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Best Marathons of 2016

View our Best Marathons of 2016 Winners.

Want help out with the Best of 2017 Lists? Rate and Review Your Marathons

Race Dates

2017: Sunday, July 23, 2017
2016: Sunday, July 31, 2016

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

2016: 6,267 Finishers
2015: 6,071 Finishers
2014: 6,623 Finishers

BQ Percentages

2017: N/A
2016: 4.8%
2015: 4.6%

Miscellaneous Information

Pace Groups?: Yes

Race Day Weather Forecast

Race Day Temperatures High: 65°F  (18°C)
Low: 56°F  (13°C)

Race Start Conditions

56°F  (13°C)

SW 5 mph 

PR Score
(Normal Score)


Course Score


The typical race time temperature and humidity levels are above the ideal range for optimal marathon performance. You may need to adjust your time goal, especially if you are not acclimated to higher temperatures and/or humidity.

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 2015.

Last year 4.8% of finishers qualified for the Boston Marathon and 4.6% of runners qualified for Boston in 2015.

This gives the San Francisco Marathon the 394th highest percentage of Boston Marathon qualifiers in the U.S. last year and the 377th highest percentage in 2015.

Its Course Score of 97.71 ranks it as the 332nd 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 344th 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

5 Stars from 5 Reviews
View all Reviews

review of 2016 San Francisco Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


TSFM's challenging course takes you through some of the most beautiful parts of this gorgeous city. It is more hilly than a typical city marathon course. But the organizers managed to find a flat start and a flat final six miles to take the edge of the hills in the middle. In the US, there are no better summer marathons than TSFM.

Race Tips

Be careful on the downhills. At the 10-mile mark, a one-mile downhill begins. It get steeper as it goes down, which results in some runners breaking too much and other runners getting ahead of themselves.

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

The race starts very early--5:30 AM--so stay in a hotel near the start.

review of 2016 San Francisco Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


The San Francisco Francisco Marathon offers a scenic course through one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Not surprisingly, given the city's topography, the course is hilly. But the course also manages to cover some of the flattest parts of the city--especially the first 5 and final 6 miles of the race.

One part of the course that many first-time SF Marathon runners often think will be flat, crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, is actually a hill in both directions. The climb to the middle of the bridge is not to steep, but it is worth factoring into your race strategy.

The finish is exhilarating, the race organizers really know how to organize an exciting race.

Race Tips

Expect chilly weather even though the race is in July. San Francisco is consistently ranked as one of the best cities for running in the US because the weather is almost always perfect for running. If you've been training all summer in a hot climate, get ready for some relief in the coolest summer marathon in the country. Typical temperatures at the early-morning start are in the 50s.

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

Arrive early. This race starts at 5:30, well before sunrise.

review of 2016 San Francisco Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


Great run through the city, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Presidio, Crissy Field, Golden Gate Park, Haight-Asbury, Mission, Dogpatch.

Race Tips

Most of the big climbs are on the first half so don't overdo it and plan to negative split by 3+ minutes.

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

Walk to the start/finish from the Hyatt host hotel.

review of 2016 San Francisco Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


Lovely run through a beautiful city!

Race Tips

Yes, there are hills. This is not really a PR course. Also, know that in July, there is usually fog in the morning. You MIGHT get lucky and get views while running over the Golden Gate bridge, but if that is your main aim, you may be disappointed. It is just as likely to be socked in, as it was in 2016, in which case it is just a damp run over and back over a piece of highway (drive back over in the afternoon after the race when it's likely to be sunny).

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

San Francisco is expensive! Plan ahead. Race starts super early, before the subways and buses, so plan on using taxi or Lyft or Uber (at 100% surcharge)

review of 2012 San Francisco Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


Weather was perfect, awesome views. Well organized.

Race Tips

Hold back until mile 17, then push from there.

Bridge can be slippery.

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

Stayed at Hotel Vitale, right on Starting Line.

Finish Time Equivalent

If you ran the San Francisco Marathon in 4:05:00, 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.