Overall Rating
Overall Rating (6 Reviews)
4.5
(6 Ratings)(6 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
4.3
SCENERY
5
PRODUCTION
4.5
SWAG
4
Welcome to Headlands 150M, 100M, 100K, 50M, Marathon, and the Triple Marathon events. Running in the Marin Headlands is a treat for any distance. Also known as “Trail Running Mecca” in California, you will enjoy vistas of the Pacific Coast as you take a scenic tour of the spectacular Marin … MORE
Local Weather (Aug 19):
2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
 
H (°F) 63 75 68 67 67
L (°F) 58 62 56 53 58
Powered by Dark Sky
Find Nearby Lodging (Hotel, Airbnb, etc.):

Recent reviews

    andreak FIRST-TIMER '21

    This race hurt my legs and my soul. It only gets a 4 for difficulty because although it has over 20k feet of elevation gain, the majority of the trails … MORE

    This race hurt my legs and my soul. It only gets a 4 for difficulty because although it has over 20k feet of elevation gain, the majority of the trails are fire roads and very runnable. Many runners did use trekking poles and although they’re not absolutely necessary, I’m sure they came in handy for those runners, especially on the last few long hills.

    The race company, Pacific Coast Trail Runs, did an amazing job (as they always do) with this race despite some last minute hurdles by the park. Swag was awesome like always as well. All runners got a thin hoodie, race shirt, woodalion and the 100 miler runners received a buckle, ultra marathon coaster and a Victory race bag. There were 3 different start times for the 100 miler and I chose the normal Saturday morning start which would give me 33 hours to finish.

    I’ve ran these trails at the Headlands many times and they’re some of my favorite ones to be on. I’ve done both the marathon and 50 miler as well so it just made sense to do the 100 this year since I was trained for it having completed another 100 miler 5 weeks prior. I was a little nervous doing a second so close, but I figured if I rested enough between the two, I should be fine.

    I showed up on race morning with my two drop bags filled with extra clothes and some food since I didn’t plan to use a crew. With the normal course being four loops of 25 miles and changed to roughly a 5 mile loop followed by 4 loops of 23.75 miles, I didn’t think I needed a crew and would be just fine with my drop bags and the 4 aid stations on each loop, including the start/ finish. Unfortunately due to new park rules, food was going to be limited at the aid stations and although I did have some concerns, I thought bringing some food and eating what was at the aid stations would be enough.

    I got to Rodeo Beach a little over at hour before we began, which meant I was able to get a parking spot along the road which was only a few minutes walk from the start. I headed over and got my race bib and my Victory bag and was told we would get the rest after the race. I brought it back to my car and then hung out at the start talking to friends. The remaining 100 mile runners and the 100k runners started together, with the 50 milers starting a few minutes later. This is when the day began to go downhill.

    I was already concerned about the race because I had a hard time falling asleep the night before and woke up earlier than my alarm. I got distracted by everything going on at the start and realized 15 minutes before we started, I hadn’t eaten anything. I grabbed my clif bar and ate half of it, hoping it would be okay and I would be able to digest it going up the first big hill at the start.

    The race began and I was feeling nervous. We had just been told there was a last minute change to the course and the 100 milers had a 5 mile loop to do before the regular loops which were now shorter. My sock was uncomfortably rubbing against my ankle and I didn’t know why. It was cold and darker than I expected so I had my headlamp on. I stuck with a couple of friends for a little while going up the hill from the start and tried to work on calming my nerves about the race. I had had a few little nagging aches after my last 100 and had never done a race with this much elevation gain and really wanted to finish.

    I got to the top of the hill and continued on my small loop. I kicked some dirt into my shoe during downhill and could feel a pebble in my sock, moving around under my foot. I hoped it would move to a better place and I wouldn’t have to waste time taking off my shoe and sock. I got back to the start and shook out my sock and shoe to remove the pebble and anything else that was in them. I ditched my headlamp in my bag and grabbed the rest of my bar and headed up the hill my second time.

    I made it to Tennessee Valley 4 miles later and saw some friends at the aid station. I said hi and grabbed some clif blocks and continued down the paved road. My nerves were a little better and my legs were feeling good on the hills that brought me to the Muir Beach aid and my stomach was feeling better.

