Overall Rating
Overall Rating (15 Reviews)
4.5
(15 Ratings)  (15 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
4.3
SCENERY
4.8
PRODUCTION
4.3
SWAG
3.6
If it doesn’t challenge you…it won’t change you. The La Jolla Half Marathon is one of America’s most picturesque and beautiful point-to-point races. Starting at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, the course follows a scenic coastal route before reaching the challenging climb to the summit of Torrey Pines State Park. The … MORE
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Recent reviews

    peg5678 FIRST-TIMER '22

    Quite a bit of downhill which left me sore for nearly a week! Very well organized from pick-up to busses to bag storage. Beautiful scenery the whole way. MORE

    Quite a bit of downhill which left me sore for nearly a week! Very well organized from pick-up to busses to bag storage. Beautiful scenery the whole way.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    MilesOStridin FIRST-TIMER '21

    The La Jolla Half Marathon can be summed up in one word: hills. And if the hills don’t literally take your breath away, then the gorgeous coastal scenery will. Expo … MORE

    The La Jolla Half Marathon can be summed up in one word: hills. And if the hills don’t literally take your breath away, then the gorgeous coastal scenery will.

    Expo / pick-up:

    -This was my first time racing this course and I opted for race-day bib pick-up, so I can’t comment on the expo experience. On the morning of the race, I was initially worried because our shuttle got to the start line before any of the race organizers had finished setting up. However, once I found the correct tent, I was able to check-in and easily grab my bib and pins. One note: if you do decide on race-day bib pick-up, you won’t receive your race shirt until AFTER the race, so keep that in mind when planning your race attire.

    Parking:

    -As a point-to-point course, you have the option of parking at the Del Mar Fairgrounds start line, or parking at the La Jolla beach finish line and taking the shuttle to the start. I arrived in La Jolla fairly early so street parking wasn’t an issue, then took the shuttle to the start. The shuttles seemed plentiful, and I think they were going out every 15 minutes or so, from 4:30 to 5:30 am. Organizers also checked racers for masks before boarding the shuttle, so that was nice.

    Pre-race:

    -The start line location at the Del Mar Fairgrounds had some nice advantages. The fair’s Christmas light displays were festive, and in addition to the race-provided port-a-potties, there were fairground facilities available. The early 6:45 am start-time meant the pre-race temperature was in the chilly 40s! Luckily, one of the fairground’s large exhibit halls was available to runners, and we were able to gather there to stay warm. For gear check, we were provided plastic bags, with bag colors based on our bib numbers, and identified with our bib numbers written in marker. It’s a bit basic, and I worried that any sort of moisture would smudge away the marker-numbers. But it ultimately worked, so I guess I can’t complain. For the start corral, there were no distinct corral separations, we just had to squeeze through the crowd and eyeball your position based on pacer signs.

    Course:

    -The Half Marathon course kicks off with a winding exit through the fairgrounds, before heading south through Del Mar. The first few miles feature some mini-hills through residential streets that are fairly unremarkable. Right after Mile 4, the fun begins. You race downhill on Torrey Pines Road Bridge with beautiful views of Torrey Pines State Beach on your right. Just before Mile 6, the infamous climb up into Torrey Pines State Park begins, and it’s a doozy. There’s more than 400 feet of elevation gain, and it will really carve up your legs and lungs if you’re not ready. Even when you reach the top, there are still some gentle, shaded hills as you go past the Scripps hospitals and UCSD. After Mile 10, it’s time for the descent. You trade in the shady trees and hills for some coastal views again as you approach the La Jolla boardwalk. It stays pretty flat until a small hill around Mile 13. The logical part of your brain says the hill is nothing compared the gargantuan monster you conquered earlier, though your tired legs will probably disagree because you’re so close to the end! Push past this, and it’s an exciting downhill stretch to the finish line.

    Scenery/Weather/Support:

    -If you’re used to DJs, bands, cheer squads, and large crowds of sign-toting supporters, this isn’t that kind of race. It’s a quieter race with amazing coastal views and hilly terrain that make for one of the most uniquely scenic courses I’ve ever run. Distractingly gorgeous. Hydration support was adequate. I wish there was a water station immediately at the top of the Torrey Pines State Park climb, but I’m guessing park rules may prevent that. It was a very chilly day, with temperatures going from the 40s into the 50s, but clear overall.

