Avenue of the Giants Marathon


The Avenue of the Giants Marathon offers an immersive running experience unlike any other, taking participants through the ancient redwoods of Northern California’s Humboldt Redwoods State Park. This marathon is not just a physical challenge but a journey that connects runners with the tranquility and majesty of nature, making it a sought-after event for athletes and enthusiasts seeking both competition and serenity.

Set amidst the stunning backdrop of towering redwoods in Northern California, this marathon stands out for its scenic beauty and the unique experience it offers. It's a flat course that appeals to experienced marathoners aiming for personal bests and newcomers looking for an unforgettable debut. The event is celebrated for its intimate atmosphere, bolstered by strong community support and a spirit of camaraderie among participants.



Course Overview

The marathon route is a captivating journey through the forest, offering a mix of flat stretches and gentle elevation changes. The race starts with the invigorating presence of the redwoods, leading into the heart of the forest where the marathon’s essence truly unfolds. The path remains level, offering a steady pace, but keep an eye out for the occasional root or natural obstacle. 

Throughout the course, runners will find minor elevation changes, a mixture of shade and sun, and well-spaced aid stations, ensuring hydration and nutrition needs are met. Familiarity with the course and strategic planning for aid station locations are key to a successful race strategy.


The Route: Challenges and Elevation

The Starting Line

The starting stretch is relatively flat, allowing runners to find their pace amidst the scenic beauty. However, it’s crucial not to get carried away by the adrenaline rush or the mesmerizing environment. Pacing yourself from the start is essential to managing the more challenging aspects of the route that lie ahead.


Elevation Changes

While the Avenue of the Giants Marathon is not known for steep inclines, it features a series of gentle yet persistent elevation changes that can wear down unprepared runners. The course undulates softly, mimicking the natural contours of the land. These elevation changes are subtle enough that they may not be immediately apparent but will make their presence felt as the miles add up.


Mid-Course Challenges

Midway through the marathon, runners weave through some of the most densely forested areas of Humboldt Redwoods State Park, where the canopy above dims the sunlight, creating a cool, shadowed pathway. While the drop in temperature can be a welcome relief, this section also features the most noticeable elevation changes.


Navigating the Final Stretch

As the marathon progresses towards its final stages, the route gradually flattens out, presenting an opportunity for runners to make up time or conserve energy for a strong finish. However, this is also when fatigue and the earlier elevation changes begin to take their toll. 


Water and Rest Stops

Located approximately every 2 miles along the course, the water and rest stops are lifelines for runners amidst the grandeur of the Humboldt Redwoods State Park. These oases are equipped with a refreshing supply of water and electrolyte beverages to combat dehydration and replenish lost minerals. Additionally, each stop offers basic first aid supplies to address any minor issues that may arise during the race.


Weather Considerations

Nestled in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park, the marathon takes place in an area known for its temperate weather, marked by mild temperatures and high humidity levels.

Temperatures during the marathon typically range from cool to mild, with average daytime temperatures ranging from 50°F to 65°F (10°C to 18°C). Past races have seen a mix of weather conditions, with some years experiencing overcast skies and light drizzle while others have had clear skies and sunshine. 

As the marathon takes place amidst towering redwoods, portions of the course may be shaded, leading to cooler temperatures in some areas. This natural canopy can be a welcome respite from direct sunlight but also means conditions can change rapidly as you move in and out of shaded areas. Being prepared for these fluctuations will help you maintain a consistent pace and avoid overheating or getting too cool.

It's always a good idea to check the weather forecast in the days leading up to the marathon. This can give you insights into any last-minute adjustments you may need to make to your gear, hydration plan, or race strategy. 


Marathon Preparation Tips

Nature-Centric Training:

  • Incorporate trail runs into your training to get accustomed to uneven terrain.
  • Include runs on varied terrain in your regimen to better prepare for the marathon's natural setting.

Nutrition and Hydration:

  • Carefully plan your fueling strategy, taking into account the remote sections where resources might be limited.
  • Ensure you have a clear understanding of hydration points along the course and carry hydration if necessary.

Gear Selection:

  • Opt for moisture-wicking fabrics to stay dry and comfortable throughout the race.
  • Choose shoes with good traction to handle the natural terrain confidently.



Registration: Costs and Qualifications


Participating in the Avenue of the Giants Marathon involves a registration fee, which can vary depending on several factors, including how early you register. Early bird registrations often benefit from a reduced fee. As the race day approaches, registration fees may increase, so early sign-up is advantageous both financially and for securing your spot.

Fee structures and any additional costs related to participation, such as optional race memorabilia or photographs, are detailed on the marathon's official website. Always check for the most current information to plan your budget accordingly.


Qualifications Required

The Avenue of the Giants Marathon welcomes runners of varying levels of experience, from seasoned veterans to first-time marathoners. There are no specific qualifying times or previous marathon completions required for entry. However, due to the nature of the marathon's distance and the course it covers, it is recommended that participants have undergone an adequate level of training to ensure they can safely complete the race.


Embracing the Journey

The Avenue of the Giants Marathon is more than just a physical endeavor; it’s an opportunity to explore personal limits against the backdrop of nature’s grandeur. It’s a race that transcends the conventional, inviting runners to not only chase personal achievements but to connect with the ancient, tranquil beauty of the redwoods. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Avenue of the Giants Marathon?

The Avenue of the Giants Marathon is a mesmerizing race that takes place amidst the towering redwoods of Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California. This event caters to various levels of runners, including those looking to complete a full marathon, half marathon, or a 10k.


How do I register for the Avenue of the Giants Marathon?

Registration for the Avenue of the Giants Marathon is conducted online through the event’s official website. It’s crucial to register early as spots tend to fill up quickly due to the marathon’s popularity. Be sure to check the website for registration opening dates and deadlines..


What is the date of the next Avenue of the Giants Marathon?

The Avenue of the Giants Marathon is an annual event, traditionally held on the first Sunday in May but may vary on the year. 


Where exactly is the Avenue of the Giants Marathon located?

The Avenue of the Giants Marathon is located in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, which is in Northern California, USA. The marathon route takes runners through a stunning 31-mile stretch known as the Avenue of the Giants.


Is there elevation gain in the Avenue of the Giants Marathon?

The Avenue of the Giants Marathon is known for its relatively flat course, offering an accessible challenge for runners of all levels. The total elevation gain for the marathon is minimal, making it an excellent choice for personal bests or for first-time marathon runners.


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March 28, 2024