Berkeley and San Francisco – The Challenge Awaits!
Written By Meg Gudgeirsson, TSFM Ambassador
As a runner, I’m always looking for new challenges. Can I run a distance faster? Can I run a longer distance? Can I tie two of my favorite cities and running events together? The SF/Berkeley Challenge let’s me accomplish that last one! When you run one of the events at The San Francisco Marathon and one of the events at the Berkeley Half Marathon, you have completed the challenge! Your reward? A sweet medal, in addition to your finishing medal, that only challengers are eligible to receive.
Many of us have taken a trip up to SF but fewer have stayed across the Bay. If you haven’t spent time in Berkeley, you are missing out! The Berkeley Half is the perfect excuse for a weekend in this part of the area. Berkeley offers such as many unique sights as SF, including a stunning waterfront with the incredibly long Berkeley Pier (make this a must stop while in town for the race). And there is so much good food to choose from when carb loading.
The Berkeley Half Marathon is one of my favorite ways to hang in one of my favorite East Bay towns: running! I ran the Berkeley Half (and completed the SF/Berkeley Challenge) in its inaugural year and stayed in Berkeley for the weekend. Everything was very close and made racing super easy. That year, I had the opportunity to help a friend race a sub-2:00 half, so my focus was all about supporting her and having fun! (Read more about that weekend at: https://laughresearchwriterun.wordpress.com/2013/11/26/pacing-a-friend-to-a-pr/)
That allowed me to take advantage of another perk of racing – seeing the town. In its inaugural year, the first 3-4 miles wind through the city portion of Berkeley – I love running the streets much more than driving them! There is a great view of the bay and SF. Thankfully the fog was clearing and we could even see the Golden Gate Bridge. Around this time I also saw some of my favorite running friends/fellow SFM ambassadors! I even helped bring my friend Ashley a new PR! We celebrated with brunch and mimosas. The Berkeley Half was a great race.
I’ve spent time in both SF and Berkeley and I truly believe the best way to see each place is by racing. You have the road to yourself and have the chance to see all the best spots. The Berkeley Half allows you to basically visit all of the best parts of the East Bay: downtown Berkeley, through the UC campus, the funky neighborhoods, and along the waterfront, with one of the best views of SF’s skyline.
I’m super excited for the Berkeley Half Marathon this year too because it has some new events – a 10k and a relay! I’m a huge fan of relays because it makes what can sometimes feel like a solo sport really have a team atmosphere. And with Berkeley just a few days before Thanksgiving this year, it gives me several options to run some calories before the feast. All that while bringing home some extra bling with the SF/Berkeley Challenge!