10 Things to Know about this Week’s Santa Barbara Marathon

The Santa Barbara Marathon has turned into an annual celebration of Veterans Day. The final mile of the course, called The Veterans Mile, is lined with American Flags.

The Santa Barbara Marathon has turned into an annual celebration of Veterans Day. The final mile of the course, called The Veterans Mile, is lined with American Flags.


The Santa Barbara Marathon returns this weekend for the sixth straight year, an event that has grown in stature and size since its revival in 2009. The race was recently featured in Runner’s World magazine as one of the best new marathons in America and will bring roughly 10,000 competitors, volunteers and spectators to the course on Saturday.

Whether you’re running or spectating, here’s 10 things worth knowing before the big event.

Click Image for larger version of Course Map

Click Image for larger version of Course Map

1. Know the course. Whether you’re looking for the best place to watch, or trying to avoid it all together, it’ll help to take a look at the race route. Since it’s 26.2 miles, there are plenty of places to watch and plenty of road closures to deal with as well. The full-length marathon begins at Dos Pueblos High School early on Saturday morning while the half-marathon begins at the Page Youth Center. Both races will end at Leadbetter Beach Park.

2. Great place to spend Veterans Day weekend. There’s a fly-over of vintage fighter jets and a color guard at the starting line, and the Veterans Mile at the end of the course is another nod to our veterans. The race is a great opportunity to vocalize your support for our armed forces. The Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation organizes additional events over the weekend, including a spaghetti & meatball dinner at the Expo (free for veterans), a finish-line BBQ, the 19th Military Ball at the Fess Parker DoubleTree Resort, and the Veteran’s Day Parade on State Street on Sunday at noon.

3. Check out the Expo. Passionate runners will love the Health & Wellness Expo held at Earl Warren Showgrounds on Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Learn about the latest products, nutrition and apparel in the sport while interacting with like-minded athletes and fans. It’s also the location where runners can pick up their race packets.

4. What’s New & Different in 2014. The most important thing to know is that the finish area is at Leadbetter Beach Park this year, across the street from the former Santa Barbara City College finish area. There is also a new version of the race altogether as the organizers have introduced a “Team Competition” where three-or-more runners have to complete the entire race and finish within 26.2 seconds of each other in order to qualify.

5. Athletes to Watch. Elisa Karhu set the women’s course record last year in the full 26.2-mile distance with a time of 2:42.45, which lowered the record by nearly six minutes. The men’s record – 2:22.29 – is held by Moninda Marube and set in 2011. Marube, who also won the Santa Barbara Marathon in 2010, is returning this year after not competing last year. He’s in peak form at the moment having won the Maine Marathon in early October.

6. It’s a Half-Marathon Too!! The full marathon gets most of the credit but the half-marathon actually has more participants. This race is often won by locals, just as it was last year by Jill Himlan and Aaron Sharp.

7. Boston Strong. The Santa Barbara Marathon has been certified to be a qualifier for the prestigious Boston Marathon. While the 2015 race in Boston is already sold out, times at this year’s SB Marathon will be accepted for the 2016 race.

8. Share Your Marathon Experience. The Santa Barbara Marathon organizing team created the hashtag #runamericasriviera as a way to share media across various social media platforms. Of course hashtag #santabarbara is a good one too. Instagram and Facebook will most likely have the most pictures and videos to take a look at. Presidio Sports will post a couple of its favorite photos on its Instagram (presidio_sb)

9. The History. It’s the sixth year of the current Select Staffing Santa Barbara Veterans Day Marathon & Half, which began in 2009. That year it was the first full-length marathon run in Santa Barbara since 1984. In 2010, the race was moved from December to November and added a half-marathon, formerly known as the Santa Barbara News-Press Half-Marathon, to run on the same day.

10. Road Closure & Detour Information. An important piece of information for those who are only interested in finding out how to AVOID the marathon, road closure information can be found HERE