We'll be running through Golden Gate Park on Saturday. Here are a few things to keep in mind before I dive into the details around the course:
1)You will be running gradually uphill for the first half of your run! This course isn't terribly steep, but there is a GRADUAL uphill for much of the first half of the run. Keep this in mind as you may need to dial back your pacing a bit when you head out.
2)Watch your footing! There's a reasonable amount of this run that will take place on a dirt path/fire road. This means small rocks, tree roots (sometimes), and uneven ground at times. I don't want to see anyone take a tumble. Stay tuned in! This is particularly important for those of you who wear MP3 PLAYERS! Stay particularly alert on the RETURN when you will likely be a bit fatigued and traveling gradually DOWNHILL!
3)Water Stops. Roughly a mile into the run (not too far after you pass the Bison Paddocks on the left) there is water fountain on the LEFT adjacent to Lake Spreckles. Also there is a water fountain at the intersection of JFK/Transverse on the LEFT side of JFK. These descriptions will make more sense once you read my course description below.
Ok, enough of the preamble. Let's get down to it!
Here’s a course map for you to peruse-Saturday’s Course Map
We will head NORTH from the Beach Chalet and promptly take a right turn to get onto JFK. You will run along the dirt path for about a quarter of a mile until you come to a stop sign. Turn LEFT at this stop sign at the pedestrian crosswalk onto the dirt path running along JFK.
You will continue running along this path for some time. As you close in on the first mile you will see the 'Bison Paddock' on your left. Shortly after you pass the paddock, you will see Lake Spreckles on the left. If you need water, cross the pedestrian crosswalk over to Lake Spreckles and you will see the water fountain on your left.
Continue running on the dirt path for close to a mile and you will eventually come to a 4 way stop at the intersection of JFK/Transverse. This is roughly 2 miles. If you cross over to the LEFT side of JFK, you will find another water fountain.
*NOTE-IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU STAY ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE PATH FOR THIS RUN! IT IS OK TO CROSS OVER TO THE LEFT FOR H20, BUT GET BACK OVER TO THE RIGHT SIDE TO CONTINUE YOUR RUN!
Continue running on the RIGHT side of the dirt path past JFK/Transverse for roughly half a mile. You will see a large funky looking building approaching on the right. This is DeYoung Museum. This is 2.5 miles!
Continue running on the RIGHT side of the dirt path for roughly half a mile. You will see a stop sign and traffic joining JFK from 'Conservatory Way'. (this is just prior to the Flower Conservatory) There is a pedestrian crosswalk. THIS IS 3 MILES! CROSS OVER TO THE LEFT SIDE OF JFK AND KEEP RUNNING.
B-7 MILES. Run past the Flower Observatory and follow JFK all the way to STANYAN. This is a controlled intersection with traffic lights. Once you get to JFK/Stanyan, this is 3.5 miles. Turn around here and head back to the Beach Chalet for 7 MILES! There will be a ‘FF 7’ in chalk on the ground at this intersection.
I-8 MILES. Intermediate level runners will run through the intersection of JFK/Stanyan and onto the panhandle (the strip of land that runs between Oak/Fell). Run on the RIGHT side of the Panhandle! You will run along the panhandle for roughly half a mile along OAK. One block PAST Oak & Masonic (again, this is a controlled intersection with stoplights), keep your eyes peeled for OAK and CENTRAL. This is 4 miles. There will be a ‘FF 8’ in chalk on the ground. Turn around here and head back to the Beach Chalet for 8 MILES!
A-9 MILES W/7 MIN. TEMPO Advanced & Race level runners will run past Oak/Central. The panhandle will eventually end and you will find yourself running on the sidewalk along Oak Street. Run to the intersection of Oak & Scott. This is 4.5 miles. Both Advanced & Race level runners will turn around and head back to the Beach Chalet for 9 MILES.
R-11 MILES W/6 MILES @ TARGET HALF MARATHON PACE. Upon returning to the Beach Chalet, Race level runners will head SOUTH along the paved path that runs parallel to the Great Highway to the intersection of Great Highway & Moraga. Turn around here and head back to the Beach Chalet for 11 MILES.
For your 6 miles at target half marathon pace, I'd suggest segueing into target pace at 3 miles (in front of the Flower Observatory) and maintaining this pace all the way to Oak/Scott AND back to the Beach Chalet. This is a solid six mile stretch. Run easy for the last two miles along the Great Highway.