Big Sur International Marathon Race Info

Lessons Learned from Race Reports

  • With the logistics of getting thousands of runners to one spot on Highway 1, be ready for an early, early morning to get to the start, and to be in a fairly crowded area pre-race
  • Two sayings that describe the race: Beautiful yet Brutal and Hills and Headwinds
  • With the first few miles being downhill and without too crowded of a start, it’s easy to go out too fast
  • With no spectator access, it’s a fairly quiet course compared to most road marathons, though the race does organize bands along the way
  • Be ready for windy conditions in different spots with running on the coast
  • Runners are likely to catch walkers from earlier races, so be ready to dodge them and run around; try to not get frustrated
  • Best thing you can do is to not stress too much about pace on the uphill, especially the big hill from miles 10-12
  • The hills last all the way until the end, so be ready for tired quads from the hills throughout the race.
  • Slighted slanted road, so do your best to find the flattest spot you can
  • Shaded from Redwood trees until about mile 5, after which it’s much more exposed to wind and sun
  • With ending at a lower elevation than you start, it’s going to be warmer in Carmel than Big Sur by the end of the race
  • While it’s a challenging race because of the hills, the scenery is worth it and the hills at least break up the miles mentally


Type: Point to Point from Big Sur to Carmel along Highway 1

Start/Finish Info: No driving to the start or dropping off. Must use free bus shuttles. There is bus transportation from several locations in the Monterey Peninsula to the start, leaving from 3:30-4:30am to get runners to Big Sur in time. Be sure to review shuttle information.

Elevation Gain/Loss: 2182/2528

Hills – Rollers throughout the entire course with one big gain and endless 25-50 foot gains, and a handful of ~100 foot gains. Biggest hill is ~500 feet of gain from miles 10-12

Course Map/Elevation

Aid stations

Locations of water and stations: (11 total) Miles 2.6, 4.8, 7.8, 10.4, 12.2,14.7, 16.7, 18.9, 21.3, 23, and 24.6

Electrolyte offered: Gatorade Endurance at all Aid Stations, fruit at all aid stations starting at mile 10.4, and GU at miles 12.2 and 18.9

Spectator access

Access Locations: None, only the finish. Highway 1 is closed for the runners, so it’s impossible for them to be at the start or anywhere along the course.

Boston qualifier?


Race reports

John Gregson’s 2022 Race Report

Roey P’s 2018 Race Report

Strava links

Race Website