Overall Rating
Overall Rating (98 Reviews)
4.1
(98 Ratings)(98 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
3.7
SCENERY
4.4
PRODUCTION
4
SWAG
3.6
The Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon (Full Marathon, 1st Half Marathon, 2nd Half Marathon, 5K and Ultramarathon) will fill San Francisco’s streets with over 27,000 runners. Runners will enjoy waterfront miles along the Embarcadero, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Crissy Field; feel their heart pound as they race across the Golden Gate Bridge; … MORE
Local Weather (Jul 28)
2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
 
H (°F) 64 67 77 86 69
L (°F) 54 56 55 60 59
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Recent reviews

    Profile photo of Jeanne Corey
    jeannecorey64 REPEAT RUNNER '18

    I love this marathon. This was the 5th consecutive year I've run it. This was my fastest year even though the course had changed and had to run on the … MORE

    I love this marathon. This was the 5th consecutive year I’ve run it. This was my fastest year even though the course had changed and had to run on the sidewalk of the bridge. Logistic for this race are fantastic. Expo is one of the best that I’ve been to. I volunteered the past 2 years (from CT to CA) Post race party was great with Barefoot Wine as an additional choice. Course is hilly and challenging. The end of the race had a downhill that was tough! Breathtaking views on this course!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    My Report
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    ucd76 FIRST-TIMER '10

    Be prepared for the hills, especially in the second half. Take it easy on the first half. Be prepared for cold and fog. Lots of turns so pay attention to … MORE

    Be prepared for the hills, especially in the second half. Take it easy on the first half. Be prepared for cold and fog. Lots of turns so pay attention to running the tangents.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    amy.schaumburg FIRST-TIMER '17

    Since I live in the Bay Area, I'm a bit bias, but this is a really pretty, unique race and a GREAT way to see SF! There are a great … MORE

    Since I live in the Bay Area, I’m a bit bias, but this is a really pretty, unique race and a GREAT way to see SF! There are a great number of hills, but nothing too outrageous. It’s well organized, starting line is gorgeous (under the Bay Bridge) and any chance to run across the Golden Gate Bridge is always special.

    There aren’t very many places you can run a full in the States in JULY without melting – this is one of them. Definitely recommend!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
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    4
    SCENERY
    5
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    4
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    michaellhicks FIRST-TIMER '18

    Race was organized very well, with plenty of drinking stations. The beginning was fast and fun, running along the ocean while you still have energy. Running across the Golden Gate … MORE

    Race was organized very well, with plenty of drinking stations.
    The beginning was fast and fun, running along the ocean while you still have energy. Running across the Golden Gate Bridge (miles 6-10) was amazingly enjoyable and meaningful to me, though some people might be put off by the fog. Plus you get a little bit of fun trail running in on the other side of the bridge.
    After that you run city streets for a couple miles and then hit Golden Gate Park for about 6-7 miles. This part is tough because the half marathoners are all running past you at faster paces at this point, which feels demoralizing, but the park is peaceful, though with some tough hills.
    For the last six miles or so, you’re just running through endless city streets, and it’s honestly pretty darn boring, especially when you’re feeling exhausted.
    You get plenty of snacks and drinks at the end, which was really nice. Overall, it was a great race to run, and not as hilly as I was afraid of at all. I was just a little surprised/disappointed how few San Franciscans were out to cheer the runners, compared to other races I’ve run.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
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    5
    SCENERY
    4
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    4

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    hollybluedog FIRST-TIMER '17

    I ran the 1st half the previous year, so only did this 2nd half to be able to brag I did the whole route (and got the awesome both halves … MORE

    I ran the 1st half the previous year, so only did this 2nd half to be able to brag I did the whole route (and got the awesome both halves medal). However, while running this I fell in love, running through Golden Gate Park in the early morning hours was mesmerizing and after leaving the park running through the city neighborhoods as we make our way down to the finish was a lot more fun than I thought it would be. The hardest part of the whole route was a couple of very steep downhill sections, it sucks when the downhill is so steep you have to take it slow, but the experience was well worth it! I would gladly do this race again!

    DIFFICULTY
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    rramnani FIRST-TIMER '18

    I would recommend this race to anyone looking for a challenging full marathon. During the first half, the cool breeze was quite a relief along with the GG bridge view … MORE

    I would recommend this race to anyone looking for a challenging full marathon. During the first half, the cool breeze was quite a relief along with the GG bridge view and surrounding scenery. The hills are quite challenging.
    So please plan your training accordingly.
    I think it is through the help of all the lovely volunteers who make such a big event a successful one. Please do reward them with a free race or at least a free lunch for recognizing their efforts.
    Go ahead and earn your medal.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    3
    My Report
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
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    lakshman537 REPEAT RUNNER '18

    - Better of the two half's for a faster time - lot more crowds cheering on this course as compared to the first half - Race course if fast, down … MORE

    – Better of the two half’s for a faster time
    – lot more crowds cheering on this course as compared to the first half
    – Race course if fast, down hill or flat most of the time
    – convenient start times making it easier to park nearby as well

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    randyreyes399 FIRST-TIMER '18

