Running My First Wharf to Wharf
There's runner's high and then there's Wharf to Wharf high- something I experienced for the first time at the 41st annual Wharf to Wharf race from Santa Cruz to Capitola.
I set my alarm for 6:03 a.m. the morning of the race and was jolted awake at 6:02 a.m. from a nightmare where I had forgotten my bib and missed the whole event. I guess you could say I was a little nervous for the six-mile course that lay ahead, but that soon gave way to excitement and anticipation.
Perfect running weather greeted me as I left my home and walked along West Cliff Drive to the race start. For some, it was just another foggy morning in Santa Cruz- fishing boats were out, stand up paddle boarders and novice surfers dotted Cowell's Beach. But for 15,000 runners and their throngs of cheering spectators, the fun was about to begin.
Actually, by the looks of everyone spilling out of Beach Street, the fun had already started. Running gear was embellished with superhero capes, colorful knee-high socks, fun hats, tutus, wigs and more, while speakers blasting Beach Boys tunes added to the buzz of the festive crowd. I found my running buddy and other assorted friends and was offered a fake mustache, which I took of course. Everyone knows faux facial hair makes you run faster.
We took our places in the various start corrals, new to the race this year, and after belting out a few "Charge" responses to a trumpet, we were off!
Immediately, I could see why the Wharf to Wharf is a favorite race for so many people. Crowds lining the streets cheered us on, holding up encouraging signs and offering snacks and water- sometimes sprayed out of hoses. A huge variety of music performers, including Taiko drummers, rock bands and ukulele players, provided the soundtrack all along the six-mile journey. It's a fact that the best little road race in California is also the most entertaining. Add in the scenic ocean views and it's no wonder runners and spectators return year after year.
I had so much fun taking in all the sights, that despite the rolling hills, I ran my best time ever. I'm hooked and can't wait until next year's race. There's already a countdown on the official race website and as of this writing there are 359 days and 5 hours until the next Wharf to Wharf.
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4 years 271 days ago
The Wharf to Wharf is so fun! Looking forward to next year as well! :)