Questions, Concerns and other             What, Where, When and How Issues

Ok, you are IN! You've successfully registered for a Big Sur International Marathon event and now you have a gazillion questions racing through your mind.  Where do I stay? How do I get to the start line?  I just broke my foot; can I get my money back? How many hills are on the course? The list seems endless and rather than call those nice ladies at the Big Sur office fifteen times a week, we have compiled a series of frequently asked questions and their answers, as best we know them. Some of the information we are providing may seem vague at this point but after all, the Marathon is still months away. Use this FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) as a guide. Shortly before Marathon weekend we will be providing all runners and walkers with Race Weekend Instructions.
            We hope that this information provided will answer most of your questions. Remember to check the website frequently to find out "What's New".  If you change your address or your email, please let us know since that is our only way to stay in touch and keep you up to date.

Train safely and sensibly and make hills your new best friend!  See you in April.

When do I get my bib number? Do you mail it to me?

Race packets, which include your bib number with attached D-tags, sweats bag, event shirts, and your Official Race Program are picked up at the Health and Fitness Expo on the Friday and Saturday prior to race Sunday. Be sure to bring your photo ID! To facilitate the process, you can look up your bib number online through the confirmation link (found on the registration page).

Where and when is the Expo?

The Health and Fitness Expo is held at the Monterey Conference Center located adjacent to the Portola Hotel & Spa in the heart of downtown Monterey. It is next to Fisherman's Wharf and across the street from our host hotel, the Monterey Marriott.


Expo hours: 

Friday, April 27             Saturday, April 28

Noon to 6 p.m.             9 a.m. to 6 p.m.


In addition to picking up your race packet, you will also pick up a free bus pass if your event requires busing to the start. Pasta Party and Post Race Party tickets are for sale at the Expo as well. A variety of free race-related clinics will be offered at the Expo on Saturday as well as merchandise, demonstrations and information from a variety of merchants and vendors on health related issues.

What do I need to pick up my race packet?
  You must know your race bib number and have a valid photo ID to pick up your race packet. No exceptions! You can look up your bib number at bsim.org on the Registration link under "Entry Confirmation". If you took the Military Discount you must bring your current Active Military ID. Packet pickup is at the Expo on Friday and Saturday only, there is NO RACE DAY PICK UP (except for the 3K and 5K)! Bib numbers are non-transferable. No one else may wear the bib number or D-Tag assigned to you.  You cannot sell your bib number on Ebay or Craig's List. Runners found on the course without bib numbers will be removed. Runners caught wearing someone else's bib number will result in both parties being banned from future BSIMs.  NO BANDITS!
I never received a confirmation email! What can I do?
  If you registered and either didn't receive email confirmation of registration or cannot find your name on the Entry Confirmation page, bring your photo ID and proof of payment (cancelled check or credit card statement) to the Solutions Desk located on the 3rd floor at the Expo. If you can let us know prior to race weekend we can research this in advance. Call 831.625.6226 or email sally@bsim.org
What events can I register for at the Expo?
  Traditionally, the only event open for registration on race weekend is the 5K and 3K, unless they too are sold out. We will open for registration for our 2013 events on July 15, 2012.
Can I downgrade from the Marathon to another event?
  Downgrades (and upgrades) to other events are available until the event is sold out. The only downgrades race weekend will be to the 5K or possibly the 9-Miler.
Where and when is the Pasta Party? How do I get tickets?

The Pasta Party is held Saturday evening in the Monterey Marriott Grand Ballroom. There are two seatings, one at 4:30 p.m. and a second one at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 per person and they will be on sale at the Expo at the Pasta Party Kiosk. We offer a selection of pasta, salad, fruit salad, artichokes, bread, beer, water and coffee plus dessert and live entertainment.

What, where and when is the Post-Race Party?
  The post-race party is held race day evening (Sunday) from 4:30 to 7:30 pm in the Grand Ballroom of the Monterey Marriott. Tickets can be purchased during registration, or at the Expo, for $25. Enjoy one free beverage, hors d'oeuvres, entertainment and a chance to share your marathon experience with others.
Where and when is the Post Race Party? How do I get tickets?
  The Post Race Party will be held Sunday evening, April 29th, following the marathon from 4:30 to 7:30 pm in the Grand Ballroom of the Monterey Marriott. This is a great venue to share stories about your race with other finishers.  Live music, food, and beverages will be offered.  You can buy tickets in conjunction with registration.  You must pick up your post race party wristband at the Expo.  They won't be available at the entrance to the party.  No wristband = No party.
What are D-tags?

