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Running EventsMarathonsCalifornia

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.

28 events found
San Francisco Marathon

Saturday, 22 Jul 2023

San Francisco Marathon

LocationIndicator

San Francisco, California

Participants

marathon, ultramarathon, 5k, half marathon

Star4.5

(5 reviews)

FilledTicketPrice TBC
Great atmosphereGreat sceneryRoad
Heart
Kirkwood's Thunder Mountain Trail Challenge

Saturday, 22 Jul 2023

Kirkwood's Thunder Mountain Trail Challenge

LocationIndicator

Markleeville, California

Participants

half marathon, 10k, 5k, marathon, ultramarathon

FilledTicketPrice TBC
Great sceneryTrail
Heart
Camarillo Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k & 5k 2023

Sunday, 6 Aug 2023

Camarillo Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k & 5k 2023

LocationIndicator

Camarillo, California

Participants

marathon, half marathon, 10k, 5k

FilledTicket$35 – $100
Flat road
Heart
Oakland Running Festival

Thursday, 19 Oct 2023

Oakland Running Festival

LocationIndicator

Oakland, California

Participants

marathon, half marathon, 5k, 10k

Star4.5

(2 reviews)

FilledTicketPrice TBC
Great atmosphereRoad
Heart
Showing 25 - 28 of 28 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.

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