Increased Participation and Olympic Presence Highlight 2018 Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon & 5K
Perfect weather and gorgeous scenery drew rave reviews for the 35thedition of the race.
The Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon & 5K, which took place in iconic Golden Gate Park on February 4, 2018, saw increased participation for the second year in a row, hosting more than 7,500 runners across the two race distances.
The race is one of the area’s most scenic with a course that features the Great Highway and views of the Pacific Ocean along the way. This year, three-time Olympian Shannon Rowbury made an appearance at her hometown race, running the 5K, and took the occasion to also announce that she’s pregnant with her first child, due this summer. Rowbury did win the 5K on the women’s side, while Evan Appel of Strava Track Club took top honors overall.
The winner of the half marathon on the men’s side was Malcolm Richards, a local San Francisco athlete, who recently was sixth at the U.S. marathon championships. Jennifer Elvin of Aberdeen, Scotland, won the women’s competition.
Randy Wittorp, Kaiser Permanente director of public affairs, credited Blistering Pace Race Management, with the event’s success.
“We love the level of professionalism and branding,” Wittorp said.
Andy Chan, president of Pamakid Runners Club, which owns the race, said the overall pre-race buildup and engagement on social media was higher than ever.
“Standing on stage before the race and looking out at the sea of runners, I couldn’t help but feel a surge of adrenaline,” Chan said. “I could sense the feelings of nervous anticipation mixed with excitement to get the race started. Those are the feelings that make racing so much fun.”
Registration for the 2019 race, which is scheduled for February 3, 2019, is open and Chan is anticipating the same level of enthusiasm.
“Everywhere I was on Sunday, people seemed happy, whether they were racing or cheering on the course or in the finish expo taking selfies and looking at their medal and new shirt,” he said. “I can’t thank the volunteers and the race management team from Blistering Pace enough. They are the ones who made this happen.”
Proceeds from the race this year benefit several local nonprofit organizations, including Girls on the Run Bay Area, Running for a Better Oakland, Support for Families of Children with Disabilities, and Salvation Army Harbor Light Center.