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2020 Big Sur International Marathon Random Drawings offer runners multiple opportunities to secure an entry into this iconic race

Registration to enter a series of random drawings for the April 26, 2020 Big Sur International Marathon, will begin on Monday, July 15th.

The Big Sur International Marathon has sold out for years and is a “bucket list” race for runners from around the globe. To increase accessibility to this popular event, the Big Sur Marathon Foundation offers various drawings and entry categories to earn a spot in the late-April race.

The Groups and Couples drawing will be held first, followed by Loyalty, Locals, First-Timers, and finally, the Last Chance drawing. Prospective participants wishing to bypass the random drawings can enter through one of four first-come, first-served categories: Big Sur VIP presented by HOKA ONE ONE®, Marathon Tours, Boston 2 Big Sur, and JUST RUN Charity Entries.

“This is the fifth year for us to use a random drawing for the majority of Marathon entries,” said Doug Thurston, Executive Director and Race Director for the Big Sur Marathon Foundation. “Our system provides multiple opportunities and has helped thousands of new and returning runners enjoy our race.”

The schedule to register for the various categories is as follows:

GROUPS & COUPLES: Registration takes place 7/15 – 7/23 with results announced on 7/25. This category is for groups of two to 15 people who want to participate only if everyone in the group is chosen.

LOYALTY: Registration open from 7/26 – 8/5; results announced 8/6. For those who have finished one or more 26.2-mile Big Sur Marathons.

LOCALS: Registration open from 7/29 – 8/7; results announced 8/8. For both veteran and first-time marathoners whose primary residence is in Monterey County, CA (939XX zip code).

FIRST TIMERS: Registration open from 7/31 – 8/11; results announced 8/12. For those who have never finished the 26.2-mile Big Sur Marathon.

LAST CHANCE: Registration open from 8/12 – 8/20; results announced 8/21. For anyone not selected or who didn’t participate in earlier drawings.

There is no fee to enter any of the drawings.

(07/09/2019) ⚡AMP
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This is a tough marathon with a beautiful course. For sure a bucket-list race. 7/10 9:56 pm


Big Sur Marathon

Big Sur Marathon

The Big Sur Marathon follows the most beautiful coastline in the world and, for runners, one of the most challenging. The athletes who participate may draw inspiration from the spectacular views, but it takes major discipline to conquer the hills of Highway One on the way to the finish line. Named "Best Marathon in North America" by The Ultimate Guide...

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Jordan Tropf was not well known by others at the Big Sur Marathon but he took the lead from the start and pulled away to the finish

The Big Sur International Marathon had more than 4,000 runners tackle the 26.2-mile course along the Pacific Ocean on Sunday.  

Jordan Tropf was the winner clocking 2:25:21.

This is the first year in a long time that a new face has won the marathon.

D'Ann Arthur, 31, of Redondo Beach won the women's overall division clocking 2:45:41. Arthur is in residency for orthopedic surgery in Southern California.

Tropf is a Navy doctor from Silver Springs, Maryland, who said that he set a personal record on Sunday. He was the race leader from start to finish. 

Defending male champion and local favorite, Adam Roach, 33, of Pacific Grove, placed second.  Michael Wardian placed fourth and was first master.  

Adam and Michael have dominated the annual race the past few years, having won the last seven races between them. But Wardian told Roach before the sun came up Sunday to be aware of Jordan Tropf, who won the Baltimore Marathon in 2017.

“I didn’t know he was even in the race until Michael mentioned him on the ride out,” said Roach, a Pacific Grove resident.

Tropf wasn’t on the list of elite runners entered in the race, although he is ranked among the nation’s top 200 marthoners having run 2 hours, 27 minutes and 23 seconds at the Boston Marathon on April 15 and 2:26.45 in the Marine Corps Marathon in October.

But Roach wasn’t sure which runner Tropf was until a few miles into race. By then, the Navy doctor had become a blur ahead of him, running off with the men’s division in 2:25:22.

“I had set a goal to get under 2:30,” said the 27-year-old Tropf, who is in the Naval Academy. “I just went out and ran my race and didn’t worry about anyone else.”

D’Ann Arthur of Redondo Beach didn’t let a night out for a wedding slow her down, as she went out and won the women’s race in 2:48.40 — nearly 13 minutes faster than last year’s winning time.

Tropf set a blistering pace that caught Roach — a five-time champion at Big Sur – off guard. He led from the start and gradually extended his lead throughout the 26-mile, 385-yard majestic course.

Running a 5:32 mile pace, Tropf’s time was nearly four minutes faster than Roach’s winning time last year and over five minutes faster than Wardian’s winning time in 2017.

