26.2 Miles or Bust: Marathons Within a One Hour Range of Ventura County

The marathon has an official distance of 42.195 kilometres (26 miles and 385 yards). Most of us marathoners refer to it as a 26.2 mile race. Let's put some perspective on that. We're talking roughly the distance from the Muvico Theater in Thousand Oaks to Downtown Ventura (Main St at California St).

FindMyMarathon.com shows that there have been over 500,000 marathon finishers annually in the United States in recent years. That’s a lot of mileage!

Until fairly recently, there were no marathons run on Ventura County soil. When I began running in the mid 1990s, the closest marathons to us were in Los Angeles, Santa Clarita and Culver City. Now there are marathons in Ventura, Ojai and Camarillo.

While it's fun to travel to faraway lands to run a marathon, there's something to be said for sleeping in your own bed, waking up early, and driving out to run a local marathon. So how about a rundown of local marathons within a one hour range of Ventura County!

Los Angeles Marathon (www.lamarathon.com)

  • Time of Year: A Sunday usually in March

  • Course Description: The course route has changed a number of times over the years, but most recently the point to point "Stadium to the Sea" route from Dodger Stadium to the Santa Monica Pier has proved extraordinarily popular. The course takes you through sections of Downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Century City, West Los Angeles and Santa Monica. There are race day shuttles that take runners from Santa Monica to the start.

  • Other Events: 5K

  • Pricing: Registration starts at $175 for the 2020 event on March 7, 2020.

  • Other: On a personal note, I set my personal best time on this course back in 1997. This is THE race to do if you enjoy lots of crowd support along the course.

Mountains to Beach Marathon (www.mountains2beachmarathon.com)

  • Time of Year: Late May; generally last Sunday of May.

  • Course Description: Point to point course that starts with a 10K loop in Ojai, then 10 miles of bike path to the Ventura oceanfront, down the Ventura Keys to Marina Park and back to the Ventura Pier. Net downhill of 700 feet makes this a fast course.

  • Other Events: Half Marathon, 5K

  • Pricing: 2019 event pricing ranged from $99 (early bird) to $134.

Camarillo Marathon (www.camarillomarathon.com)

  • Time of Year: The Camarillo Marathon is now in the mid-August time frame.

  • Course: Starts at Pleasant Valley Fields, goes along the Camarillo Bike Path and nearby roads. New course.

  • Other Events: Half Marathon, 5K, 10K

  • Pricing: $130 for the August 11, 2019 event.

Lexus Ventura Marathon (www.venturamarathon.com)

  • Time of Year: The inaugural event was Sunday, September 8, 2013. The event now takes place in mid to late October on a Sunday.

  • Course Description: The course starts in Ojai down the bike path to finish at the Ventura Pier. There were 687 finishers in the 2018 event

  • Other Events: Half marathon, 5K, kids fun run, bike rides.

  • Pricing: Pricing for 2019 event currently $120 to $130.

Finish line of the Inaugural Ventura Marathon on September 8, 2013.

Finish line of the Inaugural Ventura Marathon on September 8, 2013.

Santa Clarita Marathon (www.scmarathon.org)

  • Time of Year: Generally runs on the 1st Sunday in November

  • Course Description: The course starts and finishes at the Valencia Town Center and has a number of out and back turns, mostly along bike paths. One of the more low key marathons in the area, with around 350 to 400 finishers.

  • Other Events: Half marathon, 5K, Kid K

  • Pricing: Usually in the $80 to $100 range. Registration opens July 1st for 2019 event on Nov 3rd

Seaside Marathon (www.seasidemarathon.com )

  • Time of Year: Mid-February

  • Course Description: Two out and back runs along the boardwalk and bike path and shoulder of Highway 1 in Ventura. (Same course as Surfer's Point Marathon.)

  • Other Events: Half marathon, 5K

  • Pricing: Pricing for the 2020 event ranges up to $130 depending on timing.

Surfer's Point Marathon (www.surferspointmarathon.com)

  • Time of Year: Sunday in mid-November

  • Course Description: Course is along the ocean/Highway 101, starting at Emma Wood State Beach Group Campground in Ventura.

