Sunday, November 8, 2015 • Monterey, CA • Course Map
For sheer natural beauty and dramatic coastal scenery, it’s pretty much impossible to top the Big Sur Marathon series of races, which hosts the annual Big Sur International Marathon in the spring and the Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay in the fall, the latter of which saw more than 7,000 finishers last year.
The deep blues and greens of the Pacific Ocean crashing the rocky coastline, the kelp beds swaying back and forth with the waves, the sea gulls floating along the breeze and sometimes even seals and sea lions out on the large rocks in the water — you’re likely to see all of it along the course at the November 13.1-mile race, which despite its name doesn’t actually run through Big Sur like its springtime counterpart, but still offers a gorgeous course with some challenging hills.
Runners start the half marathon in downtown Monterey along Del Monte Avenue, and from there follow the course first through the more touristy parts of the city, especially along Cannery Row and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which overlooks the ocean right on the edge of downtown.
Once runners make it through the early miles in this section — right after they’ve made their way through the Custom House Tunnel along Lighthouse Avenue — the course then heads into Pacific Grove and Point Pinos, where it really shows off this city’s scenic beauty.
The course hugs the coastline for the next several miles of the race all the way around to the turnaround point in Asilomar State Beach, giving runners a view of the waters of Monterey Bay the entire way.
They’ll pass by the Point Pinos Lighthouse and the Pacific Grove golf course through this section twice, on the way out and on the way back, and then turn off Ocean View Boulevard and onto the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail just after passing the mile 11 marker.
They’ll follow it all the way back to Cannery Row, which they’ll rejoin for a stretch before heading back onto the trail, which will carry them all the way to the finish line at Custom House Plaza.
Race Weather & Climate
Nestled along the Northern California coastline near the southern end of Monterey Bay, about 110 miles south of San Francisco, Monterey typically sees November temperatures that average between 47°F and 64°F, while rainfall totals average just over 2.4 inches for the month.
On the day of the race (Nov. 8), the average low is 48°F and the average high is 65°F.
- 2014 Big Sur Half Marathon Results
- 2013 Big Sur Half Marathon Results
- 2012 Big Sur Half Marathon Results
- 2011 Big Sur Half Marathon Results
Course Time Limit
3.5 hours — you’ll need to keep a pace of 16 minutes per mile or faster.
- $100 for the half marathon, if registered by April 7, 2015
- $120 between April 8 – July 31
- $130 between August 1 – November 7
- Discounts available for youth under age 17 and military, see race website for full details
To reserve your spot in the 2015 running of Monterey’s Big Sur Half Marathon, Pacific Grove Lighthouse 5K or By the Bay 3K race, visit the event website here.
Official Race Website
Ever run in the Big Sur Half Marathon? Share your impressions here, or post your review in the Comments below.