A marathon of marathons happening this year in San Diego
San Diego’s near-perfect climate and weather make it the ideal location for a marathon. In fact, many marathons take place each year in San Diego, providing runners with many options of tracks, distances and causes to benefit. Below are a few races occurring this year, with course descriptions provided by halfmarathons.net. Most marathon registrations can be done at active.com.
Silver Strand Half Marathon
On Sunday, Nov. 13, athletes can run in the Silver Strand Half Marathon. The race takes place onthe Silver Strand, between Coronado and Imperial Beach. Beginning at Sunset Park on the north end of Coronado, runners will head straight along the Silver Strand Highway with views of the Pacific Ocean and San Diego Bay. Upon finishing, runners are greeted by a “party on the pier” immediately following the race, complete with a beer garden, massage tables, live music and refreshments. All proceeds from the event will be donated to Head North and the Challenged Athletes Foundation.
Fast and flat with gorgeous views of both the Pacific Ocean and San Diego Bay, the Silver Strand Half Marathon & 5K takes runners along the highway by the same name, along a point-to-point 13.1-mile course that runs from Coronado to Imperial Beach, which lies about 20 miles south of downtown San Diego. Open to runners, walkers and inline skaters, the race also featured a relay component for the first time in 2008, for teams of either two or three runners to compete in the half marathon.
The race is basically one long straightaway course with only a handful of turns off its main stretch, the Silver Strand Boulevard. Runners will start the race at Sunset Park on San Diego’s North Island Naval Air Station, and follow Ocean Boulevard for roughly the first mile until it meets up with Silver Strand in Coronado, after which point it’s all along the Strand for the next several miles of the race. Along the way, participants will get a free running tour of the U.S. Naval Amphibious base, the Silver Strand State Beach and Coronado Cays Park.
Runners meet the final stretch of the race once they reach Palm Avenue in Imperial Beach, turning right toward the beach onto Palm and then left onto Seacoast Drive for the last stretch toward the finish line at the Imperial Beach Pier.
$70 on June 7 and after
$85 on the race weekend
Temecula Half Marathon & 5K
On Sunday, Oct. 23, runners can participate in the Temecula Half Marathon & 5K at the Mount Palomar Winery. The race will go through local vineyards and will also include prizes and raffles from sponsors.
Race up and down dirt country roads in vineyard territory, then raise your glass at a finish line wine tasting with live bluegrass music – all in support of sustainable agriculture. Presented by Sandy Feet Events, the inaugural Temecula Half Marathon & 5K at Mount Palomar Winery is only open to 200 runners: Sign up before the race sells out.
Runners can add Mount Palomar Winery wine tasting to race registration for a special price. Neighboring wineries will also be offering deals to those who show race bibs, so make a day of it in the Temecula wine region – just an hour north of San Diego. All proceeds from wine tasting and raffles will be donated to Wild Willow Farm & Education Center.
The Temecula 5K course travels through a scenic orchard, while the Half Marathon out-and-back takes runners past vineyards and farmland. Both hilly, the 5K is an easier course, while the Half Marathon offers a hard/medium-level (hilly hot) challenge. Remember, dirt roads are better on your knees. Temperatures are expected to be chilly at the start for this fall race, heating up to the 90s by midday.
$15-$50 depending on race and date of registration
Camp Pendleton’s Heartbreak Ridge Half Marathon
Camp Pendleton’s Heartbreak Ridge Half Marathon will take place on Saturday, Sept. 10.
Withroughly 90 percent of the course run on off-road trails through the hilly mountain wilderness of the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base, this marathon offers a challenging race with scenery that’s totally different from other races in and around the San Diego area.
The 13.1-mile race starts and finishes at the base’s 43 Area Las Pulgas, just off Interstate 5 in the northwestern part of the base. Though it’s not a trail running race, the out-and-back course is mostly off-road, taking runners along the packed gravel fire roads that meander through the hills and valleys of the base, with a few flat stretches mixed in along the way.
There are some steep elevation changes along the course, which climbs a total of 1,280 feet over the course of the race, particularly between the second and fourth mile markers. Thankfully, those same uphills become downhills on the trek back toward the finish line in the second half of the race, which is all downhill for the last couple of miles. Runners who’ve participated in this race in recent years add that there are really no spectators out along the course, though the Marines who are manning the aid stations more than make up for it, enthusiastically encouraging runners along.
$45-$50 for civilians
$35 for active duty military
America’s Finest City Half Marathon & 5K
This event features a point-to-point road race that takes runners from the historic Cabrillo National Monument overlooking the Pacific Ocean and San Diego Bay to the green, expansive meadows of Balboa Park.
The course for the race takes runners entirely on paved surfaces through city streets, starting at the Cabrillo Monument. From there, the course takes runners down Cabrillo Memorial Drive through the Fort Rosencras National Cemetery, through an area that is one of the nation’s oldest military outposts, dating back to the 1850s. Along this early stretch of the race, runners also pass the Old Point Loma Lighthouse.
Once runners descend the monument and Fort Rosencras area, the course next takes a turn through the Point Loma and La Playa neighborhoods, where spectators are usually out in droves to cheer on those running in the race, some even with hoses and sprinklers to cool everyone down. As it makes its way through these districts and into the Harbor Island area, there’s usually plenty of distractions along the course to take runners’ minds off their 13.1-mile trek, from cheerleaders and belly dancers to the celebrity sightings that have been reported in recent years, including Oprah Winfrey.
Along the middle stretch of the race, which takes runners along North Harbor Drive and over onto Harbor Island, the scenery changes as the course runs past San Diego’s bayside international airport, giving runners plenty of views of the water and the planes coming in and taking off. Still flat and fast through these miles, the course unfolds all the way around the edge of the bay, turning away from the water at Ash Street and heading back into residential areas on the last couple of miles’ approach to Balboa Park.
The last two-plus miles of the race, starting with the turn onto India Street and concluding with the finish line along Pan American Road inside the park, are mostly long, flat straightaways, which give runners a nice way to finish the course. Once inside the park, the scenery is part of the reward, as the course turns onto El Prado and then Pan American Road, for the finish at the intersection with President’s Way, surrounded by the several museums runners pass on the way to cross the finish line.
Dana Point Turkey Trot
The Turkey Trot is in Orange County instead of San Diego, but has become a favorite among some local citizens. Produced by the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce in partnership with RUN Racing, the Dana Point Turkey Trot is the nation’s sixth largest turkey trot in the country and was named one of America’s best Thanksgiving Day runs by Fitness Magazine. Known for its scenic routes, beautiful Southern California weather and family-friendly activities, the Dana Point Turkey Trot has become an Orange County tradition, attracting more than 16,000 participants, including friends and family, to its 5K, 10K, Kids’ Gobble Wobble, and two-day health and fitness expo and finish line festival.
The Dana Point Turkey Trot will also offer a 50 percent registration discount to active duty Camp Pendleton Marines, and the Dana Point community will be coming together to provide a Thanksgiving dinner for the 5th Marine Regiment and their families.
The race is a USA Track & Field sanctioned event and is part of the Southern California USATF Championship, 2011 Road Running Grand Prix Series. Runners will tour the beautiful beaches, majestic cliffs and coves of Dana Point. Feel the pounding surf and cool ocean breezes as they sail through the Dana Point Marina and Doheny State Park.
$12-$60 depending on how many races and date of registration
$17.50-$30 for Marines