. The weather. Yeah, running in a rainstorm or 100-degree weather really sucks. It's not the race director's fault, though.

2. My time. It's not the race director's fault how well I have trained. Some of my favorite races have been those where my time has been especially bad.

3. The registration fee, most of the time. If I feel a race fee is excessive I just won't sign up.

4. Mass transit delays and traffic. The race directors aren't wizards. Again, it's not their fault if the bus is full or the nearest parking lot is ten blocks away. The ONLY time I will take transportation into account is when a race is directly offering some sort of shuttle or other means of transportation.
What is this journal all about?

This journal presents subjective, first-person reviews of 5K races and walks in Southern California, primarily the greater Los Angeles area.


There isn't always a lot of information out there about the various races, what they offer, and how they operate. I'm sharing my experiences in the hopes of helping others decide which races are right for them.

You're full of it. I went to _____ race and I had a great time/a horrible time! You are totally wrong in whatever you said about that race! Idiot.

Aw, I love you too.

Some 5Ks have thousands of participants. Each one of those runners and walkers has his or her own personal racing style and personality. What works for one participant may not work for another. With so many people, positive and negative experiences can and do happen within the same race.

It bears repeating that my reviews focus on my personal experiences. Not yours, not your Aunt Molly's, and not your Uncle Joe's. If you had a great time at a race that I detested, I'm really happy you were able to get something out of it. If you had a horrid time at a race I loved, I'm sorry that you didn't have a better day.

My opinions and experiences do not invalidate yours, and vice versa.

How do you know how many people ran the race?

I check the results and report the number of finishers. Of course, this number isn't perfect, and doesn't account for people who did not complete the race or bandits, but it's probably the closest one's going to get to an official number. If there aren't any results available online, I do my best to guesstimate based on observations at the race.

Why do you report the 10K/half/marathon numbers even though you only do the 5K?

Some races start 5Ks at the same time as other distances; others stagger the times. Still, more often than not, those participants will be on the course and/or using pre-race and finish line services at the same time as the 5Kers at one point or another. Therefore, they do influence the overall race experience.

Can I copy something I see in the blog?

No. Everything here is (C) 2012 - 2016 Run This Way. If I see this site's content copied anywhere, I can and will file DMCA takedown notices.

Who are you?

Someone with XX chromosomes who does 5K races in Southern California.


I know how to use a computer and have some command of the English language. I also have a scar above my navel. That's all you're getting.


Because my identity really doesn't matter here; my opinions do.

Can I friend you on Dreamwidth?

Sure, if it makes it easier for you to follow my entries. However, be aware that I don't friend back. That's just because I use this space to post my reviews, not to make friends and interact.

Why do you only run 5Ks?

Due to severe medical issues, 5Ks are about all I can take. No, that doesn't make me a wimp; it means I know my physical limitations and work within them.

Why are comments disabled?

Comments on this blog are disabled for three reasons. One, I don't want to open the floor to debates. Two, while I appreciate your readership, I don't really want feedback. Three, because I don't want to be bothered dealing with trolls. Yes, I know that you're not a troll, but until they come up with a foolproof filter to screen out online asshats, I will not allow comments at all.

How can I contact you, then?

You can't. Why would you want to, anyway?

What are your criteria for a good race?

See the blog post about that.

Why do you always add mass transit information to every race review?

Because believe it or not, some people in Los Angeles do use public transportation and they might like to get to the race, too.


Run This Way: A Blog

December 2016

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