Point to point, moderately difficult, with rolling hills, Big Sur is the largest rural marathon in the world. The course winds through redwoods, alongside ranches, and offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. It is USATF certified and a Boston qualifier.


The Big Sur International Marathon course is USATF certified (#CA23018DT) and AIMS/World Athletics certified (USA-2024-70) as measured by a World Athletics/AIMS Level A measurer.


Average Temperature: 50°-60° F.
Average Humidity: 30-50%



In order to help you have the best experience possible race day, we need to make sure you understand our marathon course time limit and rules.

  • Six Hour Time Limit
    While it took millions of years for wind and water to carve the California coastline, you only have six hours to run between Big Sur and Carmel. A six hour pace is the hard and fast, we-really-mean-it time limit (13:45 minutes-per-mile). Please keep in mind that this road is the only access for a 90-mile stretch of the central California coastline. Our permit requires us to reopen the road on time at 1 PM for resident, business, and tourist access.
  • Be Sure and Choose the Right Event for Your Pace
    If there is even a chance you may struggle to maintain a 13:45 per-mile pace up and down our awesome hills and into a sometimes-fierce head wind, we strongly suggest you enter our 21-Miler. You still get to enjoy the climb up Hurricane Point, take your picture at Bixby Bridge, and munch a strawberry about three miles from the finish. And you have a lot more time to finish: 6:30 hours or an 18:45 minute pace for 21 miles. You still get an awesome medallion at the finish line and your name in the results book. The 21-Miler is great for runners and power walkers.


To view the marathon course map and elevation chart, click HERE.


There are 11 aid stations on the Marathon course.  Aid station amenities include Nuun, water, refill stations for you to refill your personal bottles, portable restrooms, and first aid. First aid includes medical personnel and general medical supplies including feminine products. GU energy gel will be available at mile 12.2 and 19.0.   Fruit is available at later stations. The Strawberry Station is at mile 23.2.


The Yamaha piano at Bixby Bridge, Taiko drummers halfway up the climb to Hurricane Point, belly dancers near mile 24 and much more. An eclectic mix of classical, jazz, and rock and roll provided by local musical groups are throughout the course and at the finish.