Half Moon Bay marathon: Mobile Spectator Recap

The original title of this post was “Why spectating is way cooler than racing,” but then I thought better of it.


6AM Sunday morning came quite early as I dragged my sorry and exhausted bottom out of bed, dressed hazily in running gear and made my way over to pick up Alyssa. We were headed down to Half Moon Bay, where, along with Katie, we’d be cheering for numerous friends participating in the inaugural Half Moon Bay International Marathon, which included a full, a half, a 10K and a 5K.


Armed with running skirts, marathon shirts, and cowbell, we weren’t QUITE sure to go but we were at the 26 mile marker of the marathon and decided to run out 7.5 miles, wait for Alisyn and then bring her back in the last 7.5, hopefully running into Sandra, Naomi, Courtney and Elise en route.



This was a teeny tiny event! Only 500 slots open across all events, and for good reason. There were some miles on single track trail upon which I had trouble running a super slow pace for fear of busting an ankle (I tripped and twisted it twice, so that was scary).




The race seemed to be really well organized and the volunteers were SO friendly! It was pretty desolate out there in the later miles—minutes would pass without seeing anyone, it seemed—so it was SO much fun to be spectating. I realized I’ve never actually spectated a race before! Some people would look confused as we ran by cheering and cowbell-ing but some people’s entire face would just brighten up. I wish I’d brought more props or worn a funny costume or something—anything to cheer up some of the runners!


I got to see Courtney and Elise VERY briefly, both of whom I’ve only known on Twitter but who I really want to get to know IRL one of these days : ) And we got to see Sandra, Dennis, Naomi, and Elio all ROCKING their respective events! It was so awesome. And pretty cool about the tiny course with the very few participants—I think we literally saw EVERY person participating. Pretty rad.


Also rad? Some of these vistas. I kept having to take photos (and maybe I wanted the 30-second breaks from the running but shhh don’t tell anyone…) It reminded me a bit of big sur at some parts.




The running part of spectating was hard. We ended up running about 14.5 miles for the day with some walking in there and it was tough. It was my longest run since SFM and not confidence-inspiring but at the same time it felt good (afterwards… ha). I did feel like I had run a marathon, after being on my feet in Vibrams (aka no support) for 8 hours the day before and for about 4 hours that day in all. I was sore and tired and rather irritable by the end BUT so glad I got out and ran.



The best part was the company! Alyssa and Katie are such wonderful people and getting to chat with them and hang out made the whole thing a bajillion times more awesome.


Once we finished up we got to meet up with all the finishers who all seriously rocked their events. A huge congrats to them. We even got totally passed by Sandra who I’m pretty sure was a mile behind us at one point and ran by at like 100 miles an hour at mile 26. She rocks.



Lunch plans at Sam’s Chowder House fell through but the backup plan was even better: PANCAKES. And hot chocolate. Courtney’s two favorite things to consume. #fact


I was pretty miserable in the last couple miles and dragging Alyssa to walk with me several times, and I mentioned how all I wanted was pancakes. Well, that’s what I got. We went to It’s Tops and I ALMOST succeeded in devouring this amazing pile of p—cake.


Banana p’nut buttermilk. Bananas in the mix, peanut butter in between the pancakes. This is what heaven tastes like.

On a related pancake note, I saw this at the grocery store the other day.


Premade pancake batter in a whipped-cream type tube. Name? The BATTER BLASTER!!! You just spray it onto the pan and go. When I first saw this I was repulsed, but now after a day I gotta admit I’m a little curious.

Great day spectating, running, and having fun with friends! I am looking forward to my next spectating opportunity.


I pushed something on Live Writer that makes this pic above look like a sunrise. I actually like it. Happy Monday everyone. Smile


Have you ever watched a race? Or for runners, any spectating tips?


  • Comments

    1. Great pics, Courtney! Sounds like a really lovely day! :)

      (And you know I’m a fan of walk breaks during a run, heehee)
      Audrey recently posted..Off on the Wrong Foot!My Profile

      • Well done to all involved today, spaceil mention to our sole Elite, Ryan with a superb ride to land 8th in his first Elite race and even take home some UCI points!Also to Oisin who placed 3rd in Sports in his first ever race (one to watch for the future) and Steve for his 3rd place in Juniors.2 weeks to train before round 2 now!Sean


      Great photos… thanks for letting me steal them. I’m also so glad we got to run/walk/chat this weekend, and that you were able to get those little slice-of-heaven pancakes at It’s Tops! We go there allll the time, so next time you want pancakes, lemme know. I mark that place up there right alongside Genki. :)

      Alyssa recently posted..The Marathon-Turned-Half-Marathon-Turned-Spectating-A-Race RecapMy Profile

    3. You are amazing! Thank you so much for being! It truly meant so much to me!!! Also, thanks for letting me snatch some of your pictures! You got some good ones! Are you going to be at RnR? Brunch after?

