Big Sur Marathon in Photos: The 21-Mile Race

While I work on the complete recap of the spectacular 21-mile race at this Sunday’s Big Sur Marathon from Big Sur to Carmel, Calif., I wanted to go ahead and post some of the scenes from the race, so you can get a feel for what’s in store if you decide to run it next year.

You’ll notice that the weather was much clearer on Saturday, when I drove the course with my buddy Rob, who traveled out to California with me to run the race, than it was on Sunday, the actual race day. The fog and clouds were definitely more of a factor on race day — and the wind — so I’m really glad I got as many shots as we did on Saturday. Still, there’s lots of race day snapshots here that are gorgeous as well.

So without further ado, here’s how the Big Sur Marathon went down, starting with a view of Hurricane Point, as you’re coming down the hill and approaching the famous Bixby Bridge:

Notice the tiny road that snakes down the mountain? That’s the downhill section; the uphill section looks more like this:

Here’s a more up-close view of how those hills looked when we actually ran them. Now I know what the race organizers meant when they described the course as “highly challenging”:

The reward, of course, was that you got to see scenes like this along the way. Our finishing times were much slower than normal because of the hills, to be sure, but also because we stopped at many points along the route to take photos of spots like this:

And this, which is of course the famous Bixby Bridge that you cross after climbing down Hurricane Point:

Want an idea of how windy it could get out there? I snapped this photo of a port-a-potty that had been placed out on the course for the next day’s race on Saturday, right after the wind blew it over:

The start of the 21-mile race occurred at mile 5 of the full marathon route, in Andrew Molera State Park along California Highway 1:

And before we got started, there was a yoga instructor on hand to lead runners and walkers in a warm-up:

Soon enough, though, we were out on the course, where we were introduced to what would become our constant companion for the next 21 miles — hills and plenty of them:

Along the early stretch of the race, there weren’t a lot of spectators — unless of course if you count these guys:

From the road, it was foggier on Sunday than on Saturday, which obscured far-ahead stretches of the course from time to time:

And that would alternate with sunnier, warmer stretches, making signs like this helpful — and they weren’t bluffing:

The sounds these drummers made definitely spurred us on when we needed it:

Later on, the Rocky Creek Bridge was a welcome break from the hills:

As hilly as it was, the scenery was always amazing nearly everywhere on the course during the race:

Heading in to the last few miles, there was definitely entertainment out for the runners:

The mileage signs had their own way of telling us we weren’t far from the finish:

The finisher’s medal, finally in hand:

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