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Big Sur Marathon Recap

Big Sur Marathon Recap


Um, so yeah, if you’re going to have a race on your bucket list, Big Sur Marathon needs to be on it.

Yes, it needs to.

In fact, why don’t we all just make a plan to run it together next year, yes?


I got the opportunity to run this race with Runner’s World and Mizuno. I was actually supposed to do the whole Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge, but well, with my injury and all that didn’t really go as planned. But…. it did happen to be a blessing in disguise.

Speaking of Runner’s World, look what I found on their Facebook page yesterday.


What? Pretty cool huh? Oh that race (Runner’s World Half Marathon) was so much fun.




Despite being injured and not really being able to run, I knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to stay in Monterey and experience just a little taste of the best destination marathons in the world. I had second thoughts about making the trip, but they have so many other racing options (21-miler, 10.6 miler, 9-miler, 5K, Just Run Kid’s 3K) I knew I could manage a shorter race. They were so hospitable and nice about letting me change races also. The BSIM folks really know how to take care of their racers.


I will try to not be long winded (can you believe people call me that?), but I really want to tell you how incredible this race is, so I’ll do my best.

They did a whole 26 Reasons to love the Big Sur Marathon countdown on their Facebook Page leading up to the race. But, here’s just a few fun things you should know about the Big Sur International Marathon:

– There were approximately 10,000 total registered runners for all events for this year

– There were 2,500 volunteers

– More than $200,000 is donated to local charities annually

– Last year the marathon recycled or composted over 91% of its waste material

– 400 gallons of coffee were consumed

– 30 kegs of beer were consumed (yeah, there’s beer at the finish line)

– 385 porta potties were used

– oldest marathoner this year- Richard Opsahl, age 81



Okay, so the race. I had changed to the 10.6 miler just the day before. I knew I wanted to run “naked”, take it slow and just enjoy everything about the course. I got my race outfit ready the night before as usual.


(Mizuno tank, Meridian skirt, Halo visor, Halo Hairbands, Handful bra, Pro Compression socks, Mizuno Elixir 7s)

I was not upset about not having to catch the 4:30 am bus to the marathon start line, but I was a little upset I didn’t get to check out the Runner’s World Challenge tent at the start. I didn’t see it, but word on the street was that there were bagels, coffee, bananas, private bathrooms, heaters and a private gear check. Cool, huh?

I still tried to get all dolled up for the race though. Ha ha.


Tina and I walked to our buses around 6 am. They were conveniently about a 3 minute walk from the Portola Hotel, the host hotel where we were staying.


There were no lines. We walked right up, hopped on a bus and were on our way.


I ate a little pre race snack on the ride. A banana and a chia shot.


I may or may not have accidentally spilled chia seeds in the bus. Oopsies.

The 10.6 miler started at Rocky Point Restaurant.


Not a bad view to start with, huh?


I was really happy with the decision to only do the 10.6 miler instead of attempting the full. That would’ve just been silly.


Everything was very low key at the start. There were plenty of bathrooms,


some live entertainment,


and even hot coffee and bagels.


There were quite a few walkers for the 10.6 miler, so they were instructing the runners to head up to the front.


Promptly at 7:00 AM we were off.


The gear check bus was just a little bit into the race. Kind of different, but really convenient to just toss your bag to the nice volunteers.


Tina and I jogged for just a couple minutes before we passed the 16 mile marker sign.


First time ever I wasn’t tired while passing the 16 mile marker. Ha ha.

Um, and yeah, they had really cool signs like this at every mile.

The views along the way were breath taking.


My friend Jennifer was running the relay with her hubby so she found us and ran an extra mile before her start. She’s cool like that.


I kid you not we had to stop at least every mile to take more pictures because the scenery was too beautiful to pass up.


It was the perfect race to just run (or walk) and take everything in and enjoy the whole ride.


There was quite a bit of live entertainment along the course too, although we missed the grade piano player who was earlier on the marathon course. This guy was pretty close though


and the school bands were rocking.



Not that we needed it for our recreational jog, but along the course they had ample water (including CamelBak refill stations), Gatorade, GU,


bananas, oranges


and even the best strawberries ever at mile 23.


Before we knew it we were less than a mile from the finish line.


And…… then we were there. Another huge plus about running to just run and not care about your time is that you can stop and take a picture of the finish line before you cross it. Ha ha.


So glad Tina raced with me. It was fun to casually run with someone else and just take everything in. She’s a gem for going slow with me.


We finished just before the first marathoner. Everyone was on the lookout for him.


Adam Roach of Pacific Grove was the repeat winner of the Big Sur Marathon in 2:27:46. I guess he wore the same outfit the year before when he won too. Hey, if it ain’t broke…..


The post race festivities were awesome too. Sometimes I just like to get out as soon as possible after races, but this race is so family friendly and they have such great stuff for the runners post race.


They also had these compost and recycling bins everywhere.


Love that. You can read all about their greening efforts here.

Gear pick up was so organized. I wasn’t even up to gate yet when a lovely volunteer shouted out my number and was holding my bag for me. Now that’s just awesome.


They also had goodie bags for each finisher that Tina and I didn’t pick up because we headed straight to the VIP tent.


And the VIP tent was no joke. They had wine,


screwdrivers and bloody marys,


Starbucks coffee,


yummy coffee cake and muffins,


roasted artichokes,


salmon and all sorts of other fancy food.


I wished I was more hungry, but Tina and I decided to save most of the goodies for the real marathoners. We did helped ourselves to some coffee ad a few goodies though.


