SURF CITY, USA – Huntington Beach is home to one of the greatest marathons on the west coast. A winter destination race, the Surf City Marathon and Half Marathon offers runners a fast, flat, picturesque course along the city’s signature coastline.
The start and finish line is located on California’s Pacific Coast Highway 101 and the course runs past the famous Huntington Beach pier. With the encouragement of local surfers cheering participants along the way, runners find the atmosphere unique and inspiring.
A SoCal institution, the Surf City Marathon has been welcoming athletes to test their mettle on the Pacific Coast Highway for 28 years. This race has something for everyone—whether you want to gut it out for a Boston-qualifier at the front of the pack or simply embrace the laid back, unique surf culture of Huntington Beach. Here are five reasons you need to put Surf City USA on your running bucket list.
1. Race Weekend Extravaganza: The Surf City USA Marathon is not just a race; it is an entire weekend of excitement. From the Active Lifestyle Beach Expo to Saturday’s Beach Mile on the Sand, plus a 5K and half-marathon distances, race weekend features three days of events and a distance for everyone, but it’s a festive atmosphere under the palm tree-lined streets that adds to the overall “big race” experience.
2. Surf Culture Vibe: The Southern California vibes are strong at this iconic beachfront race. A classic VW Bus surf sedan leads the race to a soundtrack of the Beach Boys and runners are serenaded by surf rock music as they make their way along the scenic course. Because the Surf City Marathon is more than just a race; it’s a celebration of the unique surf culture that defines Huntington Beach and Southern California. From the moment you step onto the course, you’ll be immersed in the relaxed, beachy atmosphere that this region is famous for.
3. Soak up the Scenic Views: The course takes you on a journey through the heart of Huntington Beach. You’ll start with views of the iconic Huntington Beach Pier and Main Street, then venture through Huntington Central Park, offering a scenic and diverse running experience. Just past Mile 9, you’ll be treated to the sights and sounds of the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, home to a variety of wildlife and birds. It’s a unique and peaceful stretch of the race that you won’t find in many other marathons. A significant portion of the race follows a beachfront running path, allowing you to soak in the stunning views of the Pacific Ocean as you run along Bolsa Chica State Beach. It’s truly a runner’s paradise.
4. Set a New Personal Best: Temperate Southern California winter temperatures plus a pancake-flat course create the perfect conditions for setting a PR. Plus, with 20,000-plus runners, you’ll always have a little bit of company to help push you along. If you are aspiring to run the prestigious Boston Marathon, the Surf City USA Marathon serves as a “qualifier.” It’s an opportunity to earn your spot in one of the most renowned marathons in the world.
5. Celebrate with Live Music—plus some swag. More than a race, the Surf City Marathon is an outdoor party. Enjoy live music in the Michelob Ultra Beer Garden or snap a selfie with your feet in the ocean at the post-race festival on the beach. All finishers receive a classic surfboard shaped medal.
In conclusion, the Surf City Marathon offers more than just a race—it’s a chance to immerse yourself in the vibrant surf culture of Southern California, run a scenic and flat course, and be part of a community that values health and fitness. Whether you’re aiming to qualify for Boston or simply looking for a memorable race experience, Surf City USA has it all. So, lace up your running shoes, embrace the beachy vibes, and join the thousands of runners who make their way to Huntington Beach for this iconic event.
Pro Tip: Register early to take advantage of special savings—and see you on the start line on February 4th, 2024.