> The 33rd Presentation > Event Information > Marathon Course Info

Marathon Course Info

DESCRIPTION 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.
WEATHER 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.

What Happens if You Fall Behind the Pace in the Full Marathon
If you are running the marathon and not able to maintain a 13:45 pace, the good news is you may no longer have to battle the hills and wind. The bad news is that you may be sitting in a slow-moving sag wagon. We may scoop up anyone who falls off the pace anytime during the race. We're not being mean; we are just doing what we have to do for your safety and the safety of our volunteers.

All runners must be at mile 21.2 by 11:50 AM. We will have buses waiting at this location to take runners to the finish line who arrive after 11:50 AM. All those who are cut off will receive a 21-Miler finish medallion but they will not receive a finish time.

A Few Other Things to Consider:

  • There is NO early-start option. The marathon begins at 6:45 a.m.
  • This is a point-to-point, rural course. There is no way to cut off any of the course to get you back on pace.
  • There are no sidewalks or access roads to continue on after the roads have reopened.
  • Runners are restricted to one lane of a narrow two-lane highway. The other lane is used for emergency vehicles and escorted convoys during the race.

Please choose your event carefully before you register so your race-day experience is everything you want it to be.

COURSE MAP  To view the marathon course map and elevation chart, click HERE
REFRESHMENTS Water stations, plus Gatorade, approximately every two miles. GU available at two aid stations on the course.  For a map detailing aid station locations, click HERE.


Official energy gel of the BSIM.


Official sports drink of the BSIM.

 Sierra Nevada Logo
Official beer of the BSIM at the finish

 Private Spring Water

Official water of the BSIM.
FIRST AID AND MEDICAL CARE At aid stations along course and at the finish.