Race Reports

2017 Armed Forces Half Marathon

Don’t Drink Near a Race Sign-up.

Event: Armed Forces Half Marathon
Location: Concord, CA
Date of event: May 26, 2017

Friday evening, at the start of the Memorial Day weekend, I was sitting at the E.J, Phair Brewery and Restaurant in downtown Concord, watching a lot of smiling, happy faces go to the race sign-up tent right across from the restaurant.

I sipped my beer.

I checked the website. Sign-up ended in 45 minutes.

I sipped my beer.

My legs were still tired from the Silver State 50 the weekend prior, but I wanted to see if I could go sub 1:30…and…to be fair, I just wanted an excuse to run.

My friend Vic, who runs with Team RWB, had told me about the race some weeks before. I had wanted to run it, but wasn’t sure if I would have time with family in town. With a 0600 race start, I would be done and back before their day even got started.

With Annika strapped to my chest (I’m a babywearing dad) I popped up, excused myself from the table and found myself entered in the event with 20 minutes to spare.

They already had the porta-potties, traffic cones and signs staged and ready for the morning – it looked like it was going to be a well put together event. Great swag and technical t-shirt.

I woke up at 0500, made my coffee, and got ready to roll. I had just gone from Ruhn Co clothing lover to ambassador, and I had been looking to try out the brand new Ruhn compression shorts 2.0 with the cell phone pocket.

As 0600 closed in, the organizers made appropriate remarks with regard to the holiday, and runners took the line.

Then we were off.

Down we went to the entrance of the Port Chicago Naval Station. Barely used over the last few years, and once a thriving port and munition storage – I later learned that there was an explosion in 1944 that caused damage miles away. The land is to be divided between the East Bay Regional Parks, and a development company. Incredible story, check it out.

The course is amazing. I grabbed a few photos, but was moving fast and trying to keep pace.

I crossed the line at 1:30:15, missing my sub 1:30 time by 16 seconds…sigh. Love the numbers though.

M30-34:  5/ 38
GENDER: 13/ 444
OVERALL: 13/ 1000

A few harder climbs that the RunLiv half, and on tired legs from the week before, it was still a good race.

Somewhere around mile 9 or so, I passed along a ginger chew to another runner, who later came and thanked me after the race was finished. I think that was the highlight of the event for me.

The medal is HUGE. The finish line was well managed, with bananas and water.

Hummers, transports, a helicopter on a trailer you can climb into with the kids, and other neat stuff at the finish. A lot of sponsor tents, and the historical society was on hand to drop a lot of knowledge.

Sadly, no free race photos…. They were even a touch on the pricey side.  🙁

Sponsors included muscle milk, and they had plenty to give out. Budweiser has always been a sponsor for military related events and handled the beer tent – but I would have much preferred Firestone Walker with kegs of 805. Still, they deserve a big thanks for their support.

For a first time event, it was amazing. I can only assume the RD has managed other races before. Water, Gatorade, and porta-potties on course. Incredibly well marked and staffed course, this is certainly a race for East Bay runners, and anyone who is looking for an excuse to spend Memorial Day in the San Francisco Bay.

If you want a beautiful, unique, fun, well marked, and well managed event – go run this race. Pacers were on hand for 1:30 and up.

Each year is going to be a tribute to a different branch of service, this year was the Navy.

Thank you to the RD, staff, organizers, volunteers, sponsors, BATS, local law enforcement and people who helped put on this wonderful event.

Sadly I lost all my pictures from the event, but I think their YouTube video captures it better than I could have done.

See you there in 2018.

Run Happy
– The Winged Ling


A note on Memorial Day –
Please remember that it is not a “Happy” day. It is in remembrance of those who paid the ultimate price. Enjoy the BBQs,  day off, and time at the lake – just take a moment to pause and remember why we have the freedom to do so.


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