You guys, the Monterey Bay Half Marathon is 8 days away!!! I cannot wait for this race weekend vacation! Training has been continuing to go well, and I am super excited to run in Monterey – something I’ve never done. Since my last half this year, RNR San Jose, was a 1:51:xx, my goal for Monterey is 1:50. This is a hilly course, and while in the past I’ve done pretty good on hilly courses, I haven’t had a good race on a hilly course in over a year…so we will see how things end up.
The 2017 Monterey Bay Half Marathon Press Kit was recently released and I thought it would be cool, heading into race week, to share some facts & history about this race:
This is the 15th year of the Monterey Bay Half Marathon (previously known as the Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay). This was changed to give a more accurate description of the race location. With the name change, also came a new logo.
The course goes through all of my favorite parts of Monterey. We’ll be starting (and ending) in historic Downtown Monterey, we’ll run through Cannery Row, along the Pacific Grove shore line and into Downtown Pacific Grove. I always love learning about the history or races so here is a short history of the Monterey Bay MH:
The Monterey Bay Half Marathon was the result of the growth and expansion of the highly successful Big Sur International Marathon, which had reached its capacity on Highway 1. The first-ever event was held in 2003 and considered an “immediate, overwhelming success.”
In 2006, the prize purse for elite runners was increased to $13,000, attracting world-class runners. That year, the male course record of 1:02:32 was set by Ian Dobson with Jennifer Rhines establishing a new female record of 1:12:18 (since broken in 2010 by Belainesh Gebre in 1:09:43).
2008 began focusing on ‘greening elements’ and introduced the highly successful “BYOB” or Bring Your Own (Water) Bottle for refilling on course. Greening programs continued in 2009 with 100% online registration, a virtual goodie bag, and strong recycling and composting efforts resulting Gold Certification from the Council for Responsible Sport. Trash diversion from the landfill has reached as high as 99.9%. (This is AWSOME and something more and more races are doing! If you follow me on IG you may have seen some of my posts about picking up trash, and being a responsible runner – and person in general. Sustainability matters!)
2009 and 2010 saw the introduction of “wave starts” to accommodate the growing field of runners. The course was also slightly altered to showcase more of downtown Pacific Grove. The walk division of the event was also eliminated.
In 2011, the field was again increased, capping at 8,000 runners. The affiliated 5K (known previously as the Run Forrest Run 5K) was moved fully into Pacific Grove and renamed the Pacific Grove Lighthouse 5K.
The runner field was increased to 9,000 runners in 2012. Several new runner amenities were added including a tracking app, enhanced finish line food and beverage items, pace teams, finishers’ certificates and more.
In 2016 the race began a new Elite Runner program with its largest-ever prize purse of $32,000, making the Monterey Bay Half Marathon the fourth largest prize-money half marathon in the US.
And of course, I have to mention the medals! I am not big on race medals; I definitely don’t run races for the medals and I have actually donated all of mine to charity – with the exception of my marathon medals. However, I have a feeling the Monterey HM medal is one I may keep around for a while. They are more than a medal, they are hand crafted pieces of art!
As we head into race week, I just keep thinking about running along the ocean and being in the beautiful city of Monterey. It has been years since I’ve been so I am looking forward to this little getaway. Check out my Instagram for race updates and lots of fun Monterey pics 😉 and of course, I’ll have a full race review next week!