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Race Dates

2018: Sunday, July 29, 2018
2017: Sunday, July 23, 2017

Course Information

Profile: Hilly
Type: Loop
Surface: Road/Pavement
Certified?: Yes

Race Day Weather

Mean Temp.: 61°F (16°C)
Average High: 68°F (20°C)
Average Low: 53° F (11°C)

Historical Weather

PR Score & Course Score

PR Score: 96.84
Course Score: 97.71

Race Size

2017: 6,523 Finishers
2016: 6,267 Finishers
2015: 6,071 Finishers

BQ Percentages

2018: N/A
2017: 3.9%
2016: 4.8%

Miscellaneous Information

Pace Groups?: Yes

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Course Description

The San Francisco Marathon is a hilly loop course that will challenge runners.

The race starts and finishes on the Embarcadero (near the Ferry Building), traversing San Francisco. The Full Marathon runs through Fisherman's Wharf, the Marina, across the Golden Gate Bridge (twice), through the Presidio and into Golden Gate Park.

After a tour of Golden Gate Park, runners go down the famous Haight Street and through the Mission, Potrero and Mission Bay Districts. After a pass behind AT&T Park, the course goes under the Bay Bridge and up to the Finish Line.

Marathon Rankings

The San Francisco Marathon was the 12th largest marathon in the U.S. last year and was the 12th largest in 2016.

Last year 3.9% of finishers qualified for the Boston Marathon and 4.8% of runners qualified for Boston in 2016.

This gives the San Francisco Marathon the 388th highest percentage of Boston Marathon qualifiers in the U.S. last year and the 384th highest percentage in 2016.

Its Course Score of 97.71 ranks it as the 339th fastest marathon course in the U.S. and the 24th fastest course in California.

The typical race time temperature and humidity levels are above the ideal range for optimal marathon performance. This, coupled with the Course Score, gives the San Francisco Marathon a PR Score of 96.84. This PR Score ranks it as the 352nd fastest marathon in the U.S. and the 28th fastest in California.

Learn more about PR Scores and Course Scores on the FAQ page.

Elevation Chart

Max Elevation: 290 feet (88m)
Min Elevation: 9 feet (2m)


Recent San Francisco Marathon Reviews

4.7 Stars from 10 Reviews
View all Reviews

review of 2017 San Francisco Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


The SF marathon is incredibly well organized and a great experience for racers. The course is punishing so don't expect to crush your PRs (unless they are pretty stale and ready to be crushed) - just brace yourself for the hills and enjoy the run through a scenic tour of SF's greatest sights!

Race Tips

The hills keep coming so don't burn yourself out too quickly. Once you get out of golden gate park (around mile 16) it's practically all flat/downhill to the end, with only a couple of minor uphills.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

I always took Uber to the start line area (having lived in Berkeley) and that worked well for me. Arrive about an hour before start time.

review of 2017 San Francisco Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


This was my first marathon and for me it was the perfect weather for running! However, it is very hilly- both uphill and downhill. I felt that the organization was very good and the corrals were not very packed. Water, electrolytes etc all along the race when needed.

Race Tips

I would recommend starting slow until Fort Mason hill, and then trying to get your pace before the Golden Gate. Try to save for the second half, specially the first part of the 2nd half in Golden Gate Park gains some good amount of elevation up to the lake. For me, the last hill in Mariposa Street justgetting off the Mission kind of made me hit the wall so be aware of those last hills! That's like mile 23-24. Even if they are short, they are not welcome!

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

I booked a lyft in advance to the race and it worked really well, I booked it for 4.20-4.30am and was there at 4.45am. Plenty of time to use the bathroom, eat a gel, stretch etc. Also the corral for the 5.32am start didn't open until approximately 5am and it said it closed at 5.20am so there's no point in being too early as the access is easy if you arrive in a Lyft.

Just before the race you can even easily pee so don't worry about that, just jump the fence and pee into the sea with an amazing Bay Bridge view.

review of 2017 San Francisco Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


San Francisco is a beautiful city and every runner should experience the San Francisco Marathon. I was very nervous since it was my first marathon, and had read several reviews about the hills and lack of supporters. I am not sure if it was the excitement of running my first marathon or the beautiful route that took us through some of my favorite neighborhoods such as the Haight, the Golden Gate bridge(it was awesome) and fisherman's wharf, I had an absolute blast. I only walked/jogged a few water stations, and a couple of the hills and ran all of it. There weren't many people cheering us on the street (the race started at 5:30AM) but the few who did were amazing. I don't recommend this race for a PR or for a BQ unless you are very fast and can train for the hills but definitely run it once.

Race Tips

San Francisco is very hilly but the marathon isn't that bad. Walk or slow down at the hills. The course is amazing and you would be tempted to take pictures (most people did at the golden gate bridge) but I personally don't recommend stopping cause its harder to start again. And Have fun!

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

Do not drive.

review of 2017 San Francisco Marathon.   

2 / 5 Stars


Half marathoners (both First and Second Half) run at the same time as marathoners, so at times the course is very congested (especially on the GG bridge), and you will be boxed in. At other times, half marathoners will be flying past you (particularly in GG Park, where the Second Halfers start their course with fresh legs), so pacing is difficult. I never could find my rhythm in this course. The scenery should be better, but with such an early start in the summer, it's almost a guarantee that most of the lovely views will be shrouded in fog. The Golden Gate Bridge could have been any bridge I was running across, it was so blanketed.

Race Tips

The elevation chart doesn't quite do this one justice. While the course circumnavigates the really tough hills in the middle of the city, it still climbs. The Fort Mason hill at Mile 2.5 is your wake-up call, and then comes the toughest climb of the course just after Mile 5: the ascent from sea level to the Golden Gate Bridge. Don’t expect the bridge to be flat either (its an arc), and beware the slippery steel girders that should have been covered by mats in such a heavy fog. After the bridge comes your second toughest climb at Mile 10 as you make your way through the Presidio above Baker Beach. Golden Gate Park is no picnic either, with a slow steady uphill from Miles 14-16, and more uphill around Mile 18. Save something for your last major uphill in the Mission District around Mile 22.5. But as tiring as the uphills are, the downhills really trash your quads, especially the steep descent in the Haight-Ashbury around Mile 20.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

The gear check process was a nightmare. The UPS trucks for the full marathoners were late and volunteers were only just beginning to place signs out, so most of the Wave 2 marathoners had to chuck their bags on the ground and hope for the best, then sprint to their corral. I got into my corral one minute before start-time, thoroughly stressed. At the end of the race, it was an unnecessarily long walk for the full marathoners to retrieve their bags. I do recommend staying at the Hyatt Regency, however, which is within easy walking distance to the start and offered runners an extended 1 PM checkout time and a recovery room with post-race massage.

review of 2017 San Francisco Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


The SFM is a very hilly marathon and you need to keep yoursef in check when encountering the hills. Lots of people bonked during the marathon because they were trying to power up the hils. I trained with a lot of hills and even I kept myself at bay because they keep coming and coming. I ran with 4 friends so we kept reminding each other to "stay humble." Its super fun though.

Race Tips

Stay humble and do not waste energy trying to power up hills.

Logistical Tips (Hotels, Restaurants, Parking, Discounts, etc.)

Finish Time Equivalent

If you ran the San Francisco Marathon in 4:40:00, what would your time in the Boston Marathon be?

See how your race times would compare on other marathon courses using the Marathon Time Converter Tool.