> The 33rd Presentation > Event Information > FAQ


Questions, Concerns and other What, Where, When and How Issues

Ok, you are IN! If you have successfully registered for a Big Sur International Marathon event, you may now have a gazillion questions racing through your mind. Where do I stay? How do I get to the start line? I just broke my foot; can I get my money back? How many hills are on the course? The list seems endless and rather than call those nice folks at the Big Sur office every day, we have compiled a series of frequently asked questions and their answers. Some of the information we are providing may seem vague at this point but after all, the Marathon is still months away. Use this FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) as a guide. By mid-April of each year we provide all entrants with detailed Race Weekend Instructions.

We hope that this information will answer most of your questions. Remember to check the website frequently to find out "What's New". If you change your address or your email, please let us know since that is our only way to stay in touch and keep you up to date. Send any data or information changes to sally@bsim.org.

Train safely and sensibly and make hills your new best friend! See you in April.

When do I get my bib number? Do you mail it to me?

Race packets, which include your bib number with attached timing chips, gear check bag, event shirt, and your Official Race Program, are picked up at the Health & Fitness Expo race weekend. Bib numbers will be assigned in late March and will be emailed to all participants by SVE Timing the week prior to the race. All entrants must pick-up their own race packets, they cannot be picked up by someone else. Race-day pick-up is only available for the 12K, 5K and 3K.

Where and when is the Expo?

The location of the 2018 Expo will be at the Monterey Conference Center. The Expo will showcase merchandise, demonstrations and information from a variety of merchants and vendors on health-related issues. The Expo is also the location for packet pick-up and free Saturday race clinics.


Expo hours: 

Friday, April 27
Saturday, April 28

Noon to 6 p.m.
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. 


In addition to picking up your race packet, you will also pick up a free bus pass if your event requires busing to the start. Pasta Party and Post-Race Party tickets are for sale. A variety of free race-related clinics will be offered on Saturday.

What do I need to pick up my race packet?
  You must know your race bib number and have a valid photo ID to pick up your race packet. You must be present to receive your bib, no one else can pick up for you. No exceptions! You will be emailed your bib number by SVE Timing during the week prior to the race. If you took the Military Discount you must bring your current Active Military ID. Packet pickup is at the Monterey Conference Center on Friday and Saturday only, there is NO RACE DAY PICK UP (except for the 3K, 5K and 12K)! Bib numbers are non-transferable. No one else may wear the bib number to you.  You cannot sell your bib number on eBay or Craig's List. Runners found on the course without bib numbers will be removed. Runners caught wearing someone else's bib number will result in both parties being banned from future BSIMs. NO BANDITS!
I never received a confirmation email! What can I do?
  If you registered and either didn't receive email confirmation of registration or cannot find your name on the Entry Confirmation page, bring your photo ID and proof of payment (bank account or credit card statement) to the Solutions Desk located at the Expo. If you can let us know prior to race weekend, we can research in advance. Call 831.625.6226 or email sally@bsim.org
What events can I register for at the Expo?
  If there are any events open, you can register race weekend at the Expo. This is unlikely as all events typically sell-out.
Can I downgrade from the distance event I registered for to a shorter distance event?

If you wish to downgrade to a shorter distance event in 2018 due to injury, limited training, or other reason, we now have a downgrade request window. Downgrades are limited (all race distances sell-out) and available first-come, first-served between February 1 and March 15, 2018 only.  There is a $30 downgrade administrative fee and original entry fees are non-refundable. To request a downgrade, email sally@bsim.org between Februay 1 and March 15, 2018. Please provide your original event and your requested event distance.

There will be no further downgrades available after March 15 or race weekend. No exceptions.

Where and when is the Pasta Party? How do I get tickets?

The Pasta Party is held Saturday evening in the Monterey Marriott Grand Ballroom. There are two seatings, one at 4:30 p.m. and a second one at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 per person and they will be on sale at the Expo at the Pasta Party Kiosk. This is a very nice pasta dinner and a great value.  We offer a generous and delicious selection of pasta, salad, fruit salad, artichokes, bread, beer, water and coffee plus dessert and live entertainment. Gluten free options are available. There will be a Q & A session with the race director and random prizes handed out.

