Flat Can Be Boring: Why You Should Be Excited For Those San Francisco Hills!

December 17, 2019 | When San Francisco Marathon runners are asked what makes this course unique to other races, they talk about seeing all the iconic sights in the City, the majestic experience of running across the Golden Gate Bridge, the views of the ocean, the seacliffs, and the Bay, the amazing San Francisco weather, and the fact that it’s the only full marathon available in San Francisco.

But, inevitably, they’ll also tell you about the hills…

It is San Francisco after all! It’s a city known as the hilliest in the country and the second hilliest in the world. Tourists even flock to Lombard Street, one of the steepest (and crookedest) streets, just to see if they can attempt to climb it or drive down it. And you know you ride the cable cars just to see those operators use the brakes on the way down to Fisherman’s Wharf!

So, what do San Francisco Marathon runners say about the hills?

“It’s a tough marathon, but I do it year after year. It has hills, but it’s kind of nice to have hills. With the hills come the views. If it’s flat, it can be boring,” says Charles Lim.

Mike Dasalla agrees: “People dread the San Francisco hills. But, the views will be your reward. You suck it up and you climb those hills. When you go up, you’ll eventually come down.”

“The San Francisco Marathon presents a challenge. It is not an easy course. And that excites me. I am not one to look down at a challenge. Knowing every year that there are going to be some hard hills and some beastly course parts, that’s exciting to me and I always look forward to it. I absolutely love running in San Francisco!” says Vanessa Wallace.

“If it’s your first marathon, do it for fun. The downhills are challenging. Take it easy. Enjoy it,” says Ron Poggi.

Yes, there are hills in the San Francisco Marathon, and you should be prepared for them. But, also know that you will be rewarded for your hard work of climbing those hills with amazing views and an experience like no other.

For tips on training for the hills to make sure you are ready, here’s a compilation of past blog posts from San Francisco Marathon runners:

And, if you still want to experience the San Francisco Marathon and you’re not quite ready for those hills, the second half marathon might be the race for you. It’s a much flatter course overall, but you’ll still get to see some amazing parts of the city.

But, if you’re excited for those San Francisco hills (and the gorgeous views that come with it), make sure you’re registered for July 26th, 2020!

1 Reply to "Flat Can Be Boring: Why You Should Be Excited For Those San Francisco Hills!"

  • comment-avatar
    Ginalorie Dionida
    January 15, 2020 (6:24 am)

    Good morning fellow runners,

    When I started run and especially train for my first marathon in the city of San Francisco, the first thing that came to my mind are the hills. I said, “ugh, the hills but that’s ok, I’ll tackle those hills!”
    Being a local, there are a few good areas where I trained to run: The Presidio/Crissy Fields, Lyon Street Stairs in the Laurel Heights, the Coit Tower area at North Beach, run across the Golden Gate Bridge and across to the scenic route at the Marin Headlands, or Golden Gate Park – there are inclines when running through park. Running through these grip helped me trained mentally and physically.
    Hope that helps out. Happy Running 🏃‍♀️