They also had a special tent for all the Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge participants, but we didn’t go in that one. I had to leave something to look forward to for next year when I do that challenge, right?

We made our way to the Runner’s World Challenge tent instead.


Holy smokes, Runner’s World does not mess around.


The tent was for runners and family, but only the runners got dibs on the food and the free massages.

Yep, that’s right- FREE MASSAGES.

Since most of the marathoners were still running, Tina and I made ourselves right at home while waiting for them.


Check out all the awesome food they had for the RW Challenge runners.



some delicious All Whites egg casseroles


all kinds of sandwiches and vegetables


fresh baked cookies


and even Jamba Juice.


I went with this one. It was delicious.


We didn’t hang out too long, just long enough to find my friend Robert again.


He finished the marathon in 2:55 or something crazy fast like that. And, just saying, he wears Mizuno Elixirs to race in. Great minds think (and run) alike. Too bad I’m not speedy like him.


We headed out to find the shuttles back to the hotel since we had to check out.


Again, easy peasy to find the shuttle and get on and make our way back. The logistics of this race were just amazing.


Phew. I’m 99% sure I’m forgetting something, but seriously, the Big Sur Marathon is REALLY on my bucket list now. I WILL be back for the Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge next year.

The Runner’s World Challenge events are just as amazing as they say. I can’t wait to be involved with more of them. Everything is awesome- the coaches, shake out runs, hospitality, food, etc.

And the Big Sur Marathon……

I really love that this event is so open to anyone. Walkers, runners, families…… anyone can find a race that they can participate in. It’s the best place ever to run “naked”, appreciate the ability to move and enjoy the amazing scenery of the most beautiful destination race ever.



I already have the other Runner’s World Challenge events on my bucket list and the Big Sur Half Marathon (November 17th, 2014) on our schedule. Yes, “our”, I think we should make that one a family affair. Who wants to join us?


A huge thank you to Runner’s World, Big Sur International Marathon and especially to Mizuno for sponsoring me for this race, despite my injury. It was the opportunity of a lifetime and I can’t wait for more.


What race is on your bucket list?

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  1. 1
    heidi says:

    My bucket list race is Bay to Breakers in Santa Clarita on May 19th. Doing it this year, missed it last year due to a stress fracture. So excited. And now that I’ve read your review, I’m putting some portion of this race on my bucket list!

  2. 2

    That looks awesome! Big Sur is one of my most favorite places anywhere, so I think the marathon just went on my list for 2014 🙂 Great recap/review!

  3. 3

    Short shorts are only allowed in the privacy of my own home haha! That race looks so fun:)

  4. 4
    lindsay says:

    so glad you got to run with TIna and run!! Did it hurt? I bet the sites and the fellowship distracted you from your injury. GOOD THING!

  5. 5

    I love your attitude about it all, despite dealing with an injury…love you and Tina both, and I’m so glad you had a great time!

  6. 6
    Jennifer mykytiuk says:

    It was so fun seeing you and getting to “run” with you a bit! I love love love this race! It is so well organized! Bu man did I miss out not joining the Runners World Challenge! That’s the way to go! So glad you got to be a part of big sur! Maybe I will see you back there next year! I’ve always wanted to do the half too! Hmmm…

  7. 7
    Tess says:

    Looks like a fantastic time. Beautiful overview of what this particular race has to offer…..scenery, friends, enjoyment of the run and good time tents!!!!!!!

  8. 8
    Lizzie says:

    I love that blue jacket you are wearing! Where is it from?

  9. 9

    What a fun way to turn a disappointing situation into a fun one!

  10. 10

    I don’t really have a “bucket list” race but I’d love to eventually run one of our local brewery races (will run for beer!).
    Ok, beer and the whole being long-winded thing (I am too, sometimes!) reminds me of a (bad) joke.
    “Where do long-talkers go to get help?” …. “On and on anon” yuk yuk yuk 🙂

  11. 11
    Kara says:

    I love your running jacket. Who makes it?

  12. 12

    I love your outfit, especially that jacket. Must know where you got it! The pictures are gorgeous and the food, I’d run for the food!

  13. 13
    Laura says:

    This race has been on my bucket list for years, I just have not figured out when I am going to do it. I know I am doing Boston next year (assuming my 3:21 is enough to get me in…I am slightly worried what is going to happen with all that did this year…) and part of me considered the fact that WHY NOT do the Boston 2 Big Sur challenge ….knock 2 huge races off my bucket list at once.

    BTW that food spread looks amazing!! I know you would have rather been running, but I am glad you found a way to still participate and experience part of the race day shenanagins…

  14. 14

    Looks like you had a great time! I ran the Big Sur marathon in 2010. Such a beautiful race route!

  15. 15

    Glad you at least got to do it & what beautiful & wonderful pics!!!!! How do you do that! 😉

    Of course the cookies stopped me in my tracks being a cookie lover! 🙂

  16. 16
    Samantha says:

    If I were to race, it would be this one I read about in the Redwoods, CA. Apparently it went through a stage in which it was almost uncomfortably large, but supposedly isn’t as bad anymore. Talk about scenery.

  17. 17
    Josephine Copeland says:

    Great blog post!! I too was at the BSIM last Sunday and thoroughly enjoyed the experience! Where did you and your friend get your amazingly cute jackets???

  18. 18

    Holy cow! Look at all that food and massages, wow. I’d hang out there all day, ha ha.

  19. 19

    Such an amazing recap! I can’t believe it was already a week ago. Wishing I was back there now. Hopefully we get to see each other again sooner rather than later!

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