A tour de force will take San Francisco this morning as 25,000 racers traverse the city in the 34th running of the San Francisco Marathon.
More than 100,000 spectators are expected to cheer on the runners, who will compete in waves beginning at 5:30 a.m., event organizers said.
The loop course starts and finishes on The Embarcadero, taking participants through Fisherman’s Wharf, the Marina district, across the Golden Gate Bridge and back, through the Presidio and into Golden Gate Park.
From the park, racers will dash down Haight Street and through the Mission, Potrero Hill and Mission Bay neighborhoods. After passing behind AT&T Park, competitors will enter the home stretch, racing underneath the Bay Bridge to the finish line near the Ferry Building.
The marathon, which was rated as the 13th largest marathon in the nation last year, also features several shorter pursuits, including a half-marathon, a 5K race, and the second annual Munchkin Kids Run, organizers said.
This year’s races have drawn celebrities who are running to raise money for various charities like television star Sophia Bush, Subway restaurant spokesman Jared Fogle and Olympic Gold Medallist Apolo Ohno.
Past contenders are also expected to lace up their running shoes again. Keith Bechtol, the winner of 2010’s San Francisco Marathon, will be running this year’s half-marathon.
Three-time marathon winner Andrew Cook hopes to regain the course record he last set in 2007, organizers said.
Motorists traveling across the Golden Gate Bridge are advised to expect road closures and delays due to the marathon. To accommodate the race, three lanes of the bridge – two northbound lanes and a buffer lane – will be closed to traffic from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Two southbound lanes and one northbound lane will be open to traffic. By 10 a.m., the bridge is expected to return to its normal Sunday morning pattern of three lanes in each direction.
Streets along the marathon route will also experience road closures this morning. The marathon will affect Golden Gate Transit at the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Municipal Transportation Railway and bus service. Muni and transit riders are advised to plan accordingly.
Rachel Purdy, Bay City News