Overall Rating
Overall Rating (53 Reviews)
4.9
(53 Ratings)(53 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
4.2
SCENERY
5
PRODUCTION
4.6
SWAG
3.9
Runner’s World’s Bart Yasso has called it the “Must do in your lifetime” marathon. The Big Sur Int’l Marathon offers a course that features incredible beauty as well as a real challenge for most runners and faster walkers. Staged entirely on Hwy 1, runners are treated to panoramic views of … MORE
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Recent reviews

    Profile photo of Jumay Hipolito
    jumay.hipolito FIRST-TIMER '17

    For my first marathon ever, probably a hard course to run, but the scenery, entertainment, and overall atmosphere made it all worthwhile! Watch out for Hurricane Point. Once you get … MORE

    For my first marathon ever, probably a hard course to run, but the scenery, entertainment, and overall atmosphere made it all worthwhile! Watch out for Hurricane Point. Once you get to the top, at least you know it’s all downhill after that 🙂

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    This is not an "easy" race to get into, but the race organizers give you multiple ways to enter the lottery and they don't force you to give them money … MORE

    This is not an “easy” race to get into, but the race organizers give you multiple ways to enter the lottery and they don’t force you to give them money to apply for the lottery, nor do they automatically charge you if you’re selected – this is a classy way to handle an otherwise stressful lottery process.
    I’m a Northern California native, so the scenario is very familiar. But for a non-local, you could not ask for a more pleasurable way to experience Hwy 1 and the California coast. Carmel and Monterey are beautiful spot to enjoy before and after the race. I would recommend it highly as a destination race.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    Profile photo of cheryl blatt
    cherbear728 FIRST-TIMER '17

    Considering the huge storms, construction to rte 1, and other mother nature hurdles, the race producers did a great job (and .4 miles added at no extra charge! Bonus...I think!). … MORE

    Considering the huge storms, construction to rte 1, and other mother nature hurdles, the race producers did a great job (and .4 miles added at no extra charge! Bonus…I think!). Beautiful scenery made the miles fly by (despite the hills). The course was challenging enough to keep me interested, solid aid stations, and just enough entertainment for enjoyment but not to detract from the beauty and serenity of the course.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    Profile photo of c T e
    heilancoo FIRST-TIMER '17

    Where do I start? Well, there's the scenery... but you'll get that even if you're not running the marathon....so I'll concentrate on the event itself and people behind the scenes... … MORE

    Where do I start? Well, there’s the scenery… but you’ll get that even if you’re not running the marathon….so I’ll concentrate on the event itself and people behind the scenes…
    What you get as a runner is an astonishing attention to detail, resulting in an amazingly smooth event, staffed by an army of cheerful and extremely lovely volunteers.
    The cherry on top is the 98% recycling rate for all rubbish… that’s awesome!
    My marathon tally is in 3 figures now and I can say from experience that this is one of the best organised I’ve done.
    So many of the bigger and better known events need to take a leaf or two out of Big Sur’s book.
    Worth the 19 hours of travelling to get there 🙂

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    Profile photo of GARY PERKINS
    Gary_Perkins FIRST-TIMER '17

    This isn't a race to PR on. Enjoy the breath taking views that the course offers. The course is challenging but unique. You can hear the piano at mile 13 … MORE

    This isn’t a race to PR on. Enjoy the breath taking views that the course offers. The course is challenging but unique. You can hear the piano at mile 13 from a distance.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    This is an amazing event. Very well organized. The aid stations were wonderful: water, sport drink, sunblock, and of-course awesome volunteers. The music was amazing! From the Taiko drummers, to … MORE

    This is an amazing event. Very well organized. The aid stations were wonderful: water, sport drink, sunblock, and of-course awesome volunteers. The music was amazing! From the Taiko drummers, to the elegant Michael Martinez on piano, to (I thought I saw Buffy Sainte Marie on guitar), to the bands along the route. I loved the challenge of the hills. and we had perfect weather. Because the course was challenging I wasn’t going for a PR so I was relaxed and ended up with a better time than I was expecting. The announcers were great! Love, love, love this race!!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    Profile photo of Amy Maddox
    maddox320 FIRST-TIMER '17

