San Luis Obispo High School
San Luis Obispo,us
San Luis Obispo,us
The course features breathtaking vistas, hills (to be conquered) and the beautiful vineyards of the Edna Valley. It's a challenge with incredible reward...
One of the most beautiful courses in the nation takes you on a journey through our small classic California college town - through a turn-of-the-century (19th century that is) downtown, past historic neighborhoods, a California Mission, a Frank Lloyd Wright building and Chinese Garden, out into the Edna Valley wine country in the shadow of Morros and farmland and a downhill finish at the iconic Madonna Inn.
The Start is on a two lane wide City street, slightly downhill and there is a sharp left hand turn about 200 yards into the race. 6am for full (dark) and 6:45am for half. Elites in front then pace corrals follow.
Mile 1 is a slight grade downhill and two lanes paved closed road. 2-3 miles are flat and fast weaving through Downtown SLO. There are a number of 90 degree turns and the roadways are closed. First Aid Station is just past Mile 2 on the left. All aid stations stock the exact same (Water and Clif Gels, FLUID Sports Drink, port o johns in that order). Keep your eyes open the for the Chinese Dragons and drummers.
Just before mile 3, runners pass under a railroad bridge and start their first (and longest/highest) climb on the course, affectionately known as Cardiac Climb. It stretches 1/2 mile with an elevation gain of 160’. Roadways still closed and double lane wide.
After the summit of Cardiac Climb, there is a long gradual descent into the second aid station at Mile 4.25.
OLD BOOT FENCE
Mile 4.5, runners make a slight left turn and head out toward the rural edge of town (look for the llamas, horses and the famous ‘old boot fence’ near Mile 5). This section (from mile 4.5 - 7) is the busiest portion of the course with two way runner traffic (in and outbound). Mile 4.5 to 5.5 has slight inclines and decline rollers.
Just past Mile 5, A gentle descent into Islay Park and aid station will finish off this stretch of the course and allow you to see the next long climb of the day as you approach mile 6- Islay Hill- a shorter 0.4 mile stretch rising 80’ will put you in the busiest part of the course. Stay to the left through this section if you are a slower runner or walker.
AVOCADO HILL & THE CLIF ZONE
Mile 6-7 is one big descent down the back of Islay Hill followed by one big ascent up Avocado Hill – roughly 60’ down and then 120’ up. The Clif Zone aid station (inflatable arch, tons of gel and music) awaits you at the top of Avocado Hill (which you will see and hear during your run up -it’s a loud party up there!). About ¼ mile past the Clif Zone, the half marathoners will turn around (it is well marked with timing mats) and head back the way they came, while the marathoners will continue on into the breathe taking Edna Valley.
HALF MARATHON RETURN
Half marathon miles 7-9.5 are the exact return path from which they just came, for half marathon miles 9.5 to finish description see ** section below.
Runners continue along the two lane country roads over rollers until mile 8, just past the first winery of the day and then things flatten out for about a mile. Mile 9 starts a gradual 0.5 mile climb that descends into another aid station at mile 10. The run out to the marathon turnaround (mile 12.5) is relatively flat. A portion of this is an out and back, which is roughly 2 miles round trip. Out and back starts at Tiffany Ranch Road.
Coming back from the turnaround (again, it’s a mile out and a mile back on the out and back), you will make a left turn and head across the valley into an undulating portion of the course ending in a small decline into an aid station near mile 14.5.
BEAUTIFUL SLO TOWN HILLS
After a right hand turn, you’ll head up into 2 short, steep hills. Once those are complete, you’ll be able to catch your breath for about 0.5 miles on a gradual descent into another short steep hill at mile 16. This is the worst part of the marathon course; wide open vineyards, quiet, hilly, but really beautiful!
Once you hit the aid station after the mile 16 hill, your legs get a rest as there is a 3 mile stretch of straight and flat roadway ahead with a couple of aid stations.
**Marathoners overtake half marathoners at the half marathon turnaround (mile 7 half/mile 20.5 marathon- so beware of the crowds and stay to the right). Remaining description applies to both courses after mile 20.5 of marathon.
Mile 19 is where the runners reconnect to the outbound portion of the route (mile 8.5 outbound). Miles 19-22.5 are a return of the outbound rolling hills section, back through the Clif Zone, down the long Avocado Hill and then back up the Islay hill and down into the Islay Park Aid station. (Miles 19-22.5 are the reverse of Miles 4.5-8.0). Hills hill and more hills here.
Mile 22.5 starts a nice decent that lasts about 0.5 miles. Wide street, lots of room.
Mile 23.5 -24.5: Runners leave the two lane country roads and access a 8’ foot paved bike path. This is the most crowded portion of the route (full of spectators as well as runners) as there are slow half marathon runners on the right side of the path and fast full marathon runners running up behind them on the left side of the path. Path is flat and fairly straight and follows the train tracks.
At mile 24.5 (sorry runners:) there is a beautiful antique bridge over the railroad tracks & train station (the Jennifer Street bridge). The views up there are EPIC. The runners use the switchback handicap ramps (no stairs) to get up on the bridge itself, then come back down the opposite side ramps. A nice decent out of the ramps and back onto downtown City streets follows (and an aid station). Heavy spectator areas here to the finish.
Miles 24.5 - 25.9 are flat, fast and straight in closed neighborhood streets. The Madonna Mountain & below Finish Line are now in sight.
Mile 25.9, runners go under a closed highway over crossing and climb a quick, short hill once again on a 8 foot bike path. The crest of the hill opens up to the fast downhill finish into the chute. Walkers or slow on right, fast on left.