Running - Event

Your Ultimate Guide to Surf City Marathon 2018

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Are you ready for the race of a lifetime? The Surf City Marathon has one of the most spectacular race routes in all of America. Run along the west coast to experience some sun, surfers, and post-race celebration in Southern California’s most awaited race of 2018!

Running along the stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway, you can view the stunning coastline at the Huntington Beach Pier, Bolsa Chica State Beach, and for a change of scenery, the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. Join the monumental event along with over 18,000 other runners in one of the best half marathons in the nation!

About Surf City Marathon

This marathon has been conducted for many years and was formerly called the Pacific Shoreline Marathon & Half Marathon. Now known as the Surf City USA Marathon & Half Marathon, you can participate as a runner in any one of their popular races.

There is no strict age limit, starting at 12 years and older, and there’s even a race for children aged 5 to 12. The course of the race ranges from easy to moderate, where the ground is mostly flat with a slight inclination, no higher than 100 feet overall.

Enjoy the sights of the ocean and shore as you run on the Pacific Coast Highway, from where the marathon previously took its name. Run through the streets of Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach and the Bolsa Chica State Beach.

The Surf City half marathon is one of the most renowned half marathons that the United States has to offer. In 2016, the Surf City half marathon embraced over runners and wheelchair contestants from all over the country at the finish line. They were motivated along the way by the tunes of performing bands and enthusiastic spectators.

The Surf City half marathon 2018 is set to see around 18,000 registrations for the half marathon, and many more for the remaining races like the full marathon, 5K, virtual run option, and kids’ cowabunga beach challenge.

The race starts from the intersection of the Pacific Coast Highway and Huntington Street and carries on straightforwardly on the highway. Cross the Huntington Beach pier where you can sink in the essence of surf culture and enjoy Southern California’s famous landmark.

For those of you easily bored of the ocean view, there is a detour through the Huntington regional park and Bolsa Chica ecological reserve where you can run through the 1,300-acre coastal estuary filled with wildlife and plant species. Enjoy bird sightings and marine life as you venture through this low land pocket of endangered species.

Surf city 5K
Surf city 5K race

Information of Races: Types, Registration, & Eligibility

The Surf City Marathon is scheduled to take place on the 2nd to 4th of February, 2018. All races are open to any individual for registration, provided they are eligible. There is a limited registration period and participation limit for all races so apply fast! The following races are available to register for:

  • Full Marathon
  • Half Marathon
  • Become a VIP
  • New! 5K option
  • The Kids' Cowabunga Beach Challenge - Surf City’s Kids Beach Run
  • Virtual Run Option

To participate in any of the races, Register Here!

Registration - 

The registration fee for Surf City Marathon according to the race you wish to participate in:

  • Full Marathon: $145.00
  • Half Marathon: $135.00
  • Become a VIP: $375.00
  • New! 5K option: $30.00
  • The Kids' Cowabunga Beach Challenge - Surf City’s Kids Beach Run: $25.00
  • Virtual Run Option
  1. Full marathon: $145.00
  2. Half marathon: $135.00

Eligibility -

The minimum eligibility age for the races are:

  • Full Marathon: 99 years and under
  • Half Marathon: 12 years and above
  • New! 5K Run: 12 years and above
  • Kids Cowabunga Beach Challenge - Surf City’s Kids Beach Run: 5 to 12 years
  • Virtual Run Option: 12 years and above

Surf City Marathon 2018 Schedule

  • February 2, 2018 (Friday)

    • Expo timings: 1 PM to 7 PM

  • February 3, 2018 (Saturday)

    • Expo timings: 9 AM to 5 PM

    • The Kids' Cowabunga Beach Challenge - Surf City’s Kids Beach Run: 10:30 AM

  • February 4, 2018 (Sunday)

    • Finish Line Festival: 6 AM to 12 PM

    • Full Marathon Wheelchair Start Time: 6:25 AM

    • Full Marathon Start Time: 6:30 AM

    • 5K Marathon Start Time: 7 AM

    • Half Marathon Start Time: 7:45 AM

Surf City Marathon Course Map

The full marathon is a distance of 26.2 miles. The Wheelchair Marathon is the first event and starts at 6:25 a.m. The official marathon starts at 6:30 a.m. with no early starts permitted. The limit for the participant is around 2,500 runners.

The time limit for this race is 6 hours and all runners must finish the race by 1:30 p.m. There are pace groups available for management of time and speed. To be eligible for official finish times, medals, and other prizes you must finish the marathon within 6 hours.

The Surf City Marathon course map is displayed below:

surf city full marathon

Surf City Half Marathon 2018 Race Route

The half marathon is 13.1 miles long. This race starts at 7:45 a.m. sharp and no early starts are allowed. The limit for participation in the half marathon is around 17,000 runners. To avoid overcrowding, there are multiple waves that runners start in, each wave consists of 1,000 to 1,200 runners. The waves are at 2 to 3-minute intervals from each other.

The time limit designated for this race is approximately 5 to 5.5 hours. All runners should finish by 1:30 p.m. despite their wave number. To manage time, there are pace groups available. The Huntington beach half marathon route can be found in the map provided below.

surf city half marathon

Become a VIP

For participants ready to run in style, there is a VIP option for the full marathon or half marathon. The registration is limited to only 100 spots so you better get it fast!

The privileges of this option include race packet pick up on race day itself instead of collecting it earlier at the Surf City Marathon Expo on February 2nd. A special race bib will be made, VIP parking spots, VIP lounge access, pre-race breakfast and post-race refreshments, Beach Beer Garden entry, post-race massage and more.

You also received a race finisher's jacket, you can avail the VIP option at $375! Non-running guests are allowed as plus ones, with a maximum of three guests per VIP member.

