Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Ventura Marathon 5K as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
The Ventura Marathon’s 5K was well-organized, had great swag, and is a mostly flat course by the beach. What more can you ask for?
The long version
I picked up my packet on Saturday, and the expo was in full-swing. A friend picked up her stuff on Friday, and said they were still putting it up, so I think Saturday was the better day. There were also some events on Saturday so that’s probably another reason why everything was going full-force. The packet pick-up process was easy – it was by bib number instead of last name, but they sent you the bib number in an email the day on Thursday or Friday.
I knew there was supposed to be a bunch of swag in the bags, but I was super impressed. Everything came in a big reusable shopping bag that I will definitely use again. Inside the bag were my bib, a hat, my tech t-shirt, a couple samples (Clif gel, kettle popcorn) and a couple flyers. The expo was pretty good, too. There were quite a few vendors (Jamba Juice, local vendors) and other races. The live band was pretty good, too!
I decided to stay in a hotel that was within a mile of the start line so that I could warm-up on my way to the race. There was no parking at the start line/venue, but there was plenty of parking (both paid and free) within a half mile to full mile nearby. It was really dark the morning of the race, so have to really pay attention to your surroundings (I may or may not have walked into a cement bench on the walk there). There were plenty of port-a-potties, and short lines.
The 5K was the last race to start (after the marathon and half marathon), and started about 15-20 minutes late. Not the end of the world, but something to note. The race started in waves, which allowed everyone to spread out a bit, and started at the end of the pier. I don’t typically look at race courses before I run, so I was surprised that the race wasn’t actually along the beach. I thought it was going to be on the bike path along the sand, but it went over to the road. You could see the ocean for a mile or so, but it wasn’t along the beach as I expected.
There were a couple gradual “hills”, but you got to go back down them, so that wasn’t a big deal. The course was on one lane of the road, and it got a little congested when people started turning around and doubling back (it was out-and-back). But the course was fast, and the aid stations had wonderful, high-energy volunteers.
The medals were super cute, and given out right after the race. The actual medals seemed to be the same for every distance, but they changed the ribbon that the medal was hanging on, which is a great idea. I was also handed a bottle of water after the race. I didn’t see anyplace to fill up a water bottle, but I didn’t look either, so it could have been there.
There was quite a bit of food after the race: bananas, pineapples, Nutri-grain bars, Cheez-its, and chocolate, plus the samples at random vendors and a food truck.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this 5K if you live locally. Check out the BibRave reviews for more information about the 5K and about other races.