California > Pier to Peak Half Marathon
Santa Barbara, CA • Sunday, September 1, 2013 • Course Map
The Labor Day holiday weekend in Santa Barbara brings the annual running of the Pier to Peak Half Marathon, a challenging 13.1-mile race that takes runners all the way from the Friendship Dolphins Fountain at the edge of Sterns Wharf on the water all the way up to the peak of La Cumbra Peak, which overlooks the city and the water from an elevation of nearly 4,000 feet above sea level.
Often called "the world's toughest half marathon," this is a race that will test even the most experienced runners and demands plenty of high-elevation and hills training. Nearly 400 runners crossed the finish line at the race's 2011 running -- 396, to be exact -- and the race usually fills up each year, so prospective entrants are encouraged to sign up early.
The race begins at sea level at Stearns Wharf, and takes runners through the city of Santa Barbara for the first couple of miles, up State Street and Santa Barbara Street before entering the hillier terrain of the race on West Mountain Avenue. Here's where the race really starts to climb, taking the field past local parks like Mission Park and Rocky Nook Park as it transitions onto Gibraltar Road. As the race is reaching its half-way point, runners enter the Los Padres National Forest, and begin to make their way up toward the peak and the finish line at La Cumbra Peak.
When they reach the finish, runners will experience the race's true reward -- the gorgeously scenic overlook into the valley below, the Pacific Ocean and the Channel Islands out in the ocean just off the coast of California. The race is open to both runners and walkers, who have the option of starting 30 minutes before the runners in order to complete the course in reasonable times.
The race course will be monitored but also will be open to traffic during the event, so participants will need to use sidewalks and obey traffic signals throughout the race.
Race Weather & Climate
Set along the coast of Southern California, about 95 miles west (and a nearly two-hour drive) of Los Angeles, the city of Santa Barbara tends to see mild to moderately warm temperatures year-round, with little variation. Its wettest months are January through March, while summers are usually very dry.
In September, average monthly temperatures range between 59°F and 75°F, while rainfall is rare, averaging just under a third of an inch for the month. On the day of the race (Sept. 1), the average low is 59°F and the average high is 76°F.
View the race route map for the Pier to Peak Half Marathon
$75 for the half marathon
All finishers receive a free race t-shirt after they reach the peak and cross the finish line
To reserve your spot in the late summer 2013 running of Santa Barbara's Pier to Peak Half Marathon, register online at Active.com.
Official Race Website
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