- 10 miles, 26.2 miles/Marathon, Other, Relay
- Road Race
Big Sur offers the marathon it is most known for as well as a 21 miler, marathon relay, 11 miler, 12K and 5k. Entry into the marathon is done by lottery whereas the other events fill up on a first come, first serve basis.
Communication from the race is just enough- every few weeks with all need to know information. Just before the race, they send out a very detailed participant guide answering any lingering questions runners may have.
Bibs were picked up in the Monterey Conference Center. Runners were sent a QR code by email and that plus a picture ID were all that was needed to pick up your bib. When I went on Saturday, there were little to no lines. Then you went and picked up your bus ticket for race morning transportation before heading downstairs to pick up your goodie bag and race shirt. Again, there was no line and all the volunteers were super friendly.
The expo was mid-sized with a few vendors, largest being the merchandise for the Big Sur Marathon followed by Hoka One One. The race merchandise booth dented my wallet pretty good. There were also numerous large canvases which presented good photo opportunities if you were willing to wait in a short line.
As the course is on Highway 1 and they close it to cars, you have to be bussed to the start unless you happen to be staying in Big Sur. My ticket said arrive by 4 and leave by 4:15 but we didn’t even board the buses until after 4:30. Then it’s a drive to the start, if you get car sick, take a Dramamine. Once we arrive and unload, it’s still a bit of a walk to the starting area where we dropped off our gear bags and lined up to start. There were plenty of port-a-potties scattered around.
The marathon route starts at Big Sur Station and winds North along Highway 1 to Carmel. It takes you between the trees and along the ocean. The views are awesome but you will work for them. There are hills throughout this course, the most significant being the one from mile 10 to mile 12. I am weird though and didn’t mind the majority of the hills-Mile 8 and the beast from 10-12 not included- I almost rated the elevation a 3 but realized that most people wouldn't consider 2200 ft of gain a 3.
Musicians/ DJ’s are sprinkled throughout the course as well giving runners something else to look forward to. Most notable would be the man playing the grand piano just after crossing the Bixby Bridge at mile 13.1.
There were 11 aid stations along the course with water and Gatorade Endurance. After mile 10, most had fresh fruit as well and 2 stations had Gu’s. Towards the end, one station was offering fresh cut strawberries like BSIM events usually do. Most stations also usually had Vaseline and basic medical supplies if needed.
Overall- This race was awesome. Every mile brings you something new to see and the views are amazing. Even on an overcast day like it was for me. Race day wasn’t my day, I ended up contending with some major back pain for the last 10 miles but it was all worth it crossing that finish line. Big Sur is definitely a race for your bucket list and one I will try to do again.