Big Sur International Marathon

Big Sur International Marathon

Big Sur International Marathon

( 33 reviews )
96% of reviewers recommend this race
  • Carmel,
    United States
  • April
  • 10 miles, 26.2 miles/Marathon, Relay, Other
  • Road Race
  • Event Website

Dodie Mercer

Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, United States
36 16
"Running the Ragged Edge of the Western World"
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Race Management
Dodie Mercer's thoughts:

Big Sur has been a dream of mine for years and this year that dream came true.

I flew into California on Friday and stayed in Monterey.

The expo was a short 10 minute Uber ride from my hotel the next day. Packet pick up was a snap and the expo itself was a lot of fun. Normally I'm not a big fan of expos but I enjoyed this one. I bough a race jacket (something I never do) and even stayed for happy hour that was presented by Sufferfest.

The shirts were a long sleeve tech shirt and we were e-mailed a virtual goody bag leading up to the race.

Race morning I took a cab to the shuttle bus area. At the expo you were given shuttle tickets based on where you were staying, My bus was leaving at 4:00am which sounded extremely early for a 6:45 start.
As the bus wove it's way along the coast I understood why we left so early. By the time we got to the start line it was 6:00! I had just enough time to hit up a porta potty before getting into my corral.

My one and only complaint about the entire race weekend was the porta potty situation. The were along the left side of the back of the corral area. To the right side was the fenced off VIP area. This left little space for lines to form and it was a giant mash of people. To even get to a line you had to jostle through the crowd that was already in line. If they had been lined up along the back I think things would have went smoother.

The race starts off the in the woods and it's pretty down hill. It was hard not to get too carried away.

Once the ocean came into view it was hard to contain my excitement! We passed a lighthouse that looked like it was on an island in the distance and my picture taking started.

At mile 11 I started the two mile up hill climb to Hurricane Point. As I climbed I could hear the Taiko drummers in the distance encouraging me to keep going. When I got to the top the view made it all worth it. I smiled so hard my face hurt.

The next few miles were down hill and I was just finding a groove when I heard the piano music from the Bixby Bridge. I started crying.

I had to force myself to stop to take photos and videos of the bridge and coastline. This is was the exact reason I came to Big Sur and I wanted to take it all in.

As I floated down the hill and across the Bixby Bridge he played "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". The whole thing felt so surreal.

Then came the "rolling hills". I live in Central Pennsylvania where we have plenty of hills. These hills put my hills to shame.

No one warmed me that the final 10k is the toughest stretch!

The aid stations really kept me in the game throughout the whole race. Aside from having water and Gatorade they also had a BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle) station at the end where you could refill your water bottle. This is the first time I've ever seen that at a race and I think it's a great idea.

At mile 23 I snagged some strawberries and tried to focus on the remaining miles. The ocean views helped distract me a little.

Around mile 25 or so I stopped and had a beer!

I could hear the finish line before I saw it and was thrilled to finally be there. The medals were some sort of ceramic with the iconic Big Sur lettering.

After I collected my medal I went through and grabbed some food from the tables that were set up. The only thing I didn't see was water or Gatorade. Usually someone is handing them out right at the finish but I didn't see anyone nor did I see any coolers. Luckily, I still had some left in my water bottle.

I found the Sufferfest tent and had my celebratory post race beer then I found the shuttles to head back to Monterey. Once I got back into town I took an Uber back to my hotel.

Overall I can't say enough great things about this race. The logistics of flying to California to run a point to point race scared me a little but the whole thing went smoothly. The views are everything you can imagine and then some.

Every runner should have Big Sur on their bucket list!

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