April 27, 2014
Considered one of the most scenic marathons in the country, this point-to-point race north along Highway 1 from Big Sur to Carmel combines California’s most dramatic coastal scenery with some serious physical challenges—headwinds and hills. An additional gauntlet: a hard six-hour limit on the course, which breaks down to about than 14 minutes per mile. Still up for it? You’ll reap the rewards while running among redwoods with stunning ocean views.
But about those hills: There are 13 over the last 13 miles of the course. One of them is a climb up infamous Hurricane Point—a steady 5 percent incline for more than two miles. But it’s not all bad: Japanese taiko drummers are stationed before you start the climb to egg you on, and a concert pianist accompanies your run at the halfway point. More inspiration: finishing among the flaming orange poppies growing right on Monastery Beach at mile 25.
STAY: The waterfront Monterey Marriott offers special runners’ rates; marriott.com.