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Marathons in California

21 events found
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.
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  • 25JUL

    The San Francisco Marathon

    Running San Francisco
    52.4 mi • 26.2 mi • 13.1 mi • 3.1 mi
    $49 – $409
    (5)
  • 30AUG

    Oakland Running Festival

    Running Oakland
    26.2 mi • 16.2 mi • 13.1 mi • 3.1 mi • 0.6 mi
    $15 – $250
  • 19JUL

    Shoreline Marathon

    Running Ventura
    26.2 mi • 13.1 mi • 6.2 mi • 3.1 mi
    $45 – $130
    (1)
  • 29AUG

    The Santa Rosa Full/Half Marathon & 5K/10K

    Running Santa Rosa
    26.2 mi • 13.1 mi • 6.2 mi • 3.1 mi
    $29 – $109
    (1)
  • 26APR

    Big Sur International Marathon

    Marathon Monterey County
    26.2 mi
    $399
  • 9OCT

    Lake Tahoe Marathon

    Running South Lake Tahoe
    72.0 mi • 52.4 mi • 26.2 mi • 16.4 mi • 13.1 mi • 6.2 mi • 3.1 mi
    $54 – $155
  • 8NOV

    Surfers Point Marathon, Half, 10k & 5k

    Running Ventura
    26.2 mi • 13.1 mi • 6.2 mi • 3.1 mi
    $45 – $120
    (4)
  • 21NOV

    Santa Barbara Red Rock Endurance Run

    Running Santa Barbara
    50.0 mi • 26.2 mi • 13.1 mi • 3.1 mi
    $45 – $115
  • 11APR

    Zoom Bay Trail Run

    Running Palo Alto
    26.2 mi • 13.1 mi • 5.0 mi
    $25 – $70
  • 19SEP

    Golden Gate (Summer)

    Running Mill Valley
    31.1 mi • 26.2 mi • 18.6 mi • 13.1 mi • 5.0 mi
    $40 – $70
    (2)
  • 10OCT

    Look Good Feel Good Marathon

    Running San Leandro
    26.2 mi • 13.1 mi • 6.2 mi • 3.1 mi • 1.0 mi
    $25 – $55
  • 1AUG

    Crystal Springs

    Running Woodside
    31.1 mi • 26.2 mi • 21.7 mi • 13.1 mi • 5.0 mi
    $40 – $70
  • 23AUG

    Diablo Trail Run

    Running Clayton
    31.1 mi • 26.2 mi • 13.1 mi • 10.0 mi • 4.0 mi
    $15 – $70
  • 14JUN

    Cinderella Trail Run

    Running Oakland
    31.1 mi • 26.2 mi • 18.6 mi • 13.1 mi • 5.0 mi
    $40 – $70
  • 10OCT

    Bizz Johnson Trail Races

    Running Susanville
    31.1 mi • 26.2 mi • 13.1 mi • 6.2 mi
    $30 – $85
  • 25JUL

    Redwood (Summer)

    Running Oakland
    31.1 mi • 26.2 mi • 18.6 mi • 13.1 mi • 5.0 mi
    $40 – $70
  • 8AUG

    Coastal 50K & Marathon

    Running Stinson Beach
    31.1 mi • 26.2 mi
    $75 – $85
  • 25APR

    Western Pacific Marathon, 10K & 5K

    Running Fremont
    26.2 mi • 13.1 mi • 6.2 mi • 3.1 mi
  • 19SEP

    Devil After Dark Marathon, 1/2, 10K & 5K

    Running Las Vegas
    26.2 mi • 13.1 mi • 6.2 mi
  • 14NOV

    Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon

    Running Las Vegas
    26.2 mi • 13.1 mi • 6.2 mi
    $62
  • 22AUG

    Mendocino Coast PAL Big River Run

    Running Mendocino
    26.1 mi • 13.1 mi • 6.2 mi • 3.1 mi
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Showing 1 - 21 of 21 events

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.