Finish time: 2:13

Finish time: 2:13

This past weekend was the inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in San Francisco (I did a recap on the RnRSF Expo here). I decided to run with a GoPro camera attached to my head to capture some race footage since this is a very scenic route.

Some technical info:

The standard battery life of the GoPro camera is 2 hours. Since I was projecting a finish time of 2:15-2:30, I didn’t start it until mile 3.5.

For an unknown reason, it stopped taking pictures after an hour. Lame. Battery was fine the whole race and there was plenty of memory left, it just stopped. Sorry.

The race started near the Marina and began with a nice steep climb. It was short-lived, but always fun to slow down the runners with too much energy the start. After that, we headed towards the Marina Green and through Crissy Field (yes, it is as nice as it sounds) where you get your first view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

After another steep climb quickly followed by a decline, we enter the Presidio. Here is where the footage begins.

Key Moments:


I slowed it down to show you a panoramic view of the Bay. San Francisco is on the right and that island in the middle is Alcatraz.


We see Monica of, this is funny exchange because we have never met. The conversation went something like this:

Me: Hey Monica!
Monica: Hi! (Huge smile!)
Me: I can’t stop I’m recording (as I slow but keep moving.)

We met up later and chatted a bunch, see below.


I fist bump an Elvis.


the GoPro decides it’s had enough, but shows you where the race is headed — down that hill and back into the city along the water.

Back to the recap:

As you see in the video, the Presidio section is reasonably short, but it’s a beautiful section with tall, gorgeous trees. After that it’s a straight shot to the Golden Gate Bridge.

Running across the Golden Gate Bridge is a remarkable experience. It’s challenging, but it’s view of the Bay, Alcatraz, SF skyline and Marin Headlands are breath taking in the right conditions.

After the out-and-back across the bridge, you head back towards the Marina with more breathtaking views of SF. See 3:47 photo above and you get a taste right before the GoPro decides to DNF.

As you run back towards where the race started, you are running along the water through the Crissy Field trail. It’s a nice change to the hard road and bridge you just traversed. As you run by the Palace of Fine Arts (for the second time), you’ll head into Aquatic Park for your last climb and final steep decent into the finish line.

Click on the image below to see the finish line… Alcatraz and all.

Had to merge two photos. >> Click to Enlarge <<

Had to merge two photos. >> Click to Enlarge <<

With the Bay and Alcatraz on your left and Ghiradelli Square on your right, it’s a great place to relax and soak in your race experience.

I was able to meet up with familiar friends and some new ones as well.

Me and my buddy Brian at another race 2 weeks after Oakland.

Me and my buddy Brian at another race 2 weeks after Oakland.

Laura, Sonia, Monica and Me.

Laura:, Sonia:, Monica:

Sheena, Jane and Me — together in a single photo!

Sheena, Jane and Me — together in a single photo!

I made my way to the concert stage to check out the headliner: The Mowglis. I listened for awhile with Sheena and we kept looking at each other saying “these guys are good.” We were both unfamiliar with their music, but enjoyed their sound and energy. The stage was tucked away, but the crowd that stayed was into it.

The closed with their song “San Francisco” which got the crowd moving and was the perfect song to end a wonderful and intimate performance. I’m glad that I stuck around to listen to them. Even though I was tired, I got to hear some new stuff from a band I hadn’t heard much about.

The Mowglis

The Mowglis

A meet and greet with the band. We met some other members, but they were leaving for a flight, so it was a scramble.

A meet and greet with the band. We met some other members, but they were leaving for a flight, so it was a scramble.

Some quick notes about the inaugural RnRSF.

It was quiet compared to a typical RnR event. There was plenty of energy from cheer stations and the volunteers were enthusiastic, but there were only a couple bands due to course restrictions and limitations. I think the panoramic views were a fine substitution, but heard a few people comment that they missed the bands.

Finish line area being spread out. It took a little navigation, but there were booths and vendors if you wanted to shop or get your medal engraved. The beer garden and concert area were spread apart, but you have to keep in mind where you finished (see panoramic photo above). It’s difficult to erect a stage and have enough room for thousands of people to stand. Given the finish line area, it seemed like a reasonable solution, even if it was not perfect.

I’m excited that this year’s event went off without much of a hiccup. It can be challenging for an inaugural event, even with an established race series. There were some things were different from typical RnR events, but nothing that would have caused a major stir for most runners. I got the feeling from talking to several runners and overhearing some conversations that everyone enjoyed the route, scenery and organization. There were some things that I mentioned above, but nothing that would take away from an enjoyable run.

I was able to participate with the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Francisco event as a blogger participant. I’m currently running the California races (5) as a Rock ‘n’ Blogger. My entry was included, but they won’t run the miles for me. I have to do them myself. I was not compensated monetarily, but if they wanted to give me a million dollars, I wouldn’t be against it.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this post?
What did you think of the video?