A Guy’s Perspective on the 11th annual Nike Women’s Half Marathon

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

“Wow, there are a lot of women out here!” That’s the comment I made out loud as I looked at the world’s largest women’s running race that assembled in downtown San Francisco on Oct. 19th.

I was among one of 25,000 other runners (mostly women, obviously) who made our way through misty San Francisco to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society who, over the past 11 years, has raised $153 million to fight the diseases.

This was my first time running a race since moving to San Francisco for school here and the energy and excitement of everyone was contagious. The encouragement of spectators and supporters was definitely needed for this year’s new course that included some tough hills, especially the one around mile 10 through the Presidio.

I was motivated to run this race after cheering on friends from UCSF who ran it last year and it looked like a great bonding experience for them. I don’t personally know anyone who suffers from leukemia or lymphoma but I’m glad to support the cause while having fun running with others.

As one of the few male runners who did not mind running in a sea of women, I did feel a little bit out of place. Men weren’t allowed to start with the pacing corral faster than 10 minutes per mile, but it would be bad marketing to see a guy cross the finish line first for a woman’s marathon. Fortunately, Victoria Mitchell of Australia still managed to have the best time of 1:19:49 beating out men who got the second and third best overall times.

Although most of the people along the sides of the half marathon route were rooting for the female runners and pretty much ignored the occasional male runner, there were enough cheerleading squads, marching bands, drummers, DJs, and other encouragement points along the way that got everyone’s pace going a little faster.

My other motivation to power through 13.1 miles was to get that Tiffany necklace that everyone gets after crossing the finish line. All of the girls I ran with agreed that this year’s necklace was their best design yet so hopefully my girlfriend will be proud to wear my hard-earned necklace…at least once in a while.

Even though this year’s Nike Women’s Half Marathon has passed, you can always sign up for it next year. As UCSF students we qualify for a discount off the full price and can register immediately through their College Student Program and don’t have to go through the random drawing. For more info check out: http://www.nike.com/us/en_us/c/running/run-nike-women/we-run-sf/.

Upcoming Bay Area Running Events:

Oct. 26: Great Highway 4M, San Francisco

Nov. 2: US Half-Marathon, San Francisco

Nov.  23: Men’s Health Urbanathlon, San Francisco

Nov.  27: Turkey Trail Trot - San Francisco Thanksgiving Run and Walk

Nov.  27: Turkey Day 5K San Francisco

Dec.  9: Windmill 10K

Feb. 1, 2015: Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half-Marathon

Jul. 26, 2015: The San Francisco Marathon