    The scenery and wide openness of the coastline was magnificent! After running up the Big Sur coastline to Carmel I don't think I will ever be able to run a … MORE

    The scenery and wide openness of the coastline was magnificent! After running up the Big Sur coastline to Carmel I don’t think I will ever be able to run a big city marathon again.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    Profile photo of Patty Losacker
    plosacker1963 FIRST-TIMER '17

    Loved everything about the race. The shuttle to/from; the view of the water almost the entire course is what kept me going. The drummers and of course the piano player … MORE

    Loved everything about the race. The shuttle to/from; the view of the water almost the entire course is what kept me going. The drummers and of course the piano player were my highlights. It was fun to stop and take photographs. This race was all about the view and boy was it every a beautiful view.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3
    My Media

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    Profile photo of Kelli Hashimoto
    khash20 FIRST-TIMER '17

    I waited a week to write my review because I knew I would feel differently than I did after crossing the finish (but we'll get to that below). Location: The … MORE

    I waited a week to write my review because I knew I would feel differently than I did after crossing the finish (but we’ll get to that below).

    Location:
    The entire area of Monterey/Carmel/Big Sur is amazing, you can’t go wrong with where you stay. We used VRBO to rent a house in Monterey near Fisherman’s Wharf and the shuttle pick up. Everything was extremely easy!

    Expo:
    Great! It was a little cramped with so many people – I would recommend people to go at less crowded times so you have a chance to look around.

    Swag:
    Race shirt and program – the program was so cool! I’m keeping it forever.

    Shuttle:
    We woke up at 3:00 AM to walk to the shuttle. Although it was early, it was cool to be with all the other runners and to make new friends!

    The race:
    Difficult. Everyone told me that you don’t notice the difficulty because of the course scenery – that was a lie, it was pretty difficult! But looking back, I would totally do it all again. Plus I still got a PR, so there’s that. 🙂

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    Profile photo of Roni Garrett
    RGarrett FIRST-TIMER '17

    I have run several marathons and ultra races, and Big Sur ranks at the top. The scenery is epic and the weather is perfect. I will continue to participate in … MORE

    I have run several marathons and ultra races, and Big Sur ranks at the top. The scenery is epic and the weather is perfect. I will continue to participate in the race as long as I can get in. Get with a pace group as I honestly had the best time with the 3:45 pacer!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    2

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    Profile photo of David Deutsch
    mnjogger FIRST-TIMER '17

    This was my 14th marathon but first time running Big Sur. What a breathtaking course this was! There are many hills on this course, but if you incorporate hill workouts … MORE

    This was my 14th marathon but first time running Big Sur. What a breathtaking course this was! There are many hills on this course, but if you incorporate hill workouts into your training you will be fine. Don’t be intimidated by them. Our weather was sunny, ranging from mid 40s to low 60s. Some parts of the course had wind gusts, but they were manageable. Every mile was marked with an entertaining sign. There were several bands along the course playing a variety of music. Water stops along the way were well done. Overall a well-coordinated race. I appreciated the group entry lottery option (despite not winning). I encourage others to enter the subsequent lotteries (individual and last chance) if you don’t get in with the group lottery. The Expo was average size and functional. It wasn’t clear until we got to the Expo that the morning bus tickets to the start line are timed, so if you are with a group make sure you all get the same bus time (and bus starting location).

