San Francisco Marathon

San Francisco Marathon

San Francisco Marathon

( 79 reviews )
94% of reviewers recommend this race
  • San Francisco,
    United States
  • July
  • 3 miles/5K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon, 50 miles
  • Road Race
  • Event Website


Lakewood, California, United States
4 11
"Full of nerves...but tons of fun! [free race photos PLUS spectator bus info]"
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Race Management
Ivie 's thoughts:

This race turned out to be WAY better than I had expected. Everything about it was classy and organized.

I went to the Expo Friday morning, shortly after opening. There were no crowds or lines, plenty of room to walk around, tons of merchandise, and your typical expo vendors. There wasn’t a TON to look at if you’ve been doing a lot of racing, there was nothing new or exciting. The official merch was great! If this was my first marathon I could have easily purchased hundreds of dollars of swag! It was cool to have beer, coffee and food trucks at the event too, especially since I was with family who were just waiting for me to finish.

The starting line was easy to get to. I had an uber drop me off near an intersection of the corral 3 entrance. I didn’t gear check, but the trucks were right there. There were also a ton of port o poties at the intersection as well. It was still rather dark so I needed my cellphone light so I could see inside. The corrals were easy to manage and navigate. The start wasn’t anything grand, but the lights on the bay bridge made for some nice early race photos.

I was very nervous about all of the hills. The full has a 6 hour time limit, which also had me a bit nervous. I knew the first inclines would come early in the race, so we knew not to go out too fast. The nice things about the hills are that they don’t last that long (mileage wise). Once we made it up the first few inclines we were on the bridge. I was given the advice to bring a throw away and keep it until after the bridge and I’m glad I did. The winds weren’t too bad, but it was cold with a few gusts. The bridge was crowded and slippery, so we were being very mindful with each step.

Once we got off of the bridge we were in Golden Gate park which may have been one of my favorite parts. There was a lot to look at, you didn’t feel like you were in the city and there were a lot of switch backs. Typically I don’t like switch backs, but there were so many that it helped you get distracted about which direction you were going and before you knew it, you were 18 miles into the race.

Everything after Golden Gate park is pretty uneventful. There are some dirty and questionable neighborhoods, but the hills are gone…so that’s a plus. The industrial part of the Mission Bay (before the ball park ) was rather boring, but we knew we were almost done. The streets are AWFUL so we also were being careful not to misstep. Running by the park as they got ready for a day game was cool and the extra people around helped with momentum for your final mile.

The bling was great, the finish line swag was okay, but I felt like the finish line festival was not as close as it could have been. However, I did enjoy my damp scented towel from Airfrance as we walked through.

Overall it was a great race! Some of the mile markers were hard to see and I feel like there could have been more hydration stations, but all in all it was a very classy organization and an organized event. They do a great job at really running you through the city and avoiding some of the major hills. The course ended up being way easier than what I had made up in my mind, so that was nice! We would always like it to be easier than harder, right? PLUS you get FREE race photos! I LOVVVVE it when you get free race photos! I would have jumped in front of more cameras if I had known ;)

BONUS: The spectator bus is AMAZING! My fiancé purchased a wrist band for $20 (you pick it up at the expo). They pick you up at the start and you get to go to miles 3, 12.5, 22 and the finish. It was great to see him so many times and it was super easy on him! He said it was the easiest race to spectate because of their bus coordination.

NOTE: It is very different than LA Marathon. One of the things I love about LA is how the city comes out to cheer and support. There are virtually no spectators, so be prepared to not get the boost from people cheering.

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