Overall Rating
Overall Rating (11 Reviews)
3.7
(11 Ratings)(11 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
2.5
SCENERY
4.1
PRODUCTION
4
SWAG
3.2
Each year, on the fourth Sunday in July, thousands of runners from across America and around the globe return to Santa Cruz, California for the annual six-mile race to Capitola-by-the-Sea. First run in 1973 by a handful of locals, the Wharf to Wharf Race today enjoys a gourmet reputation in … MORE
Local Weather (Jul 28)
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H (°F) 83 81 84 91 81
L (°F) 58 58 59 58 61
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Recent reviews

    Profile photo of Artin Soroosh
    As120iq FIRST-TIMER '18

    It's a great race with the route and the beach and ocean views. The various bands that play at every turn are a nice touch. However, it's incredibly crowded. It's … MORE

    It’s a great race with the route and the beach and ocean views. The various bands that play at every turn are a nice touch. However, it’s incredibly crowded. It’s worth doing at least once just to say you did it, but be prepared for crowds for the entirety of the race, before it starts, and after you finish.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    melissasims3 FIRST-TIMER '18

    This race is basically a "fun run" unless you are an elite runner or possibly in the first corral. There were more walkers than I have ever seen at a … MORE

    This race is basically a “fun run” unless you are an elite runner or possibly in the first corral. There were more walkers than I have ever seen at a race before. This is great that there is so much participation, but there was definitely a bottleneck for about the first mile, and an obstacle course to get around the walkers for the entire course. There were corrals, but I don’t think most people paid attention to their corral numbers. I would have appreciated if the walkers had been in the last corral because this definitely slowed runners down. The course was nice. Lots of very pretty views and a combination of flat road and small hills. Lots of locals cheering the runners along, and several bands providing music. There was a definite lack of race etiquette along the course, with walkers blocking the entire width of the road at points, and lots of people not paying attention to runners around them and either stopping right in front of them or cutting them off. Having said that, this is an iconic Nor Cal run, and I’m really glad I participated for the first time this year. If I repeat this race, I will definitely try to get in the front corral, and I will park my car in Capitola and take a ride-share to the start line in Santa Cruz so that I don’t have to wait for the bus after the race to get back to my car. This was about a 30 minute wait just to get on the bus, and then with traffic it took about another 30 minutes to get back to parking lot at the start. Overall, a great experience, but expect it to be a long day. No race medal but a very cool shirt for finishers and a goody bag full of treats such as power bar, apple juice, trail mix.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    kenkubey REPEAT RUNNER '16

    The Wharf to Wharf is one of my favorite races. The organizers do a terrific job. There are lots of bands and musical groups along the beautiful course. The T-shirts … MORE

    The Wharf to Wharf is one of my favorite races. The organizers do a
    terrific job. There are lots of bands and musical groups along the beautiful course. The T-shirts are often well designed. Not to be used for washing your car like some race shirts.
    There’s a free shuttle bus from the parking areas to the start and another free shuttle bus from the finish area back to the parking area.
    Mile markers are easy to spot. T-shirt and swag distribution is handled
    very nicely. Be sure to sign up early as this one sells out in about one hour.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    arandalynn REPEAT RUNNER '16

    I love this race, let me say that first off, I love the scenery, the local involvement and the local bands. Its great to do with friends, although this last … MORE

    I love this race, let me say that first off, I love the scenery, the local involvement and the local bands. Its great to do with friends, although this last year I did it on my own, my friends couldn’t get registered. This last year was great with how they had the porta-potties set up, they had a lot and they were not near where everyone lined up. Also love that they mail your bib to you, makes life easier.

    What I really don’t like is that it is so crowded! If you do not arrive with your friends/family don’t even bother trying to find them, when you are running with 16,000 of your closest new best friends it hard to find the people you are there with. Also with that many people on the course it is hard to get into your running groove/stride whatever you want to call it. This last year I was excited, I finally moved up a corral, thought that would be great, more of the people running it, less of the runners with kids, think again! Several kids in the corral I was in, and it was not a good pace for the little ones (and I mean little ones, like age group of 6 ish), it was almost dangerous because the awareness of the kids and parents was not there. I am all for kids participating, but in the appropriate corrals/pace groups.

    Also, registration is difficult. Last year for locals, the computer system didn’t work correctly and then once it did the local spots were gone in 15 minutes. A lot of competition for few spots.

    Overall I love this race, it is a great local event. It has just become way to crowded.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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    IRun2live FIRST-TIMER '16

    The starting location was complete and utter gridlock, which made it difficult to start smoothly. This is a race that will be difficult to PR with soo many people, you … MORE

    The starting location was complete and utter gridlock, which made it difficult to start smoothly.

    This is a race that will be difficult to PR with soo many people, you end up swimming upstream for the first mile or so. Also, a little surprising that with a race of this magnitude, there was no race medal was okay..