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    Profile photo of Linda Brown
    lbrown73 FIRST-TIMER '17

    I live in Raleigh, NC but I am from Albany, NY and have travelled all over the east coast extensively. I have travelled some to other parts of the country … MORE

    I live in Raleigh, NC but I am from Albany, NY and have travelled all over the east coast extensively. I have travelled some to other parts of the country and even the world but Big Sur and Monterey and Carmel take the prize in scenery! It was absolutely gorgeous! The race itself is a brutal 26.2 miles up and down and up and then more up and then even more up before you finish. It was totally worth it though and I would do it again in a heartbeat! The organization and communications between the race organizers and myself were wonderful. I read everything they sent me several times and race weekend went off without a hitch for me. Very well organized. My tips to others: train… and then train some more on some steep hills. READ everything that is sent to you by the race organizers!!! This is super important. Then HAVE A BLAST AND TAKE LOTS OF PICTURES!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    Profile photo of PamelaDawn Schipper
    Primadawn FIRST-TIMER '16

    The best of both worlds: an international marathon production, but a shorter distance with equally great coastal views. For those of us new to the sport, or limited in training … MORE

    The best of both worlds: an international marathon production, but a shorter distance with equally great coastal views. For those of us new to the sport, or limited in training time, this race is a great way to participate in the famous Big Sur marathon event weekend.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    Profile photo of Sonya Duran
    SonyaRunNM FIRST-TIMER '17

    The course is absolutely stunning...but certainly challenging. Pretty disappointed with everything else. The expose was tiny and lackluster. The space was so small that it made it feel claustrophobic. The … MORE

    The course is absolutely stunning…but certainly challenging. Pretty disappointed with everything else. The expose was tiny and lackluster. The space was so small that it made it feel claustrophobic. The only swag was the T-shirt (which was nice). However, no sample, or extras were given and with so few vendors, you walk away with a big empty bag. Merchandise was disappointing and somewhat generic. The space at the start was crazy. People were sitting on the curb behind the portta potty line. Could not find the bagels/coffee. The finish was just as disappointing. Tiny area to drink your beer with nowhere to sit. Medals looked cool online but felt cheaply made in hand. A worthwhile run if you’re a veteran, but not a good first as nothing besides the scenery makes you feel it’s special…particularly for the cost. Volunteers and music were great and much appreciated!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    2

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    Profile photo of Becky Younger
    byounger19 FIRST-TIMER '17

    This race was the hardest course I have ever run but worth every painful step. It was a smaller marathon but very well organized. I got a very strong sense … MORE

    This race was the hardest course I have ever run but worth every painful step. It was a smaller marathon but very well organized. I got a very strong sense of community through out the entire weekend. I’ve run a lot of big marathons so to me the expo was very small but they did a good job with variety. The course was stunning from start to finish. I didn’t even noticed the lack of crowds along the course because you couldn’t keep your eyes off of the view. The finish area was a bit crowded as each runner finished but there was plenty to enjoy. If you are looking for a once in a lifetime experience via marathon, Big Sur is it!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    Profile photo of Steffany Ryan
    steffanyryan FIRST-TIMER '17

    My 14th marathon and 9th state - by far the MOST BEAUTIFUL RACE EVER!!! A must do marathon. It is an extremely hilly marathon and hard, but worth every minute. … MORE

    My 14th marathon and 9th state – by far the MOST BEAUTIFUL RACE EVER!!! A must do marathon. It is an extremely hilly marathon and hard, but worth every minute. I thought the race was run very well. The start line in the morning is a little crowded it, but if you walk to the back the lines to the bathrooms are shorter. Even though there are no spectators on the race, the volunteers are amazing. I did not do this race for time and worth every minute. Took a million pictures and enjoyed the race. Honestly, it would be a shame if you did not stop and that pictures! I would say I had 20 minutes of stopping and enjoying the scenery. LOVED BIG SUR!!!!!!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    The course is tough but oh my so beautiful! I live in the Midwest so about 2 months out I started doing aggressive treadmill inclines of about 10-13 miles to … MORE

    The course is tough but oh my so beautiful! I live in the Midwest so about 2 months out I started doing aggressive treadmill inclines of about 10-13 miles to get my quads ready for race day and it turns out it was enough to keep me alive! Made it to the finish without any muscle cramps or feeling like I was going to fall over.

