Reviewed By: talonraid Date Reviewed: 06/18/2011 Review Type: Race Barefoot Friendliness: 5 Poor Location: McAllister Park 13102 Jones Maltsberger Rd San Antonio, TX See map: Google Maps So, today I did the first leg of the Carraba's 1/2 Marathon Relay. The race is well organized and the food and support is fantastic...so, I'll try not to let the mean way the terrain chewed me up and spit me out dampen a review of an otherwise fun race. Here goes: The race is held every year at McAllister Park in San Antonio. It's a nice park and the trails are shaded almost 90-100% of the run. So, on a hot summer day this is typically a great location for running...however, I elected to do the first leg of the four person relay which I believe is about 3.7 miles. The second and third legs are about 3 miles and the anchor leg is about 3.3 miles or so. The entire park is criss crossed with both natural dirt/rock trails as well as some chipped rock material that is coated with sealant. Someone told me the paving material is actually porcelain chips that are created by breaking up old toilets and bathtubs...I can't verify this, but suffice to say it is brutal on bare feet. I have run one other 5k race at McAllister park and although that race was tough due to the material the trail is made of more of that other race was on the asphalt road. There are a very few trails that have been recently repaved with some nice smooth black asphalt, but none of these paths were used this year. This time it was almost all on the paved rough material, and this trail selection was foooking torture! There were times I had to slow my pace down to almost 19 minutes/mile...even that one old fat lady with the walker, hip replacement and leg brace passed me at this point. Then I would encounter a few hundred yards (maybe) of decent trail and I would run like hell trying to make up some time...then right back onto that devilish material. Anyway, the guy that ran our second leg wore VFFs and he had problems as well. His leg was slightly shorter but overlapped a lot of the same trails as the first leg. He said he actually had to move out onto the dirt next to the trail a few times because it was kicking his arse through the Vibram soles. I tried to run in the dirt a few times, but that was hit or miss since the dirt has a lot of those golf ball sized rocks in it. The other two legs of our team were wearing Merrill Trail Gloves and traditional running shoes and didn't have any issues. It was freaking hot as hell, (I saw 107 on a bank sign today) but the heat was not a player for my feet since the trail is shaded and the paving material really didn't heat up at all. Even at around 1200 after lunch and beers, I walked across a few patches of the stuff and it wasn't hot...it did still hurt however. The GOOD: The race is well organized and the San Antonio Road Runners (SARR) have a good handle on getting everything set up. The water stops were well stocked in volunteers and fluids. The trail is well marked with marshalls all along to make sure you don't get lost. They encourage you to park at one of the nearby high school sports fields and then SARR has charter busses that run you from parking to the race event. Parking at the race is limited on race day. Carrabba's did a great meal with pasta, salad, chicken and some sort of mushroom topping that is bad a$$. Also, hats off to Alamo Brewing Company who provided all the draft beer at the event. Each runner was afforded two generous cups of Alamo Golden Ale. Thanks to the sponsors and all the volunteers. The race is chip timed by the way and they always do a good job of getting results out quickly. The BAD: The only bad thing I can even mention is the damned material the trail is paved with. Sonnofabeetch! I cannot even try to explain how brutal this crap is. I run in my neighborhood a few times a week on some pretty gnarly chip and seal and it can't hold a candle to this crap. I will not run this race again barefoot unless they repave the trails with something a bit smoother. Next year, I'll probably have to swallow my pride and sacrifice a kitten to the barefoot gods and just wear some sort of foot coverings. I challenge anyone who thinks they're a bad-a$$ barefoot runner to go visit this park if you're ever in San Antonio and go ahead and get your humble pie handed to you. I know it wrecked my will to live today. Had there not been a team of people waiting for me to hand off a baton, I would have quit this run at about the 1.5-2 mile mark. I spent the rest of the day pondering the fact that although I'm a barefoot superhero...I'm still mortal.