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3

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    Profile photo of Angela Nance Richardson
    doug-angie FIRST-TIMER '16

    Residents cheer for the racers. There is music along entire route. You end on beautiful Capitola beach. The shuttle system ran like clockwork. MORE

    Residents cheer for the racers. There is music along entire route. You end on beautiful Capitola beach. The shuttle system ran like clockwork.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3
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    Profile photo of Daniell Vecchione
    daniellvecchione REPEAT RUNNER '16

    One of the races I look forward to all year! The course is great, just hard enough to make you push yourself up the hills :) only thing that could … MORE

    One of the races I look forward to all year! The course is great, just hard enough to make you push yourself up the hills 🙂 only thing that could make it a little better would be a medal, only cause it would be pretty awesome to get a medal picture on the beach

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4
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    amandasava REPEAT RUNNER '16

    I love beach races and I love races in Santa Cruz - so it's pretty much a default that I love this race. I've done it 4 years in a … MORE

    I love beach races and I love races in Santa Cruz – so it’s pretty much a default that I love this race. I’ve done it 4 years in a row, some years I run it and some years I walk it, but it’s always great.

    But what I really love is the beautiful course and all the people on it. There are elite runners and then there are walkers that have done every race for 44 years (he might have run it years ago) – and everyone is having a good time. The music and spectators on the course are always fun (if not always able to carry a tune).

    There are two big down sides to the race:
    1. It’s getting harder and harder to get in to – it’s a small road race and they like to keep it that way. But I’m bummed that I may not be able to get in one year.
    2. They always seem to have issues with the shirts at the end. I’m not sure if they don’t order correctly or if they give out the wrong sizes, but it’s almost guaranteed that if you’re at the back of the pack you won’t get the shirt size you want (if you get one at all).

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    Tessa REPEAT RUNNER '14

    I used to run this race every year back in the 90's, and up until about 2006, or so? I looked forward to this race every year. So, after my … MORE

    I used to run this race every year back in the 90’s, and up until about 2006, or so? I looked forward to this race every year. So, after my DIL started running in 2013, I talked her into doing this race with me, as well as a few friends. I had such a great experience for so many years in a row, I wasn’t expecting the race to be anything else but fantastic even though it had been awhile since I had run W2W. It makes me sad to have a negative report for this race.

    First of all, the race has become a circus. I don’t mind races selling out fast, I do runDisney races after all, but 15,000 starting in such a narrow area was madness. They ran out of water at the second AS, and although I don’t normally worry too much about water for a 6 miler, it happened to be very hot this year. So, by the time we got to the next station, so many people were trying to get water, it was chaos. I felt sorry for the people at the aid stations, it was a mob of people coming at them. You had to stop and wait, my watch showed 2 minutes, to get water.

    I also didn’t think there were as many interesting bands and/or groups to see running through the neighborhoods. Whereas, in previous years, it was a blast. If I’m going to run a road race, and run through neighborhoods, it needs to be interesting or at least distracting me from the fact that I could be running on a beautiful trail someplace else. I hope this was just an “off” year.

    Full Disclaimer: I also don’t do Bay to Breakers anymore. Maybe old age is just setting in, or crowds are just not my thing? I did wear a tutu for fun in this race, because you are never too old to tutu!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3
    My Media

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    Cassidy REPEAT RUNNER '15

    This is not a flat street race. I heard many people saying, "There are hills?!" Yes there are hills. Not a ton a though, you'll be fine. You should plan … MORE

    This is not a flat street race. I heard many people saying, “There are hills?!” Yes there are hills. Not a ton a though, you’ll be fine.

    You should plan on getting to the start line super early and be prepared to be squished in past a comfortable level. If yo are not looking to place, wait to start running.

    Overall it’s a good race and I’ll do it again!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    2

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    42kCookie FIRST-TIMER '14

    Since I ran my first official race last February (Niles Half Marathon) I've become very aware of other local races and this event peeked my interested when fellow members of … MORE

    Since I ran my first official race last February (Niles Half Marathon) I’ve become very aware of other local races and this event peeked my interested when fellow members of my Running Club told me they had heard good things about both the race and the course. Better yet, it excited me a little as friend and fellow Yelper Tram lives in Santa Cruz and this would be the perfect opportunity to Run together again and hang out.

    Sign up for me was very easy, I entered my average pace, personal details, paid and then a few weeks before the event I received my bib in the mail. Tram didn’t have quite the same good luck although got charged never received her bib! Luckily she has a great boyfriend and when I found out the local Fleet Feet had a limited number of bibs sold back by Runners who could no longer attend he went and picked one up for her just so that we could run together.

    Race day comes and Santa Cruz gets crazy busy!! 16,000 people attend this event every year and is sold out in no time. Corals are given based on your average pace which is supposed to alleviate road blocks but people clearly do not understand this as people that should have been in coral 3 or 4 were in 1 and 2 and vice versa. Once given your coral you can move back but not forward and being placed in Coral 1 I moved back to run with Tram as her Coral had already been set by the person who originally had the bib.

    The course is beautiful, yes but really not the sort of event serious Runners like myself should attend unless registered as an Elite Runner or are right at the front of Coral 1. walkers were all over the place and people zigzagging left right and center throughout the entire 6 miles, it was mildly organized chaos.
    The course was littered with numerous bands and spectators cheering or on hand with hosepipes spraying people with water, not something I appreciated but some people seemed to enjoy it.

    Post race festivities were on the Capitola beach, I didn’t see much festiveness going on as we just picked up or goodie bags before heading out. The bags were pretty cool – Drawstring bag containing a T-Shirt, Bottled Water, Prickly Passion Lemonade, Power Bar Wafers, Trail Mix, a Fruit Chew Bar and a Chapstick. NO Banana’s! Which kind of sucks. That’s one of my favorite parts of a Run.

    Not a Race I would do again unless I’m registered as Elite.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    3
    SCENERY
    3
    SWAG
    3
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