5 Reasons to Run the 2nd Half Marathon at #TSFM2017

Contributed by James Chong, a 2017 Ambassador for The San Francisco Marathon.

  1. Whether it’s the 1st Half, 2nd Half, or the Full Marathon, the top reason to participate in The San Francisco Marathon is to experience the most beautiful city in the world, recently named by Runner’s World as the #1 running city in the USA. In my charmed years of living in the city, I fell in love with all the natural beauty framed by man-made icons like the Golden Gate Bridge, the Painted Ladies homes, the Transamerica Building, and Coit Tower. I became a foodie because of the vast array of mouth watering restaurants with cuisine from around the world, with prices to fit any budget. I have always felt a real sense of community with the vibrant, friendly denizens and enjoyed all the many festivals for people to come together like. Pound for pound, I’d put San Francisco up against any city in the world. 
  2. Running in Golden Gate Park through the mist and fog is an incomparable experience. Larger than New York’s Central Park, Golden Gate Park is truly a green oasis in the city, with thousands of trees and plant life, big rolling fields, lakes, paddle boats, rose gardens, and even bison. You get to take in all these amazing sights on the 2nd Half course, and it’s even more enchanting when the familiar fog rolls in, creating a mysterious and hauntingly beautiful landscape.
  3. You get to run through the famous Haight-Ashbury and Mission neighborhoods, which to me are the most culturally interesting neighborhoods in a city brimming with it. The Haight is well known for being the epicenter of hippie subculture and the Beat movement of the 1960s. Much of that tradition still permeates the neighborhood today, with street art, smoke shops, and more. The Mission, the city’s warmest microclimate, is one of my favorite areas to visit with its great Mexican food, street art and murals, and a lively nightlife and music scene. While the neighborhood has undergone significant changes in recent years, it’s still a must on any San Francisco visitor’s itinerary.
  4. If you value your sleep like me, the 2nd Half starts at 7:30am versus a 5:30am start for the 1st Half. This was one of the main reasons I chose to run the 2nd Half and I was definitely thankful for the extra hours of slumber!
  5. With the 2nd Half, you get to finish with the Full Marathoners at the scenic Finish Line Festival amidst the festivities and crowds. I can vividly remember my big finish after running past AT&T Park and seeing the beautiful vistas of the Bay, the towering Bay Bridge, and the cheering crowds along the Embarcadero. The surreal finish line setting energized me to summon the last bit of my strength and sprint the last half mile and make it just under my goal time of 1:35 to finish at 1:34:56! I was overcome by emotions and broke into tears upon passing the finish line. This is a memory that will stay with me for a long time.

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