  • Other Events: Half marathon, 5K, 10K

  • Pricing: Ranges from $95 to $130 for the 2019 event on November 10th

Just a little farther but still possible to commute to if you are an early riser:

jetBlue Long Beach Marathon (www.motivrunning.com/run-longbeach)

  • Time of Year: Early to mid-October range on a Sunday

  • Course Description: I've run the Long Beach Marathon several times and it is probably the most twisty, turny course I've ever run, yet it is still a reasonably flat and fast course. It starts and finishers in the heart of downtown Long Beach near Shoreline Village. There are sections along the beach, then it turns inland, up and around Cal State Long Beach, and back to the finish. Generally over 2,000 finishers.

  • Other Events: Half marathon is hugely popular

  • Pricing: $129 for the 2019 race

Surf City Marathon (formerly Pacific Shoreline Marathon) (www.runsurfcity.com)

  • Time of Year: Generally run on the 1st Sunday of February

  • Course Description: Much of course runs on PCH, streets and bike paths in and around the Huntington Beach Pier with views of the Pacific Ocean. This race generally sells out each year with between 2,000 and 2,500 participants.

  • Other Events: Half marathon

  • Pricing: $100 for 2019 race

OC Marathon (www.ocmarathon.com)

  • Time of Year: Generally takes place the first Sunday of May

  • Course Description: The marathon starts in Newport Beach, runs past Balboa Island in kind of a figure eight-ish pattern in Newport Beach, Costa Mesa and adjacent cities. The race generally has around 2,000 participants. The race finishes at the OC Fair and Event Center.

  • Other Events: Half marathon and 5K

  • Pricing: 2019 event starts at just $80!

Marathons No More

There was a Pasadena Marathon in recent years but organizers announced it has been cancelled.

Malibu Marathon was cancelled in 2014, though the half marathon and 5K continue on (www.malibuintmarathon.com).

The Santa Barbara International Marathon also ran its final event in 2014, though a Veterans Day Half Marathon continues. www.sbmarathon.com

Looking for marathons around the world? My favorite place to find them is www.MarathonGuide.com. They do a great job of compiling a massive amount of information strictly about marathons.

CLICK HERE for other local races...5K, 10K, half marathon, etc.

I've run over 30 marathons or so through the years and periodically babble on about my training, experiences and other random running and training related items THIS LINK.

And last but not least, here are 26.2 training tips for running your first marathon.

One Dozen Physical Fitness Activities in the Conejo Valley That Cost Nothing

Conejo Valley Guide highlights thousands of things to do in the Conejo Valley, Greater Ventura County and surrounding areas, including carnivals, festivals, fairs, free concerts and movies and all sorts of places and things to see and do. Let's zero in on things to do that will help keep you fit right here in the Conejo Valley, at a total cost of $0.


The Conejo Recreation & Park District maintains the Rabbit Flats Disc Golf Course at Thousand Oaks Community Park. This 9 acre, 18 basket course has rolling hills and will keep you moving. The only cost to you is your flying disc!

Rabbit Flats Disc Golf Course in Thousand Oaks

Rabbit Flats Disc Golf Course in Thousand Oaks

The Conejo Group Sierra Club and other local hiking groups often host hikes in the area.

There are several dozen free tennis courts open to the public available throughout the Conejo Valley.

The 33 acre Conejo Valley Botanic Garden is a peaceful, beautiful respite from the daily grind...and makes for a nice hike with panaromic views of the Conejo Valley as your reward.


Local hiking surrounds us. Check out Oakbrook Regional Park and dozens of other local Conejo Valley trails at Wildwood Park, Los Robles Trail, Dos Vientos such as the Conejo Mountain/Edison Road trail.

We love stopping by the Borchard Park Labyrinth and Fitness Equipment Area in Newbury Park from time to time and moving our way through the entire labyrinth (my kids still call it a maze).

Borchard Park Labyrinth in Newbury Park

Borchard Park Labyrinth in Newbury Park

The Oaks Mall at 1.3 million square feet is so huge that you can get a great workout in just walking from end to end or around the perimeter...though you may be tempted to consume the calories you burned off at some of the great eateries inside.

Roadrunner Sports in Newbury Park hosts Thursday Adventure Runs on the 3rd Thursday of each month in March through November! Sign up, show up, run and have fun.

