Boston 2 Big Sur: A Very Unique Challenge

By Lindsay Podolak

The most dominant trait of a distance runner is the desire to push oneself further than before.

The marathon, a grueling 26.2 mile race that will humble even an elite runner, is no longer enough. The rise of ultramarathons and endurance events where runners run for days on end until they are the last one standing has shown us that this is a community that loves a challenge.

One such challenge that has gained popularity in recent years is Boston 2 Big Sur – a unique feat where runners first complete the Boston Marathon and then, 13 days later, the Big Sur Marathon.

Running two marathons less than two weeks apart is a remarkable achievement for a few reasons.

First, it is a tremendous physical endeavor. I could barely walk after finishing my marathons, let alone think about running another one in 13 days!

But also equally challenging is the travel involved. Boston and Big Sur are 3,000 miles apart. Competing in both of these races is time-consuming and expensive. This is a challenge that requires much planning and logistics.

Not to mention, neither of these courses are for the faint of heart. Both Boston and Big Sur present significant elevation changes. Boston has 891 feet of elevation gain, and Big Sur has 2,182 feet of elevation gain (although both end up being net downhill courses).

The Boston Marathon, held annually on Patriots’ Day, is a prestigious event that attracts elite runners and passionate amateurs alike. The course takes participants through the charming New England streets (and up the infamous “Heartbreak Hill”), creating an electrifying atmosphere as runners make their way to the famous finish line on Boylston Street.

Nestled along the rugged California coastline, the Big Sur International Marathon is renowned for its breathtaking views and undulating terrain. Runners traverse the famous Pacific Coast Highway, offering unparalleled vistas of the Pacific Ocean and the rugged cliffs that define Big Sur. The race’s challenging course, combined with the stunning natural beauty, creates an experience that is as mentally demanding as it is physically rewarding.

A helpful tool available to runners of both these races is the RunBetter App. The app, available for iOS & Android devices, allows you to run the courses (and many others!) virtually from any treadmill. This type of course-specific training gives runners a physical and a mental edge. On race day, they know what’s coming up– no surprise elevation changes!

The Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge stands as a testament to the indomitable spirit of long-distance runners, pushing their limits and embracing the beauty of diverse landscapes. From the historic streets of Boston to the rugged cliffs of Big Sur, this dual marathon experience encapsulates the essence of the running journey – a test of physical and mental resilience against the backdrop of some of the most captivating scenery the United States has to offer.

For those seeking the ultimate running adventure, the Boston 2 Big Sur Challenge beckons as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to conquer both coasts in a single stride. We look forward to celebrating all those who complete such an incredible feat this April!

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