    After I left Muir beach and was halfway to Tennessee Valley, I came to an intersection where I was confused despite the number of ribbons. It was so foggy out and I was a little turned around. You couldn’t see very far and I didn’t know where I was. Thanks to the help from my friend Todd and another 100 mile runner coming from the opposite direction who confirmed this was correct, I followed the ribbons. I made it back to Tennessee Valley, grabbed more food and started up Marincello.

    Marincello is 1.5 miles long and the sky was a little more clear on this side. I said hi to some friends who started the 100 the night before and were coming down the hill towards me and then all of a sudden I saw a little rodent pop out of the bushes! I watched it for a couple of minutes trying to figure out what it was. Thanks to my mom and a quick Google search as I walked up the hill, I learned it was a long tailed weasel. It’s an animal that’s rarely seen during the day because they’re nocturnal so I definitely lucked out. I finished my first loop and felt great. I started loop 2 which went the opposite direction and tried to slow down a little since I was moving faster than I had planned to. I continued to see friends doing all the different distances and connected with my pacer to let her know to plan to show up during our agreed upon time. I moved through the miles with my legs feeling good, but having trouble eating the aid station food. I did what I could and finished the first 50 miles in exactly 13 hours, which had been my goal. I finished loop 2 which was mile 52 and found my pacer at the start/ finish. I told her my quads were hurting and it was getting dark. I was hoping it wouldn’t be too cold overnight since the sun hadn’t come out all day. We started loop 3 and it was a lot of walking. Probably too much walking, but it was dark and I didn’t want to fall. My legs were very unhappy and my clothes were uncomfortably rubbing in all of the wrong places, thanks to the wet air all day. We finished loop 3 and it took longer than I thought it would, but thankfully the sun would be up soon. My pacer and I started loop 4 and I began to worry about not finishing in the allowed time. I was so cold and everything hurt. I started thinking about trying to take a nap in my friend’s car at the aid station by the Golden Gate Bridge. I still wasn’t eating enough and could feel myself starting to bonk. My stomach was bothering me and I hadn’t had any caffeine overnight. Laying down sounded like a good idea. We got to the aid and I hugged my friend began bawling. I laid in her car and cried for a good 15 minutes as I worried about not being able to finish. Then, I decided it was time to go. I wanted to get it over with and had 17 miles left. It was dusk and hopefully I could do this. We left the aid and started knocking off miles. I tried to run when I could. My IT bands were screaming. I kept moving. I had time to get it done. The 17 miles turned into a half marathon, single digits and then finally we were leaving Tennessee Valley for the final time. I was still moving uphill well enough despite all of the miles and hills on my legs and just wanted to be done. We got to the top of the the last big hill which was 1.6 miles from the finish and started descending. We made it to the finish where I hugged my friends that were there and I actually had 2 hours and 16 minutes before the end of the race.

    There’s a lot more that goes into these 30 hours and 43 minutes. Each race is a learning experience and I should’ve done a lot differently with this one. Despite not having enough calories, I still managed to finish and am very proud of myself for finishing with how much climbing this race had and so especially so close to my last 100. Also, I’ve never, ever had chafing as bad as what I ended up with from this race!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

    2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

    M_Sohaskey Sep 06, 2021 at 12:14pm

    WOW, an absolutely warrior effort, congrats Andrea! You really captured the ups & downs and the highs & lows (literally and figuratively) of ultrarunning in one amazing review. Sadly, I… MORE

    WOW, an absolutely warrior effort, congrats Andrea! You really captured the ups & downs and the highs & lows (literally and figuratively) of ultrarunning in one amazing review. Sadly, I can relate to how much poor nutrition can hamper performance, so the fact you finished with time to spare despite not getting enough calories is a testament to your toughness. One 100 miler in a year is challenging enough, but two in five weeks is next level—hope you're ready to give your mind and body some hard-earned and well-deserved time off. Oh, and awesome weasel shot too, thanks for sharing! LESS

    Please login to reply to this review.

    andreak Sep 07, 2021 at 7:09pm

    Thank you Mike!! It was definitely a tough weekend, but the weasel was such a highlight. Nobody I know has seen one!

    Thank you Mike!! It was definitely a tough weekend, but the weasel was such a highlight. Nobody I know has seen one!

    Please login to reply to this review.

    mikebeckwith Aug 29, 2021 at 6:13pm

    What a great and thorough review, AK. Well done! Such a brutal race, and definitely something to be proud of! You're a rock star!

    What a great and thorough review, AK. Well done! Such a brutal race, and definitely something to be proud of! You're a rock star!