    Post-race:

    -In addition to a medal, the finish-line goodies included a banana, water, Rx protein bar, chocolate milk, fruit snacks, Hello Panda cookies, pretzels, and an electrolyte drink that was slightly too sodium-heavy for my taste. The post-race festival featured a band, beer festival, and tents for sponsors and merch sales (don’t forget to pick up your shirt and bag now if you did race-day bib pick-up). More importantly, the La Jolla Cove location is hard to beat. Green grass overlooking rocky shores, crashing waves, and some seals along the cove too! If your race ends where a day of world-class sight-seeing begins, I’d say that’s a great spot.

    Swag:

    -I’m not gonna lie, one of the things that attracted me to this race were the shirt designs from years past that I’ve seen online. This year’s Half Marathon shirt was… well, it’s certainly memorable. I suppose single-color shirts can get boring, but the red/orange/yellow gradient design (With a tree silhouetted in sunset? But it’s a morning race!) is a little more garish than I’d prefer, and not the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Del Mar, Torrey Pines, and La Jolla! The Half Marathon finisher medal is more representative of the San Diego coastal vibes: light blue ribbon, with a yellow surfboard amidst a splashing blue wave, and the local Kiwannis logo.

    Bottom-line:

    -The La Jolla Half Marathon was not anywhere close to a PR course for me, but that was to be expected with so many hills. What did exceed my expectations were the views along the course and at the finish. Just wonderful. I would do this race again, without question.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    pasq77 FIRST-TIMER '21

    Usually held in April but delayed due to Covid. Totally enjoyable road race! They did a great job the race was well organized, every odd mile markers, water/gatorade stations ever … MORE

    Usually held in April but delayed due to Covid. Totally enjoyable road race! They did a great job the race was well organized, every odd mile markers, water/gatorade stations ever 2 miles or so. Ocean and beach views a pretty awesome climb up Torrey Pines and a great finish at La Jolla complete with live band, a beer garden and a DJ. This will not be my last race here!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    alwaysmatthew FIRST-TIMER '19

    This is not an easy course but the beauty more than makes up for it. The crowds were pretty sparse but those that did support were fantastic - a big … MORE

    This is not an easy course but the beauty more than makes up for it. The crowds were pretty sparse but those that did support were fantastic – a big thank you to them! My big complaint is the race pacers – there were two pacers who were going to run 1:40 and I wanted to run with them. From the start I knew they were going to fast (they were running close to 1.30 pace) so I backed off and ran my own race. I came in at 1:35 and the pacers were a good few minutes ahead of me. It is very frustrating that the race advertises pacers and they are simply not are capable of doing their job – for some people this will ruin the event as they rely on the pacers knowing the right pace (the 1.30 pacer came in at 1.29.50 so very well done to him!!). Anyway, it is a stunning race and the set-up at the end is great. It is not a PB race but that makes it all the better as there is no pressure – just run hard and suffer and enjoy! 🙂

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    spifko FIRST-TIMER '19

    It feels like you're running uphill the entire race but you feel a real sense of accomplishment after. It starts at the Del Mar racetrack and ends in La Jolla … MORE

    It feels like you’re running uphill the entire race but you feel a real sense of accomplishment after. It starts at the Del Mar racetrack and ends in La Jolla Cove. So after, you feel like you’ve covered some ground!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    2

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    RunKMacRun REPEAT RUNNER '19

    This is race 2 in the Triple Crown series. Very hilly but beautiful. For $20 you can race day pick up your bib. This is a point to point race … MORE

    This is race 2 in the Triple Crown series. Very hilly but beautiful. For $20 you can race day pick up your bib. This is a point to point race so plan accordingly.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    RunKMacRun FIRST-TIMER '18

    This course is nothing but hills! Be prepared! Early in the race, about mile 5ish, you "run" up Torrey Pines. Great course support and amazing views. This is point to … MORE

