The North Face San Francisco 50k and 50m Race Info



Avg Temps f.


Gain/Loss in ft

50k: 6,736/~6736

50m: 10,666/~10,666

Furthest Aid

Both: 6 miles

Highest Elev.

50k: 1,359ft

50m: 1,591ft


50k: 7:00am

50m: 5:00am



Time Limit

50k:10 hours

50m: 14 hours



Longest Climb

50k: 1000ft/2 miles50m: 1500ft/5 miles


Summary: Starting in Sausalito near the Marin Headlands and ending in Crissy Field in San Francisco, runners will run several ascents and descents, much of which offers beautiful views of San Francisco and Marin, including the Golden Gate Bridge. Once runners leave the Marin Headlands, they run over the Golden Gate Bridge itself before the final push to finish at Crissy Field. This was a new course in 2017 for both distances, so this will be the second year running this course.

Lessons Learned from Race Reports

  • Start and Finish are in a different location. Make sure you know the shuttle information
  • For the 50k, total distance is 32.4, so you have your longest stretch between aid stations after the last aid station at 26.4
  • Since there are several races of varying distances and courses going on over the weekend, be sure you know the ribbon course marking color that corresponds to your race
  • If it’s rainy, sections of the trail are very exposed and can make for some wet, windswept miles
  • With the 50 miler starting earlier, if the trail is wet or muddy, it can be quite sloppy by the time 50k runners are going through
  • Again, if it’s muddy, the descents can feel all the more steep because they are slicker and have less traction
  • Be prepared for any kind of weather, especially if you’re flying to the race, as it’s been drastically each past year of racing, and a lot of the course is exposed
  • With so many climbs and descents, one after the other, pacing is a must, as the climbs will seem harder and harder, and be sure not to burn out on the initial descents and flats
  • For the 50m, headlamps are required at the start and then 1 hour after sunrise
  • Course can get a bit crowded by the second half of the day with 50 milers, 50k runners, and marathoners all out on the course
  • Train with technical downhill trails
  • 50m: *Very* steep stairs coming out of the Stinson Beach AS, on the Dipsea Trail. Prepare to power-hike.
  • 50m: One deep creek crossing at about mile 37 – no avoiding getting your shoes wet!
  • 50m: Several branches/trees to go over or under especially on the long downhill to the Stinson Beach AS (from Cardiac AS) and on the technical section between Cardiac and Old Inn.
  • The tourist sidewalk was open to the public over the Golden Gate Bridge, so you really need to pay attention to the wandering groups of walkers. After the bridge, there a few more flights of downhill stairs to get to Crissy Field.


Total gain/loss:

50k: 6,736/~6,736

50m: 10,666/~10,666

Total climbs:

50k: 6 major climbs of 500-1000ft over the course of 1-2 miles each (very few flat sections)

50m: 9 major climbs of ~800-1500ft over the course of ~2 miles each

Longest climb:

50k: 1000ft/2 miles

50m: 1500ft/5 miles

Map & Elevation in 50k Course Guide

Map & Elevation in 50m Course Guide

Aid stations

Total aid stations:

50k: 7

50m: 11

Furthest distance apart: 6 miles (both races)


50k: 3.5, 6.5, 11.8, 17.7, 20.5, 23.5, 26.4 (Bold indicates crew accessible)

50m: 4.5, 9.5, 13.3, 17.8, 23.1, 27.4, 30.1, 36, 38.8, 41.8, 44.7   

What’s available: Typical aid station fare, including items like Chips, Pretzels, Saltines, Oranges & Bananas, Skittles, M&Ms, Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches, Potatoes & Salt, Vegetable Broth, Energy Gels, Electrolyte Hydration, Pepsi & Mountain Dew, and Water. No gels.

Crew access

Access Locations (Note: Shuttles available for crew, see Course Guides):

50k: Miles 3.5 and 23.5, along with start and finish.

50m: Miles 13.3, 27.4, 41.8, along with start and finish.

Crew instructions/directions:

50k: 3.5 and 23.5 are the same aid station; see Course Guide, page 10 for more information, directions, rules, and parking information.

50m: 13.3 and 41.8 are the same aid station; see Course Guide, page 13 for more information, directions, rules, and parking information.



50k: None

50m: After mile 27, pick up at mile 27.4 or 41.8

Race qualifiers

50M – 4 UTMB points

50k – 3 UTMB points

Race reports

Keith Laverty’s 2017 50 mile Race Report

Matt Urbanski’s 2016 50 mile Race Report

Dan S’s 2016 50 mile Race Report (entertaining at the least, helpful re: Marin miles, pics of course, experience with the rain!) (great course photos – on a pretty day!)


Strava activities and GPX files



Race Website


50k Course Guide

50m Course Guide