    Please login to reply to this review.

    andreak Sep 07, 2021 at 7:09pm

    Thank you!! Let’s do it together next year!!

    Thank you!! Let’s do it together next year!!

    Please login to reply to this review.

    mikebeckwith Sep 07, 2021 at 7:35pm

    Did you fall down and bump your head?? :)

    Did you fall down and bump your head?? :)

    Lani FIRST-TIMER '16

    The Marin Headlands offers some of the best trails for running, and this race takes advantage of some of the most popular routes. The trails are generally runnable, but be … MORE

    The Marin Headlands offers some of the best trails for running, and this race takes advantage of some of the most popular routes. The trails are generally runnable, but be ready for some big hills and a couple of technical single-tracks where you have two-way foot traffic. The weather along the ridgeline near the switchbacks before Golden Gate Bridge can get pretty nasty.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

    2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

    Please login to reply to this review.

    Fitbrit FIRST-TIMER '18

    I dropped from the 50 miler awhile ago due to lack of training. So I was expecting the marathon to be a grueling challenge. Sometimes those days when you put … MORE

    I dropped from the 50 miler awhile ago due to lack of training. So I was expecting the marathon to be a grueling challenge.
    Sometimes those days when you put no pressure on yourself, you end up having just the best days.
    I ran with friends for the first half which made this very hilly course so much more fun.
    I took bacon and a couple of GU as I end up being super hungry.
    I missed the part in the email that it was a cupless event so getting my electrolytes at the aid stations was a challenge.
    I took a filled camelback and you will need at least a half filled bag.
    Aid stations were about 4.4, 9, 13 then there was 6.8 miles to the next one with a big hill to climb in between.
    That part was also the most technical, single track, rocky in places and nearly all of the race is full exposure to the sun.
    I didn’t wear a hat ( big mistake) I got very burnt in my eyes and overall face.
    As you run loops for the bigger races, I got to see the winners and other racers looping back toward me.
    Everyone was super friendly and supportive.
    One lady I walked up a big hill with, gave me a bag of trail mix as I got hungry.
    I do wish there was more food at the aid stations, I don’t eat PB &J sandwiches. I did share a cup with my friend and we got some Coke.
    There is some road for the first 1.2 miles and the last mile and a straight finish.
    The views of Pirates Cove, Muir beach , Sausalito and the Golden Gate Bridge were spectacular. We got lucky with a clear day so we could see Mt Tam , Alcatraz and San Francisco.
    I like the Swag I got a black jacket but next time I will order a smaller T. Shirt.
    Tacos , beer and soda at the finish plus massages. The massage was great but it’s not free.
    I’d prefer fruit after a race but that was only for the 100 milers.
    I loved this race . It’s not for beginners as it’s a 5,167 ft of climb unless you are feeling very ambitious.
    How is this race not one of the top 10 must do’s? Too hard maybe.
    Try PCTR races . If you don’t finish your bigger distance,Greg the RD will let you get a finish time for a shorter distance.
    He really wants everyone to succeed and loves to meet and talk to all that come.
    Next year it’s a 50 for me, with such a generous cut off time I’m up for it.
    There are so many races that w/e you can choose 2 or 3 marathons in one w/e.
    Favorite Bay Area race!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
    My Media

    1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

    Please login to reply to this review.

    ravyoly FIRST-TIMER '16

    PCTR hosted this event. I volunteered twice in the past before deciding to run it. The production was well organized. The swag I received were a zipped pull over tech … MORE

    PCTR hosted this event. I volunteered twice in the past before deciding to run it. The production was well organized. The swag I received were a zipped pull over tech shirt, a coaster, and a mug. There was no medal given. The views were amazing and the volunteers were awesome.

    Update: PCTR is under new ownership in 2017. I finished this race in 2016. Review is reflected based on the prior race production.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    2

    1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

    Please login to reply to this review.

    Tessa REPEAT RUNNER '16

    I finished the Headlands 50 mile in 2015, and after careful consideration, I decided on the 75 mile distance this year because I did not think I was physically able … MORE

    I finished the Headlands 50 mile in 2015, and after careful consideration, I decided on the 75 mile distance this year because I did not think I was physically able to do the 100 mile distance. The downside to doing the 75 mile distance over the 100 mile, is that you are not allowed a pacer. However, they do have a night marathon and that allows you to be out on the trails with other runners at night. The course is a 25 mile loop, washing machine style. So, in my race, I did this loop 3 times. There is a lot of elevation, about 5,000 ft, per loop. The views are spectacular though, and when you get to Pirates Cove, the views of the ocean are breathtaking. You also get nice views when there isn’t fog of the Golden Gate Bridge, and Muir Beach. This is one of my favorite races. You actually run under the Golden Gate Bridge.