(04/29/2019) ⚡AMP
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Big Sur Marathon

Big Sur Marathon

The Big Sur Marathon follows the most beautiful coastline in the world and, for runners, one of the most challenging. The athletes who participate may draw inspiration from the spectacular views, but it takes major discipline to conquer the hills of Highway One on the way to the finish line. Named "Best Marathon in North America" by The Ultimate Guide...

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Gene Dykes, 71, is looking to break the Big Sur International Marathon record for his age group this weekend

For someone who has done two marathons 24 hours apart, two weeks between Boston and Big Sur may seem like an eternity for Gene Dykes.

Unlike others that have challenged themselves by doing the two marathons in a short time span, it’s not the reason Dykes is running in Sunday’s 34th Big Sur International Marathon.

Instead, the Philadelphia resident is calling it unfinished business from his last trip out west to run the world-renowned course.

“They took my record away when I was 65,” Dykes said. “I owned the course record in my age class for about two months. Then it was discovered on paper that someone ran faster years earlier.”

Ray Piva set the record in the 65-69 age division in 1992 at 3 hours, 10 minutes. Dykes ran 3:26.44 in 2013.

Dykes, 71, can’t get that record back. But he’s looked at the record in the 70-older division — 3:46.36 by Heinrich Gutbier in 1997. His eyes are set on rewriting the mark, adding to his mantel of record-setting accomplishments of late.

“I shouldn’t have trouble beating that mark,” said Dykes, who broke the Boston Marathon record in his age group on April 15, clocking 2 hours, 58 minutes, 50 seconds. “It’s how fast do I want to go.”

What could derail Dykes from shattering the record is he will run the race with his daughter, who is roughly 30 minutes slower than him in a marathon.

“It will depend on how long we run together,” Dykes said. “I’m going to try and get her to run a little harder in the first half. Then I’ll do a negative split the last half of the race.”

While Dykes is six years older than during his last appearance on the Monterey Peninsula, he’s gotten faster covering marathons of all kinds. Most of his personal bests have come in the last year.

“I hired a coach a few years back,” Dykes said. “I just keep dropping time. It’s more of a retirement achievement.”

This will be Dykes’ third crack at Big Sur, but the first time he’s running it after tackling Boston in the same year.

“I guess I’ve always wanted to do Boston-Big Sur,” Dykes said. “Running marathons close together is nothing new to me. It seemed like a good time to do it. Two weeks is plenty of time to recover.”

Dykes’ accomplishments as an ultra distance runner have gained nationwide attention. Last year, the Wall Street Journal labeled him “Earth’s fastest 70-year-old distance runner.”

After setting the record at Boston, men’s winner Meb Keflezighi tweeted “Special shout out to 71-year-old Gene Dykes, who ran an outstanding 2:58.50.”

For someone who didn’t run his first road race until 12 years ago, Dykes has become one of the top ultramarathon runners in his age class in the world.

“I was a jogger my whole life,” Dykes said. “I wasn’t very good in track in high school or college. I was a mediocre runner at best. So I golfed and bowled a lot. I jogged for fun.”

That is until Dykes got in with what he now jokes as a bad crowd — a group of runners, who talked him into his first road race, a half marathon in 2006.

From that point, running became an addiction. Dykes ran well enough that his time allowed him to bypass the lottery for the New York Marathon.

“I could not pass that up,” Dykes said. “So I ran my first marathon. I ended up earning a qualifying time for Boston. So I had to do that.”

By his estimation, Dykes will do 10 to 20 road races a year ranging from 200 miles to the regular 26-mile, 385-yard marathon.

“I race longer and more frequent,” Dykes said. “I’ve done five 200 milers. It’s an endurance race. The clock is running. You run when you can and sleep when you have to. I’ve done them in four days.”

Six weeks before Boston, Dykes completed a 200-mile race, a 100-mile event and two 50-mile races in 2019.

“Every year I try and stretch the boundaries,” Dykes said. “I don’t know if I can do it. So there’s only one way to find out. The hardest part is finding time to sleep. Four hours over four days isn’t much.”

Dykes comes into each race with a plan. After completing his ultra road races — totaling 400 miles — he began preparing for Boston with the mindset of breaking the record in his age division.

“I told my coach you’ve got six weeks to get me under three hours at Boston,” Dykes said

(04/27/2019) ⚡AMP
by John Devine
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Big Sur Marathon

Big Sur Marathon

The Big Sur Marathon follows the most beautiful coastline in the world and, for runners, one of the most challenging. The athletes who participate may draw inspiration from the spectacular views, but it takes major discipline to conquer the hills of Highway One on the way to the finish line. Named "Best Marathon in North America" by The Ultimate Guide...

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I used to dislike hills so much - Michael Anderson on Running File 5

I remember my first marathon (Big Sur) and the days before driving the course. It is a very hilly point to point course on hwy one in Northern California.

Flash forward I did finish in just over 4 hrs.  They have one hill called "hurricane hill" at the 13 mile mark, I remember getting to the top and saying "efff this, never again will hills be a challenge.”

