Golden Gate Half Marathon Tips and Overview

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The Golden Gate Half Marathon is the original Bay Area half marathon and takes runners across an out-and-back course across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, past Marina, Crissy Field, and The Presidio on their journey towards it.

As they explore this masterpiece of cable and steel, visitors head along the Eastern Walkway toward Vista Point to take in breathtaking views of San Francisco cityscape and coastline.

The Course

The Golden Gate Half Marathon gives runners an unforgettable glimpse into one of the world’s greatest cities, beginning from Muni Pier in Aquatic Park and running past Aquatic Park through Marina, Presidio and Crissy Fields before returning back towards Beach Street and Ghirardelli Square for an exciting finish line experience.

As soon as runners begin their journeys at Muni Pier in Aquatic Park, San Francisco’s breathtaking beauty will embrace them from start to finish! Running across its iconic Golden Gate Bridge will surely be one of the highlights, which has long served as both symbol and landmark for visitors from around the globe since 1887! Runners begin at Muni Pier before starting out across Aquatic Park before reaching Muni Pier where Aquatic Park begins before continuing into Crissy Fields before turning toward Beach Street/Guirardelli Square to complete this breathtaking race experience!

This challenging course can be completed even by novice runners, yet its rewards make it doable for anyone. Enjoy breathtaking views of San Francisco skyline, bay, Marin Headlands and lush Pacific shoreline dotted with wildflowers as you run along its East and West sidewalks. As an added treat you will see multiple angles of Golden Gate Bridge itself from multiple viewpoints!

Race Start

The race begins at Van Ness Avenue and Beach Street and moves south on Van Ness Avenue before turning west onto Bay, north onto Laguna Drive, west along Marina, into Presidio and back towards Golden Gate Bridge before reversing course for reverse run back home. As part of its setup and tear down processes, several streets in Marina District will be temporarily closed off with Muni service disrupted; more information can be found here.

There will be various aid stations throughout the course providing water and Nuun. The top three finishers in each age group will receive medals that can be collected on-site at Ghirardelli Square near Ghirardelli Square; any other awards will be sent post-race via mail. Bag check will open for participants at 5:30am at Aquatic Park; please be sure to label your bag with your name and bib number – gear checked at your own risk; this race cannot be held responsible for lost or stolen items.

The Pre-Race Expo

Running enthusiasts can obtain their race bib, T-shirt and other goodies at the Expo held on Friday and Saturday before each half marathon race. There were numerous vendors and sponsors with great products for sale or sampling at this exciting event! It’s the ideal way to prepare for an enjoyable half marathon experience.

If you are unable to attend, a proxy can collect your packet on your behalf from the Expo. Please give them your bib number and photo ID copy. In addition, digital liability waivers need to be signed; you can do this in your ACTIVE Account under “My Events”.

Crissy Field marks the starting line, before you head through Marina to Presidio before beginning your climb to Golden Gate Bridge. The first mile is mostly flat until reaching bridge, when there is an approximately 60 foot elevation gain on a short hill climb leading up to it and onto another one that then leads you back down through Marina to Ghirardelli Square for an iconic finish!

After your race, take time to enjoy food and beverages as well as collect your free high-resolution photos of both yourself and the course! It is wise to stay for the post-race festival to take advantage of all that is on offer.

The Golden Gate Half Marathon is an officially sanctioned USA Track & Field course (certification number CA11006TK). View its course map.

The 10K and 5K courses are point-to-point with no net elevation change from start to finish line. All runners receive water and Nuun at each mile marker: starting, 2.6, 4.1, 5.5, 8, 9, 10.3, 12.0. Additionally, the Kaiser Permanente medical team will be present and available for medical support throughout the race course.

The Start Line

Starting at the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, runners begin their run from its foot. You will pass through Marina and Presidio neighborhoods before running along San Francisco Bay shorelines before crossing twice over the Golden Gate Bridge en route to Golden Gate Park for your final destination. Sweeping downhills and neighborhood views provide ample motivation as runners strive towards reaching their final goal of Golden Gate Park.

Stay for the Kaiser Permanente Post-Race Festival after finishing your course and collect your medal and finisher shirt (and any gear bags you checked!) in this area! Plus you might get to experience vendor and sponsor activations!

Participants of this race will have access to water at various aid stations during the race:

The course is USA Track & Field certified and features a point-to-point format with a gradual decline in elevation between its far eastern end and Golden Gate Park’s finishing area.

Notable Features of This Year’s Route:

runners should pace themselves within their comfort zones to maximize the experience and prevent injury or exhaustion. Spectators are welcome along the course and encouraged to support runners of all abilities by cheering them on, though please note that many streets will be closed during this event, with Muni buses being rerouted as needed; please refer back to our website for updates as you follow your runners through their course.

Due to safety and health reasons, no pets or strollers are permitted on the course. Also, headphones must provide safe hearing capabilities while being securely fastened into your ears in order to prevent them from coming loose during the race and falling off.

Are You Ready for the Golden Gate Half Marathon? Whether this is your inaugural run or you’re returning after an absence, our friends at None to Run have you covered with an easy 12-week plan designed specifically to ease into running for over five minutes at a time without stopping! By the time you cross the finish line, your running stamina should have improved substantially and more than five minutes will have passed without stopping!

The Finish Line

This 13.1-mile journey through San Francisco offers more than just an ordinary run: it offers an unforgettable tour of its most iconic areas – from Crissy Field and Marina to Presidio and Golden Gate Bridge twice, taking in breathtaking vistas, neighborhood views, and finally ending up back at Golden Gate Park for a grand finish!

Start under Fort Mason and make your way towards the Golden Gate Bridge through Marina, Presidio and Crissy Field to reach its magnificent bridge before continuing down toward Marina before crossing over once more on their way towards Ghirardelli Square where the race finishes in Ghirardelli Square for an iconic finish line finish.

Once the race is over, take time to enjoy our post-race festival that includes vendor and sponsor activations booths as well as collecting your medal and gear bag (if checked).

No matter your experience or level, running the Golden Gate Half Marathon is a must! For some training assistance, check out None to Run’s beginner plan – its gradual approach makes it approachable regardless of where you start from, with just 12 weeks needed to achieve 25-minute nonstop runs in no time at all! Now’s your chance to join or return after taking time away – sign up today and run.

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