    This year the weather was overcast, we did not have to worry about the weather being too warm. However, the fog bank that rolled in pretty much stayed all day, and unfortunately for the Night Sweats Marathon folks, into the night. My goal was to get back to the 50 mile mark around the time the marathon started. Well, I had issues with my sciatica (or) hamstring in the first loop, and the fog meant that I used my headlamp a lot earlier than I had expected. This slowed me down, and my pace was slower than I had expected. (I’m really glad I had the foresight to grab at least one headlamp before it even got close to dark because the fog created a situation where I used it a lot earlier than I did last year). By the time I got back to mile 46, I realized that the people I was hoping to run with during the Night Sweats, their marathon was cancelled because of the fog, and hazard conditions. Here is where I really lucked out. They allowed the people I was hoping to meet up with at night, to head out with me on my 3rd loop since there is safety in numbers. I felt really great at night, not issues at all. Other than I was done, really done, with the fog. Running in fog all day is one thing. Running all night in fog is…special. (insert sarcasm here)

    Another really nice thing about this race is the washing machine loops. This creates a situation where you get to see runners over and over out there. You feel such a camaraderie of sorts, seeing the same people out there suffering, I mean enjoying, the trails with you.

    The aid stations are well placed, and I had everything I needed between my drop bags, crew and aid stations. The marking of the course was just as good, if not better, as last year. They really do a great job for marking this course considering the fog was so thick you couldn’t see more than a few feet in front of you.

    I was hoping for a faster time, but I’m happy with my finish. I received a nice coaster – 3rd place female in the 75 mile distance. They have nice options for upgrading shirts and they also gave us a nice beer glass at the finish. I’ll definitely do this race again.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

    2 members marked this review helpful. Agree?

    M_Sohaskey Oct 11, 2016 at 8:14pm

    Wow, sounds like the perfect race for Fog City! Congrats on toughing out both your sciatica and the weather, Tessa... either one would have been enough to send many runners… MORE

    Wow, sounds like the perfect race for Fog City! Congrats on toughing out both your sciatica and the weather, Tessa... either one would have been enough to send many runners packing (at shorter distances). Bummer that the Night Sweats Marathon was canceled, but glad you were able to run with friends through the night, I can imagine that made all the difference. And let’s be honest—even in perfect conditions, 75 miles is an incredible achievement. Sounds like you’re well on your way to tackling the 100 next year! LESS

    Please login to reply to this review.

    Tessa FIRST-TIMER '15

    Having been a runner for over 2 decades, this race will always stick out in my mind as one of the best races I've experienced. Maybe it was because I … MORE

    Having been a runner for over 2 decades, this race will always stick out in my mind as one of the best races I’ve experienced. Maybe it was because I had an amazing race (for me), or because I really wanted to prove something, but I loved this race and will do it again, for sure. The views are amazing, simply breathtaking. There is a lot of climbing, and I would say that this is what I would consider a technical race. There can be high winds, and fog as well. However, you get to a point in the race where you come back around the second loop, and the views looking back towards the Golden Gate Bridge, leave you breathless. You see just how far you have run, and it feels like such an accomplishment. There are not a lot of races that you can see from that kind of “vantage” point. The aid stations are perfectly spread out, and they offer everything you need. The volunteers were so kind and gracious. I’m a slow runner, so by the time I got to the last part of my 50 mile finish, the night marathon was starting. It was so much fun seeing all the headlamps coming up the first climb as I was descending to the finish. The trails are well marked. This was my first race in the dark, and there was only one turn that I felt could of, or maybe should of, been marked better. Otherwise, I had no issues navigating in the dark. When I got to the finish, there was plenty of warm soup, volunteers were right there ready to help (as well as my awesome friends and Crew). They gave us really nice swag, and you have options for upgrading your shirt. Very well organized, and again, I cannot say enough about the views. (The photo I attached I took of the viewpoint coming back around the 2nd loop).

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

    1 member marked this review helpful. Agree?

    Please login to reply to this review.

  1. Races
  2. Headlands Hundred