    The race organization was very smooth. The expo was a bit too crowded because of renovations at the Portola hotel but let’s hope next year it has more space.

    The bus pickup in the morning was smooth as I stayed close to Carmel plaza. Everyone was super excited on the bus.

    We got off a couple of minutes walk away from big sur station which was crowded with enough port’a’potties for a small army. There were bananas, bagels, coffee, hot water but after all the runners got there, the line was kind of long so I didn’t wait for that.(FYI line up early for food).

    I wish the corrals were staged a bit differently. This is another FYI. You don’t have to go up when your corral gets called. Honestly I wish I used the bathroom a little later because I had to stop to pee like 1 mile in, due to lining up a bit too early because of what the announcer was asking … so take your time to pee at 6:15 for the 6:45 start if your bladder feels full just from thinking about not peeing like clockwork.

    The race was a blast, honestly I’ve never experienced anything like it. It was my first without headphones and I LOVED IT. There were so many unique experiences along the way, drum players, piano man and so many people cheering, the volunteers (some of them) were hilarious “free Gatorade !!” I didn’t miss my headphones one bit.
    I ran calmly first half since I knew hurricane point was coming up but it still took my legs out. Fortunately I took a lot of pictures along the way and didn’t feel very tired. After mile 22 ish weather started feeling a bit warm (we weren’t directly in the mild ocean breeze anymore), but the finish made it all worthy. Plenty of stuff at the finish though I didn’t have time to stay for the long massage line or long beer line.

    I really enjoyed that everyone on the course was taking in the experience and there was no pushing and shoving in the first miles like in other marathons I’ve done (Chicago, Illinois, Naperville etc)

    Getting in and out of the finish area was also really streamlined thanks to volunteers.

    HIGHLY recommend if you can go!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    Mike Sohaskey May 11, 2017 at 6:47pm

    Awesome review of an awesome experience, congrats Silvia! Good advice about the bathrooms at the start, there's definitely some wiggle room time-wise as to when you need to line up in your corral. And good call stopping to take pictures, this is the *perfect* race for that to capture the stunning views while giving your legs a reprieve from the hills. Last year featured a tough headwind, the upside being that the piano player could be heard from a mile away as we reached the top of Hurricane Point. Just amazing. Hope you get a chance to run this again, and hope you'll share some of your other running adventures as well!

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    Profile photo of Samantha Andrews
    nacole99 FIRST-TIMER '17

    This year I had the opportunity to run the Big Sur International Marathon in Big Sur, CA. This is my second marathon of 2017. I gained entry to the race … MORE

    This year I had the opportunity to run the Big Sur International Marathon in Big Sur, CA. This is my second marathon of 2017. I gained entry to the race through the lottery. The scenery is absolutely beautiful, but the course was very difficult. It made the Publix Marathon course designers look like amateurs. Here’s my race recap.

    The Expo
    The expo was small with many vendors. Bib and tee-shirt pick up was quick and easy. We also received our free bus ticket for our race shuttles. ASICS is the main sponsor and they had a large section of the expo where they were selling Big Sur branded items. I bought a headband, pin for my jacket, and a tee-shirt. Other vendors were selling apparel, nutrition, and medal racks. All the marathon runners names were printed on the name wall banner. The runners who ran the first Big Sur Marathon were highlighted in white. Runners could attend workshops all day at the expo. I choose to skip the workshops and explore Monterey.

    Race Day
    We had to take a shuttle to the start line in Big Sur. I stayed at the Monterrey Tides Hotel and I caught the bus from the Embassy Suites (5 minute walk). The bus shuttles started at 4:30 am. Thankfully my body being on EST time worked in my favor, since 4:30 PST is 7:30 EST. The bus ride was about 30 minutes to the drop off point. We walked a half mile to the starting line since it was inaccessible to the buses. At the starting line there was coffee, porta potties, and no cell phone signal. One cool thing was I got to meet one my Instagram buddies.

