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The San Francisco Marathon

The best places to watch and cheer SF’s most elite runners
By - posted 7/25/2015 No Comment

See your favorite runner or cheer all of them on as they get closer to the finish line of the San Francisco Marathon on Sunday, July 26, 2015 which starts at (gulp) 5:30 am.

The annual Health & Fitness Expo takes place on Friday and Saturday, July 24-25, 2015.

The San Francisco Marathon is a loop course, taking runners on a journey around the city, hitting gorgeous locales and iconic landmarks all along the way. The race starts on the Embarcadero near the Ferry Building, traversing San Francisco.

The 1st Half Marathon runs through Fisherman’s Wharf, the Marina, across the roadbed of the Golden Gate Bridge, through the Presidio and finishes in Golden Gate Park. The 2nd Half Marathon starts at Spreckel’s Lake in Golden Gate Park and finishes on the Embarcadero alongside the Main Marathon Finish Line. It passes through Haight/Ashbury, the Mission District, into Mission Bay, and passes AT&T Park, finishing just before the Ferry Building alongside the Main Marathon Finish Line.

52.4 Ultramarathon
Back by popular demand, in 2015 the San Francisco Marathon will offer the 52.4 Ultramarathon again. Athletes are challenged to take on the incredible feat of running two marathons, back to back, to benefit their favorite charity. The 52.4 race begins at midnight on Saturday, July 25th, running the first marathon in reverse before running the official San Francisco Marathon at 5:30 am.

For those just starting out, there is The 5K Race, which is a flat, fast loop on the Embarcadero, along the beautiful San Francisco Bay.

2015 Course Entertainment

The 2015 San Francisco Marathon will showcase over a dozen different entertainment groups and cheer stations which reflect its unique artistic community and aid in keeping runner spirits and vigor up during the race.

  • Start Line: SF Cable Car Chorus – Barbershop Quartet
  • Mile 3: Tipping Point – Cheer Station
  • Mile 4: Sports Basement – Cheer Station
  • Mile 6: Church of 8 Wheels – Roller Disco
  • First Half Finish: Rock The Bike – DJ and Bike Tree
  • Second Half Start: J.M. Appleby – National Anthem Singer
  • Mile 14: Drum Circle hosted by Joel Elrod – Drum Circle
  • Mile 15: Mind Over Distance – Cheer Station
  • Mile 17: The Joy Drops – Americana Band
  • Mile 19: Cello Joe Beatbox – Cello Looping
  • Mile 20: Dog Vacay – Cheer Station
  • Mile 21: Mind Over Distance – Cheer Station
  • Mile 22: Sports Basement – Cheer Station
  • Mile 24.5: Batalá San Francisco Batalá – Drum Ensemble
  • Mile 25: The Yard – Cheer Station
  • Finish Line: Con Brio – Finish Line Band

2015 Official Cheer Station Locations:

  • Starting Line – Embarcadero and Mission
  • Fort Mason/Safeway – North East corner of Laguna Street at Marina Blvd
  • Sports Basement Presidio – South side of Mason Street
  • MLK – North West corner of MLK at Metson
  • Sports Basement Pop Up Party – 16th Street and Bryant Street
  • Main Finish Line – Embarcadero Street and Folsom Street

2015 Cheer Station Suggestions

Here are some other great places to cheer on the runners:

#1: Sports Basement Presidio (mile 4.5)
The steepest hill of the race is between miles 4 and 5, right around the second water stop. Help support the participants by cheering them on as they go up the hill and enjoy beautiful views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Sports Basement is located at 610 Old Mason St. in the Presidio, across from Crissy Field.

#2: The First Half Marathon Finish in Golden Gate Park (first half mile 13.1)
Congratulate your loved one at the Half Marathon point of the race. Cheer on the marathon runners, while watching the finish of the First Half Marathon. This cheer area is located on JFK Drive at 14th Avenue in Golden Gate Park’s Rose Garden.

#3: The Second Half Marathon Start in Golden Gate Park
Cheer your loved one on at the Second Half Marathon starting line. Cheer on the marathon runners, while watching the start of the Second Half Marathon. This cheer area is located at the corner of JFK Drive and 36th Avenue in Golden Gate Park.

#4: Haight Ashbury (between miles 19 and 20)
Watch runners cross this popular intersection in the Upper Haight District of the city. Runners need your support as they head into the final 10k. You can grab some breakfast or coffee as you wait at the many local cafes. This location can be found at the corner of Haight St. and Ashbury.

Spectator Bus Options (not required)

Did you know that BART doesn’t run early enough to get you to The San Francisco Marathon Embarcadero Start Line? The San Francisco Marathon is offering early morning bus service from six BART stations around the Bay Area so you can focus on the race and forget the hassle of driving and finding a parking spot on race day. Plentiful free parking is available at each busing location. Fee: $12 per ticket.

There are two spectator bus options:

1. One Way Bus to Golden Gate Park (First Half Finish Line). There is no return service with this bus, spectators must find their own transportation back to the Main Finish Line. Buses leave from the corner of Mission and Spear Streets (near the Start Line) beginning at 5:45 am. Fee: $5 per ticket

2. Hop-on, Hop-off Spectator Bus Ticket – This service stops along the waterfront at Marina Green (Stop #1), in beautiful Golden Gate Park (Stop #2), where you will have multiple opportunities to watch your runner, and the eclectic Dog Patch area of Potrero Hill (Stop #3). Friends and family can see their runners in many different parts of the city by the BayBuses leave from the corner of Mission and Spear Streets (near the Start Line) beginning at 5:15 am. Fee: $20 per ticket