This past weekend over 20,000 women conquered the hills of San Francisco for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon. We cheered on many of our friends who were participating in the race, especially our staff members and all of our training group participants who we have been coaching since this Summer. When it finally came to race day, everyone was feeling strong and motivated. It was a much anticipated morning and a finish to be very proud of.
Last Sunday was a beautiful day in the city, not a cloud in the sky nor fog to hinder the breathtaking views along the course. Before sunrise, race participants filed onto the starting line alongside Union Square where the race commenced up Post Street.
As the minutes ticked on towards the 6:30am start time, music and cheers exhilarated the crowd. Once the starting pistol fired, thousands raced out of Downtown to begin the course through the Tenderloin and on towards the Richmond. At every corner, a singing choir, drummers, San Francisco residents and volunteers were awaiting to cheer on the massive group as they scaled Golden Gate Park out towards the Avenues.
The natural lighting was especially beautiful. As the sun rose, the pink hues of the sky illuminated the neighborhood as the group swept through the rolling hills of the Richmond on towards the Presidio. Neighborhood residents woke up early in the morning to watch the event and to support all the runners before they conquered the hardest part, Lincoln hill.
The tenth mile is the most infamous of the most recent Nike Women’s Half Marathon course. Many dread the tenth mile, but it was definitely the most dense in cheerleaders. Music blasting, inspiring posters, and hundreds of enthused spectators helped everyone conquer what they have all been training for. Lincoln is a steep and lengthy hill, that winds all the way up to a gorgeous view of famous San Francisco landmark, the Golden Gate Bridge. As opposed to previous years, the fog did not obstruct the inspiring view up ahead that encouraged each participant to power through.
After Lincoln, it’s all downhill for the eleventh mile that leads out to a fast and flat finish through Crissy Fields and onto the Marina Green. The morning sun illuminates the city skyline as you wind your way past the Warming Hut and out along the Bay. The finish through the large expanse of Marina Boulevard allows for a huge crowd to meet you at the finish line. The cheers and excitement lift you through the very last part of the course and before you know it, you’re passing right through the finisher’s shoot on towards the chocolate milk and foil blankets leading you to your much deserved medal, the coveted Tiffany’s necklace! There’s really nothing like a little blue box to congratulate you at the end of your run.
The Nike Women’s Half Marathon is a special race, bringing women from all over the country, even all over the world, to experience the beautiful landscape of our city and to finally conquer what they have spent months training for. It’s an empowering experience bringing elite athletes, habitual racers, new runners and walkers all in one space to cheer each other on. As a participant, you feel truly celebrated and even among the thousands of others in the race, very special! Congratulations to everyone who crossed the finish line last week, it is a great achievement to be greatly proud of. We hope to experience it all again with you next year!