    I joined Corral 3 (4:45-6:00 finish). Since we were in the back, we lined up first and moved back. Even the views from the start line were breathtaking.

    The Race
    The race started at 6:45 am. The first 10 miles of Big Sur felt like running in ATL. The hills were rolling and the views were spectacular. There were cows along the course. They reminded how bad I wanted Chick-Fil-A sweet tea on Sunday (I can only dream). The drummers were our cheerleaders as we started our 2 mile climb to Hurricane Point (miles 10-12).

    Miles 10-12 were the most difficult parts of the race. I was so grateful that my pace was great (sub 13) for the beginning of the race, because my pace really slowed down for the rest of the race. I did redeem myself for mile 13 since it was downhill to the Bixby bridge and the piano player.

    Mentally, I just wanted to quit at mile 14 and just run to the beach. I took my warm GU and got back to the task of getting to the finish line. The remaining 12 miles were rolling hills. I ran my 2:1 intervals as much as I could. I really took advantage of downhills since the terrain was tough. I was able to take a few more pictures and made some friends along away. I also had the infamous strawberries at mile 23.

    One thing I really liked about the race was the attention to protecting the environment. Each water station had places to fill up your water bottles. The race organizers also planned to compost the cups and gel wrappers.

    The mile markers were also very entertaining along the course. The mile 26 marker was my favorite (the end was near).

    Thankfully I made it past the two time points at miles 15 and 21 and crossed the finish line before the 6 hour cut off. Crossing the finish line felt like winning the lottery, in which I was awarded the Big Sur International Marathon medal.

    Post Race Party
    The Big Sur post race party had massages, a finisher’s store, and food. I had planned to visit the store to buy a shirt, but due to the time I grabbed my food box and headed for the shuttles for the hotels instead.

    Overall it was a great experience, but I can say that I am one and done with this race. I can add the Big Sur International Marathon to my completed bucket list races. I am so grateful that I had Jenny from Ekiden coaching to help me train for Publix and Big Sur. I am going to love the flat course at the Chicago Marathon. Now that marathon training is over, I am looking forward to training for the Peachtree Road Race 10k.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

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    Mike Sohaskey May 11, 2017 at 7:03pm

    Congrats Samantha! Sounds like you trained well and prepared both physically and mentally to tackle one of the toughest road races in America (and one of my personal favorites in my home state). Love reading stories like yours because beautiful as it is, the Big Sur course is NO JOKE. And you conquered it! I hope the race organizers take to heart your request for sweet tea ;) , how fantastic would that be at the aid stations? We'd love to hear about your Publix Marathon experience as well and YES, you'll love Chicago with its amazing architecture and spectator support. Congrats again, and good luck at Peachtree!

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    Profile photo of Theresa Hoff
    RunningTeacher FIRST-TIMER '17

    I was impressed with the post race events. The food and tents exceeded my expectations. The entire race was incredible. The highlight was at mile 13.1... piano man was amazing. MORE

    I was impressed with the post race events. The food and tents exceeded my expectations. The entire race was incredible. The highlight was at mile 13.1… piano man was amazing.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    2

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    Profile photo of Alicia Andrews
    KaiaFitRocklin REPEAT RUNNER '17

    Be prepared for some wind and being a little closer to the sun... bring chap stick and extra sun block. Take advantage of the downhill on the first 5 miles … MORE

    Be prepared for some wind and being a little closer to the sun… bring chap stick and extra sun block. Take advantage of the downhill on the first 5 miles of the race because you’ll want to enjoy power hiking the hills to enjoy the view the next couple miles after that. Right when you think you can do another hill there’s one at the finish but don’t let it get it in your head… as soon as you reach the top its a fast downhill to the FINISH! I love this race!!!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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