    Bring calories to consume. They only had GU at two of the water stations. I seen a lot of people come down with cramps. Fuel to finish. I brought my … MORE

    Bring calories to consume. They only had GU at two of the water stations. I seen a lot of people come down with cramps. Fuel to finish. I brought my own running belt stuffed with GU and energy bloks.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    2

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    hybwwong REPEAT RUNNER '18

    Emailed them about not seeing my result after the race. First, this person responded me back saying that I didn't wear the correct side of the timing chip. Then he … MORE

    Emailed them about not seeing my result after the race. First, this person responded me back saying that I didn’t wear the correct side of the timing chip. Then he replied stating that I didn’t wear my timing chip correctly. I am just upset that I paid so much on this race and my time was not tracked.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
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    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    daysirebeca FIRST-TIMER '18

    Perfect running weather! The hills kill but I’ve never felt more accomplished and proud! It might have been because it was my first time running a race but I was … MORE

    Perfect running weather! The hills kill but I’ve never felt more accomplished and proud! It might have been because it was my first time running a race but I was a little confused about where to go and what to do at the beginning (chip on the shoe, bus stop to take you to the 2nd half start, etc) Great aid stations, volunteers are very helpful and kind. The residents around haight & ashbury are super kind and have cute make-shift water stations and cheering sections. Every penny I spent was worth it. I love my race shirt, great swag!

    DIFFICULTY
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    Profile photo of Mark Wilborn
    runner913 FIRST-TIMER '18

    The race was executed without a hitch! That being said, I don't know how they did it! The planning, name changes, route changes, late addition of apps/sponsors/etc made the race … MORE

    The race was executed without a hitch! That being said, I don’t know how they did it! The planning, name changes, route changes, late addition of apps/sponsors/etc made the race feel rather amateurish for such a big race.
    The RACE itself was fantastic! I agree with a few others… the medal was kind of bland, and I assume that is to due to the fact that there was no title sponsor until the week of the race. I will/would be back… I have checked CA off my 50 list with this marathon #12.

    DIFFICULTY
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    jonoringading REPEAT RUNNER '18

    I was not feeling 100% (or even 80%) and almost downgraded to the 2nd half for this, since The course was changed to run on the side walk of the … MORE

    I was not feeling 100% (or even 80%) and almost downgraded to the 2nd half for this, since The course was changed to run on the side walk of the golden gate bridge. I am glad I stayed in it, but did experience some slowdowns getting around people. the worst part was turning around, where the course goes under the golden gate at the turn around. it had very dangerous ruts and loose gravel, not a road marathon at all. The temperature was wonderfully cool, but a little windy on the bridge, and not much of a view from the deck, but we did see a dolphin playing at the bottom, and it stayed cool all the way through, a big relief from other years. We received a loyalty pint glass which was a nice touch. (a third year prize given to 4th year runners since it is new.) The race shirt is good quality. I also wish that the Berkeley / SF Challenge had something indicating the year, having multiple copies of the same medal year after year is not much motivation. the Marathon Medal was a plain hexagon, also somewhat lackluster. I love the challenge of this course, and I hope they can bring back running on the bridge roadway. They also need to make sure the roadways are maintained in some areas. some streets were really rough to run on.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    4

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    domino76 FIRST-TIMER '18

    This course is a trick, starts out easy and than the last 5 miles is almost all uphill. However I have done harder runs. The scenery was a A+, they … MORE

    This course is a trick, starts out easy and than the last 5 miles is almost all uphill. However I have done harder runs. The scenery was a A+, they loop the course around perfect to get the best views of the gold gate bridge I have seen. You also get everything SF, some of the course is in the park, some in downtown and some is in local neighborhoods. The race shirt was the best I have ever seen but the medal was a little small. Over all I want to come back and do the 2nd half marathon next time.

    DIFFICULTY
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    Profile photo of Heather Cliff
    hds922 FIRST-TIMER '18

    I have ran the Nike Women's Half twice and these races don't even compare to SFM. The Expo was a little too far away from the host hotel for me, … MORE

    I have ran the Nike Women’s Half twice and these races don’t even compare to SFM.

    The Expo was a little too far away from the host hotel for me, but we made do. It was at Fort Mason which is a 3 mile walk from They Hyatt Regency. It was super packed and didn’t flow very well.

    I ran the first half in 2018. It was cool the whole run, a little too misty for my liking, but it was the best weather anyone could ask for. About mile be prepared for a huge incline! We weren’t very well prepared for this particular climb. The race said don’t expect a PR on the first half.. well, for all the runs in San Francisco, this was the best I have ever done and consider it a PR.

    The aid stations were long and I was able to get enough water/electrolytes (electrolytes were watered way down) and gu’s if I wanted. About mile 8 they had shot blocks which somehow ended up all over the road. (watch your step!)

    This race if for anyone wanting cool weather and great sites! The half medals were smaller than the full, and nothing to write home about. The race offers a lot of challenges, which we are completing the Half It All next year as we finish the second half.

    I do recommend the Hyatt to stay. It is the closest hotel to the finish line and the post race party is right behind it on the embaracadero.

