Montecito Half Marathon - Challenging and Fun

Kevin Steele Photography
The Montecito-Summerland Half Marathon, 10k and 5k fun run fell on July 16, 2011. There were over 360 participants and sunny weather along with last minute course changes. The course changed from about a 400ft accumulated elevation change to approximately 930ft a couple days before the event. For those who showed up in Summerland on Friday afternoon to pick up their race packets and pasta dinner waited in line for an hour to get their bibs however bout 30% of those who showed up didn't get one. Many runners had driven hours from far of parts of California were instructed to pick them up on the morning of the event. The poor volunteers working the tables took the brunt of some of the complaints. Despite the pre-race preparation issue for some, the event itself was enjoyable and event day was well executed. I'm sure everyone agrees that if this race director can be improve the pre-race organization and hold off on last minute changes, so will the attitude of participants. There's a lot of potential for the race director.

Photos of the event by Kevin Steele Photography

Kevin Steele Photography
During the race, I recognized many of the volunteers along the course from the Santa Barbara Athletic running and triathlon clubs. The weather was beautiful, sunny down below as runners were running in the clouds (literally) as they climbed the 1000 feet up through the Montecito mountains' low clouds where it cooled off at the peak of the out and back course. There were plenty of well stocked aid stations (fruit, pastries, water, electrolyte water, GU and friendly volunteers) to aid runners every few miles along the course. Montecito Police also held traffic at a few busy intersections (Thank you Montecito Police). At the finish, a crowd cheered on runners returning and there was aid waiting as well as an enthusiastic finish line announcer. I ran with an injury but still had a great time, this was a fun half marathon and I was glad the course had changed into a challenging hill climb. As I sat at the Summerland Cafe eating brunch with friends afterwards, we watched the last of the runners trickling in an hour later, finishing the 13.5 mile half marathon course (yes it turned out to be just about a half mile over). Montecito-Summerland Half Marathon turned out to be enjoyable, challenging and fun.

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