    This course is nothing but hills! Be prepared! Early in the race, about mile 5ish, you “run” up Torrey Pines. Great course support and amazing views. This is point to point so plan ahead race morning. For $20 you can pick up your bib race morning. This is the second race in the Triple Crown series. I will be back in 2019 to try and get a better time 🙂

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    mahesh3566 FIRST-TIMER '16

    4.0 star rating 5/18/2016 Since one of our friend was doing the half marathon, while we wanted to wait and cheer her, we decided to do the 5k. This is … MORE

    4.0 star rating 5/18/2016
    Since one of our friend was doing the half marathon, while we wanted to wait and cheer her, we decided to do the 5k. This is one of the well organized event. I participated in OC Marathon/5k, but in OC 5k, you have to pay to park to pick up the bib, and you have to pay again the next day to park when you go to run. (10$ each), which is ridiculous. But La Jolla one is super chill. there is plenty of parking on the day of bib pickup , next to hiltons. the bib pickup itself was super easy. the next day they warned us about the downtown parking situation, so we got there early, and found the place where the buses were taking people to either half marathon startline, or the 5k start line. it was very efficient. the Run itself was nice, with hills. TOns of volunteers. there was only one water stop for 5k, which i was expecting. but with all the hills i wish there were atleast one more. the beer garden had plenty of beers for us. the lines werent that long. even tho about 5000+ people ran this race.

    Only reason i give them 4 star is for the expensive 5k price, there arent any medals for 5k. but oh well, i guess they do the 5k just to keep people entertained, but their focus is half marathon. so if you want to do half do this, if you want to do 5k, check out the carlsbad 5000. the best!

    Since one of our friend was doing the half marathon, while we wanted to wait and cheer her, we decided to do the 5k. This is one of the well organized event. I participated in OC Marathon/5k, but in OC 5k, you have to pay to park to pick up the bib, and you have to pay again the next day to park when you go to run. (10$ each), which is ridiculous. But La Jolla one is super chill. there is plenty of parking on the day of bib pickup , next to hiltons. the bib pickup itself was super easy. the next day they warned us about the downtown parking situation, so we got there early, and found the place where the buses were taking people to either half marathon startline, or the 5k start line. it was very efficient. the Run itself was nice, with hills. TOns of volunteers. there was only one water stop for 5k, which i was expecting. but with all the hills i wish there were atleast one more. the beer garden had plenty of beers for us. the lines werent that long. even tho about 5000+ people ran this race.

    Only reason i give them 4 star is for the expensive 5k price, there arent any medals for 5k. but oh well, i guess they do the 5k just to keep people entertained, but their focus is half marathon. so if you want to do half do this, if you want to do 5k, check out the carlsbad 5000. the best!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    nthome FIRST-TIMER '16

    La Jolla was my 27th half marathon ... it's been on my "to do" list for awhile now and needed to do it to complete the Triple Crown series.  Truth … MORE

    La Jolla was my 27th half marathon … it’s been on my “to do” list for awhile now and needed to do it to complete the Triple Crown series.  Truth be told, I’ve wanted to run this one regardless of the Triple Crown so … 2016 was the year!

    By now, you’ve probably hear that this race has some hills.   Yep.  It sure does!  

    Miles 1 -4 are fairly uneventful — you run out of the Del Mar racetrack and thru some neighborhoods (nice support) and around mile 5, you’ll emerge on Torrey Pines Rd with a beautiful sweeping view of the shore with a nice flat-to-downhill stretch for a mile or so.

    Use it to your advantage and enjoy the coast cause once you round the bend up into Torrey Pines Park Rd … it’s all up hill from there.  Really.  About 2 miles of nothing but up.  It’s not so much the elevation (0 – 400′ in less than a mile), it’s the grade.  There is also no water /fuel support in the Park so … bring your own!  (luckily, I did)

    I put my head down, pumped my arms and dug deep!  At one point, I looked around about 80% of people were walking.  Personally, I didn’t come to La Jolla to walk these hills so … I didn’t care how slow I was running … I was running up this damn hill!  

    Right when you think the steep is finished, it flattens out a bit … then mile 7 takes you up some more.    Usually what goes up must come down?   Oh, it does.  But you have to wait until MILE 10 to get to experience the relief of this course.

