Laguna Hills Memorial Day Half Marathon was my first half marathon. Back in May, after a handful of 5Ks, I thought I would try a half marathon. In my head, a half marathon was nothing but like say four 5K runs. Little did I know running a Half Marathon takes a lot of training. In a way I am glad to have done it, but also In a way I wish I had known better, to do it with enough training. However, Laguna Hills Memorial Day Half Marathon is very beginner friendly!
City Of Laguna Hills Memorial Day Half Marathon/5k/10k is an annual event that takes place on memorial day. Its one of those rare, Monday Races! The half marathon course runs through cities of Laguna Hills, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Woods, and Laguna Niguel. Its a good race for both beginners, as well as seasoned Runners. Renegade Race Series produces this race, and I have run several of their races in the past year, and they do a stellar job with races. If you ever run the Summer Trail Runs at Peters Canyon on Thursdays or the holiday series races at San Dimas/Irvine, its them!
Highlights from my 2016 race
- Parking: The race start line is right behind Laguna Hills Mall. Those of you that aren’t familiar with this mall, its right by 5 and El Toro right past the Spectrum when you drive south. This means, I could literally wake up like 30 minutes prior to the race and still manage to make it to the race on time. Being by the mall, there are plenty of free parking.
- BIB Pickup : You can pick up BIB and your shirt on Race Day. They don’t threaten you with extra fee to force you into an expo. In fact, I dont think they have a ‘prior to race day expo’, because I remember picking up the packets at Road Runner the day before!
- Pacers: They provide Pacers. Beast Pacing was on site, pacing several different time/goals. I followed a 2:00 hour pacers – Andrew and Christopher, who not only helped me pace /run the race, but talked to me and helped me with lot of running tips throughout the run after hearing about this being my first half marathon. They helped me with tips on how to breath, and when to slow down for up hills, and when the downhill came reminded me to breath and take in oxygen, reminded me to get water at the stops. I am so grateful for Andrew and Chris – the 2:00 hr pacers at the Laguna Hills race, for helping me through the run. Without them, I would have made all the mistakes – being first time, and having run this without any training what so ever. I also got lucky to meet and talk with my boy friends friend Brittany who is a running coach, who suggested I run with the pacers!
- Course: It isn’t your typical easy breezy flat course, but its not a tough one either. Being a small town race, The route runs through Laguna Woods senior Village, and it really made me emotional running through the streets there, and to see lot of people that don’t really go out, sitting outside their house patio cheering the runners! I lost both my grandmas few years ago, and the first few miles through this Senior Village made me miss them more!.
- Aid stations: There were plenty of water stations/Gel/Electrolyte throughout the course.
- No food or Beer at the end so Plan around. You can purchase food at the finish line from food trucks, but plan around and carry cash or card. They provided the usual finish line package with water/bananas/chips!
- Diaper Dash for kids 3 years and under: This race is really a family event, and includes options for kids to run. Kids 3 and under can do a 50 yard diaper dash. This is so awesome for people with kids!
- Time limit: The course runs thorugh lot of busy roads, so they have a 4 hour time limit. So you should be able to walk at 18:00 min pace if you are a walker.
- Medals: I like medals. I could never be in one of those top 3 anything, and I run for fun, so medals do genuinely make me happy! Laguna Hills medals are made by Ashworth Awards. Ashworth Awards – is a company known to make some of the best medals. They make the medal for Boston Marathon – so its pretty serious real deal here!
- Hang out with Darkhorse Batalion at the finish line: The City of Laguna Hills adopted the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, of the 1st Marine Division. This infantry battalion, nicknamed “DARKHORSE” is based out of Camp Pendleton. They come out to cheer the runners, and you get to hang out with them at the finish line. Its very patriotic. I am an immigrant in this country and to see these soldiers that put themselves in the front line to protect this country – for all of us – does make you feel like you have celebrated the memorial day the way it should be celebrated! City of Laguna Hills donates $3 per race participant to this marine division.
Registration for 2017
2017 race day will be May 29th. Registration is open. Prices are super cheap right now.
- $75 for half marathon.
- $27 for 5k.(5k has a finisher medal)
- $32 for 10k.
- Kids Run is 17$, and diaper dash for 3 and under is $15.
Prices go up on Nov 1st. I signed up last minute, and paid around $105
Register here: http://www.lagunahillshalfmarathon.com/
This race comes right before San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon weekend, so if you are doing the San Diego Rock and Roll on June 4th 2017, this will be a good training race!(Tip: San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon is $79 and half marathon is $69 right now! Follow the link)