    4. Really? Spectating involves running 14.5 miles? I don’t think so :) Such beautiful photos – seems like a gorgeous race to run (or walk!). California has some pretty amazing places to run…thanks for a true spectating experience from my couch!
      Victoria recently posted..Summer MomentsMy Profile

    5. Awesome! I haven’t spectated a race yet but I really want to. When I do Victoria half-marathon in two weeks my one friend is doing the full marathon and she will be starting two hours later than us (no idea how that works?!) so we are planning on being back on the course around mile 23 to cheer her in! I’m almost as excited about that as I am about running my own race :)
      Amber from Girl with the Red Hair recently posted..Half-Marathon Training: Week 11My Profile

    6. Nice spectating job! This race looks kind of appealing to me, actually.

      The spray pancake batter sounds like the weirdest thing EVER, but of course I want to try it, too. And I think we need a Sunday Runday PANCAKE RUN!!
      Layla recently posted..Tuesday Time-Waster: Fun With WordsMy Profile

    7. That looks like such a fun day! But for the record I define spectating as drinking a latte and cheering… not running 14.5! ;-) That’s awesome you covered so many miles!!! I did 15 on Sunday and wanted to keel over and die at the end!

    8. I think I need to watch a race! I think it would for sure help in the motivation category!
      Jane @ Broccolini + Cheese recently posted..Monday’s Eats + Sore Feet,My Profile

      • I always get such a great wuokrot when I trail run, but I’m so scared of injuring myself. I go in the woods with a friend of mine sometimes and she’s broken and ankle once doing it and I rolled mine and got stung by a hornet. Otherwise thought it is very peaceful running through the woods and a killer on the calves!

    9. Great views! I think I’d still get bored though even with all the awesome scenery.
      Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers recently posted..Go Away Mister BlisterMy Profile

    10. i’ve seen the batter blaster too! but i’ve always resisted because i know it’s probably not good. i did see a DIY version on pinterest where you use an old ketchup bottle to squeeze designs out on the pan! :)
      Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef recently posted..Honey Mint Glazed ChickenMy Profile

    11. How amazing are the views at this race!? Sign me up!

    12. I love half moon bay! It’s so gorgeous! I love how you ran more than a half marathon as a spectator ;)

      I watched my bf compete in a half marathon once but it was straight up a narrow trail and then straight back down, so I could only really see him for the first and last part. I was totally jealous of all of the runners after they’d finished the race because I wanted to feel accomplished too!
      Kathryn @ Flopoodle recently posted..Killer Track WorkoutMy Profile

    13. Pancakes in a can? I DONT THINK SO!!! ;)

      I’ve never spectated at a race but I will for sure next year…After participating in the race I absolutely have a deeper respect for the spectator.
      Katie@Real Food Katie’s Way recently posted..Under PressureMy Profile

    14. You guys were so awesome! Thank you for coming out and supporting. It was a huge pick me up to see all of you (and Katie’s cowbell!) on the course!

    15. Great recap and pics! Doing 14 miles as part of spectating is a lot! Half Moon Bay is indeed gorgeous, especially the area by the Ritz Carlton. No way I could do that race being that it is so small (especially the marathon that loops back to the finish line 3 times I think?) I couldn’t bear to see the finish line except for when the race is over!)
      Nelly recently posted..Football is back!My Profile

    16. Love the pics, what a cool race! I spectated the Boston Marathon the past four years, so inspiring! I’ll let you know in a couple weeks if I like spectating or running better : P
      Caroline recently posted..Focused on the finish lineMy Profile

    17. what beautiful views along that race route! i am craaaving hot chocolate after seeing that photo.
      Meredith (Pursuing Balance) recently posted..as promisedMy Profile

    18. Alyssa and Katie ARE awesome! you three seem like the coolest running trio. Looks like a beautiful, small, relaxed bay area race. Way to be such a great spectator — I’m so ashamed that I haven’t been a volunteer or supporter in the last 2 years. I gotta do that, and for a trail as pretty as this, it shouldn’t be a drag at all

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