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Marathons in California

The Marathon distance (26.1 miles or 42.2km) is a real feat of mental and physical resilience and requires a serious commitment of training in order to get a bragworthy time. Most first-timers will aim to finish a marathon in under 4 hours, while anything under 3 hours is seen as a very impressive achievement. The wide variety of marathons on offer in California makes certain that completing a marathon will be unforgettable. Many of these events make the most of the stunning scenery that the Golden State has to offer, from its breathtaking coastlines, to its famous National Parks, to its arduous mountains and deserts. These landscapes, although at times challenging, add an extra dimension to the experience. The California International Marathon is known to be a speedy course, as the route is almost entirely downhill, and so it offers a great opportunity to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

2 events found
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  • Big Sur International Marathon

    Sun, 24th Apr 2022 • Monterey County
    Price TBC
    1 race: marathon
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon

    Sat, 26th Feb 2022 • Las Vegas
    Price TBC
    4 races: half marathon, 10k, 5k, marathon
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About Marathons in California

Marathons definitely tend to draw the biggest crowds as competitors race through all sorts of surroundings from magnificent cityscapes to vast countryside. Marathons make up some of the most iconic races in the Golden State. Whether you're running for a personal challenge or a public cause, in Cali it helps that the weather is almost always near perfect and the scenery beautiful.

What are the best marathons?

There are so many high quality marathons to choose from in California. If you like fancy dress then the Walt Disney World Marathon might get you all Goofy. Get a boost from rock 'n' roll jams blasting behind you in the Rock 'n' Roll marathon series. Top tip, if you compete in 3 of 4 Rock 'n' Roll marathons in a year then you can collect a special medal. For spectacular scenery look no further than the highly rated Big Sur International Marathon.

How long will it take me to run a marathon?

The world record for women was set in London by Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain in 2003 at 2h15m25s minutes, and is still standing strong. The men's record was beaten in Berlin in 2018 by Eliud Kipchoge and at 2h01m39s is pushing close to breaking the elusive 2 hour barrier.

The global average time to finish a marathon sits around 4h13m for men and 4h42m for women. Our best advice is that you keep your own pace and don't worry about others. If you're overtaken by a man dressed as the Mona Lisa, don't sweat it. It is worth pointing out that finishing times are greatly affected by the course - check our course descriptions for each race to get a better understanding of the route. Some marathons are particularly fast (e.g. A1A, Cali International), and some a bit more challenging (Avenue of the Giants).

How do you train for a marathon?

Training for a marathon takes a lot of motivation. Buddy up if you can, this will help you stick to your plan. You can download our free 16 week training plan, with nutrition and race tips included. 16 weeks should give you enough time to train up and set you in good stead for tackling 26.2 miles.