Surf City USA Marathon Responds To Criticism In a Puzzling Way

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The Surf City USA Marathon was held just about a month ago in Huntington Beach, California.

The reviews were a bit mixed. On Facebook runners commented that it was very congested–at one point narrowing to a single lane on an out and back section, leading runners to pass on the opposite side of the road–which was not closed off.

You can read the reviews on their Facebook page. 

Not all reviews were negative–there are many 4 and 5 star reviews as well..but nearly all mentioned the congestion as an issue. Both dealing with the narrow road and due to the 5k and half marathons being run over the same timeframe.

This review, however stands out for different reasons:

 

Greatest marathon in the world. Great medal, Expo and flat Oceanside course. Sand Bar had cold beers for us on the beach with a great band. Everything I wanted in a race. Thanks – Guy Terriff

 

 

 

Guy Terriff is the race director for The Surf City USA Marathon. He reviewed his own race. The race actually responded.

So great to hear you had an awesome race experience Guy. Our team works year round to host this event and we get super stoked when we receive reviews like yours! Thanks for the support and we hope to see you again next year. Take care and Happy Running!

I can only hope that it wasn’t Guy that actually responded to the review.

While I can laugh at the review and the response, I really have to shake my head.

In the midst of reviews that included valid criticisms, instead of addressing those concerns, the response from the race director was to write his own 5 star review. I have not seen where they acknowledged any of the criticisms.

 

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13 COMMENTS

  1. Well, besides being pathetic, this actually is not legal to do without disclosing your relationship to the race.

    • He likely meant to use a sock puppet account, and accidentally used his main account instead. What a doofus.

  2. I believe Surf City changed Race Directing companies a couple years ago? I know something changed..ownership or RD. But wow. That’s pretty bad.

    I ran Surf City a few years back. It’s one of the races I won’t run again. One station ran out of cups, the next station ran out of electrolyte. I arrived at 5:15 and missed my corral start due to bad shuttle issues. It was a mess of a race and I won’t do it again. Sounds like it hasn’t improved much at all. I’ll continue to skip it.

  3. To be fair, at least the race is actually leaving the negative reviews up. I’ve criticized a local race (very well known) in the past for different issues and have gotten both a private message (PM) from someone associated with the race telling me to private message them any issues I had AND have had negative reviews/posts on their page taken down. Kind of a shame.

    • On the FB page, a business cannot remove any reviews (good or bad) all they can do is disable “Reviews” then all reviews would be missing.

    • Similar experience 2017 race took down all reviews, and all post. Attacked me personally on Facebook. 2016 race I was nearly hit by a car on the “closed course.” And had answered all questions, helped someone pick a hotel room in the FaceBook Posts, because RD wasn’t doing it.

  4. I ran Surf City – the full marathon last month. The half marathon is very popular and attracts a ton of participants (I’ve run the half just once a couple years ago). The half course is decent. It’s pretty flat with mostly wide streets that help with the overcrowding and it’s a coastal route in February so the weather is often very agreeable. The half course is mostly out-and-back…most people either love that or hate it. My experience with the full marathon was pretty good (I ran a BQ so I was happy!). The full marathon field is relatively small and our start was, I think, a full hour before the half started. The first part (after a couple miles along PCH) winds through HB parks and forested areas for the first 8 or 9 miles – really lovely. The course does merge with the half runners for miles 8-16 (don’t quote me on this…vaguely recounting from memory), but it’s on a very wide PCH – it never felt overcrowded as runners were well-spaced by then. The last 10 miles were, I admit, a little dicey as they were run on a bike path along PCH that, as noted, did not appear to be closed to bikers, dog walkers, outside runners, etc. It was narrow at times and I was surprised at the maneuvering required to get through certain congested segments (the bike path is about 6 feet wide with runners sharing both directions). Though it was narrow in some areas, it was not overcrowded with runners since there simply were not a lot of full marathon participants. At around mile 24 or so, the full marathoners rejoined the half course runners. That was a little rough as it was a bit congested and, well, just hard running overall. Since this was my first Surf City full marathon, I can’t offer a good comparative review to past Surf City route selection and management. I’ve run Boston, LA and Long Beach (fulls) and none of them are perfect events. Surf City should close the bike path to all non-event folks – that was weird (and kinda reckless). But I liked the marathon and will consider running it again next year. Thanks for shedding lite on the issues here…will keep an eye on whether or not they are addressed next year.

  5. The new race company took over last year. The race was long, I ran it between 2010 and 2017 and based on my GPS data, last year’s race had the last turn around about 0.2 miles further out than in prior years. A few complained, they never officially acknowledged it but ended up adjusting the times of a few runner’s who complained. I never asked for a time adjustment and certainly not a selective one. In my case, there was no change in ranking/age-group and I am way under the BQ. Just the way the organization handled it was very unprofessional. It used to be my favorite race but I will never run it again. Supposedly, they also manage the Surf City 10, a 10 miler in the fall, which according to a friend of mine was mismeasured in 2016 as well.

  6. Just for kicks, I checked out MR. Terriff’s bio on RaceForce and LinkedIn and he says that he is a former pro hockey player with the San Diego Gulls (1996-98). I’m a huge hockey fan so I looked at the team rosters for the Gulls for 1995-96, 96-97, 97-98 and 98-99 (http://www.hockeydb.com/stte/san-diego-gulls-7858.html) and I can’t find his name. Does anyone know if he played in another league? HockeyDB has no record of a player with that name.

    As an aside for all you other hockey fans out there, I didn’t realize where Ron Duguay played in the twilight of his career. He and Mr. Terriff would have been teammates.

    • It’s amazing that people will still polish their resumes with this sort of stuff when it is now so easy to check.

  7. The new race company took over last year. The race was long, I ran it between 2010 and 2017 and based on my GPS data, last year’s race had the last turn around about 0.2 miles further out than in prior years. A few complained, they never officially acknowledged it but ended up adjusting the times of a few runner’s who complained. I never asked for a time adjustment and certainly not a selective one. In my case, there was no change in ranking/age-group and I am way under the BQ. Just the way the organization handled it was very unprofessional. It used to be my favorite race but I will never run it again. Supposedly, they also manage the Surf City 10, a 10 miler in the fall, which according to a friend of mine was mismeasured in 2016 as well.

    • For what it’s worth, the chance of a mismeasurement is minuscule. Can’t say it CAN’T happen, but if, as you state, you’re “way under” your BQ, you surely would be cognizent of the inherent error in commercial running GPS devices. It’s most likely the course was set up wrong. Personally, if running a certified course, I always study the official certification map, free and available on usatf.org.

  8. It seems as though Guy Terriff has deleted his fake reviews. But, what a douche! I’ve talked to at least 10 people who say they won’t do that race again.

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