It’s not all off-road when it comes to San Francisco’s running scene: Runners who prefer the roads will find plenty to choose from, from the wide (and mostly blissfully flat) sidewalks of the Marina and Mission neighborhoods to the city’s infamous 47 hills (and lung-busting labyrinth of staircases). And perhaps no event showcases the spirit of San Francisco better than the Bay to Breakers, a 12K race that doubles as a roving costume party.
One of the most popular destinations for the road-loving set is Golden Gate Park. Along with its serene trails, the park is home to bison, a windmill, manmade waterfalls, and an art museum; add extra mileage by heading west through the trails of the Panhandle. For a truly local experience, head west along through the Marina and Crissy Field, following the sidewalk until it ends at Fort Point, right under the Golden Gate Bridge. Look out for a sign called “Hopper’s Hands” on the fence and be sure to touch the high-five hands, a tradition among local runners. It’s about a 7-mile round-trip from Marina Green to Fort Point and back.
Serious runners can also choose from a number of well-organized races, including the San Francisco Marathon and a slew of half marathons (the Golden Gate Half, the Rock ‘N Roll Half, and the Nike Women’s). In addition, you can find a 5K or 10K just about any weekend—although, more often than not, costumes will be involved.
Groups:Dolphin South End Runners, San Francisco Road Runners, Golden Gate Running Club
Races/Events:Bay to Breakers, San Francisco Marathon
Retailers: San Francisco Running Company, Marin Running Company