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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Andrews

Big Sur International Marathon 2017

This year I had the opportunity to run the Big Sur International Marathon in Big Sur, CA. This is my second marathon of 2017. I gained entry to the race through the lottery. The scenery is absolutely beautiful, but the course was very difficult. It made the Publix Marathon course designers look like amateurs. Here's my race recap.

The Expo

The expo was small with many vendors. Bib and tee-shirt pick up was quick and easy. We also received our free bus ticket for our race shuttles. ASICS is the main sponsor and they had a large section of the expo where they were selling Big Sur branded items. I bought a headband, pin for my jacket, and a tee-shirt. Other vendors were selling apparel, nutrition, and medal racks. All the marathon runners names were printed on the name wall banner. The runners who ran the first Big Sur Marathon were highlighted in white. Runners could attend workshops all day at the expo. I choose to skip the workshops and explore Monterey.

Race Day

We had to take a shuttle to the start line in Big Sur. I stayed at the Monterrey Tides Hotel and I caught the bus from the Embassy Suites (5 minute walk). The bus shuttles started at 4:30 am. Thankfully my body being on EST time worked in my favor, since 4:30 PST is 7:30 EST. The bus ride was about 30 minutes to the drop off point. We walked a half mile to the starting line since it was inaccessible to the buses. At the starting line there was coffee, porta potties, and no cell phone signal. One cool thing was I got to meet one my Instagram buddies.

I joined Corral 3 (4:45-6:00 finish). Since we were in the back, we lined up first and moved back. Even the views from the start line were breathtaking.

The Race

The race started at 6:45 am. The first 10 miles of Big Sur felt like running in ATL. The hills were rolling and the views were spectacular. There were cows along the course. They reminded how bad I wanted Chick-Fil-A sweet tea on Sunday (I can only dream). The drummers were our cheerleaders as we started our 2 mile climb to Hurricane Point (miles 10-12).

Miles 10-12 were the most difficult parts of the race. I was so grateful that my pace was great (sub 13) for the beginning of the race, because my pace really slowed down for the rest of the race. I did redeem myself for mile 13 since it was downhill to the Bixby bridge and the piano player.

Mentally, I just wanted to quit at mile 14 and just run to the beach. I took my warm GU and got back to the task of getting to the finish line. The remaining 12 miles were rolling hills. I ran my 2:1 intervals as much as I could. I really took advantage of downhills since the terrain was tough. I was able to take a few more pictures and made some friends along away. I also had the infamous strawberries at mile 23.

One thing I really liked about the race was the attention to protecting the environment. Each water station had places to fill up your water bottles. The race organizers also planned to compost the cups and gel wrappers.

The mile markers were also very entertaining along the course. The mile 26 marker was my favorite (the end was near).

Thankfully I made it past the two time points at miles 15 and 21 and crossed the finish line before the 6 hour cut off. Crossing the finish line felt like winning the lottery, in which I was awarded the Big Sur International Marathon medal.

Post Race Party

The Big Sur post race party had massages, a finisher's store, and food. I had planned to visit the store to buy a shirt, but due to the time I grabbed my food box and headed for the shuttles for the hotels instead.

Overall it was a great experience, but I can say that I am one and done with this race. I can add the Big Sur International Marathon to my completed bucket list races. I am so grateful that I had Jenny from Ekiden coaching to help me train for Publix and Big Sur. I am going to love the flat course at the Chicago Marathon. Now that marathon training is over, I am looking forward to training for the Peachtree Road Race 10k.


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