FINAL UPDATE: Please know that I am not affiliated in any way with the race company that promoted this event. I simply found out about it and, like many of you who are still seeking refunds and posting comments here, I registered with excitement. When the race was renamed a day later, I contacted the organizer immediately and requested a refund. My refund was processed within a week. I’m so sorry that there are people out there who have not received their refunds, but I have absolutely no way of helping other than sharing the email – firstname.lastname@example.org – that I used to contact the organizers and get my refund all these months ago. Best of luck!
Update 2: I emailed the organizers on Friday, asking for a refund. I received a prompt response and my refund was processed minutes after that (it will take 5-7 business day to appear on the credit card statement).
Update; Friday, June 13: the 49ers Half Marathon is now officially the Santa Clara Half Marathon. Looks like the race organizers were a bit too happy-go-lucky and rushed to promote a race under a name that was not officially licensed or endorsed by the NHL. The race will have a 49ers theme, but will not finish on Levi’s Stadium as originally advertised. I have a query out to the race organizers for details.
There’s a new half marathon in town and I have a feeling it’ll make football fans happy:I got the email from the race organizers this morning and it got me thinking about all the races I’ve seen pop up in the past couple of years sponsored by (and named after) sports teams.
The Giant Race is in its fifth year now – the inaugural one was in 2010 and it immediately exploded in popularity. San Francisco loves its Giants! Even yours truly – a European-born baseball ignorant – loves that race. Hanging out in AT&T Park is just so much fun, especially if I don’t have to watch baseball (ha, don’t hate – it’s a weird game if you didn’t grow up with it!)
For hockey fans, there’s the Sharks Fitness Faceoff. The inaugural event was last year and, judging from all the photos I’ve seen, it was a huge success. If you’re a Sharks fan, you won’t want to miss your chance of grabbing a Sharks t-shirt and this medal:
And even the San Jose Earthquakes had a race last year: the Earthquakes Challenge, put on hold for this year but coming back in 2015 with a start and finish at the Earthquakes New Stadium in San Jose.
Sports-team sponsored events like this are a great idea for several reasons:
- A guaranteed contingent of participants. Faithful team fans will sign up for the t-shirt and medal alone. Throw in some team memorabilia (like the SF Giant Race bobble heads) and a race sellout is imminent.
- Introducing more people to the joys of running. As I was waiting in line at packet pickup for the SF Giants race last year, I realized all the conversations around me were about baseball, not running. Why? Because a good portion of the people who sign up for these events are probably not into running as much as they’re into their team. Anything you can do to get more people to go out and run a 5K or 10K (and train, get healthy, fit, etc.) and I’m a fan.
- Engaging fans in a whole new way. If you’re a Giants fan, you probably love going to AT&T Park. But how often do you get to hang out on the field itself? Smell the grass? Wear a huge blinged-out medal that looks like your team’s championship ring? This December, 49ers fans will get a chance to cross a finish line and hang out at the new Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. I’m no football fan myself (OK, don’t hate – again, European-born, raised on a diet of steady soccer and occasional volleyball person here) – but any chance I get to hang out in a stadium, I take it. There’s just something about the atmosphere, it’s so grand and sporty. Love it!
- Benefitting charities. All these races support a good cause – through a designated charity or a non profit organization set up by the team itself. Whenever you can get thousands of people to donate a bit through their race fee or encourage them to fundraise for a cause, that’s a good thing.
So yes, I’m already signed up for the 49ers Half Marathon. It strikes me as a bit pricey at $99.49 (special introductory price, it will likely go up), but there’s no registration fee (there’s a $7-9 savings right there!) and if the spiffy race website is to be believed, photos will be free? Say it ain’t so, I’m posting a screenshot here and holding the organizers up to their promise:Who knows, maybe all these team events will make a baseball/ football fan out of this runner. Who’s doing it with me?