The Big Sur International Marathon (BSIM) is often featured among some of the world’s most beautiful races, and is a bucket list race for many runners. But this year, the 2018 marathon featured more Boston-like weather conditions than usual, with overcast skies and rain occasionally descending upon runners for the first few hours of the race.
Hometown favorite and Pebble Beach resident Adam Roach ran the course in 2:29:25, winning his fifth title at the event in seven years. Julia Rhie crossed the finish line at 3:01:12, claiming her first BSIM title on her initial running of the course. Jennifer Berry finished within striking distance of Rhie, only six seconds behind her (3:01:18). Berry had just run the Boston Marathon at 2:56:51 two weeks earlier, and with her finishing time at BSIM, she claims the title of first woman to run both Boston and Big Sur in the same year with a combined time of under six hours.
As is the case for me when I’m at a race, the admiration and awe I have for the elite athletes that burn up the pavement in jaw-dropping times is matched by the intense joy and inspiration I get watching the rest of the field cross the finish line. The looks on their faces—sometimes of sheer elation, often grimaces of pain, and occasionally an unmistakable look of proud achievement—always puts a lump in my throat and makes my eyes well up as I get to share in their moments of triumph.
Thanks to BSIM premiere sponsor HOKA ONE ONE, I was able to experience the iconic race this weekend. I prefer trails to roads for my runs, but HOKA provided me with a pair of their Clifton 4s to help me train for road racing. These shoes turned out to be particularly well suited for racking up miles on the pavement, with ample cushioning and a heel bevel design that aided my heel-striking gait and kept my back and knees pain-free. Despite the generous cushioning, these kicks are light and allowed my feet to feel agile and quick on unforgiving asphalt.
No matter what your preferred racing distance is, the BSIM has a race that is perfect for you, with races at 5K, 12K, 11 miles, 21 miles and a marathon relay, in addition to the 26.2-mile course. If you want to achieve your next big race goal in an impossibly beautiful setting, make the trip out to Big Sur. You won’t regret it.