After this race I realized how important hill training is to a training schedule. No matter what you cannot escape hills, they are all around me in my home town.  

I can hate them or learn to love them. I decided to love them and take them as mini accomplishments that need to be conquered. You grind it to the top and then look out over the views, it is very rewarding. I go heavy on hills on all my courses as most trail races are all about getting verticals it’s inevitable.

Hills and loving them!

I find the biggest hills near my house and run them regularly.   You might not think it is helping you because it seems slow but you need to run hills to handle them.  Just do them!  But don’t run hills more than twice weekly and put a day or two in between. 

I love to put my head down and take it one step at a time, sometimes if it’s a new hill I walk very steep sections and then know what the hard parts are and I can be better prepared on my next time up.

Take it as it comes and never say never.  The more you run hills the easier they will become. 

Michael Anderson on Running is a regular My Best Runs column. 

(02/10/2019) ⚡AMP
by Michael Anderson
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Big Sur Marathon

Big Sur Marathon

The Big Sur Marathon follows the most beautiful coastline in the world and, for runners, one of the most challenging. The athletes who participate may draw inspiration from the spectacular views, but it takes major discipline to conquer the hills of Highway One on the way to the finish line. Named "Best Marathon in North America" by The Ultimate Guide...

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The Big Sur Marathon Foundation has announced it will be making a donation of $110,550 to Northern California Fire Relief

The Big Sur Marathon Foundation has announced it will be making a donation of $110,550 to the North Valley Community Foundation following the cancellation of the 2018 Monterey Bay Half Marathon. The 16th Annual Monterey Bay Half Marathon, scheduled for Sunday, November 11th, was canceled due to smoke from the Camp Fire, located in Butte County northeast of the Monterey and Pacific Grove race course.

On Wednesday, November 14th, the 7,600 paid entrants in last year’s Monterey Bay Half Marathon were notified of their eligibility to choose one of five deferral or donation options. As of January 1, 2019, roughly 80 percent of these entrants had made their deferral or donation selection. Just over two-thirds of respondents chose to defer their registration to the 2019 Monterey Bay Half Marathon while 25 percent chose to donate $75 of their entry fee to Northern California Fire Relief. The deferral and donation options and the percentage of runners who chose each option are as follows:

67% - Defer my 2018 Half Marathon entry to the November 10, 2019 Monterey Bay Half Marathon

25% - Donate $75 of my entry fee to a non-profit agency supporting Northern California Fire Relief

5% - Defer my 2018 Half Marathon entry to the November 15, 2020 Monterey Bay Half Marathon

2% - Donate $75 of my entry fee to Monterey County charities funded by the Big Sur Marathon Foundation

1% - Defer my 2018 Half Marathon entry to the November 14, 2021 Monterey Bay Half Marathon

“We appreciate the strong response from runners wanting to return to the Monterey Bay area this November and also those who want to help the many folks who were affected by this devastating fire,” said Doug Thurston, Executive Director and Race Director for the Big Sur Marathon Foundation, organizers of the event.

(01/12/2019) ⚡AMP
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Monterey Bay Half Marathon

Monterey Bay Half Marathon

The Monterey Bay Half Marathon on Monterey Bay contributes to the Ronald McDonald House, Breast Cancer Fund and Big Sur Marathon's JUST RUN Youth Fitness Program. The 2018 race was cancelled because of the wild fires in Northern California. ...

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Maybe the most beautiful and most challenging Marathon in the world, Big Sur

Sunday April 29 is the Big Sur Marathon on the Monterey Bay in Northern California. The course is 26.2 miles of the most beautiful coastline in the world - and, for runners, the most challenging. The athletes who participate in the Big Sur International Marathon may draw inspiration from the spectacular views, but it takes major discipline to conquer the hills of Highway One on the way to the finish line. Named "Best Marathon in North America" by The Ultimate Guide to Marathons, the Big Sur International Marathon continues to sell out earlier and earlier each year and, as a major destination marathon, draws entrants from all over the world. On their way from Big Sur to Carmel's Rio Road, runners wind through majestic redwoods and past Pacific Ocean views. If you have not entered put it on your bucket list for next year. It does sell out very quickly however. Check their website for details. (04/18/2018) ⚡AMP
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Running on the Ragged Edge of the Western World

MBR PHOTO OF THE WEEK: "The Big Sur International Marathon is a point-to-point course run on scenic CA Highway 1 from Big Sur to Carmel the last Sunday each April. Towering redwoods, crashing waves, coastal mountains and verdant pastures are featured on this bucket list course. The centerpiece of the course is the iconic Bixby Bridge, located at the halfway point of the race, where you’ll be greeted by a tuxedo-ed musician playing a Yamaha Baby Grand Piano." Beautiful and challenging! (12/12/2017) ⚡AMP
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