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Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon

Triathlon: Swim 1.5km, Bike 40km, Run 10km

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This summer, triathletes from around the globe will descend on San Francisco for one chance to attempt the impossible ESCAPE from Alcatraz. The Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon attracts World Champions, Olympic Medalists and the best amateur triathletes from 50 states and over 40 countries. They will put their endurance to the ultimate test as they take on San Francisco's legendary Bay, steep hills, and rugged terrain. Consistently ranked as a favorite event among Triathletes, this event draws thousands each summer to find out who has what it takes to ESCAPE!

The Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon features a 1.5-mile swim from Alcatraz Island to the shores of the St. Francis Yacht Club, a gruelling 18-mile bike ride, and a demanding 8-mile run through the trails of the Golden Gate Recreational Area. Set against the natural beauty of San Francisco, this thrilling triathlon is a virtual postcard of the City by the Bay.

The Fitness Festival and Expo is featured on Saturday and Sunday at Marina Green in San Francisco. This two-day festival offers the opportunity for sampling, product giveaways, product displays, sweepstakes, and other promotions. Included in the fitness festival are a food court, beer garden, and experiential vendor displays.

How to enter the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon

  1. Olympic Triathlon

    Triathlon: Swim 1.5km, Bike 40km, Run 10km
    Sold out

Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon route


The Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon begins with a 7:30 am plunge from the San Francisco Belle into the icy cold water adjacent to Alcatraz Island. Participants are unloaded from the boat in less than 8 minutes. It is quite a rush when you take the leap from the ferry for the 1.5 mile swim. Triathletes will face strong currents and 55 degree water temperatures. Wetsuits and hoods are recommended. The swim finish is at the Marina Green Beach adjacent to and west of the St. Francis Yacht Club.


Upon exiting the water at the Marina Green Beach, triathletes proceed to a mini-transition area where they have the option to dry off and put on running shoes for the half mile warm-up run to the Marina Green. This run will take them beside the St. Francis Yacht Club, South on the Little Marina Green, and East on the sidewalk of Marina Blvd to the main transition area at Marina Green.


Mounting their bikes at the Marina Green, triathletes will begin the out-and-back 18-mile ride by heading west toward Crissy Field via Marina Boulevard. They will climb to Lincoln Blvd. traveling through the Presidio to Camino del Mar. They will then climb up the hill to the Palace of the Legion of Honor. They will come down the hill and make a hard right turn on Clement Street and ride west to Seal Rock Drive. They will make a sharp downhill left turn onto 48th street and then a right turn west on Point Lobos Drive and ride South on The Great Highway to Golden Gate Park. Triathletes will enter Golden Gate Park from John F. Kennedy Drive onto Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. They will then turn left on Transverse Drive and make another left turn onto John F. Kennedy Drive and ride back to the Great Highway on the north side of the park. After going north on The Great Highway, they will retrace the course back to the Marina Green for the transition to the run. Triathletes risk disqualification for drafting and forward motion to the left of demarcation cones.


On tired legs, the triathletes will begin the 8-mile run to Baker Beach Battery by leaving the Marina Green running west toward Crissy Field to Fort Point below the Golden Gate Bridge. From Fort Point they battle the Presidio Headlands up and under the Golden Gate Bridge through the tunnel and onto the Coast Trail. Runners will run next to the Coastal Defense Batteries (Gunnery Locations from the turn of the century) until they reach Lincoln Boulevard just past Battery Dynamite. They parallel Lincoln Blvd. on the narrow trail above the Coastal Bluffs to Baker Beach where they return to the shoreline below. They will encounter the deep sand of Baker Beach to the turn-around point and back until they reach the dreaded Equinox Sand Ladder (400 steps up the cliff). This experience will drain the legs of even the best professionals. Runners are urged to use the hand cable to help them walk up the stairs. The stairs are to the run what the currents and waves are to the swim. After reaching the top of the Equinox Sand Ladder, runners will go left on the Coast Trail and back to the finish line via Lincoln Blvd. Runners will follow their path back under the Golden Gate Bridge, pass Crissy Field, and finish in the grass at Marina Green among thousands of cheering fans.

Event Details

What’s Included

You will receive water and a finisher’s medal when you cross the finish line. Muscle Milk will also be available as well as medical and massage assistance. In addition, each participant will be treated to a catered meal upon finishing.

Raceday Logistics


How can I register for this triathlon?
A: This race does not have an open entry process, however there are several ways to gain access:
1. Qualify through one of our Escape Triathlon Series Events.
2. Qualify by placing first in your age group in the previous year’s Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon.

3. Selection in the Random Drawing.

4. Enter as a Professional Triathlete.
5. On behalf of a Partner Charity.
6. Receive a Sponsor Guest Slot.


What types of surfaces will I encounter on the run?
A: The run course is made up of asphalt, chip trail, dirt trail, stairs, a tunnel, sand, sand steps, and grass.

Is the run course a closed course?
A: No, you will not only encounter participants running in the opposite direction as you but you will also encounter Sunday morning joggers, walkers, and dogs. Be careful and stay focused. Some parts of the course are narrow with participants running in two directions. Be kind and courteous to other participants.

What is the Sand Ladder and where is it located?
A: The Sand Ladder is a series of steps that will take you from the beach below to the road above. It is made up of wooden slats under sand. Try to place your foot on the wooden slats as much as possible as you take your steps. There is also a wire hand rail that you may use to help pull yourself up to the top. The Sand Ladder is located near mile 5 of the run course. WALK, do not run up the Sand Ladder, otherwise you will burn yourself out before the finish. Even the Pro’s walk or lightly jog up the Sand Ladder.

Where is the finish line?
A: The finish line is located at Marina Green next to transition and the race expo. Grandstands line the finish chute so family and friends may cheer on participants as they finish.

Can my friends and family cross the finish line with me?
A: No, only participants may cross the finish line.

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Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon weather forecast

Partly cloudy throughout the day.

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IconLight breeze possible, up to 9mph

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