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Wildcat Half Marathon Race Recap

I ran the Brazen Racing Wildcat Half Marathon from El Sobrante on Saturday, which was my second half marathon.  It seems Ted was thinking about talking me out of signing up, but I went ahead and registered before he told me how nasty this course would be.

We briefly covered this event, but this post expands the topic a bit further.

I went ahead and registered for the event before I bothered to closely evaluate the course profile.  Before I jump into my race experience, let me first say that this route was definitely hard!  It seemed like we were either going up or down a hill, through mud, or on single-track the entire 13.1-mile course.

The gun sounded at 8:30, and it only took a couple hundred yards into the race before everyone had to tackle the first climb of the day.  I briefly looked at the map before we started, but I didn’t realize my lungs were going to explode within the first mile.

Up, up, and up some more!  The uphill portions were steep enough they forced most people to walk, and the downhills were fast and dangerous.  We passed a few people going up the hills, only to see them fly down the hill at speeds that looked somewhat hazardous.

The rest of the blog post is available after the jump.

The course itself offered good trails, including a section of mud that simply couldn’t be avoided, and it’d be hard to ask for much else from a trail half marathon.  How can you go wrong when there is horse and cow poo, mud, water, streams, and nasty climbs that hurt everyone out on the course?

We stumbled across at least one person (a 10K runner) who got lost and ended up stumbling on the half marathon course without turning back.

The half marathon runners had to look for red ribbons hanging from tree branches and or tied to plants on the side of the road.  There were also mile signs for each mile, but some of them were mysteriously unearthed like someone may have pulled them out of the ground.

Brazen did its best to have the trail properly marked, but there were still a couple of spots where it would have been beneficial to have more than one red ribbon on the side of the road.  The portion of the course where a half marathon runner right in front of us missed his turn could have been better marked, especially since it looks like the red ribbon may have been untied.

The last major turn on the course, for example, was marked by a ribbon, but it was located in a spot that made it somewhat difficult to see.  Furthermore, it looked like the chalk arrow may have been wiped away by other runners – but we found the ribbon – and found our way towards the finish.

Aside from these minor hiccups, the event was excellent.  The aid stations were properly staffed with supportive volunteers, water, GU, electrolyte drink, oranges, gummy bears, and other treats we enjoyed.

It seems the Brazen site notes 2,204′ of total elevation gain, but the satellite map with elevation profile marks 3,585′ of elevation change.

Realizing I had a chance to break 2:30 on the day, I stepped it up towards the end of the race.  I haphazardly flew down the final descent of the day (the hill that cracked us at the beginning), and slotted in at 2:28:49.  (Ted didn’t turn himself inside out and still finished at 2:29:05, but I didn’t want to take the chance.)

The next Brazen race will be the Nitro Trail Half Marathon at Point Pinole Regional Park on Saturday, June 5th.  Hope to see you out there!

3 Comments so far »

  1. by ted, on April 26 2010 @ 8:59 pm


    Who took that good picture of you running through the woods?

    For you readers out there. We did not start on the top of that hill. We ran from sea level.

  2. by Peter, on April 26 2010 @ 11:09 pm


    I was a running partner with you and Ted for a portion of the run! Your enthusiasm was great. I thought I might be able to keep up on the final descent but you quickly disappeared out of view.

  3. by Michael, on April 27 2010 @ 9:10 am


    Hi there Peter! Glad you found us here at Alameda Runners… 🙂

    Once I figured out I could break 2:30 if I pushed a bit harder, I dropped the hammer down (mainly on myself). The last downhill was quite scary because I flew down the hill a bit faster than I initially expected.

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