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Surf City Marathon Course Overview

This spectacular oceanfront course is an exclusive Southern California favorite! Run by the famous Huntington Beach pier and continue through scenic Huntington Central Park. Observe native surfers in their natural habitat as you hit the beachfront running path at Bolsa Chica State Beach.

More than 2,000 volunteers and several surf bands will be along the way cheering you on and making sure you have plenty of nourishment and energy! Where else will you get cheers from a surfer?

Course Highlights

  • Wheelchair Marathon Start Time 6:25 a.m.

  • Marathon Start Time 6:30 a.m.

  • Participant Limit — approximately 2,500

  • The course limit is 6 hours, a pace of about 13:43 per mile. Course closes at 1:30 p.m.

  • Pace Groups available

  • Aid Stations include Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water, CLIF Shot Energy Gels and CLIF Bloks, and Vitalyte electrolyte replacement drinks.

  • The Finish Line features TruMoo chocolate milk, CLIF Bars, fresh bananas and oranges from Mother’s Market in Huntington Beach, Fruigees squeezable fruit pouches, Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water, Sam Adams beer in four delicious varieties.

  • Official finish times, finisher medals, and post-race refreshments cannot be guaranteed to any participants finishing over 6 hours.

  • USA Track & Field certified

  • Official Boston Marathon qualifier

  • Highest point less than 100′ above sea level

  • Steepest course grade is approximately 6%

  • Sunrise: 6:47 a.m.

  • Average temp at the start: 48 degrees

  • Live Results

  • An early start is not available


View the Surf City USA Marathon Course Map for 2017. Click to enlarge.

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Marathon by the Mile

Miles 1–2: Huntington Beach Pier & Main Street
Start on Pacific Coast Highway between the ocean and the Hilton Waterfront Beach Hotel. Running north, the Huntington Beach Pier and Main Street are less than a mile away. Look to the left to enjoy the famous Huntington Beach Pier. The next time you see it, you will be on the beachfront running path at mile 25!
Miles 2–9: Huntington Central Park
Just past the second mile marker, at the first retro surf band station, turn inland on Seapoint and head for Huntington Central Park. On this stretch, you will encounter the course’s only incline, between miles 3 and 4. But take heart; there are hundreds of kids at the park, waiting to cheer you on! They love marathon runners and get up early every year to come to the park, hand out water and yell words of encouragement! These will be your biggest fans!Feeding off energy from the kids in the park, head down Seapoint back toward the ocean. Enjoy the ocean view all the way down to PCH.
Miles 9–15: Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve
Just past mile nine, take a right on PCH and absorb the energy from the ocean! Breathe in the fresh sea air as you continue north on the highway. The Bolsa Chica Reserve wetlands roll out to the right. This 300 acre ecological wonder is a sanctuary for wildlife and migratory birds. Bolsa Chica, along with the rest of Huntington Beach, CA, has some of the nation’s best birding! Nearly half of the birds found in the U.S. have been seen in Huntington Beach. Sightings of great blue herons, snowy egrets and brown pelicans are common; lucky bird watchers can even spot a rare white pelican at the right time of the year.
Miles 16–25: Beachfront Running Path
Starting on mile sixteen, the course leaves Pacific Coast Highway and continues on a beachfront running path paved right over the sand! These are the same beaches where the legends of surf movies and music were made. Observe local surfers in their natural habitat with the waves crashing just yards away. Run all the way back to the pier, where a crowd of spectators will be cheering from above!
The Last Mile: A Spectacular Finish
After turning at the pier, work your way up through the lifeguard station back to Pacific Coast Highway. As you come on to the highway, you will be less than a mile from the finish line. It’s a straight shot from there, and the finish line banner is just ahead. Spectators line the highway to cheer you to the finish line!
Things to Know
About eight miles of the marathon course runs on the multi purpose beachfront running path that winds through the legendary surfing beaches of Southern California. This public path is not part of the closed course and you may encounter walkers, bicyclists, and others who are not participating in the race. It is only 8 feet wide in some places, which is why we limit the marathon event to 2,000 participants. Special Note to wheelchair participants: The Multi Purpose Beach Path has a speed limit of 8 MPH that must be observed at all times. Most wheelchair participants select our Half Marathon course, which stays on the main roadways.
• An early start is not available


We will use a wave start for the 2017 Surf City event.

Why include a wave start?

– Less congestion at the start line
– Easier access
– A more enjoyable experience
– Looking for your Boston Qualifier? This is it!

We are committed to making the 2017 Surf City Marathon & Half Marathon the best to date.

Pace Groups


The CLIF BAR Pace Team will be this year’s “official” Surf City Marathon & Half Marathon Pace Team.

Here’s How It Works:
Each Pace Leader will run even splits (every mile will be run in the same amount of time) throughout the race, and by following your Pace Team leader, you’ll cross the finish line under two minutes of your goal time.

Full marathon Page Groups: 3:05, 3:15, 3:25, 3:35, 3:40, 3:45, 3:50, 4:00, 4:15, 4:30, 4:45, 5:00 and 5:30

Support Overview

The 2,000+ volunteers of the Surf City USA Marathon and Half Marathon prepare year round for your arrival and are ready to support all your race day needs.

Become a volunteer

This section of the site will provide you details of what will be available to you on race day to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable run. Please review the information carefully to prepare yourself for the event.

The location of aid stations are posted in the course sections of the site.

It is highly recommended that you integrate the course nutrition into your training regime.

Medical Information: Emergency-1 Response, Inc

During the event our fully trained rapid response medical team will insure that any medical emergency is taken care of providing un-paralleled customer service.

We employ only licensed, certified and seasoned Emergency Medical Technicians that have access to the most up-to-date, state of the art equipment necessary for the health and welfare of staff members, performers and spectators of your special event. The Emergency-1 Response medical team helps reduce corporate medical event liability by responding rapidly to any medical emergency that might arise during the event and expeditiously takes action when needed.

Learn more about Emergency-1 Response