    Mile 10 – 11.5 are blazing fast.   Then, some sadistic turd decides to put another hill at mile 12.5 and while that hill itself isn’t all that tough, at this point in the race, it’s really the last thing you want to see.   The final stretch to the final line is a quick jaunt down Prospect to the finish line!  

    If you want a challenge, run this beast of a half.  I’ve run San Francisco, Rocky Mountain, Mammoth at 9,000′  and they have nothing on La Jolla if you want a challenging course.   I wouldn’t recommend it for a first half, though.  Not if you ever want to run another one!  Or, on second though … if you do this as your first one, they will all seem easier after this. Guarantee it.  

    Very beautiful course, though for sure!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    anawoj FIRST-TIMER '16

    The La Jolla Half Marathon is probably the most scenic yet most difficult half marathon I've ever done. The course is very hilly... especially the massive 1+ mile uphill section … MORE

    The La Jolla Half Marathon is probably the most scenic yet most difficult half marathon I’ve ever done. The course is very hilly… especially the massive 1+ mile uphill section around mile 5-7 where you gain over 400 feet in elevation… but large stretches of the course have sweeping views of the ocean and cliffs that characterize Del Mar and La Jolla. The Expo at the Del Mar Hilton was much better than I was expecting and lots of vendors were present. The parking lot near the horse track was large enough to accommodate the thousands of runners, but there was about a 1 mile backup on the I-5 northbound of people waiting to get off at the Del Mar exit… so give yourself enough time to reach the start. The weather was perfect (50’s and sunny) for running, and the finish line party was awesome… music, vendors, and free beer for the 21+ year old runners. The ribbon and medal were very nice too. My time was much slower than I was hoping, but the hills were a major factor in that. Overall, I’d definitely do it again, though, and I recommend it to anyone else looking for a memorable half marathon in the San Diego area!

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    NorseSunRun REPEAT RUNNER '15

    This event is my most favorite of all. PROS- Very challenging hill with great views of Torrey Pines, Adequate snacks at finish line, Easy bus ride to start, great bathrooms … MORE

    This event is my most favorite of all.
    PROS- Very challenging hill with great views of Torrey Pines, Adequate snacks at finish line, Easy bus ride to start, great bathrooms located near horse racetrack (start)
    CONS- Huge crowd of runners, Water at stations sometimes comes from containers lined with trash bags (not sure if I’m the only one that can taste the difference) train-with/bring your own water, T-shirts made from synthetic material (yuk).
    Update 2016: This year was construction year but there were only 2 minor changes to the route. As a result runners didn’t get to run on the “boardwalk” of the beach but it was a great run regardless.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    ktown68 FIRST-TIMER '15

    The 2nd race in the Triple Crown series has the steepest hills I have raced before. The Torrey Pines hill will kick your butt. The finish line party is awesome. … MORE

    The 2nd race in the Triple Crown series has the steepest hills I have raced before. The Torrey Pines hill will kick your butt. The finish line party is awesome. Gorgeous views at La Jolla Cove and free beer for all racers.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    splitter FIRST-TIMER '14

    Some tough hills on this course but the run along the ocean makes up for it. That last hill before the finish did me in even though it wasn’t the … MORE

    Some tough hills on this course but the run along the ocean makes up for it. That last hill before the finish did me in even though it wasn’t the worst one, I just wasn’t expecting it. Lots of people and well organized. Part of the Triple Crown series.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    Tailhook007 FIRST-TIMER '11

    This is one of the most challenging half's in America due to the grade of the climbs... but the views of the Pacific and La Jolla Cove are worth it. MORE

    This is one of the most challenging half’s in America due to the grade of the climbs… but the views of the Pacific and La Jolla Cove are worth it.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    ecrunner06 REPEAT RUNNER '08

    Yes, there's a mile uphill right at Mile 7, but it's on one of the most state beaches in SoCal, and the rest of the race you are running with … MORE

    Yes, there’s a mile uphill right at Mile 7, but it’s on one of the most state beaches in SoCal, and the rest of the race you are running with ocean views, so it makes up for it. Well organized, and a great run all around, from the hills to the views.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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  1. Races
  2. La Jolla Half Marathon & 5K