Feather boas, tiaras, sparkles, shirtless men, champagne, red roses...oh my!
The Diva Half Marathon made its debut in San Francisco on May 6, 2012. The event is all about celebrating the DIVA in you with all the glam, glitz, and glory. It's a run that caters specifically to women.
I have run many half marathons, but this is my first Diva run and I enjoyed it with all its pinkness and girl power. It gives the Nike Women's Marathon/Half Marathon and the See Jane Run HalfMarathon a run for their money (pun intended).
The Diva Half Marathon had all the craze that the Nike Women's event offered and the easy, breezy course of the See Jane Run event. Here's my review of the Diva run:
None. I'd say that this is the biggest negative of this race. However, they offered 2 hotels were you could park. One of them is walking distance to the start, but you had to pay for parking. It was $4 for the first hour and $2 for every additional hour. The other site was further away, but they offered shuttle service. At this hotel you pay a flat rate of $15. I'd much prefer FREE.
The course is paved and flat. You're sure to PR in this event. I set out to "run for fun" with no expectations and ended up with a PR. The energy of the event, the perfect weather, and beautiful views carried me through. Pink floras paved the way and welcomed runners on the warm, sunny morning. And the out and back course offered views of the San Francisco Bay.
We ran on the streets for half of the time, which led us briefly through a neighborhood and office buildings. Heading back towards the finish, we were directed to a recreational trail that skirted the bay. I thought the running path would be too crowded to run, but it flowed very well. There were no bottle-neck situations on this run.
As far as entertainment is concerned, there wasn't much. There were patches of cheering onlookers at the beginning and end of the course. Along the route, there was only a couple of cheering squads. The highlight was a Chinese dragon dancing to the beat of the drums. Other than that, it was a quiet run.
As I mentioned, I couldn't have asked for a more perfect day. It was 58-60 degrees with clear, blue skies, and plenty of warmth and sunshine. Since we started at 7:30AM, we missed the high temperatures that were expected that day. I have run this course many times and gusty winds are always a deterrence. But on race day, the winds retreated to just a breeze.
This is the first time that I ran a race without carrying any water in my hand or on my waist. The event provided adequate water and lemon-lime Gatorade at about every 1-1/2 miles. There were 9 water stops in all.
There were porta potties at the park, but very few along the course. I can't even tell you were those were. It seemed scarce. I only noticed 1 or 2 areas along the way with 2 or 3 porta potties each. Fortunately, I didn't need to use it.
Gear check was placed in the park where the finish would be. The start is only a short walk away. Checking in bags was easy. But the check-out could use a bit more organization. There was no line when I went to pick up my gear, but I waited 15-20 minutes for my bag, because the guy couldn't find it. Then that's when the line and crowd started forming.
The bags were grouped by bib number, something like 1000-2000. But within the group, the bags were not in any numerical order. Imagine searching through a thousand bags to find one. They could've easily arranged it during check-in and during the 2 hours they had to wait for the runners.
I got a pretty, pink-reusable bag with a very nice tech shirt tailor-made for women. Not much in the bag except a few coupons and no samples.
About 100 meters from the finishing line, runners received pink feather boas and a tiara to finish in style as paparazzi and shirtless firemen awaited at the end. There you receive your medal and a beautiful red rose.
What is impressive is that the medals were very large and heavy. It even had a sparkling gem that spins in the center of the medal. Behind the gem, is a place for your photo.
The roses are also worth mentioning. They were individually wrapped with cellophane and stored in water-filled vials. I really was expecting a bunch of wilted roses left over from someone's prom night. But no, the roses were beautiful, fresh, and healthy.
After you receive your medal and rose, you have the option of taking your picture with a backdrop of the Diva Half Marathon logo.
After picture-taking, you are led to a tent-covered buffet of champagne, apple cider, bagels, banana, and grapes.
The debut of the Diva Half Marathon in San Francisco (Burlingame) went very well. I would definitely run this race again. The course was easy and peaceful. I loved the festivities that embraced girl power without having to deal with the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds.
I give the Diva Half Marathon 4 out of 5 tiaras!
I give the Diva Half Marathon 4 out of 5 tiaras!