Monday, January 7, 2013

Griffith Park Trail Half Recap

Better a late recap than never, right?  On November 17th I ran the Griffith Park Trail half marathon and it was fantastic.  I got a little nervous when I woke up and it was pouring. And it continued to pour for most of my drive down to Burbank. In 2 and a half years of running in the northeast, I never had a rainy race day…and my first was after moving to Southern California.

Plugging in the address of the Greek Theater…

…got me there with no problems and, as promised, there were plenty of volunteers directing us where to park.  Free parking, and plenty of it, even arriving only 40 minutes before the start.  Real flushable toilets near the parking lots, too.

I jogged the half mile from my car to the starting line/packet pickup in the drizzle, jogged back to my car to drop off the goods, ditch my rain jacket, pin on my bib, etc., then another half mile back to the start. 1.5 miles in the bank before the race. The temperature was in the low 50s, so not too cold – and I knew I would warm up on that first giant hill.

Yes, there was a bag drop that I could have utilized which would have allowed me to leave everything at the start/finish line, but I have never used a race’s bag drop, and even though there was a tarp to keep everything dry, I had visions of a wet sweatshirt awaiting me at the end of the race.

The race started perfectly on time, just like this race director’s last amazingly well-organized race


Another thing it had in common with the last race? It starts with a climb! A big one.

griffith park half elev

It was so foggy/cloudy that you couldn’t see anything from the top at the beginning. Just the trail a few feet in front of you and fog.  I need to go back on a clear day to check out the view.  The race included a couple well-stocked aid stations featuring everything from traditional energy gels to fruit to cookies and chocolate covered espresso beans.  There were even a couple cheering sections along the course—kudos to them for getting up there. Volunteers were at every turn off to direct you where to go. 

A couple miles in to the race I heard a familiar voice approaching me, and it was Naomi, who I met and finished the race with at September’s Leona Valley trail half.  We passed eachother several times throughout this race.  I came to this race alone and did not know of anyone else doing it, so I had not expected to see anyone I knew there.  It was nice to see a familiar face on the course!

Highlights of the course included views of downtown LA, the Hollywood sign, the observatory, and the bat caves.  The course featured three out-and-backs (four if you count going back down to the finish).  It made the small race feel bigger since you were seeing people more often.

griffith map

Another perk of this race? Race director Keira made race photos available for download for FREE.  Which provided me with the following keepsakes:

Running past a dog party in front of the Hollywood sign

Running uphill, mouth agape, in front of the Observatory.

Great shot of the Griffith Park Observatory

Griffith park half marathon
Somewhere in the last mile or so of the race.

The course was pretty tough with a total of about 2300’ in elevation gain. I finished in 2:14:21.


The stats:
3/21 females 25-29
21/180 females
92/349 overall

Super healthy food at the finish line: Sandwiches, two pasta dishes, an orzo dish, and some kind of kale salad. Naked coconut water and samples of Naked protein drinks.

Race goodies included an INKnBURN tech tee, a sturdy drawstring backpack with reflective strips, a blingy medal, and a keychain whistle (to be used to ward off mountain lions and to annoy my dog).


I received this race entry for free from a contest on in the Spring sponsored by INKnBURN.  I would recommend this race as it was challenging, yet fun – and very well organized… however I probably would not have run it if not for winning an entry because the registration price was a bit steep ($120).  The tech tees provided will set you back about $50-60 if you buy them on your own, so I’m not sure how much of the entry fee went toward the permit for using/closing off a portion of Griffith Park, and how much went to the cost of the shirt.


  1. Whoa! What an awesome race! I LOVE that picture of you with the Hollywood sign. :D

  2. That is an incredible time for that elevation! Love the swag bag!

  3. Awesome job! And that's so cool you have a race picture with the Hollywood sign in the background.

  4. wow - holy hills! but what incredible scenery. totally worth the climb!

    great race pics too :)

  5. I've always wanted to do marathons, they seem so cool, especially if you get a picture with the Hollywood sign in it! How did you get into half-marathons?

  6. That is an amazing view for a race! Possibly even worth that awful looking climb. I just did a trail race and apparently I missed chocolate covered espresso beans on the course and I'm so upset.

  7. What a pretty place to race! Thanks for the recap. I'm planning a trip to LA this year and want to run/hike in Griffith Park.


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