Entry Procedure: Show and go! No fee, no reg, although
"declaring your intention to participate" is appreciated for planning purposes. Just make sure the RD has your name as well as your attorney's. HAUS is exceptionally pro-active in the litigation arena: if you don't have fun here, you get a visit from our Process Server (a 300-pound Samoan attorney).
(1) 50M course follows entire Official 49-mile Scenic Drive, with
amendments for purposes of law, practicality, and achieving Full Advertised
(2) 50K course follows same route through mile 25, then detours towards the
finish, intersecting the official route in segments.
Lore: ("The Fine Art of Getting Lost") For those unaccustomed to urban road
running, and San Francisco in particular, it is possible to go "off course."
It is doubtful, however, whether this State of Being can be compared with what
is known in trail running as "getting lost." The run starts and finishes
atop the city's most prominent natural promontory, 900+ feet above sea level,
visible (unless fog-shrouded) from virtually any point on the course, with an
inventory of hundreds of streets for access.
Alternatively, there are, on any given weekend in the Circus-by-the-Bay,
upwards of 800,000 living clowns, baristas, jugglers, sword-swallowers, and
countless other impostors and roustabouts busily achieving their Destinies
just like you, and they will be pleased to offer canny counsel in response
to your query, "How do I get to Twin Peaks?" A few of them will even know
what they're talking about. Okay, be afraid. Be very, very afraid . . .
Just kidding. Our course comes ready-marked, courtesy of the "49-mile Scenic
Drive" seagull-logo signs posted along the route. The early miles of the
course are well-marked, with many turns, and will give you a chance, in light
traffic, to familiarize yourself with the Art of Signspotting. Try to think
like a tourist/driver, although as a runner unburdened by the operation of
lethal machinery, you are infinitely more maneuverable. Here are some
pointers for Scenic Drive novices especially, and those unfamiliar with
San Francisco generally:
(1) Perusing a street map beforehand could pay dividends, especially one that outlines the Scenic Drive (e.g., AAA's "San Francisco Guide Map" or a Rand-McNally version), keeping in mind that our route diverges in some details; note that long stretches on a single road (no turns) are interspersed with zones where turns follow in rapid succession--don't be lulled by the former into grinding heedlessly through the latter.
Run with a friend, particularly if you're unfamiliar with the course. If you know the course, run with a friend anyway --
it's more fun. But don't talk so much that you miss a turn.
(2) The route breaks down into large segments:
(a) the first 10 miles, with downhill early, followed by a run through the Mission District, opening onto the majesty of the city's skyline and the bay (very light traffic);
(b) 10 miles of truly urban ultrarunning, where attention must be paid in equal measure . . .
(i) to your trailblazing technique, combining "seagull" signage and the HAUS-supplied Errata Encyclopedia a/k/a "Street Sheet" (see #3), and
(ii) to the city's multitude of Human Hazards strewn, convulsing, before you;
(c) 5 miles of cooler-calmer-quieter-greener running before the course splits for the two distances, eventually converging (after either full or abbreviated traverses of the city's pastoral west side) south of the park (7th & Judah in the Inner Sunset) for a whirring, wheezing 3-mile ascent to the finish;
(i) for 50K runners, the intervening 3 miles (25 to 28) consist of about a mile of steep street running, followed by about 2 miles in Golden Gate Park before you rejoin the official Scenic Drive, once and for all, in the bustling Inner Sunset;
(ii) for 50M runners, the intervening 22 miles (25 to 47) include an inspirational tour of the city's oceanic shoreline, followed by the parkway milieu of Lake Merced and Sunset Blvd., ushering you into an extensive tour of the western half of Golden Gate Park before you re-engage the Tourist Wonderland of high-intensity recreation and levitate past the Haight-Ashbury (including The Man's apartment at 318 Parnassus, wherein he penned his breakthrough opus Hell's Angels in the sixties).
(3) Numbers: outside of Golden Gate Park (see #5), there are 70 true turns on the course, 12 of which are unsigned. The latter (as well as other places where signs can seem obscure or confusing, or where runners diverge from either the mapped or signed Official Drive) are indicated on the Street Sheet revised and published annually in conjunction with this event, and available at the start.
(4) Signage quality and consistency varies annually. This year witnesses a continuing trend of deterioration in North Beach. Between the clutter and congestion of downtown/Nob Hill/Chinatown and the absence of several signs in North Beach and Fisherman's Wharf, it is clear that miles 15-19 will serve as your navigational crucible. Get wired and read the Street Sheet! [note to Non-Dyslectic Division: it also helps to "Get Weird"!] By contrast, signage in the Twin Peaks area, especially the backside through Laguna Honda as you finish, has improved substantially.
(5) Golden Gate Park signage is hopeless, and will likely remain so until the Academy of Science's reconstruction has been completed, years hence. This affects 50M runners much more than their sprint-distance counterparts. Your route (either distance) is mapped separately and, like the Street Sheet, is available upon request.
(6) Trail alternates (one for 50K runners, many more for 50-milers) are offered and are also mapped, available upon request.
Aid (not guaranteed) provided from cars parked at approximately:
Mile 6 (Cesar Chavez & 3rd St.)
Mile 10* (Ferry Building)
Mile 14 (Japantown, Geary & Webster)
Mile 17* (North Beach, Grant & Lombard)
Mile 20 (Marina Green)
Mile 25 (30th Ave. & El Camino del Mar Fralick)
Mile 27* (Golden Gate Park, JFK & Stow Lake Drive)
second-half of 50M course, roving/TBD
* = aid station is part-time
Event tradition suggests that runners carry Negotiable Paper for the timely procurement of epicurean delights. The Ferry Building, a favorite stop for the Zombies, should be aburst with options. North Beach is an epicenter of Italian cafe culture. (Many runners stop for a cappuccino at Cafe Trieste, on the corner of Grant and Vallejo.) If you are sagging badly as you approach your final climb (after leaving the park), metabolic fuels and libations are plentiful in the 7th & Irving area.
Free and abundant parking awaits you at the start; if the Vista Point lot fills (do not park in signed Bus Zones!), there is plenty of space in turnouts along the approach road.
Cut-off (50M): If you don't reach the mile 25 aid station by 11:30 AM, you must choose the 50K option.
Final cut-off: It is suggested that all runners finish before dark. Sunset: 6:23pm.
Photos and audio
For your listening enjoyment, the first page of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, courtesy of Mid Inc Rick.