- 10 miles, 26.2 miles/Marathon, Other, Relay
- Road Race
I've done nearly 90 road races and the Big Sur series is, by far, my most favorite of them all- from the expo to the course to the entertainment along the way to The Best schwag and recovery food and drink afterwards, I hope to continue doing Big Sur annually! They host a half in November in Monterey as well that is just as awesome, but this is the April marathon course- a point-to-point that is known to be one of the most challenging full road marathons here in the Bay Area (due to the elevation, headwinds, and constant photo ops). For this reason, I have yet to accomplish the full marathon as the 10.6 miler is just fine for me! (I have also done leg 1 of the relay for this race back in 2011.)
The best aspect of this race is the location- Big Sur and Carmel are gorgeous coastal towns and the entire course travels along Highway 1, which is known for its breathtaking, vast views of the Pacific Ocean. Running above while waves crash and break along rugged cliffs and beaches below- yes please!
The 10.6 mile race starts at mile 15.6 of the full marathon and since the highway is closed off, you must take a special shuttle to get to the starting line. I parked in a nearby parking structure, walked to the shuttle location, easily boarded and headed to the start, about 30 minutes away. After arriving and getting off the shuttle, I walked down a hill towards the bathrooms, coffee, and bananas and was greeted to live music! A band at 6:30am singing and pumping up the crowd was a very pleasant surprise!
Back to the top of the hill for the race start and off we went- as I was just recovering from a recent stress fracture, I promised myself to take it easy but there is something about the view, the aid stations every couple miles complete with orange slices and fresh strawberries, and the bands and cheer stations along the way, I ran so much more than I thought I would and had a FABULOUS time doing so!
Normally, I would review a race by going through highlights mile by mile but, in this case, it was all a happy blur and yes it is hilly but I was still sad to see the finish line- I just love this course *that* much! After crossing the finish, I received that very cool ceramic medal that only Big Sur Marathon is known for and aptly so- the race is just as unique and special as the medal (and oh how I love my medals!!!).
Despite how many people run this race, it is planned perfectly to accommodate each distance- the 10.6 miler finishes before the full so the recovery area isn't crowded, providing an easy path to post-race food, beer, and return shuttles. No lines, no problem!!!
While it is a more expensive race, I feel I certainly get what I paid for- a perfectly managed, beautiful course, with ample perks, and a view from the edge of California that one must see to believe. Thank you, Big Sur Marathon, for providing my favorite racing backdrop.