Hi everyone! California Kiley here with another California race! Even though I’ve been exploring world of 5k fun runs basically all summer long I had a race was a little longer. The 40th San Francisco Marathon. Even though I ran the full back in 2015 and said it was a one and done race and could move on from the SF series they handed us a new challenge.
The Golden Gate Bridge
First let me break down this huge marathon for you, they have a 5k, 2 different course half marathons, the full marathon and the ultra marathon. All run on Sunday and all take you on a journey of San Francisco. The first time I ran this race way back in 2010 to participate in their final “California Dreaming Series,” I fell in love with running in San Francisco. It was just awesome and that one race would send me back up there a few times a year to run different SF races over the years. I took a 3 year break from the SF Marathon series till 2013 when I traveled up there for the race to start their new “half it all challenge.” Run the first half and the second half in back to back years and get your super cool 2nd medal. During that time they were partnered with my favorite full marathon the LA Marathon and had challenge if you ran the LA Marathon and one of the SF halfs or fulls in the same year and you guessed it you get another medal. (Do you see a trend here??) Once you finish the “Half it all Challenge” then if you run the full you are now part of their “52 Club” and give you a sweatshirt on your 3rd year. So once I finished those 3 years I thought we were done and I let my “legacy fall in 2016. What we didn’t know was if we had run anything in 2016 this year we would have been gifted the 5 year legacy water bottle! This year they offered their 40-40 challenge which was if you ran the full marathon or half marathon in the last 2 years you qualified for their 40-40 challenge. This is a onetime never going to happen again (well until the 50th anniversary lol) kind of race. My friend that I ironically met while running their first half during our “half in all challenge” start said we have to go! So the idea of running the full on its anniversary of the full marathon made tons of sense….ON PAPER!
This year I have run more full marathons they I ever have in one year. After Big Sur I felt I could handle anything so I was talked into yet another full marathon. The race is iconic because you get to run over the Golden Gate Bridge on the first half, full marathon and ultra. It’s always a cool experience and I have run over the bridge now 3 times since starting the SF Marathon. I’m sure many others have run it more but I’m a socal girl so even though a lot of people think “oh it’s in California,” it’s not overly close so it’s still travel race for me even if it’s short travel.
ALL the BLING!
This year the weather was great but know if you are set to run the full marathon here it’s two different types of weather. Cold on the bridge and warm thru the finish. This race will take you thru Fisherman’s Wharf, into the Presidio, across the bridge and around the scenic lookout and back over the bridge. Leaving the bridge you are around mile 9 and heading for the hills of San Fran. The finish of the first half ends in Golden Gate Park. The second half starts nearby with a later start time. It sends you thru the whole park and I refer to those as the “dark miles” it’s quiet and a ton less people so you are just alone with your “marathon thoughts.” For me this year they were dangerous thoughts as I literally didn’t want to keep running from 16 to 17. There were many miles of extreme tiredness where just walking was a challenge. Leaving the park you head into “The Haight” which is known as an old hippie town and in the 1960s it was a site to see as my parents always told me. After the haight you journey thru more of the streets of SF heading back to the Embarcadero which is your finish. Mile 25 wraps around the San Francisco Giants stadium and almost every year I’ve run the race it’s been a game day so there is a ton of crowd support. If you love huge races that run thru amazing cities this is a great race. I strongly recommend that you make a trip up and run one of their races. Marathon has a cut off of 6 hours and while it’s not as hard of a cut as Big Sur you will get pushed to the sidewalk and not finish under the actually finish line. Even coming in later most of the finish line stuff was shutting down so keep that in mind when you are training.
Hope everyone’s summer running is going well stay tuned for more 5k fun runs coming soon!!
Have you run a series of challenge races?
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