Ever wonder what running the The San Francisco Marathon 5K 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!


Runners begin Mile 2 passing 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.

Runners continue along the water, passing the next point of interest, Pier 7, one of the most beautiful piers in the state of California because of its ornamental iron handrails and lamp posts, and the views of the Transamerica Pyramid, Coit Tower and the Bay Bridge. It’s also the second longest fishing pier in San Francisco and equally entices fishermen, tourists and locals.

Just 1,000 feet further sits the Exploratorium an internationally renowned museum of science, art, and human perception with a 45-year history in San Francisco, recently relocated from the Palace of Fine Arts to a new scenic waterfront home at Piers 15 and 17. In 2014, the museum received LEED® Platinum certification, a step toward the goal of being the first net-zero energy museum in the U.S., if not the world, meaning it is working to produce more energy on-site than it consumes annually.