If you’re looking for a fun 5K, your first 5K or a challenging 5K — the Pacific Beachfest 5K would be the perfect race for you! For me, it was the perfect finale to the September 30-Days to 5K Training Challenge.
The Pacific Beachfest 5K Course
This course is fun!! It’s like nothing else. It starts and stops on soft sand. It starts in the middle of the beach just south of Thomas Ave in Pacific Beach. You’re out of the shoot on soft sand and have about a mile of hard packed sand. Then you cut up the soft sand and typically should run along the boardwalk just about the entire way back. Sadly, for us this year, there was quite a bit of construction on the boardwak. This resulted in us getting more than our fair share of soft sand to run back on as well. Woof.
For me, 5Ks hurt! I’ve never run faster than 21 minutes and has taken me over 4 hours to run some marathons. So you would think the marathon is more painful…not really! The pressure to run as fast as humanly possible for 20+ minutes simply hurts more. So the 5K is actually a really stressful event for me. One thing I love about the Pacific Beachfest 5K is that a good portion of the course is on the beach, and quite a bit on soft sand. This makes it virtually impossible to run your fastest, which take a lot of pressure off.
The Beachfest Race Swag
Hands down – the best race swag ever! Seriously rivaling many marathons with enormous race fees. Eric and Pete are the directors at High Performance Movement which is the company that produces the Pacific Beachfest 5K and a few more fun San Diego races. These guys aren’t just good event planners, they are runners (incredibly good ones at that!) and they know what makes a race fun.
Your race fee does not just earn you the chance to run on the course with a bib, you get the best race tank, spiffy sunglasses, a medal that rivals any RnR event and a free beer. Nice! And we’re not talking cheap beer, the garden was full of local microbrews — such a great post race treat. And you don’t even have to run to get into the beer garden, you just have to buy all your beer. Ha!
The Fun at the Pacific Beachfest 5K
The check-in process is super easy. They offer Friday, pre-race packet pick up, but it’s also super easy to grab your goods race morning before you run. They even offer gear check. There is a small expo with plenty of samples to snack on before and after the race (chocolate covered espresso beans? I thought you’ve never ask Buzz Beans!). Plenty of water and Nuun hydration mix, which is great as we’ve been roasting in San Diego these past few months.
The race has two start times. An early wave at 8:30 and a main wave at 10am. I had originally registered for the early wave but moved to the later wave to accommodate a longer run before hand. The beer garden opens at 11, which also makes the later start time more desirable. Each wave is then broken up into mini waves of about 100 people so that course is never packed and you have plenty of room to run.
They do age group winners as well for just about every age group and top three overall. Even with the challenging course, those fast folks are still fast! 17:41 for the men and 21:04 for the women. Trust me, it’s a tough course. I got in a few easy miles before and then went as fast as my little legs would let me on the sand and came in at just about 26 minutes. Nothing too impressive, but again, that’s not the point here. If having fun is what matters, everybody here wins!
Tips for Success at Beachfest
- Don’t expect this to be your fastest 5K, but do plan on some good beach fun.
- Register early to save a few bucks.
- Plan to park pretty far away if it’s a warm/sunny day as you’re competing against beach traffic and all the other runners for neighborhood parking spots. It’s not at all impossible, just takes some time.
- Know there is gear check, so bring your suit and towel and make a beach day out of it — heck, you already parked the car. You may as well stay a while.
- You’ll need your ID for the beer garden.
Register for Pacific Beachfest 5K 2016
Registration is not yet open for next year, but be sure to follow the event on FaceBook and Instagram for updates and grab your spot when registration is announced. It’s a high value 5K race either way, but a pretty amazing deal if you register early!
This is one of my favorite 5Ks — What is your favorite 5K race?