Balboa Park 8 Miler 2021 Race Recap

This is the first time I’ve run this race.  We are normally out of town, AC 100 is normally this weekend or another 100 mile race so it isn’t on our radar.  This year however with us not traveling quite as much and staying closer to home, when my teammates from Arete said that this was going to be our August race, I was like ok let’s give it a whirl.

The Balboa Park 8 Miler is sponsored by the San Diego Track Club & San Diego Running.  It’s got quite the history dating back to 1955 and is one of the oldest races in the country and one of the few that uses a course that is very similar to what it was in the beginning.

The race starts, is run and finishes in Balboa Park.  It’s got a little bit of everything, through the park by Spreckels Organ Pavilion, by the Museum of Man and onto the bridge over the 163, out on to the road where Rock n Roll San Diego normally starts, around the park that I’ve run a lot of times with Run619, back through the main part of the park and then on to some trails before you come back up towards the finish.

We picked up our packets at Road Runner Sports the night before, it was super fast because we got there about 30 minutes before close.  There were no assigned bib numbers, at least not in our case, we were just given the two that were next in the box.  We got a tee shirt, which in this case was actually decent, I think it was a cotton blend, but it had a v-neck for the women’s version and I actually thought it was comfortable which isn’t common for me.

It only took us about 15 minutes to get to the start on Saturday, we left a little late and were still there by 6:30, used the portos and were at the start line for a team photo  by 6:45a.  I’m not sure if there were less people than normal or if it’s normally that easy :).

I knew that I wasn’t going to be running any PRs so I started back a little ways.  Sean asked me if I wanted him to run with me, but I was ok running solo and letting him run his own race.

Because I was a little bit behind I ended up in wave 4.  I didn’t even know there were waves but apparently there were & they were about 30 seconds apart so nothing crazy.

I was planning to just take the race really nice & easy and while it wasn’t quite as nice & easy as it should have been, I’m pretty proud of myself for dialing it back whenever I started getting in over my head.

It was overcast the whole race, which was nice because I left my sunglasses in the car.  I know that when it’s like that even if I have my sunglasses on my head they get sweaty and then I can’t see out of them and I was wearing a crop top that was going to be soaked.  It did burn off not long after I finished though and it was a beautiful San Diego day.

Sean crushed his race, he got 36th overall and 3rd place in his age group!  We stayed for a bit because he got an age group award.  Two of my Arete teammates were first in their age groups so that was pretty cool as well!

My race wasn’t quite as speedy, but I was happy to finish with a smile and without any issues.  And I don’t think I’ve ever run an 8 mile race so it was an auto PR!

After we finished they had bottled water, nature’s valley fruit & nut bars & bananas.  There were a few tents set up at the finish, but it wasn’t like the other races we did this summer with snacks and other drink vendors.

So that being said, I would totally run this race again.  I thought it was a nice course, mostly flat with a few hilly sections on the trail portion, one at mile 6 was especially rough but overall it was a really nice course and we of course got lucky and had great weather.

Oh and they have free race photos, which is one of my fav perks!

Are you running more local races this year?  I’ve done 3 local races in the last 2 months which seems like a lot to me!