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AFC Course.

AFC Course.

If you’re thinking about doing a half marathon event this month, you better get on it. The Stairway to Heaven trail half-marathon is already sold out but it looks as though the America’s Finest City Half Marathon is still open.

The Stairway to Heaven is part of a four event series put on by Dirt Devil Racing. They’re offering collectible beer glasses and a medal as the “race loot.” There is a slim chance you can get into the August event if you get on the waiting list ASAP. The race is on Sunday, August 16th. Go the website to find out waiting list details.

A trail event such as this offers a different experience than urban running. I can’t say if it’s superior because there is a development phase in running. Most of us start by running in the city and progress to trails. When you’re ready to do trails, urban running tends to become less appealing unless it’s running in an event. This is a trail event which is the best of both worlds and something that doesn’t often happen in San Diego — hence the sold-out status.

Video:

America's Finest City Half Marathon 2012

America’s Finest City is the best of San Diego for an urban run. It is also part of a series. The other parts being the Carlsbad Half and the La Jolla Half. AFC is a point-to-point event which means the start and finish are in separate areas. The starting point is at Cabrillo National Monument on the tip of Point Loma. If you’ve never been out there, you’re missing out. The course then comes screaming downhill along the harbor before finishing in Balboa Park.

The thing I like about AFC, besides the ideal course, is that the course limit is three hours and the course closes as the event occurs. Part of this must be because the course goes past the airport. I like that it requires a running pace in order to stay in the event. Runners need to maintain a pace of 13:44 per mile in order to avoid being shipped to the finish. This forces the event to be about running instead of just participation.

There are plenty of events that encourage participation with luxurious course limits. AFC just isn’t one of them.

AFC is also on Sunday, August 16.

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