There are over 4 dozen Thousand Oaks parks maintained by the Conejo Recreation and Park District and another 11 in Agoura/Westlake Village.

Try the Fitness Trail at Pepper Tree Park in Newbury Park; a .83 mile trail with fitness activities every 1/8th of a mile.

Westlake Lake is a great venue for walking, running and cycling year-round. There is roughly a 4 to 5 mile scenic loop around the lake and surrounding areas that you and your family will enjoy.

Gardens of the World Thousand Oaks

Gardens of the World Thousand Oaks

Gardens of the World across from the Civic Arts Plaza is 4 1/2 acres of immaculate, serene gardens to walk through and enjoy Tuesday through Sunday. Perhaps not the place for a "power" walk and definitely not a run. You will enjoy it, regardless.

Last but not least, the National Park Service brings us over 154,000 acres of open space in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, including local Conejo Valley open space at Paramount Ranch, Cheeseboro and Palo Comado Canyons in Agoura, Rancho Sierra Vista/Point Mugu State Park and more.

Only One in Five Adults Meet CDC Physical Activity Guidelines - Time to Fix That!

One in five adults meet overall physical activity guidelines

About 20% of U.S. adults are meeting both the aerobic and muscle strengthening components of the federal government's physical activity recommendations, according to a report recently published in  Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (catchy name, eh?), a journal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults get at least 2½ hours a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as walking, or one hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, such as jogging, or a combination of both.  The guidelines also recommend that adults do muscle-strengthening activities, such as push-ups, sit-ups, or activities using resistance bands or weights.  These activities should involve all major muscle groups and be done on two or more days per week. 

The report finds that nationwide nearly 50 percent of adults are getting the recommended amounts of aerobic activity and about 30 percent are engaging in the recommended muscle-strengthening activity.

The report also found that the West (24%) and the Northeast (21%) had the highest proportion of adults who met the guidelines. Women, Hispanics, older adults and obese adults were all less likely to meet the guidelines.

For more information about the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, including ways to get and stay active, visit www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity.  Learn more about CDC's efforts to promote walking by visiting www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/walking.

Here in the Conejo Valley and Greater Ventura County with such great weather year-round, it should be easy to meet CDC's Physical Activity Guidelines. Here are some local options:

Upcoming 5K and 10K runs

Running and cycling groups and activities

Gyms and fitness facilities


Gymnastics and dance facilities

Martial arts


Local hiking and trails

What Does It Take to Gain an Entry Into the 2014 Boston Marathon?

Dating myself a bit with this photo....ran the 100th Boston Marathon quite some time ago :)The 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings and subsequent pursuit of the culprits this past week overshadowed the race itself. Approximately 23,000 people were signed up for the 2013 race but because of the bombings, thousands of runners were unable to complete it.

On Thursday, Boston Marathon organizers indicated via Facebook that they will "address the issue of those who could not cross the finish line on Boylston Street due to the tragic events which occurred near the finish line," which tells me that perhaps they may offer up entries to the 2014 race to these people. But we shall see.

All of this tragedy and publicity will make 2014 quite an interesting year for the Boston Marathon, which is run on the 3rd Monday of April, Patriots' Day, each year. In 2014 that date will be April 21st.

Will people steer clear or will demand skyrocket in support of those who lost lives and limbs last Monday? Well my opinion is, we're talking Americans....I think everyone and their mother will be trying to get into the 2014 Boston Marathon.  So what will it take to gain an entry into the 2014 race? Let's review the qualifying standards for 2014:

  • Qualifying times must be run on or after 9/22/12.
  • Runners must be 18 or older on race day.
  • By 7/1/13, marathon organizers will announce specific  registration dates in September 2013.
  • Organizers allow faster runners, those who finished well under the qualifying standards shown below, to register first.
  • 2014 qualifying times are as follows:
    • Ages 18-34: Men 3:05; Women 3:35
    • Ages 35-39: Men 3:10; Women 3:40
    • Ages 40-44: Men 3:15; Women 3:45
    • Ages 45-49: Men 3:25; Women 3:55
    • Ages 50-54: Men 3:30; Women 4:00
    • Ages 55-59: Men 3:40; Women 4:10
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