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.

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.
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.


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