In keeping with technological advances in event timing, Race Central (our race timing company) is now using the ChronoTrack system. Advantages to the runner include a accurate timing, no fee for lost or unreturned chips, fewer pre-and post-race hassles and a lighter, less intrusive tag that is already affixed to the back of your bib.  Do not remove the tags from the bib and do not fold or crease your bib. For more information on the D-Tag, click HERE.

I know I need to take a bus to the start of my event. Where do the buses leave from and when?
  First of all, please note.YOU CANNOT DRIVE TO THE START! Those participating in the Marathon, 21-Miler, Relay and 10.6-Miler MUST take one of the official buses to the start of their event. No private vehicles will be allowed at the start area. Highway One will be closed to the public in the early pre-dawn hours on race day, which will be STRICTLY ENFORCED by the California Highway Patrol.
            The information we are providing here was based on last year's events. Please check your Race Weekend Instructions for any changes in times and locations.
            For those events requiring busing to the start, FREE bus tickets may be picked up at the Health & Fitness Expo at the bus ticket kiosk. Marathon runners will be bused from several locations, including the downtown Monterey Custom House Garages, the Monterey Marriott, the Embassy Suites, Carmel Plaza and Carmel Middle School. 21-Miler participants will be bused from the Monterey Marriott and the Barnyard Shopping Center at the mouth of Carmel Valley. Relay runners will all be bused from Monterey Peninsula College. 10.6-Milers will be bused from the downtown Fisherman's Wharf and the Barnyard Shopping Center at the mouth of Carmel Valley. Bus tickets are issued on a first come, first served basis. Pay careful attention to the bus departure time printed on your bus ticket. You must show your bus pass and bib number to board your bus.
            Participants in the 5K and 9-Miler do not take buses and must arrange their own transportation to the start of these events (the Marathon finish area at Highway One and Rio Road).
            For those staying in Big Sur, there will be a shuttle making a continuous loop to the Marathon start area from Big Sur hotels between 5:00 and 6:00 a.m. If you are staying in Big Sur and doing an event other than the Marathon (the 21-Miler, the 10.6-Miler, 9-Miler, Relay or 5K) you must take the shuttle to the Marathon start area. From there, you will be bused to the start of your event or your Relay Leg. You need to be there prior to 6:00 a.m. which is when the final bus departs.
Why do the buses leave so early?

No one likes getting up at 3:00 a.m. (including all of us!) but chances are you won't sleep a lot anyway on the night prior to the race. The buses must begin traveling to the Start for the following reasons:

  • It takes one hour for a bus to travel SAFELY to Big Sur along a narrow, winding road in the dark
  • It takes one hour for a bus to travel back from Big Sur
  • All buses must be back to Carmel by 6:45 am so the Marathon finish and 5K start area can be constructed on the Highway
  • Therefore, allowing for possible delays, all buses must leave for the start by 4:45 am.
  • Since not all buses can leave at the same time, bus departures are staggered between 3:45 and 4:45 am.

So, get tough and plan on getting up early!

How do my sweats get to the finish line?
  Bring warm clothes to the start, it can be very chilly in Big Sur early in the morning. For participants in the Marathon, 21-Miler, 10.6-Miler and Relay, "sweats buses" will be at the start of each event. Make sure you attach your sweats tag (found at the top of your bib number) to your sweats bag.
            At the finish, bags will be laid out according to bib numbers and volunteers will assist in locating your bag.  We do not encourage you to put anything of value in these bags, as we are not responsible for items that are lost or stolen.
            Finally, consider wearing "throwaways" to the start. Bring gloves, shirts, and sweats you can discard at aid stations along the course. These will eventually be donated to charity and you won't have to deal with a sweats bag.
How many aid stations are there on the course? What beverages will be offered?

