Lake Merced Half Marathon & 4.5-Mile Run

Sunday, August 13, 2023 • San Francisco, CA • Course Map


A simple loop course run that takes runners along the pedestrian & jogging path that runs around San Francisco’s Lake Merced Municipal Park, the Lake Merced Half Marathon & 4.5-Mile Run takes runners around the lake three times for the 13.1-mile half marathon, and just a single time for the shorter race.

The race is organized by San Francisco’s Dolphin South End Runners club, and attracted 200 runners for both the 13.1- and 4.5-mile races combined at its 2014 running. Club members receive a discount on the already low registration fee — they’ll pay $8 if they register in advance

Popular as a local destination for fishing, canoeing, boating and golf — next door are both the Harding Park Municipal Golf Course, San Francisco Golf Club and the Olympic Club Golf Course, which hosted the United States Open golf championship in 2012.

The 740-acre Lake Merced park is also home to numerous species of wildlife, including many waterfowl, and fish including trout, bass and carp. Runners get a view of the lake on their entire run around the course, which runs alongside the lake throughout the race.

Race Weather & Climate

With its relatively constant temperatures throughout the year — and yet often-cold conditions, especially in the summer, thanks to the wind coming in off the bay — San Francisco enjoys typical Northern California coastal weather, with dry, mild summers and wetter, cooler winters.

On race day (Aug. 13), the average low is 55ºF and the average high is 68ºF.

Past Results

Course Map

See the race route map for the Lake Merced Half Marathon here.

Starting Time

8:00 AM


  • $8 for the half marathon, for members of the Dolphin South End Runners club
  • $10 for non-members


To reserve your spot in the 2023 running of the Lake Merced Half Marathon, register online at here.


Official Race Website


Ever run in the Lake Merced Half Marathon? Share your impressions here, or post your review in the Comments below.

See more races in: August, California

2 comments… add one
  • Paige Skorseth June 21, 2018, 5:41 pm

    Hi Lake Merced Half Marathon and 4.5 Mile Run,

    I work for Stanford University’s Department of Orthopedic Surgery, and I’m reaching out to you in regards to recruitment for a new research study that we are conducting on Female Athlete Triad and iron deficiency. As I’m sure you know, iron deficiency and anemia is a huge problem in teenage females that participate in distance running. However, it has never been investigated in conjunction with Female Athlete Triad (decreased energy/calorie availability, menstrual cycle changes, and decreased bone density), in an adolescent population. We are determined to do just that!

    Each subject in our study will complete consent and assent, participate in a survey, have a blood draw, and have a DXA scan during a single visit to the Stanford Children’s Health Specialty Services, in Sunnyvale, CA. The visit takes about 1.5 hours.  From the data collected, we hope to be able to correlate female athlete triad risk scores with ferritin iron levels. The benefits of participation in the study include:

         1. Each participant receives all of their own data (CBC, ferritin iron level, Vitamin D level, free T3 level, estradiol level, IGF-1 level, and whole body bone mineral density).
        2. Each participant receives a $25.00 Amazon gift card.

    We are looking to recruit about 40 female distance runners between the ages of 15 and 18. We are reaching out to you because we believe that you may be able to help us access this population of athletes. We know that the Lake Merced Half Marathon and 4.5 Miler are coming up on June 24th, and we were hoping you could help in any of the following ways: 

    1. Distributing a flyer in the race packets at packet pickup/check-in. I would be happy to provide the flyers through email, hard copies through mail, or send a research staff member to distribute the flyers themselves.
    2. Displaying the flyer at packet pickup, other visible locations, during awards, or on social media.
    3. Allowing us to recruit directly.

    However, we would welcome any help you could give in recruitment and are open to suggestions!  Additionally, if you have any other events or ideas that may be valuable in our recruiting, we would love to hear your input! Please let me know if you would be willing to help with study recruitment for this ground breaking research. You can contact me at 715-441-6921 or

    Thank you for your help in this exciting new project,
    Paige Skorseth

  • Alberto Maldonado July 11, 2016, 5:22 pm

    Will you be offering medals to all finishers?


Leave a Comment