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San Francisco Marathon Expands Cool Reputation

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - (June 18, 2004) - The San Francisco Marathon™, scheduled for Sunday, August 1, will present its 27th annual running less than a month before the 2004 Olympic Games marathons. Unlike Athens, however, competitors won't tackle hot and smoggy conditions. Instead, upwards of 7,000 runners will descend on the city about which Mark Twain never actually wrote: the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco. Regardless of the quote's source, runners from all over the world flock to the City by the Bay for the coolest mid-summer marathon in the U.S. The average starting line temperature for the race over the last five years is a perfect (for marathoners) 56 degrees Fahrenheit.

The 2004 event is on track for more cool stuff that event producer Peter Nantell of West End Management hopes will help the event exceed the record 8,000 participants that turned out exactly 20 years ago in another Olympic year, 1984. To date, entries are up 50 percent from last year when a steadily climbing 5,000 participants finished the San Francisco Marathon™, associated two half marathons, 4-person marathon relay, and 5-kilometer run/walk.

"The race finally clicked two years ago when we changed the course," said Nantell. "Last year the race grew by about 25 percent strictly on the word of mouth. So, I think this is a natural outgrowth."

In 2002, the marathon changed its course from a loop that started and finished in Golden Gate Park to a route that begins and ends at San Francisco's downtown jewel - on the historic Embarcadero within 100 yards of both Justin Herman Plaza and the recently restored Ferry Building Marketplace and Farmer's Market. Today's race participants now find a large staging area that holds a growing field, plentiful public transportation to the start where there is abundant public parking, and a finish after which runners can kick back and enjoy the colorful heart of San Francisco.

"Being downtown gives a lot more energy to the event, and it's convenient," said Nantell. "You don't need to be bussed out or back. You can walk to the start from your hotel. It's easy for spectators to get to. Everything associated with the event - for example, the start, finish, race expo, and pasta feed - are all within easy walking distance of each other."

The 26.2-mile marathon race course features many of San Francisco's scenic landmarks such as Fisherman's Wharf, Golden Gate Park and Presidio National Park; offers views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island; and takes runners along both San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean, through the Haight-Ashbury District, and past baseball's SBC Park (home of the Giants) before finishing in front of the Ferry Building at the city's thriving world trade port.

"Our plans for this year's marathon have exceeded our expectations," said Race Director Miranda Lindl. "The community of San Francisco and the Bay Area have become even more involved. Local running clubs, sports retailers, and the general running community are providing overwhelming support."

Lindl mentions that this support translates to more services and entertainment value for participants. Volunteers from national embassies and consulates dressed in traditional country attire will staff course aid stations. Music and dance groups, plus community-sponsored "Walls of Noise" will greet and motivate runners in route.

Individuals not able or inclined to run a full marathon, or who want to cover the full marathon at a more leisurely pace, have numerous options. Last year, the event introduced a new and unique "Choose a Half Marathon" format, which is a popular alternative for runners aiming for the 13.1-mile half marathon distance while choosing the portion of San Francisco they prefer to cover. The first half marathon (0 miles to 13.1 miles) starts at 7:00 a.m. (the same time as the marathon) and follows the first portion of the Chronicle Marathon course. The second half marathon (13.1 miles to 26.2 miles) starts at 8:45 a.m. and follows the second portion of the marathon course.

Plus, for the first time, both the marathon and first half marathon have a 5 a.m. early start option for slower runners. Thus, full course amenities for marathon runners are expanded from 5 hours to 7 hours. This allows for a full 7-hour marathon running pace time with complete course and post-event support.

Additional race alternatives include the Marathon Relay which consists of 4-person relay teams that cover the entire marathon route, 5K Run/Walk, and Progressive Marathon in which participants run or walk 26.2 miles incrementally over a period of weeks or months and complete the final part of their cumulative marathon by participating in the 5K Run/Walk on race day. The marathon's unique "Cause to Run" program allows participants to pledge support to any of the event's official charity organizations, raise funds, and earn pledge prizes by participating in any of the running/walking events. Last year, race participants raised over $110,000 for local charities that provide valuable and much-needed services for the community.

Finally, race weekend also includes the 2004 Healthy Living Expo, Friday and Saturday, July 30-31 at Justin Herman Plaza which features over 80 exhibitors, and running and fitness seminars at the nearby Hyatt Regency hotel.

Complete information about the San Francisco Marathon™, including registration details and online registration for all events, is available online at Email:

The 2004 Chronicle Marathon is sponsored by the San Francisco Chronicle,, EnergyWell Natural Foods, KPIX Channel 5, KCBS All News 740 am, Organs 'R" Us, Clairol Natural Instincts, Chiquita, GU2O Sports Drink, GU Energy Gel, UCSF Medical Center, Hyatt Regency San Francisco, the San Francisco Municipal Railway, and the Port of San Francisco.


Mark Winitz, Media Coordinator
Win-It!z Sports Public Relations
(650) 948-0618

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Online Registration Deadline: July 29, 2005

Mail-In Registration Deadline: CLOSED (Registration still available at the Expo.)

Race Start Time: 5:20 AM

Copyright © 2006, The San Francisco Marathon™