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Best Marathons of 2016

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Race Dates

2017: Sunday, August 27, 2017
2016: Sunday, August 28, 2016

Course Information

Profile: Mostly Flat
Type: Mostly Out and Back
Surface: Road/Pavement
Certified?: Yes

Race Day Weather

Mean Temp.: 68°F (20°C)
Average High: 82°F (27°C)
Average Low: 53° F (11°C)

Historical Weather

PR Score & Course Score

PR Score: 98.51
Course Score: 99.20

Race Size

2016: 1,276 Finishers
2015: 1,440 Finishers
2014: 1,235 Finishers

BQ Percentages

2017: N/A
2016: 19.4%
2015: 22.8%

Miscellaneous Information

Pace Groups?: No

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Course Description

If temperatures stay lower than normal, the race will give up many PRs and Boston Qualifying times (BQs) on the mostly flat Santa Rosa Marathon course.

Marathon Rankings

The Santa Rosa Marathon was the 72nd largest marathon in the U.S. last year and was the 65th largest in 2015.

Last year 19.4% of finishers qualified for the Boston Marathon and 22.8% of runners qualified for Boston in 2015.

This gives the Santa Rosa Marathon the 47th highest percentage of Boston Marathon qualifiers in the U.S. last year and the 21st highest percentage in 2015.

Its Course Score of 99.20 ranks it as the 154th fastest marathon course in the U.S. and the 14th fastest course in California.

The typical race time temperature and humidity levels are slightly above the ideal range for optimal marathon performance. This, coupled with the Course Score, gives the Santa Rosa Marathon a PR Score of 98.51. This PR Score ranks it as the 203rd fastest marathon in the U.S. and the 15th fastest in California.

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

Elevation Chart

Max Elevation: 174 feet (53m)
Min Elevation: 69 feet (21m)


Recent Santa Rosa Marathon Reviews

3.8 Stars from 5 Reviews
View all Reviews

review of 2016 Santa Rosa Marathon.   

1 / 5 Stars


Terrible organization. Pacers off route. This has happened 3 times in 4 years. Terrible experience. Dont go.

Race Tips

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

review of 2016 Santa Rosa Marathon.   

3 / 5 Stars


Improperly marked course in 2016. Similar problems in previous years.

Race Tips

Nice course, wine at water stops.

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

review of 2016 Santa Rosa Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


Flat, fast, and well managed, this was a good race.

Race Tips

I feared it might be hot but it was actually fine. The race starts downtown, follows a stream out into wine country, loops right through a vineyard before making its way back to town.

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

All the hotels become expensive on race day - I ended up paying $200 for a Motel.

review of 2015 Santa Rosa Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


We run through the barrel room of an actual winery............Awesome! Beautiful Course.

Race Tips

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

review of 2014 Santa Rosa Marathon.   

5 / 5 Stars


Pre-race expo was at a winery, on outskirts of Santa Rosa. Sort of a pain to get to, as I'm from SF, which meant 2x trips out there, once for expo, once for race. Expo would appeal to most folks, though, winery was nice, and everyone was friendly.

Race itself was good, temperature-wise (~57 F) was comfortable to me, although 10-15 degrees cooler would have been ideal, physiologically. It's a good thing it starts at 6:00 a.m., however. If they started at the normal 8:00 a.m. start time, it would be miserable later, especially on slower folks.

Volunteers were very nice, although many of them did not have much experience in handing out water. (I do not mean this too negatively, and of course, THANK YOU volunteers..) When handing out water, your only job is to try to have a cup in one (or both) hands at all times, and to announce clearly what you are carrying. Very few of the volunteers would say what they were holding, so I had to sorta yell "water, water, water?" each time, until they identified what they had (sometimes Gatorade, ugh)

Note... I was near the front at all times, there was never a crowd around me at water stations, so probably they had just not been taught to "say what you are holding". This is my only major "complaint" if you will, and was only super-important (to me) because I was using at least a full cup of water on every stop to dump on my head, keeping me cool. Staying cool is amazingly important to running your fastest marathon, as you probably know.

Course is fast, and "flat". There were small hills and rollers, but these would not classify as hills, compared to other courses I've done, i.e. San Francisco, Big Sur, Yakima River, etc.

Good crowd support, for a marathon (and city) of this size. Especially as it was so early, you did see people out and cheering for you.

Race Tips

If you are trying to get a BQ (as I was), I would suggest being at the front of the starting line. After a couple of miles of wide city streets, with turns, you are on a narrow bike path area called "the path", which is a bit narrow. If you wait to start near the back, you would need to fight through tons of people, most likely. I started at the front, and was very happy I did that.

Also... on the way back, the full marathon merges (back on the path) for miles ~21-25 with the half marathoners, and so it gets a bit dicey on space. You need to swerve through or around slower half marathoners a lot, which I liked for the most part, as it distracted me nicely. (cost me some time, of course, but oh well)

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

Race day parking (as mentioned on the website) was extremely easy. We just arrived at about 4:30ish (start time = 6:00 a.m.), and parked in the Sears/Mall parking lot. Quick 0.5 mile walk to start area. Super cool, and non-stressful. Porta potty area was very good, and was able to use them twice, with no problems; they got long lines at about T - 25 minutes, which is much better than most races I have been at. Race start area was small, but easy to move about. Total runners was about ~1250, just make sure to get to starting line by ~15 minutes before start, to get a spot up front if trying for a fast time.

Finish Time Equivalent

If you ran the Santa Rosa Marathon in 4:08:00, 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.