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Anyone run Big Sur?

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Post  stanton Tue Sep 27, 2011 2:16 pm

If anyone has done Big Sur, I have a few questions. I'm running my first marathon in March (NO Mardi Gras) and wouldn't be doing Big Sur for at least another year. I'm hoping to have 2-3 marathons under my belt at that point.



Questions:



How quickly does the marathon fill up (it's already full for next April)?



Is there much to do in that area after the marathon (I like to combine vacation with races)?



Is it super, super hard? I'm not a monster crushing runner like most people on this board and am looking to have fun as much as run the marathon. If it's nothing but pain, I might try Napa or look for some other beautiful course. Also, I should add that being a less than stellar runner, I'm not very concerned about my time.



I have a problem with heights. Is there a lot of the course that is super high and without railings.etc? I saw the bridge on a video and about had a panic attack when they panned over the edge.



Finally: Is it really as amazing as it appears?
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Post  Jack_Scaff Tue Sep 27, 2011 2:52 pm

I have not but will butt in anyway...

Monterey and Santa Cruz are right there/pretty close. And you are maybe 2 hours or so from San Francisco, which opens the entire region up (the best in the world IMO).

Not an easy race, so I would suggest enjoying the course and vacation vs. PR-ing.

I think it fills pretty quickly.

It is along PCH, so it is a 2 lane HWY. Run in the middle! I would suspect the bridges or even the bus ride to the start (at least it is dark) would be the worst.

It is an amazing drive, so the race has to be even better.
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Post  stanton Tue Sep 27, 2011 4:12 pm

Thanks, Jack! If I can't get that one I may try the Napa marathon. I've never been to CA and want to find the most scenic areas. Big Sur seems like it might be a good solution.
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Post  Jack_Scaff Tue Sep 27, 2011 4:23 pm

stanton wrote:Thanks, Jack! If I can't get that one I may try the Napa marathon. I've never been to CA and want to find the most scenic areas. Big Sur seems like it might be a good solution.

Now Napa I know. I've done it 4 times, and while not as scenic as PCH, it is pretty darn awesome.

It is easier than BSIM (rolling hills, nothing major, yet negative elavation). And if you have nver been to our fair state and region, I would think Napa might be a better choice. Monterey is gorgeous, don't get me wrong, but Napa is my favorite place just about anywhere. You are much closer to SF and if you need to go to see the Pacific you can still do so either in SF, Marin or the Sonoma coast.

If you want to experience nor-Cal epicurian delights, Napa (and SF) are hard to beat.

Napa can fill quickly as well.

One thing worth mentioning - Napa is a small-ish race - maybe 2500 runners. It is well organized and the race support is fine...just if you want a Chicaco/MCM/R-n-R sort of experience, that is not Napa. Oh, and it IS the sort of race you can gun for a PR. Usually pretty good conditions (although it can rain/have wind) and as I said, negative elevation.
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Post  Julie Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:02 pm

I might just have to run Napa one of these years. It sounds great.
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Post  stanton Tue Sep 27, 2011 9:52 pm

It does sound great. I think I prefer a beautiful course with a laid back atmosphere to trying to running the super star courses. I think I'll like Napa and Big Sur. I think I'll like New Orleans more for the accompanying vacation (food, architecture, music) than the marathon. Of course, I do like me some rock music.
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Post  ounce Mon Oct 17, 2011 6:27 pm

NOLA has a half marathon, too, with the full. You just have to watch your footing for the entire race.
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Post  Michele "1L" Keane Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:13 pm

I ran Big Sur in 2005, and it is a great race. The course fills up very fast, so you need to decide ASAP whenever the date comes around (and I bet it is soon) to enter. The course is not easy with the 2 mile climb in the middle, but if you run it right, you will find that you can indeed run a very good time there. I lived in very flat Cleveland when I ran it and had little hill training. I started off very slow and when I approached the hill, I climbed conservatively (no walking) keeping the effort very consistent. When I got to the top, the clock indicated that I was on 4:05 pace - I finished in 3:54. I found that once I came done the hill, I had plenty left and I welcomed the rest of the rolling hills even the one at mile 23 - because at the top there were chocolate covered strawberries - yum!!

I also do not love heights, but I never realized just how "high" the bridge was/is, and I ran in the middle. The scenery is far too beautiful to even let you notice the height, and the sounds of seals, waves, piano, Japanese drums, etc. are more than enough to take your mind off things.

I've never run Napa, but Big Sur was more than worth the trip and the race. I'm not good at the search thing, but I did post a detailed report on Hal's boards.
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Post  stanton Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:58 pm

Thanks for sharing, Michele! I'll look up your report. HOpefully, they don't take pictures of you when you're eating all the chocolate covered strawberries. Embarassed
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Post  Jack_Scaff Tue Oct 18, 2011 4:40 pm

FWIW it seems as though there may be a handful of 365-ers doing Napa. And Tim says that the RD expects the race to fill in DEC.
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