Runner's Corner - Big Sur International Marathon

World Marathons - By Lindsay Borden

Big Sur International Marathon

Lindsay Borden

Lindsay Borden

The Big Sur Marathon is beautiful scenic run along Hwy 1 in California. Don’t expect to reach a personal best on this hilly run. Most runners will have cameras and be pulling them out for great photo opportunities throughout the race. The trick is ensuring your frequent stops aren’t putting you at risk of reaching the 6 hour time limit before you reach the finish!

Registration for the Big Sur International Marathon opens in mid July for two weeks. At the end of the two weeks there is a draw. Only 4500 participants are allowed to run in this event that takes place at the end of April.

Where to stay:

I initially booked a room at a hotel in Monterey (near the expo). Shortly before leaving for California, I got worried about how far the hotel in Monterey was from the finish. I didn’t want to have to worry about parking, traffic, etc., so I decided to look for another hotel within walking distance from the finish line. This lead me to the Carmel Mission Inn. The room was quiet and clean with a view the could not be beat. With a view of the finish line from the hotel balcony, my boyfriend could watch the run while doing work from the comfort of our balcony.

Carmel Mission Inn

Carmel Mission Inn

Where to eat:

Finding vegan and organic options in Carmel and Monterey was not as easy as I would have thought (especially for dinner). We were able to find the Whole Foods and got a meal, plus snack, from there. We also found an organic breakfast spot called The Wild Plum:http://thewildplumcafe.com/, and had a before race pasta dinner at Cafe Rustica in Carmel Valley: http://www.caferusticavillage.com/

Race Day

The race day starts bright and early (you might want to bring melatonin to ensure a good night’s sleep). Buses to the start begin shuttling runners between 3:30 am and 4:30 am for the 6:45 am start. Ideally you have an easy walk or drive to the buses that will drive runners South down Hwy 1 to Big Sur. At the starting area there are plenty of port-a-potties (I recommend getting in early) and music. The park is taped off to prevent people from squatting in the bushes (however there are some opportunities to do this early in the run).

At dawn, we were lined up in our heats to start the race. A drone flew overhead taking pictures of the runners.

At dawn, we were lined up in our heats to start the race. A drone flew overhead taking pictures of the runners.

The views for this race could not be beat! I suggest bringing along some Arnica, Bromelain, or even Tylenol to help your muscles and joints battle the hills.

The views for this race could not be beat! I suggest bringing along some Arnica, Bromelain, or even Tylenol to help your muscles and joints battle the hills.

The Bixby Creek Bridge is another beautiful view with a surprise at the end.

The Bixby Creek Bridge is another beautiful view with a surprise at the end.

Each year a pianist, Michael Matinez, baby grand for runners passing by.

Each year a pianist, Michael Matinez, baby grand for runners passing by.

Before you even get to the finish line (at around mile 23), there are strawberries at the aid station (and again at the finish lines). As someone who runs thinking of the smoothies she’ll have at the finish, there’s nothing better than some fresh fruit to keep you going (or at the end of the run).

Before you even get to the finish line (at around mile 23), there are strawberries at the aid station (and again at the finish lines). As someone who runs thinking of the smoothies she’ll have at the finish, there’s nothing better than some fresh fruit to keep you going (or at the end of the run).