5K Marathon Race Route

Everyone should be included to participate in races and that is why the 5K marathon is back again by popular request!

This marathon is 5 kilometers or 3.1 miles long and is a timed race with a shorter route that only goes along the Pacific Coast Highway. Every participant receives a T-shirt and medal on completion of the race and can celebrate in the Beach Beer Garden.

The course map for the Huntington Beach Marathon is displayed below:

surf city 5k marathon

The Kids' Cowabunga Beach Challenge - Surf City’s Kids Beach Run

For the first time ever Surf City Marathon presents its very own Kids Beach Run! The race is scheduled for 3rd February 2018 at 10:30 AM. This race takes place on the sand and is only half a mile long.

Specifically for children ages 5 to 12, it features running, crawling, jumping and other activities. Every participant finishes the race with a cape and medal. The race is not timed so kids can run at their own pace and enjoy the beach.

Virtual Race Option

Sometimes runners won’t be available to make it for the race day. That’s why the virtual race is open to anyone wishing to run in either the full marathon or half marathon race. In order to participate virtually, make an Active account and add the Virtual Upgrade to your registration.

In order to be eligible for the official finish times and prizes, you will need to run either 13.1 miles for the half marathon race or 26.2 for the full marathon race and provide digital proof. The submission date is between January 27, 2018, and February 12, 2018.

This digital proof can be in the form of a photo of the tracking device that recorded your distance, time, and date. You can use your Garmin, MapMyRun, Nikeplus, RunKeeper, Runtastic or Strava accounts.

Race Day Details


Surf city marathon
Surf city marathon crowd

Race day is arriving and besides your training, you will need to be prepared for obstacles and surprises coming your way.


For the full marathon, there is around 8 miles of the Pacific Coast Highway that is made of the multi-purpose beachfront running path. This is a public path and will not be closed off so you may encounter walkers, bicyclists, and non-participants on the way. The path can also spread out around 8 feet in some parts thus limiting the number of people capable of running at a time.

For wheelchair participants, the speed limit on the multi-purpose path is only 8 mph. However, participants taking the half marathon will be using the roadway.


The Southern California region observes similar weather to that of the rest of the state and in February can be averaged around 50°F and 64°F. The average low temperature for the start of the marathon around 6:30 AM will be 48°F and the average high temperature around noon will be 64°F.

Rainfall is not common or expected in this month, however, you should pack for cold temperatures especially in the early morning.

Active Lifestyle Expo

Surf City is bringing an Expo for runners to bring their friends and family! The event takes place on the 2nd and 3rd of February.

The Expo is open to the public and everyone is welcome to join in the fun, shop at local vendor stalls, free samples, games, and more. There will be live exhibitions for the latest in technology, nutrition, and fitness.

Race Day Packet and Registration

In order to participate in the race on the 4th of February, all runners are required to come to the Active Lifestyle Expo. You can only take part in the race if you have registered and come in person to pick up your race day packet which includes race number, event tee, tote and other items necessary for competing in the Surf City Marathon or Half Marathon.

There is no Surf City Half Marathon discount code/coupon provided on the website. Only if you have purchased the Surf City Marathon VIP option can you enter the race without picking up the race day packet at the Expo.

Bring ID proof and sign the waiver. After that you can pick up your bib and race essentials at the following timings:

  • Friday, February 2, 2018 – 1 PM to 7 PM

  • Saturday, February 3, 2018 – 9 AM to 5 PM

Shuttle Service

There will be a special race day shuttle services starting from 5 AM and continues until 1:30 PM. They will depart every ten minutes. The local hotels in the area will provide shuttles from the hotel to the starting point.

During Race - Aid Stations

While you run, there will be numerous hydration stations to replenish yourself. There will be water, electrolytes, gels, bars, and fruits to choose from. You can send out live alerts and results to your friends and family from the race.

Post Race

After you complete the race you can enjoy the rest of the Expo, venture into the Beach Beer Garden, and claim your prizes.You will receive a customized special Surf City medal, t-shirt, and tote bag.

Surf city marathon start line
Start line for Surf city half marathon

Basic FAQs

  1. When is the Surf City Marathon 2018?
    Sunday on February 4th, 2018

  2. Can I register on the day of the event?
    No registrations will be accepted on the main race day.

  3. How will my entry acceptance be intimated to me?
    On successful completion of registration, you will receive an email confirming your registration.

  4. Can I pick-up my Race packs on the same day as the race?
    Race packs will NOT be provided to runners on the day of the race. You will have to pick them up in person from the Active Lifestyle Expo from 2nd to 3rd February 2018.

  5. Where is the venue for bib distribution/ Race pack?
    The venue is Huntington Beach Parking Lot, 21291 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach, CA 92648.

  6. Once applied can I cancel my entry and get a refund?
    Refund requests will NOT be entertained once registration has been completed.

  7. Can I change my race category once I have applied/my entry is confirmed?
    You may transfer or upgrade from one category to the other, ONLY if there is space still available in the race in which you want to transfer.

  8. Can I transfer my registration to another person?
    No transfer of registrations will be permitted.

  9. Can I authorize another person to pick up my race packet?
    No, you will be required to produce ID proof to collect your own race packet and race number at the Expo.

  10. Is the Surf City Marathon a road race or a trail race?
    The Surf City Marathon is a combination of multi-purpose path and road depending on the race.

Summing Up

Are you excited to run Surf City Marathon 2018? Register today and prepare yourself for a great run along the coastline. Enjoy the rest of the perks of the event like the Beach Beer Garden, Active Lifestyle Expo, Finish Line Festival, prizes, treats, and more!

Also, check out the Surf City Marathon reviews online. There are so many testimonies of a great overall experience, definitely set to change your mind to running!

Let us know if you participate in the marathon and how your race went! Share pictures of the day and tell us in the comments below.

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