    I have no idea where the cameras were but I found one as he was right in the middle of the street. I had to maneuver to get around him. The cameras on the finish line were blurry from the mist so I got not good photos of me crossing the finish line.

    I also expected more swag than a T-shirt and a medal. Like something (a sweatshirt or a long sleeve t) that said First half finisher. The prices were steep enough to include something they could get in masses.

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    My Media

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    konrad FIRST-TIMER '18

    When I was in High School near Boston, I thought it would be great to run in the Boston Marathon. That was 40 years ago - 40 years of no … MORE

    When I was in High School near Boston, I thought it would be great to run in the Boston Marathon. That was 40 years ago – 40 years of no running.
    Now that I’m semi-retired, I thought I would revive the dream and start training. After a fair amount of sweat and agony, I can now cruise 13 miles or so in 2 hours. Not long enough and not fast enough, but heading in the right direction. I thought doing an official half marathon might help me get a better time – not stopping for traffic lights, pedestrians…. So, for the first time in my life, I signed up for a half marathon in San Francisco.
    I ran it, in about 2 hours, but I have no offical time. Apparently, the device didn’t register me. I put the thing on my shoe, as directed, but I assume I needed to do something else. I just don’t know what. I’ve asked the company several times but haven’t received an answer. Instead they are trying to piece together my time based on the time of people next to me in photos of me crossing the start and crossing the finish. That’s nice, but until someone call tell me what I did wrong, is there really any point in trying to run a full marathon at a Boston Qualifying time? Again, it might not be timed.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    1
    SCENERY
    5
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    Eljay Aug 09, 2018 at 11:26am

    I don't like those loop type as much as the more modern type that's integrated into the bib. The big thing with both of them is not to fold them or bend them too much so that the metal breaks. Past that it's POSSIBLE you got a bad one although you would think they would test them ahead of time, so chances are it somehow got broken later. If you're local you might check out the Brazen races in the east bay - they're inexpensive, they have 2-3 half marathons most months, and they have top notch timing. Might build up your confidence some before you go for the full.

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    Profile photo of Vanessa Wallace
    vanessabsings REPEAT RUNNER '18

    I was disappointed that the announcement went out that the first half marathon no longer went over the bridge. That being said, I greatly enjoyed the challenging course and views … MORE

    I was disappointed that the announcement went out that the first half marathon no longer went over the bridge. That being said, I greatly enjoyed the challenging course and views that came along with it.

    I was disappointed in some of the pre-race information. I never got an email with rwce instructions which was frustrating. I didn’t love the new Biofreeze branding… bring back the blue that we all associate with the event! Overall though things were great and smooth.

    DIFFICULTY
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    PRODUCTION
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    My Report
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    haylijane08 FIRST-TIMER '18

    If you want to experience a race in SF, but not so excited about those dreaded hills, I strongly suggest the second half marathon option! It's elevation is considerable more … MORE

    If you want to experience a race in SF, but not so excited about those dreaded hills, I strongly suggest the second half marathon option! It’s elevation is considerable more manageable than the first half (or full) and honestly it didn’t feel that much different than races I have done at home in super-flat Texas (except for the lovely cool weather!!). I couldn’t have hoped for better aid stations- both in preparedness and frequency! The expo and finish line festival were both also really well done- with plenty of swag and photo ops! The only thing I would change was how much of this race took place in Golden Gate Park- by mile six I was ready for a new view!! Overall a fantastic event that I would recommend to anyone!

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    Profile photo of Kevin Chow
    nike_guy_3 REPEAT RUNNER '18

    Honestly after running the race for the 4th time, this was disappointing. Expo was ok, but Biofreeze? No longer iconic race since we aren't allowed to run on the GG … MORE

    Honestly after running the race for the 4th time, this was disappointing. Expo was ok, but Biofreeze? No longer iconic race since we aren’t allowed to run on the GG bridge and the route was changed and a bit confusing at times.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
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    4
    SCENERY
    4
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    2

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    dlwownssla17 FIRST-TIMER '18

    This was my first full marathon ever. Needless to say, I have been spoiled by the amazing scenery throughout the race that made the running all the easier, as well … MORE

    This was my first full marathon ever. Needless to say, I have been spoiled by the amazing scenery throughout the race that made the running all the easier, as well as the runners and the cheering crowds around me who gave off a lot of positive vibes. I live in San Francisco, so I’ve had the privilege of training on hills all the time. This certainly helped me a ton with the marathon, because the hills in this race actually did not feel as difficult as I had anticipated, despite my initial fear.

    DIFFICULTY
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    dp123 FIRST-TIMER '18

    Great organization and rapid succession of corral departures that you don't end up waiting forever Great views going through some of the best natural surroundings of the city Pacers were … MORE

    Great organization and rapid succession of corral departures that you don’t end up waiting forever
    Great views going through some of the best natural surroundings of the city
    Pacers were great and friendly to run with
    Wish could add golden gate bridge crossing back
    Shuttle transport from end of the race to the finish line festival was very efficient

    DIFFICULTY
    3
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    SCENERY
    5
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