All Things San Francisco Marathon

It’s July and around the Bay Area running community that means one thing…

San Francisco Marathon month!


This year The San Francisco Marathon is on Sunday, July 29th.

It’s no secret that this race has a special place in my runner heart.  Not only was it my first marathon, but it is also what I would consider my big hometown race of the Bay Area.  On top of that, it’s the only race that I have run every single year (in some form or another) since becoming a runner.  It’s a tradition, it’s full of memories and I am so excited it’s coming up!


This year will be my 5th year in a row running in the race in some form or another, and my second year as an Ambassador which makes it even better.  It started off in 2008 as my first full marathon, then I rounded out the races by running the first half in 2009 and the second half in 2010.  Last year, I ran the full marathon again as my 10th marathon.  This year I am planning on repeating the cycle and running the first half again. 

Along the way I have written many posts about all things San Francisco Marathon, so I thought it would be nice to combine all the information, plus some extras, into one place for those of you running it this year or looking to run it in further years.

SFM 060

Before the Race

Go to the expo!

  • Friday, July 27 12pm-7pm
  • Saturday, July 28 9am-5pm

The East Concourse at the SF Design Center
620 7th Street, San Francisco, CA

Here you will get your bib, your shirt, your baggage check and get access to all sorts of running vendors in case you forgot something.  It can get a little crowded, but the lines are pretty efficient so be patient.  Make sure to scope out parking before hand too, or get there early because it can be messy driving around in circles.


Race Day Details post, which includes:

  • Getting to the race
  • Baggage Check
  • Waves
  • Buses (for the half marathoners)
  • Water Stops


The Course

Helpful links:
Elevation chart
Course maps and videos

I did two pretty extensive course previews last year, so make sure to check them out to get all the insider tips and information.

The first half marathon and first half of the full marathon take you from the start of the marathon or first half marathon, along the Embarcadero, through Fisherman’s Wharf, up and over the Golden Gate Bridge, into Golden Gate Park.

The second half marathon and second half of the full marathon start in Golden Gate Park and joins up with the marathon a couple miles in.  After a few miles of weaving around the park, you exit onto Haight street, run down some screeching downhills, run through SOMA, pass the Giant’s stadium and finish where the race started a few hours earlier.


Feel free to email me with any other questions about anything SFM related and I will do my best to answer!

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21 Responses to All Things San Francisco Marathon

  1. Cate July 2, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

    So excited to run the second half this year!

  2. Paulette @paulettezf July 2, 2012 at 9:33 pm #

    I’m excited for this one, I’m running the 1st half. It was my very first half marathon in 2009 AND my first 5K in 2005. One could say it’s the race that hooked me on running!

  3. Carolina John July 3, 2012 at 6:35 am #

    It’s going to be a big month allright! Have fun “ambassadoring” the big marathon. I remember you really enjoyed that last year.

  4. Allison @ Running Through Red Lights July 3, 2012 at 6:58 am #

    SFM sounds like such a fun race–how cool that you get to be an ambassador!

    I have some friends going out to SF to run with Worth The Hurt–they’re going to run the course backwards starting at Midnight on Sunday, and then turn around and run the full course with all of the runners! If you’re going to the expo, you’ll have to stop by the WTH expo and look for Brian!

    Good luck as you wind down before the big event!

    • Nicole @ 22in20 July 3, 2012 at 9:40 am #

      I am so impressed by the WTH event – both with the distance and the midnight start. I imagine it must be an eerie feeling running a marathon through the streets of San Francisco in the middle of the night.

  5. Nelly July 3, 2012 at 9:35 am #

    Great post, you have the best SF marathon posts of anyone out there. I missed doing it in 2011, and I’ll miss doing it this year, but hopefully I’ll be back in for 2013.

  6. Nicole @ 22in20 July 3, 2012 at 9:39 am #

    I’ll be running the 5k, and I find that I’m most excited about the location. It starts right across the street from my office, so I can drop all my gear at my desk and not have to worry about it during the race. It’s a silly thing to be excited by, but I’m still so looking forward to it.

  7. Allen (notthatlucas) July 3, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

    I’m not a fan of big races like this, but my wife signed me up for the first Half since she wanted to do it. Thanks for all these nicely detailed posts about the logistics and such – they help reduce my stress about this race a lot. Hopefully I’ll see you there, but I’ll be in a corral WAY behind yours.

  8. Audrey July 3, 2012 at 12:55 pm #

    Ahh the SF Marathon posts! Your course previews were INVALUABLE last year for my (first!) full marathon. I’m very bummed that I won’t be participating this year, especially since I could have completed my LA/SF challenge. Good luck running the first half, Aron!

  9. Mimi July 3, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    It will be my first half marathon (I’m running the second half) and I’m alternately excited and terrified!

  10. Tia@RunnerMom July 3, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

    Oh Man!!! This marathon is on my bucket list for sure! Someday…. :-)

  11. luv what you do July 3, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

    That looks like an incredible race. I know what you mean about the home town race having a special place in your heart. Chicago was my first marathon and my (kind of ) home town, so it was amazing. I hope one day to visit San Fran (it is on my ‘want to see now’ list) and have the strength to tackle those hills! Good luck this month with the race!!!

  12. Cathryn @ My Heart's Content July 3, 2012 at 10:36 pm #

    Thanks for this. I’m running the first half…it’s the first time I’ve run this race and I’m SO excited about it!! All the info is so useful…but now I’m really excited and probably won’t sleep ;)

  13. I’ve been reading your site for a while and I’m coming into town and running the 1st half….hopefully will get to meet you maybe at the finish line! :)

    Thanks for the recaps, super useful.

  14. Shauna @ Pleasure, Not Punishment July 4, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

    Exciting post! I hope to do one of the halves next year. :D

  15. Christine July 5, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    Sounds like a great race. I’m planning on running one race in CA. Which one would you recommend? I like smaller races. Thanks!

    • Aron July 6, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

      Ahh that is a tough question!! What length race?

      • Christine July 8, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

        Ideally half marathon or less. The only requirement is to get a medal. It can be a trail but also a road race. And maybe not too hilly :)

  16. Angela July 5, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

    This is my first time commenting. Love your blog. I’m running the SFM as my second marathon! I’m hoping to BQ!

    How early do you recommend getting downtown? I live down the Peninsula and am worried about finding parking/getting to the start line on time.

  17. Monika July 8, 2012 at 8:39 am #

    Ahh! Can’t believe its in three weeks! Five years makes you a legacy runner right??

  18. Susan - Nurse on the Run July 15, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

    This has been in my reader for FOREVER. I’m so excited to be a part of it all this year!! And I can’t wait to see YOU!

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