Overview: The former Santa Monica 5000 race has been re-branded as RunFEST, with several new events.

:October 19, 2014.

Santa Monica, ending on Ocean Blvd. close to the Santa Monica Pier.

Course access:  Downtown Santa Monica is very well connected to mass transit. The start line near Ocean Park was close to both the Big Blue Bus #1 and #3, and the finish line near the Pier was within walking distance of most Big Blue Bus lines, as well as the Metro 4, 704, 33 and 733.

Why: Harvest Home for women and babies.

Number of Participants: 985 finishers in the 5K; 568 in the 10K. There were also two untimed events for adults: a 3K "Fundemonium" race and a 5K Costume Run.

There seemed to be an effort made here to separate the "fun" runners (those who are running with friends, wearing costumes, and just trying to have a good time) from the hyper-serious ones (who really want a PR and don't want their course mucked up with lots of slower runners and walkers) by offering several different events.

Pre-race: Packet pickup was available before the race at the beach; everything went smoothy.

Course: The course started near Ocean Park and the beach path, tuned onto Main Street, and eventually went down Ocean Boulevard in the heart of Santa Monica. The finish line was on Ocean near the entrance to the Santa Monica Pier.

The course was flat, fast and closed; one can't ask for more. 

Post-Race:  One thing I disliked about this race was the fact that runners had to trek down to the Santa Monica Pier proper for the post-race. Water was available at the finish line, but everything else was down at the Pier in the small expo. The expo itself was nice, though, and to be fair, it was probably much better than it would have been if it had been crammed onto Ocean Blvd.

Chip timing: Yes, by Gemini Timing. The 3K and Costume Run were not timed.

Shirt:  Nice sea green cotton t-shirt with the Santa Monica Pier ferris wheel. What was different at this event was that if you chose to pick up your bib on race day, you didn't get your shirt until after the race, down at the Pier.

Swag: This was the first year that the RunFEST offered finisher medals. They were given to those who completed any event (10K, 5K, 3K or Costume Run), and they were very lovely. Those who had opted to attend packet pickup the day before the race received a bag of swag; those of us who picked up our stuff on race day got an empty drawstring bag. 

Would I Run this Race Again: Yes.

Overview: Generic Events' nascent Downtown Los Angeles Turkey Trot had its second outing in 2014. There's still some work to do.

: November 27, 2014 (Thanksgiving morning).

Downtown L.A., starting and finishing at Grand Park in front of City Hall.

Course access:  The start and finish line area was about a three minute walk from the Civic Center station on the Red and Purple Metro subway lines.

Why: Homeboy Industries, L.A. Regional Food Bank and Brooks and Brooks Foundation. Homeboy was on site selling pies, and there were drop bins for the food bank.

Number of Participants: 2333 in the 5K; 1393 in the 10K.

For whatever reason - perhaps the hipster angle (the race actually sold trucker hats and American Apparel clothing *eyeroll*), there were a lot of assholes at this race. I don't know why, but it was the rudest race I'd ever been to.

Compounding this: the large number of people who thought it was cute to desecrate Indigenous attire and perpetuate harmful stereotypes. Here's a hint: if you wouldn't run a race in a Marines uniform or wear a fake purple heart because you think it's disrespectful, you should not be running a race in a war bonnet, war paint, feathered headdresses or an eagle feather. Period. It's really depressing to me to think that in 2014, people still feel it's appropriate to "dress like Indians."

Pre-race: Packet pickup was available on race morning, but it was chaotic. The actual packet pickup area was fine, but the t-shirt distribution area had been crammed into a small space by the stage. Everyone was packed in and pushing, and it was hard to see where the lines were. With all the space they had, this could have been thought out better.

Course:  The course wound uphill to the Music Center and the Disney Concert Hall, and then back down Spring Street for an out and back. On Facebook it was noted that the race distances had been incorrectly measured; the 5K was too long. The RD confirmed this.  

Both the 5K and 10K started late by about 30 minutes.

Post-Race:  Again: chaos. Runners had to fight through the crowds to get to the water/Gatorade table, and the only food offered was a banana. No bueno, guys. No bueno.

Chip timing: Yes, by Gemini Timing, with souvenir shoe tags that did not need to be returned.

Shirt:  Keeping in line with this year's "Turkey Strikes Back" theme, the cotton t-shirt featured the Turkey Trot's mascot stomping through Downtown LA, Godzilla-Style.

Swag: A large, generous medal.

Would I Run this Race Again: I liked it enough to give it another chance next year, but there is definitely a lot of room for improvement here.


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