We'll be running 8-12 miles through Golden Gate Park on Saturday. Here are a few things to keep in mind before I dive into the details around the course:
1)You will be running gradually uphill for the first half of your run! This course isn't terribly steep, but there is a GRADUAL uphill for much of the first half of the run. Keep this in mind as you may need to dial back your pacing a bit when you head out.
2)Watch your footing! There's a reasonable amount of this run that will take place on a dirt path/fire road. This means small rocks, tree roots (sometimes), and uneven ground at times. I don't want to see anyone take a tumble. Stay tuned in! This is particularly important for those of you who wear MP3 PLAYERS! Stay particularly alert on the RETURN when you will likely be a bit fatigued and traveling gradually DOWNHILL!
3)Water Stops. Roughly a mile into the run (not too far after you pass the Bison Paddocks on the left) there is water fountain on the LEFT adjacent to Lake Spreckles. Also there is a water fountain at the intersection of JFK/Transverse on the LEFT side of JFK. These descriptions will make more sense once you read my course description below.
Ok, enough of the preamble. Let's get down to it!
Here’s a course map for you to peruse-
Saturday’s Course Map
We will head NORTH from the Beach Chalet and promptly take a right turn to get onto JFK. You will run along the dirt path for about a quarter of a mile until you come to a stop sign. Turn LEFT at this stop sign at the pedestrian crosswalk onto the dirt path running along JFK.
You will continue running along this path for some time. As you close in on the first mile you will see the 'Bison Paddock' on your left. Shortly after you pass the paddock, you will see Lake Spreckles on the left. If you need water, cross the pedestrian crosswalk over to Lake Spreckles and you will see the water fountain on your left.
Continue running on the dirt path for close to a mile and you will eventually come to a 4 way stop at the intersection of JFK/Transverse. This is roughly 2 miles. If you cross over to the LEFT side of JFK, you will find another water fountain.
Continue running on the RIGHT side of the path past JFK/Transverse for roughly half a mile. You will see a large funky looking building approaching on the right. This is DeYoung Museum. This is 2.5 miles!
Continue running on the RIGHT side of the path for roughly half a mile. You will see a stop sign and traffic joining JFK from 'Conservatory Way'. (this is just prior to the Flower Conservatory) There is a pedestrian crosswalk. THIS IS 3 MILES! CROSS OVER TO THE LEFT SIDE OF JFK AND KEEP RUNNING.
B-8 MILES. Beginner level runners will run through the intersection of JFK/Stanyan and onto the panhandle (the strip of land that runs between Oak/Fell). Run on the RIGHT side of the Panhandle! You will run along the panhandle for roughly half a mile along OAK.
One block PAST Oak & Masonic (again, this is a controlled intersection with stoplights), keep your eyes peeled for OAK and CENTRAL. This is 4 miles. Look for a ‘RC4’ in chalk on the ground in the middle of the path. Turn around here and head back to the Beach Chalet for 8 MILES!
I-9 MILES. Intermediate, Advanced, & Race level runners will run past Oak/Central. The panhandle will eventually end and you will find yourself running on the sidewalk along Oak Street. Run to the intersection of Oak & Scott. This is 4.5 miles. Intermediate, Advanced, and Race level runners will turn around and head back to the Beach Chalet for 9 MILES.
A-10 MILES. Advanced & Race level runners will run past the Beach Chalet and head SOUTH along the Great Highway. Run through the intersection of Great Highway/Lincoln. Run one more block to the intersection of Great Highway/Irving. Look for a ‘RC 10’ in chalk on the ground. Advanced runners will turn around and head back to the Beach Chalet for 10 MILES.
R-12 MILES W/7 MILES @ TARGET HALF MARATHON PACE. Race level runners will run PAST the intersection of Great Highway/Irving and continue running SOUTH along the Great Highway until you reach the intersection of Great Highway/Quintara. Look for a ‘RC 12’ in chalk on the ground. Turn around here and head back to the Beach Chalet for 12 MILES.