Overview: The Santa Monica Classic returned for another strong year. The race was sold out for 2016!

The Santa Monica Classic now appears to be affiliated/run by Conqur Endurance Group. There was a "Triple 5K Tour of LA" challenge being offered: if participants complete the Santa Monica Classic, the Pasadena Rose Bowl 5K in January and the Big LA 5K in March, they can earn a special medal. There also seemed to be a special challenge/division for high school athletes.

When: September 11, 2016.

Where: Santa Monica.

Course access: The start line was on Barnard Way between Pico and Ocean Park Boulevards, close to several Big Blue Bus lines, including the 1 on Main Street and the 3 (Pico and 4th stop) and Rapid 3 (Pico and Lincoln stop).

Why: This year the race raised funds for Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica, the YMCA, Malibu High School Booster Club, and Santa Monica High School's Viking Fund Athletic Booster Club.
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Number of Participants: 1288 finishers in the 5K; 2600 + in the 10K.

Pre-race: Good communication and final race instructions from the race directors answered all questions. There was packet pickup available at the Buy 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 did not change from 2015. 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.

My beef with the course was that the 10K started only a half hour after the 5K, and the back of the 5K pack was shunted all the way over to one side to make way for the 10K leaders. In two cases this was especially problematic: the side of the street that the 5Ks were expected to stay on was opposite both the water station and the 5K turnaround. In order to make the turnaround, 5Kers actually had to cut through the stream of 10K runners.

Timing: Tag on the bib with timing by Spectrum. Individual results were emailed shortly after the end of the race.

Post-course food: Bagels, bananas and water. Kaiser Permanente had an additional table at the Pier and was providing more fruit; Clif was handing out Clif bars and there were other beverages available from vendors.

Shirt: The Santa Monica Classic likes to keep things simple and, yes, classic, with clean lines and designs. The 2016 tech shirt lived up to previous years, with a deep teal color and stylized waves. The race considers these to be "finishers' shirts," and you can only pick them up at the expo on the Pier after the race. That means that yes, after your 5K or 10K, you get to schlep all the way down to the Pier and back...



Swag: A well-designed medal with palm trees, a wave, Ferris wheel and the Santa Monica Pier sign.

Expo: Pretty small, but had some nice tables. Kaiser Permanente had a large presence this year, and handed out reusable bags to runners as they entered the Expo. Best of all, for me, were the numerous tables for other local races, including the Santa Monica-Venice Christmas Run. Signing up at the Expo saved quite a bit off the online price with processing.

Would I Run this Race Again: Yes.
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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