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Virtual Tour

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The Friday or Saturday before you line up at the start of the Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay, you need to visit our Health & Fitness Expo located at the Monterey Conference Center to pick up your bib, timing chip, event shirt, sweats bag and race program. The Expo will feature a variety of vendors and local businesses promoting health and fitness as well as selling a multitude of running related merchandise. Be sure to check out the Big Sur Half Marathon logo apparel.

On Sunday morning, 8,000 runners and walkers will line up on Del Monte Avenue just past Figueroa St (across from McDonalds) in Monterey, to begin the Half Marathon. Parking will be available in the downtown Parking Garages, at Monterey Peninsula College and at Del Monte Center. There will be 12 start corrals, which will be located on both Del Monte and Figueroa Streets. After the 6:55 a.m. start, participants will proceed north on Del Monte Avenue past Lake El Estero on the right and the Window on the Bay on the left.



Lake El Estero is a 45-acre multi-use recreational area which offers picnic space, a skateboard park, rental paddle boats, fishing and many other activities. It is also the home of Dennis the Menace Park, a great place to take the kids. To the left is Monterey's new Window on the Bay. Formerly the home of the Peninsula's auto dealerships, their relocation to the Auto Center in Seaside allowed the city to create a landscaped expanse of green grass with groupings of bright flowers and native grasses. There are several sand volleyball courts here, as well as picnic areas and kayak rentals. The Window on the Bay is a stunning frame for the entire Monterey Bay.

At the eastern end of Lake El Estero, just under a ¼-mile into the race, participants will make a right turn on Camino Aguajito and continue along the eastern edge of Lake El Estero. In the distance one can view the Monterey Marriott, the host hotel for race weekend. After about ¼-mile, runners will make another right turn onto Third Street. After passing over a bridge spanning the lake, runners will pass through a grove of eucalyptus trees. On the left is the San Carlos Cemetery and on the right is Dennis the Menace Park. Runners may have to share the road with the Canada geese that have made the lake their home (watch your step here!).



After about ½-mile, runners will cross the road and Third Street becomes Pearl Street. Pearl is a residential street as well as home to many small businesses operating out of houses. As runners approach the downtown area, more businesses and restaurants appear. After passing through the heart of the city, runners will make a right hand turn onto Alvarado Street, one of the most popular thoroughfares in Monterey. Shops, many fine restaurants, movie theaters and lots of local color dominate this street. Alvarado is the site of Monterey's Tuesday Farmer's Market where locals come to purchase fresh produce and just hang out together. Alvarado Street is also the site of the Half Marathon's sponsor, Rabobank.




At the intersection of Alvarado and Franklin Streets, runners will again turn right and run past the start area. At Washington Street, they will make a left turn onto Del Monte and enter the tunnel which passes beneath the Custom House area After emerging from the tunnel just prior to mile two, runners will turn right on Foam Street and then right again on Drake. To the right is the Coast Guard pier and San Carlos Park. At the foot of Drake, runners will turn left onto Cannery Row. Made famous by the novels of John Steinbeck, today's Cannery Row is now home to many businesses, shops and restaurants.  At the western end of Cannery Row is the world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, a must see if you are spending the weekend here. At the intersection with Ocean View Blvd, runners again turn right. On their left is the American Tin Cannery that houses many outlet stores and is a great place for some pre-holiday shopping.


Runners proceed west along Ocean View through beautiful residential neighborhoods. To the right is the recreation trail and Berwick Park, an excellent spot for spectators to watch the runners. The course is slightly rolling along this stretch, but the breathtaking view of Lover's Point will take your mind off the rises in the roadway.

Pacific Grove is home to many bed & breakfasts and small, cozy inns. Consider lodging in PG (as the locals call it) for the weekend stay. Just prior to mile 4, runner's will make a left hand turn onto Fountain Avenue, and the only hill of any size on the course (don't worry, it is a short hill!) After about ¼ mile, runners make a right turn onto Lighthouse Ave for a short jaunt through downtown Pacific Grove. As you approach the downtown area, and cross Central Ave, you will notice the Pacific Grove Museum on the left with "Sandy" the whale outside. A great place to visit in Pacific Grove! Known as both "Butterfly Town USA" and America's "Last Home Town", Pacific Grove has retained a charming, small town feel. After running a short distance down PG's Lighthouse Avenue, runners will turn right just after the PG Post Office onto Central Avenue and then left onto 17th Street which will lead them back to Lover's Point where they will rejoin Ocean View Blvd. At Lover's Point, runners will be treated to another band and lots of crowd support. Lover's Point features a sheltered beach, picnic areas, sand volleyball courts and great views of the entire Bay. There are several excellent hotels and restaurants in this area.


The stretch of coastline between Lover's Point and Pt. Pinos offers an eclectic mix of quaint Victorians and mini mansions on the left and the Monterey Bay to the right. In the spring, the ground is covered in brilliant purple ice plant and the Bay is filled with sailboats and fishing boats. During the fall, expect to see the orange Aloe Vera in bloom. Whale-watching tours are available at Fisherman's Wharf for the more adventuresome. As runners approach Pt. Pinos, the historic Pt. Pinos Lighthouse can be seen rising above the Pacific Grove Municipal Golf Links. This is a beautiful stretch of coastline with giant rock formations rising out of the ocean and lots of small sandy beaches and tide pools. During the fall months, it is not unusual for giant waves to crash against the shoreline, creating a mist of salty air. A walking path winds just above the ocean here, with frequent benches on which to rest and enjoy the incredible views.

Taiko Drummers will be playing at Asilomar Beach, a mecca for local surfers and one of the Peninsula's two beaches where dogs run unfettered by leashes. The race turnaround will be in this area.


After returning to Lover's Point, runners and walkers will get on the Recreation Trail which runs next to the ocean. At the Aquarium, they will once more pass through Cannery Row. Expect music and a large cheering gallery here. At Drake Street, the course will link back to the Recreation Trail for the final stretch to the Finish at the Custom House Plaza. Expect huge crowd support at the Finish. Visiting VIPs and sponsors will have a bird's eye view of the Finish from the Stanton Maritime Museum. After crossing the finish line, you will receive a unique ceramic Finisher's medallion, a mylar blanket for warmth (if weather conditions dictate it) and a variety of post-race refreshments. There will also be cold Michelob Ultra beer and hot minestrone soup in the Custom House Plaza area after exiting the food tent. Be sure to stick around for the awards ceremony and enjoy the many shops and restaurants located on adjacent Fisherman's Wharf and Alvarado Street.



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