Ever wonder what running the The San Francisco Marathon course is like? Let writer and runner Erin Mara, along with the SFM staff, take you through the experience of running the The San Francisco Marathon mile-by-mile. Get a sneak peak, then get registered and get training!


The 10K Course begins at Howard and Steuart Streets with a spectacular view of the San Francisco Bay. Runners have the Ferry Building behind them and the Bay Bridge directly ahead as they begin their race. Runners race through the city streets, zigging and zagging along the blocks before turning left onto The Embarcadero just under the Bay Bridge.

The Bay Bridge was the longest bridge in the world when it opened in 1936, six months before the Golden Gate Bridge. The bridge’s new east span, completed in early 2015 and most complex public works project in California history, is a single deck with eastbound and westbound lanes on each side, making it the world’s widest bridge, according to 2014’s Guinness World Records.

Mile 1 ends at the iconic Ferry Building. The beautifully towered building was the transportation hub of the city into the 1930s, but a 2003 renovation shifted the building’s focus from ferries to fine food. Inside are some of the city’s most prized artisanal treats, like Cowgirl Creamery artisan cheese, Acme Bread, Boccalone Salumeria, Blue Bottle coffee and Humphry Slocombe ice cream; restaurants like Slanted Door and Hog Island Oyster Company; and culinary shops Heath Ceramics, Sur La Table and The Gardner. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, there’s a colorful farmers market that’s known as one of the best in the country. 2015 was a special year for the Ferry Building because the original lights in numerals “1915” were reinstalled on the tower to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, a world fair which transformed more than 600 acres in what is now the Marina District into a landscape of palaces and amusement rides.