Sunday, July 17, 2016

Race Report: Crissy Field parkrun 5K

I'm super, super excited for my running buddy bt and her husband Mr. bt who are taking a year sabbatical to relax, travel, & generally go have tons of fun in Places that are Else. (Ok, also a little bit jealous. Ok maybe a lot jealous.) To see her off, some of us met up at Crissy Field on Saturday for the weekly parkrun 5K that happens there.

I first learned about parkruns from Cathryn's blog. They started in the UK and are wildly popular there. From the website:

    "parkrun organise free, weekly, 5km timed runs around the world. They are open to everyone, free, and are safe and easy to take part in. These events take place in pleasant parkland surroundings and we encourage people of every ability to take part; from those taking their first steps in running to Olympians; from juniors to those with more experience; we welcome you all."

In the last couple of years, parkruns have started popping up in the U.S., and we've now got one here in San Francisco up at Crissy Field, literally in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Crissy Field

Now, this is more of a casual timed run than a real race (there are sponsors to handle the few costs involved), so you shouldn't expect anything like medals or shirts or timing chips or anything like that, and the course probably isn't perfect. But anybody can show up and run, and if you want a time result you just have to register at the website (you only have to do it once) & print out the bar code they send you so that it can be scanned at the finish.

Jen & Layla & I showed up around 8:30 to get a few extra miles in before the race, then met bt at the start a little before 9:00. The volunteers in charge for the day welcomed everyone, gave a little background on parkruns, explained the course, then directed us all to the start area. bt wanted to go all-out, but the rest of us just used the race as an excuse to get in three more easy, scenic miles.


Karl [the San Francisco fog] eating the Bridge again...

Post-race coffee & donuts!

Such a lovely way to spend a Saturday morning & see a friend off on a year of adventures!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~LOGISTICAL STUFF~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

Location: Crissy Field, San Francisco, CA

Date: Every Saturday at 9:00am


Deadlines/sellout factor: No cap.

Field Size: I dunno, 50? I heard that the week before was their biggest turnout ever with 65 finishers. (The week we ran was Crissy Field parkrun #78 as I recall.)

The Course:

The start is basically right in front of The Beach Hut Cafe at 1199 East Beach St. The course runs along the Bay Trail for a little over a mile, then makes a sharp left, does a little triangle-shaped lollipop, and retraces its steps back to the parking area. A lot of the Bay Trail is gravel, but it's pancake flat.

It's completely exposed, but since Crissy Field is foggy & cold 95% of the time, sun is almost never an issue. (On the other hand, it can get REALLY windy. We had an insane headwind for the first outbound stretch, but the tailwind was nice on the way back.) No aid stations but there are water fountains here & there all over Crissy Field if you get really desperate.


Basically, everyone just kind of gathered at the parking area by The Beach Hut. Pretty informal, since they do this every week & it's free. No bibs/shirts/etc. to pick up so obviously that's not an issue. Crissy Field is a popular recreation area so trying to park in the middle of the day can sometimes get dicey, but there is nobody there at 8:30 in the morning so it was easy to park right in front of The Beach Hut.


It's free, you guys! What you get is a time result emailed to you, if you want it. They also post finisher pics on their facebook page (see above) so that was nice too.

If you decide to run:

Just remember, parkruns are free and run completely run by volunteers, so manage your expectations accordingly. Also know that a lot of the course is gravel and it can be windy.

Overall Assessment:

I had fun hanging out with friends and seeing what parkruns are all about! It was great to get out of my neighborhood and run somewhere different for a change, and it was a really fun, friendly atmosphere.


  1. Thanks so much for coming out and joining. It was such a perfect first morning for the year of adventure.

  2. Free races are the best! I hope Parkrun comes to New Orleans!

  3. Oh cool - parkruns are huge here in Australia these days, so it's nice to hear that they're really starting to take off in the US too! I'm lucky enough to have multiple locations within a short run/drive of my house, so I probably do them 2/3 weekends.

  4. That last picture is awesome. Was it taken when they found out you were #48?

    Just FYI - there were 73 finishers this week. So another record high!

    1. NICE!!

      (Yep, that was after the whole #48 tab debacle!)