In addition to aid at the start and finish, there are 13 aid stations on the course itself, approximately every two miles beginning at mile 3. Every aid station offers water and Gatorade, and some offer Vaseline and sponges. GU will be available at two aid stations on the course. Refer to our Race Weekend Instructions (available by March 31st) for the specific aid station locations. There will be medical personnel at every aid station. There are also Porta Potties at each aid station.

What is the BYOB program
  BYOB stands for "Bring your own Bottle" and represents an effort on the part of race organizers to reduce the usage of paper cups at aid stations. If you wish to participate, you can carry one or more bottles that can be refilled at the BYOB section of the aid stations along the marathon course.  Both water and Gatorade will be offered.  Our walkers especially are encouraged to take part in the program.
Will there be someone taking pictures of me on the course?
  MarathonFoto will be on the course taking pictures of walkers and runners. When you cross Bixby Bridge at mile 13.1 and when you cross the finish line, make sure your bib number is visible and that you are smiling. They will get in touch with you following the event or you can look for your pictures at www.marathonfoto.com.
How do I get back to my hotel or to Big Sur from the finish area?
  Post-race shuttles from the Marathon Village will depart from the finish at Rio Road beginning mid-morning and will take runners back to the morning's bus departure points.
            Shuttles returning to Big Sur will load at the finish also. The first shuttle will depart with the southbound 11:00 a.m. convoy.
            See "Race Weekend Instructions" for more specific times and locations.
Where can spectators/family view the race?

Because Highway One is closed to vehicular traffic until 1:00 p.m., spectators, families and friends of the runners/walkers can only view the end of the race from the finish area at Marathon Village. Spectators may walk south from the finish area if desired, but must stay on the shoulder of the road and out of the way of runners and walkers.

There is a Runners Unite area at the finish where one may hook up with finishing marathoners or walkers.

How soon can I get my results? Where can I find them?

Results will be available on computers behind the timing tent at Marathon Village. Unofficial results will be available online Sunday afternoon at www.bsim.org and will also be published Monday in the Monterey County Herald.  The awards ceremony for the Relay and the Marathon will be held race day beginning at 11:30 a.m. Overall awards (top five male and female runners, top three male and female masters) are based on GUN, not D-Tag time.  Divisional awards are based on TAG time. Timing is provided by Race Central.

What can I expect if I am hurt and cannot run or walk? Do I get my money back?
  If you have registered for one of our 2012 events and cannot participate due to injury or for any other reason please see our Cancellation Policy. Entry fees are NON-REFUNDABLE and NON-TRANSFERABLE to another person or to a different year. If you do not participate you may take the amount of your entry fee as a charitable donation on your income tax return. The Big Sur International Marathon is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit and all our proceeds go to charity.
OK, how many hills are there on the Big Sur course?             And how steep are they?
  One man's hill is another man's bump in the road and vice versa. Our Race Director claims that there are thirteen hills the last 13 miles of the course.  The first half of the course is gentler; there are probably only five hills. Unfortunately one of them is the infamous Hurricane Point. A runner in 2001 calculated the percent grade from mile 9.8 through mile 12 is 4.47%. We recommend you take our Virtual Tour found on the website to get a bird's eye view of the course. And, train on hills - both UP and DOWN!
What is the Military Discount?
  The Military Discount is given to Active Military personnel and is not valid for their spouses or dependents. It is available for marathoners only, not for the other weekend events.
Can I wear headphones or listen to my Ipod during my event?
In accordance with the guidelines set by USATF and the Road Runner's Club of America, we are strongly recommending that you do not use Ipods or other audio devices during the events. Choosing to use an audio device will NOT result in disqualification, but you will compromise your safety and that of others by wearing a headset. If wearing an Ipod or other audio device results in you being unable to hear verbal instructions or commands, or approaching vehicles or course marshals on bicycles, you may be asked to relinquish the device and face disqualification.  We ask that you take responsibility and use good judgement if you opt to wear an audio device.  Because the right lane of Highway 1 is open to vehicular convoys the safety of our participants is our first priority. We truly hope you'll opt to leave your headsets at home and instead let the incredible scenery and music we provide on the course serve as your motivation and inspiration.
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