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San Francisco Presidio 10

19 April 2010 1,600 views One Comment

Aren’t cities always better when you know someone there..? Niki had already proven this theory in San Francisco last year, and now she trumped herself by letting me savour the flavours of Noe Valley again, helping me shop for running shoes and then signing me up for the Presidio 10 on approximately 12 hours notice. So, my usual pre-match nerves were even worse, but I got myself prepared and, crucially, fed.

The Presidio 10 is either a 10 mile or 10 k run through Presidio Park and it has a great reputation among locals. At the race ‘field’ the organisation was thoroughly impressive. I was quickly registered, stretching & jigging amongst other runners. It felt like there were a couple of hundred runners for the 10 mile and from the very start the atmosphere was awesome. It was friendly but the 10 mile-ers also felt like a professional crowd: committed, kitted, concentrated and fantastically Californian athletic. I was blasting some spot on American hits (Mike & the Mechanics anyone.?) but when I took my headphones out, you could only hear the padding of rubber on pavement.

outstanding course

From Crissy Field we wound up into the national park and I started to understand why the Presidio 10 is held in high regard, the course is excellent. The road through the national park turned into a bush trail and we snaked along the cliff top: bush on one side, South Bay harbour views on the other. Then we dropped down fractionally and we were on the West side of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a great experience, a great atmosphere. At the North end we took the path under the bridge to pop out the other side.
And so we headed back to San Francisco. The 10 k runners were starting to flow through on the West side and there were tourists trying to enjoy the bridge, they’d picked the wrong day! Our route then dropped back down to the Presidio – via a lane lined with supporters – and looped round to Fort Point at the North end of the park. We were at sea level now and I was captivated by the surfers hanging out by the break under the bridge. When they caught a wave it was utterly awesome, a really long break, but I reckon you’d have to be keen to hang out there.

We were nearing the end now and there were more supporters. The park was also busy; proper Sunday action. Beautiful. Just before the yacht club we looped around onto Mason Street and then it was the last 200m or so. As in other races I’ve done, there was some good camaraderie up to the finish line. Me and a healthy looking Cali dude pushed each other for a sprint across the line and high-fived each other congratulations. It was a great finish.

God bless America

The organisation at the end was superb: wicked finishers’ bags & t’shirts etc, all types of catering – seriously ALL types, stalls with heaps of samples, a band and it was a gorgeous sunny, fresh day. Embracing the ‘when in Rome’ approach, I refuelled with several stacks of maple syrup & butter pancakes and a Bloody Mary (no celery). It wasn’t typical but it was bloody good and gave me enough energy to minesweep the stalls and take advantage of my finishers’ discount in Sports Basement :)


The atmosphere continued to make an impression on me. Everyone was friendly and supportive, I had four different runners come and say ‘hi’ because they’d seen me along the course. It was welcoming and inclusive which – to be honest – I might not have predicted from such an athletic crowd.
The super bonus came as they posted the times. I found I was the only international female runner! Ha! Lucy James, representing Rest of World! And, without planning or intention, I had taken a minute off my average mile time. Awesome.

If I loved San Francisco before. I was besotted now that’s for sure.

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