Northern California Forum


Race Report: Chinatown YMCA Chinese New Year Run (Read 299 times)

    This is a race in San Francisco, starting right in Chinatown, heading north through North Beach and looping around the Embarcadero, then back through the financial district. I posted the map in the Maps section of the group. There's a one-loop 5k and a two-loop 10k. I was signed up for the 10k. I had received my number in advance, and I knew there was a large parking garage right at the start -- which is also right near my office, so I was confident on my door-to-door time. The race was not chip-timed, so all I had to do was show up in time for the starting gun (actually, as it turned out, the starting firecrackers). The race started promptly at 8:00, on Grant Street, which is the heavily touristed end of Chinatown, still all bedecked with the decorations from the New Year's celebrations last week. It's a narrow one-lane street, and the start -- it was one start for the 5K and 10K -- was really pretty crowded. There were a lot of kids running the 5k ("kids" = 10-15 years old, in this context), and it quickly became apparent that they travelled in large packs and weaved as they pleased. Once I got that down, it was easy to avoid them. Very cool, actually, to see that many young people out there. After a couple of blocks on Grant, the race jogged a block on Pacific (slight uphill) onto Stockton, which is the part of SF's downtown Chinatown that actually serves local Chinese residents rather than tourists. All the stores selling live fish, dried seafood, and eggplants were open and bustling, and the left-hand lane was open to traffic. Across Broadway, past Washington Square, Moose's Restaurant, and other North Beach sights. Then a nice downhill ending in the one-mile mark and a righthand turn onto North Point for a couple of blocks before turning right again onto Embarcadero. The course volunteers were really great! They were mostly teenagers, and were very enthusiastic and cheering us all on. By the time I was on the second lap, they were sometimes letting cross traffic through, as race traffic permitted, and the course volunteers handled it with efficiency and authority. There were cops directing traffic at the busier streets, but otherwise, these teenagers were doing it, and doing it very well. Kudos to them. There was one water station, right after the 2 or 5 mile mark (depending which loop you were on). After about a mile on the Embarcadero, the race turned to jog through the financial district. Just as I was coming up to the split point between finish line and the connection to the second loop, the 10K leader came by, already done with both loops, and accompanied by a motorcycle cop! I've had a rough couple of weeks, first really sick, now just battling the cold-that-won't-go-away-entirely. So I didn't figure I'd do much on this race, and hadn't really been pushing it much. That last leg before starting the second loop is a pretty substantial uphill (Pine from Montgomery up to Grant), and I was definitely feeling it. But then by the time I was at Washington Square Park again, I thought, what the hell, why not? I haven't gone back and looked at my split time, but I suspect my second half was much faster. I ended up with a time just over 1:04, which I'm pretty pleased with, considering that I'd had to run through a couple of coughing fits and deal with Kleenex on the run. In fact, I'd considered not showing up at all, so I think I might deserve some HTFU points just for sticking with the plan. Maybe? Bottom line is that I'd definitely recommend this run. It started right on time, and the organization was very good as far as I could see (although the length of the port-a-potty line suggested they could have used a few more of those), and, again, I really appreciated the enthusiasm of the volunteers, who also seemed to get everyone through the tee-shirt line and registration process smoothly and quickly. Got a nice cotton tee-shirt, but otherwise the goodie bag and post-race snacks were on the meager side. As I said, there is garage parking right at the start/finish, which is a plus. I don't think the lack of chip timing will make that much of a difference, even with the kind of crowded start. I can't think of any other races that go through that area of San Francisco, and it was a neat way to see it. Aside from the one uphill and one downhill per loop it's almost entirely flat. Thumb's up, and, uh, happy new year!

      Nice run and report, Anne! Not exactly a "flat and fast" course, but what a great tour of a neat part of the city. Sounds like you were in control the whole way. DW and I ran the SF Marathon in '98(?) and it ran right up Columbus and down Grant. Our daughter is a senior at USF (we live down in the Central Valley) and I love running there .... and Marin, and the EastBay trails, and the peninsula .... etc ... Smile ) I ran the Kaiser Half a couple of weeks ago. Kudos to you for your great race, and thanks for the excellent report! hup
        That sounds like a really fun race. Maybe I'll do the 5k next year. Thanks for the report!

        Call me Ray (not Ishmael)