The Legacy and Evolution of the Big Sur Marathon

The Legacy and Evolution of the Big Sur Marathon

  • Canning Properties Group
  • 04/23/24

The Legacy and Evolution of the Big Sur Marathon

For decades, the Big Sur Marathon has captivated runners from around the world, drawing them to the rugged coastline of California for a challenging and unforgettable race experience. With its breathtaking scenery, iconic landmarks, and unwavering community support, the Big Sur Marathon has become a celebrated event in the world of distance running.


A Journey Through Time

The roots of the Big Sur Marathon trace back to 1986 when a group of visionary runners came together to create a race that would showcase the natural beauty of the Big Sur coastline. Since its inception, the marathon has grown in both size and prestige, attracting thousands of participants each year.

Over the years, the race has evolved, adapting to the changing needs of its participants and the community. One of the most significant changes came in 2014 when the marathon course was rerouted due to damage from a landslide, resulting in the iconic Bixby Creek Bridge becoming the race's midpoint rather than its finish line. Despite this alteration, the spirit of the Big Sur Marathon remained unchanged, with runners continuing to flock to the rugged coastline to test their mettle against the rolling hills and stunning vistas.


A New Beginning

In 2022, the Big Sur Marathon embarked on a new chapter with a revised starting point at Andrew Molera State Park. This change not only offered runners a fresh perspective on the course but also allowed for enhanced safety measures and logistical improvements. As participants set off from the picturesque surroundings of Andrew Molera State Park, they embarked on a journey that would take them through some of the most breathtaking scenery California has to offer.


Exploring the Route

One of the highlights of the Big Sur Marathon is the opportunity to run through some of the most scenic landscapes in the country. From the towering redwoods to the dramatic cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, every mile offers a new and awe-inspiring vista. Along the way, runners are greeted by enthusiastic spectators and volunteers who provide much-needed encouragement and support.

Team Members Paige Colijn and Brian Keck running the Big Sur Marathon!


Beyond the Marathon

While the Big Sur Marathon may be the main event, the surrounding area offers a wealth of opportunities for runners of all abilities. Whether you're looking for a leisurely jog along the coastline or a challenging trail run through the mountains, Big Sur has something for everyone. Some popular routes include the Old Coast Road Trail, Garrapata State Park, and the scenic trails of Andrew Molera State Park.

Expanding upon the Big Sur Marathon experience, runners not only challenge themselves against the course's undulating terrain but also immerse themselves in the vibrant culture of the region. Local businesses and artisans come together to create a festive atmosphere, offering everything from post-race refreshments to handmade souvenirs. Visitors can explore charming coastal towns like Carmel-by-the-Sea and Monterey, where they can indulge in world-class dining, browse boutique shops, and soak up the laid-back California vibe.

For those looking to extend their stay in Big Sur, there are ample opportunities for outdoor exploration and adventure. Hiking trails wind through ancient redwood forests, leading to hidden waterfalls and scenic overlooks. Biking enthusiasts can tackle the iconic Highway 1, traversing dramatic cliffs and winding coastal roads. And for those craving a more leisurely pace, there are countless beaches and coves to explore, perfect for a relaxing post-race cooldown or sunset stroll.

As the Big Sur Marathon continues to evolve and grow, it remains a beacon of inspiration for runners and spectators alike. With its stunning scenery, challenging course, and welcoming community, the marathon embodies the spirit of exploration and adventure that defines the California coast. Whether you're a seasoned athlete or a first-time visitor, the Big Sur Marathon promises an unforgettable experience that celebrates the beauty of nature and the resilience of the human spirit.


2024 Race Modification

Due to a recent landslide along the typical Marathon route, this year’s race will begin in Carmel and find participants turning around just north of the Rocky Creek Bridge. For more information, click here to access modifications and race schedules for the full marathon, the 21-miler, the 12K, the 5K and relay races this year.




Cover Photo by Miguel A Amutio on Unsplash
Photo by Spencer Davis on Unsplash


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