Where and when is the Post Race Party? How do I get tickets?
  The Post Race Party will be held Sunday evening, April 29th, following the marathon from 4:30 to 7:30 pm in the Grand Ballroom of the Monterey Marriott. This is a great venue to share stories about your race with other finishers. Live music, food, and beverages will be offered. You can buy tickets in conjunction with registration.  You must pick up your post race party wristband at the Expo. They won't be available at the entrance to the party.  No wristband = No party.
How is my time calculated?

South Valley Endurance is our event timing company. Your timing chip will be on the back of your event bib.  Do not remove these chips from the bib! 

I know I need to take a bus to the start of my event. Where do the buses leave from and when?
  Please note: YOU CANNOT DRIVE TO THE START of the Marathon, 21-Miler, 11-Miler or your Relay leg! Those participating in the Marathon, 21-Miler and 11-Miler MUST take one of the official buses to the start of their event. No private vehicles will be allowed at the start area. Highway 1 will be closed to the public in the early pre-dawn hours on race day. This is STRICTLY ENFORCED by the California Highway Patrol.

For those events requiring busing to the start, FREE bus tickets may be picked up at the Health & Fitness Expo at the bus ticket kiosk. Marathon runners will be bused from several locations:  the downtown Monterey Custom House Garages, the Monterey Marriott, the Embassy Suites, Carmel Plaza and Carmel Middle School. 21-Miler participants will be bused from the Monterey Marriott and the Barnyard Shopping Center at the mouth of Carmel Valley. Relay runners will all be bused from Monterey Peninsula College. 11-Milers will be bused from Fisherman's Wharf in downtown Monterey and the Carmel Rancho Shopping Center in front of Prim's Hardware & Garden at the mouth of Carmel Valley. Pay careful attention to the bus departure time printed on your bus ticket. You must show your bus pass and bib number to board your bus. A map of the bus departure locations can be viewed HERE.

Participants in the 5K and 12K do not take buses and must arrange their own transportation to the start of these events (the Marathon finish area at Highway 1 and Rio Road).

For those staying in Big Sur, there will be a shuttle making a continuous loop to the Marathon start from Big Sur hotels between 5:00 and 6:00 a.m. If you are staying in Big Sur and doing an event other than the Marathon (the 21-Miler, the 11-Miler, 12K, Relay or 5K) you must take the shuttle to the Marathon start. From there, you will be bused to the start of your event or your Relay Leg. You need to be there prior to 6:00 a.m. which is when the final bus departs for the other start lines.
Why do the buses leave so early?

The buses must begin traveling to the start very early for the following reasons:

  • It takes one hour for a bus to travel SAFELY to Big Sur along a narrow, winding road in the dark
  • It takes at least an hour to unload the bus and for the trip back
  • All buses must be back to Carmel by 6:45 am so the Marathon finish and 5K/12K start area can be constructed on the Highway
  • Therefore, allowing for possible delays, all buses must leave for the start by 4:30 am.
  • Since not all buses can leave at the same time, bus departures are staggered between 3:30 and 4:30 am.

Plan on getting up early!

How does my gear get from the start to the finish line?
  Bring warm clothes to the start, it can be very chilly in Big Sur early in the morning. For participants in the Marathon, 21-Miler, 11-Miler and Relay, "gear check trucks" will be at the start of each event. Make sure you attach your gear check tag (found at the top of your bib number) to your gear check bag.

At the finish, bags will be laid out according to bib numbers and volunteers will assist in locating your bag. Do NOT put anything of value in these bags or heavy objects like fluids. We are not responsible for items that are lost or stolen.

Finally, consider wearing "throwaways" to the start and not worry about a gear check bag. Bring gloves, shirts, and sweats you can discard at aid stations along the course. Discarded clothes well be collected and donated to charity.
How many aid stations are there on the course? What beverages will be offered?

In addition to aid at the start and finish, there are 14 aid stations on the marathon course, approximately every two miles beginning just before mile 3. Every aid station offers water and Gatorade. GU will be available at two aid stations on the course. Refer to our Race Weekend Instructions (available by mid-April) or click HERE for the specific aid station locations. There will be medical personnel at every aid station. There are also porta potties at each aid station.

What is the BYOB program?

The BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle) program is designed to reduce the use of paper cups at aid stations. If you wish to participate, you can carry one or more bottles that can be refilled at the Refill section at the end of every other aid station along the marathon course. Both water and Gatorade will be offered. Walkers are especially encouraged to take part in the program.

Will there be someone taking pictures of me on the course?
  MarathonFoto will be on the course taking pictures of walkers and runners. When you cross Bixby Bridge at mile 13.1 and when you cross the finish line. Make sure your bib number is visible and that you are smiling. MarathonFoto will be in touch with you following the event or you can look for your pictures at www.marathonfoto.com.
How do I get back to my hotel or to Big Sur from the finish area?

Post-race shuttles will depart from the Marathon Finish Village at Rio Road beginning mid-morning until 2 PM and will take runners back to their morning bus departure point.

Shuttles returning to Big Sur will load at the finish also. The first shuttle back to Big Sur will depart at approximately 11 AM.

Where can spectators/family view the race?

Because Highway 1 is closed to vehicular traffic until 1:00 p.m., spectators, families and friends of the runners/walkers can only view the end of the race from the finish area.

There is a Runners Unite area at the finish where one may meet up with finishing marathoners or walkers.

How soon can I get my results? Where can I find them?

Results will be available on computers behind the timing tent at Marathon Village. Unofficial results will be available online Sunday at www.bsim.org and will also be published Monday in the Monterey County Herald. If you provided a cell phone number during registration, your results will be texted to you after you finish the race. The awards ceremony for the Relay and the Marathon will be held race day beginning at 11:30 a.m. Overall awards (top five male and female runners, top three male and female masters) are based on GUN, not chip time. Divisional and top five Boston 2 Big Sur awards are based on CHIP time. Timing is provided by South Valley Endurance.

What can I expect if I am hurt and cannot run or walk? Do I get my money back?
  If you have registered for one of our events and cannot participate due to injury or for any other reason, please see our Cancellation Policy. Entry fees are NON-REFUNDABLE and NON-TRANSFERABLE to another person or to a different year. If you do not participate you may take the amount of your entry fee as a charitable donation on your income tax return. The Big Sur International Marathon is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and all our proceeds go to charity. The only recourse to a refund is if you purchase Booking Protect during the registration process.
What is Booking Protect?

Booking Protect is a registration protection program available through Active. Com. It is an opt-in offer that enables registrants to purchase coverage for the total cost of their registration and processing fees. If a registrant is unable to attend our event for a reason covered by the Registration Protection offer, they may contact Booking Protect to file a refund application and receive compensation.

Registration protection can only be purchased during the event registration process. The offer will appear on the payment page (immediately following the Order Details summary).  If an entrant decides later that they don’t want this protection, they can cancel up to 14 days after the start of the booked event for any reason – no questions asked. If you wish to cancel your purchase visit https://bookingprotect.com/contact-us/.

If you have purchased Booking Protect, you can submit a refund request via Booking Protect’s easy-to-use online portal at https://bookingprotect.com/refund/.

OK, how many hills are there on the Big Sur course?
And how steep are they?
  One man's hill is another man's bump in the road and vice-versa. Our race director claims that there are thirteen hills the last 13 miles of the course. The first half of the course is gentler; there are probably only five hills. Unfortunately one of them is the climb up to Hurricane Point, a steady 5% grade mile from 9.8 through mile 12. We recommend you take our Virtual Tour found on the website to get a bird's eye view of the course. And, train on hills - both UP and DOWN!
What is the Military Discount?
  The Military Discount is given to U.S. Active Military personnel and is not valid for their spouses or dependents. It is available for the marathon and the 5K only, not for the other weekend events.
Can I wear headphones or listen to my Ipod during my event?

We strongly discourage the use of iPods, headphones, ear buds or other MP3 or headphone devices in any of our events. We believe using an audio device will compromise your safety and that of others by hindering your ability to hear verbal instructions or commands from race officials including course marshals on bicycles or to hear vehicles in the lane next to you or emergency vehicles on the course. You are sharing a narrow lane with runners of different speeds completing different race distances. In addition, there is live traffic in the land-side lane of Highway 1 during the race. You must be aware of your surroundings at all times

Because the safety of all of our participants and volunteers is our first priority, we ask that you leave your headsets at home and instead let the incredible scenery, music we provide on the course, and your fellow runners serve as your motivation and inspiration.