Runner’s Guide to Training for the 2024 Santa Rosa Marathon

Are you looking for a marathon to run in 2024 – and considering the Santa Rosa Marathon?

The Santa Rosa Marathon is a late summer race in northern California. It’s a moderate size, and the scenic course leaves downtown to meander through the vineyards. Whether you’re a first time or a veteran looking to notch a last minute Boston Qualifier, this could be a good choice for you.

Keep reading for all the information you need to know to make a choice, including:

How Big Is the Santa Rosa Marathon?

In recent years, the Santa Rosa Marathon has had approximately 1,000 runners. It’s a medium sized race.

When the race first started, it was much smaller. By 2012, it had grown to over 500 runners. It then exploded and continued to grow until it’s peak year – 2015.

Since 2015, participation has declined a bit but it seems to have stabilized at around 1,000 finishers per year.

That puts it kind of in between the small and medium size for a race. 1,000 finishers is large enough that there will be other people to run with and some crowds along the course. But it’s small enough that you probably don’t need to worry too much about the logistical challenges of large races.

How Fast Are the Runners at the Santa Rosa Marathon?

The field at the Santa Rosa Marathon is not exceedingly fast, but there are some runners who post fast times.

The largest group of runners finish around the 4:00 mark, but there is a smaller contingent that finishes around 3:00 or 3:30. If you’re attempting to go sub 3 hours, there will be a few other people to run with.

Behind four hours, there aren’t large packs of runners. But there are runners who take over 5 hours to complete the race, so you won’t be alone if you are on the slower side.

However, if you’re goal is to run much faster than three hours you won’t have much company.

What’s the Weather Like At the Santa Rosa Marathon?

Considering the fact that the Santa Rosa Marathon is at the end of the summer, the weather can be warm. However, it’s located in northern California so the warm weather is often someone mild.

Most years, the low temperature on race day is in the 50’s. The high temperature is more variable, and in recent years it has exceeded 80 degrees.

The good news, though, is that the race starts early (6:30) and the dew point is typically low. With lower humidity, temperatures in the 60’s aren’t that challenging. And with the early start time, you’ll likely be done well before temperatures reach the daily high – even if you’re going to finish in 5+ hours.

All in all, I’d never expect the weather to be perfect, ideal running conditions – but it shouldn’t be terrible either.

Is the Santa Rosa Marathon a Good Boston Qualifier?

The Santa Rosa Marathon is a decent choice if you’re looking to qualify for Boston.

The course is relatively flat – although there’s a downhill in the beginning and an incline towards the end. It’s not pancake flat, but it’s not hilly enough to be too tough on your time.

You won’t have huge crowds to run with, but even those targeting 3:00 will be able to find partners to work with. The weather is predictably mild, so you don’t need to worry about bad weather ruining your race.

There are also pacers targeting every qualifying time – from 3:00 to 5:20. So as long as the pacers show up and execute well, you’ll have someone to help you along.

You’re not going to have the advantage of downhills, amazing weather, or huge crowds to spur you on. But if you’re in shape for a Boston qualifying time, Santa Rosa will give you a good shot. It’s also in late August – making it one of the latest opportunities to notch a BQ before the following year’s race.

When Should You Start Training for the Santa Rosa Marathon?

The 2024 Santa Rosa Marathon will take place on Sunday, August 25.

Typically, you want at least 12 to 18 weeks to train for a marathon – perhaps a little more if you haven’t been running consistently.

  • For a 12 week training block, you should start on June 2. This is appropriate if you’re already in good shape, and you just need a little sharpening to perform at your best.
  • For an 18 week training block, you should start on April 21. Most popular training plans are 18 weeks long, and this is appropriate if you have been running consistently but need to up your mileage and get in marathon shape.
  • If you’re coming off an extended break or new to running, give yourself an extra 6 to 8 weeks to ease into things. In this case, you should start training in late February or early March.

Choose a Marathon Training Plan and Sign Up for Santa Rosa

If you’ve decided that Santa Rosa is the right marathon for you, there’s only one thing left to go – get registered and start training.

You can register for the race on the Santa Rosa Marathon website here.

Then, take a look at this guide to help you pick the best marathon training plan for you. Whether you’re a true beginner or a veteran looking to PR, there’s a plan out there designed to help you meet your goals.

Good luck!

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