On Sunday, 30,000 runners from around the country will converge on San Francisco for the Nike Women’s Half and Full Marathon. It’s one of the most popular marathons in the country—and with good reason. The course is gorgeous! Even if you’re not running it, it’s worth exploring the course just to reinvigorate your love of San Francisco and remind yourself why you pay such high rent.
This week I went out to survey the half marathon course, getting a sense of the hills and toughest parts of the 13.1-mile route. I barely noticed the hills because I was so in awe of the beauty of the city. The course follows the water most of the way and hits up some of the most beautiful vistas of our city. See the full course map here.
The first three miles take you along the Embarcadero and through Fisherman’s Wharf, then it winds its way up and over Fort Mason for the first of many great views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Miles four through six are a blissful and beautiful flat Marina run, followed by a slow burn up to the Presidio. Mile seven is a fun one, as you race down toward Baker Beach and into Sea Cliff (wave to Robin Williams).
The last quarter of the route is the best, in my opinion. You wind your way past the Legion of Honor (seriously, that’s a beautiful museum—when’s the last time you went?) and make your way to the Sutro Baths. Then it’s a fast downhill past the Clif House and to Ocean Beach. When I ran through there, a group of old school, grisled SF surfers were having a Kelly’s Cove reunion party. Reminder, we also live by the beach—it’s worth trading a Dolores Park day for an Ocean Beach one, especially during our October summer.
So if you need a reminder of why San Francisco is the best, most beautiful city in the country, check out this route, or even just part of it. Seriously, call in sick and run, walk, bike or hell even rent one of those tiny tourist cars and check this out. It's your city and it's worth exploring!