Plan for 2023 La Jolla Half Marathon gets Parks & Beaches board’s support

The route of the 2023 La Jolla Half Marathon is unchanged from previous years.
(Provided by Bart Calame)

The race, which organizers hope will draw runners in numbers similar to the years before the COVID-19 pandemic, will be held in May, a month later than in the past.


The La Jolla Parks & Beaches group lent its support to the upcoming La Jolla Half Marathon, which is being called the race the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla has wanted it to be for three years.

“We’re excited for what we believe is going to be a fully participated 2023 race,” Half Marathon Chairman Bart Calame said during the board’s Feb. 27 meeting at the La Jolla Riford/Library. “The plan before you is the 2020 plan that was essentially scrapped due to the COVID-19 [pandemic].”

The 13.1-mile course, unchanged from previous years, will begin at the Del Mar Fairgrounds and end at Scripps Park at La Jolla Cove. The final 3.1 miles will overlap with the concurrent 5K.

Calame said he hopes for 5,000 runners, which was normal before the pandemic. The race was canceled in 2020 due to COVID. It was scheduled for April 2021 but was postponed to December.

In April 2022, the race drew about 3,200 participants.

The Half Marathon is the primary fundraiser for the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla, which awards more than $200,000 annually to schools and nonprofit institutions. Proceeds are used to fund Kiwanis grants that are distributed throughout the year.

Calame said this year’s race will be Saturday, May 20 — races in recent years were in April — to prevent conflicts with holidays such as Easter and other long-standing events such as the La Jolla Concours d’Elegance car show in Scripps Park.

“We have wanted to have the race in May since 2020, so this will be the first one in May in awhile. … There is not a race in May of this distance,” Calame said.

Event setup will be done at the park in the days before. “We will set up as much as we can on Thursday and Friday,” Calame said.

Equipment such as trash bins and portable toilets will be delivered Friday, May 19. Also, an expo associated with the race will be held at Scripps Park from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 19. Race runners must attend the expo to pick up their bib number and shirt.

“Otherwise, the race is the same,” Calame said. “The course is the same, the use of the park is the same.”

The 2022 La Jolla Half Marathon
The 2022 La Jolla Half Marathon, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla, had about 3,200 runners cross the Scripps Park finish line April 16.
(Lee Ann Yarbor)

He noted that the park will not be closed to the public for the race and that “we are not putting up any [pedestrian] barriers in the park. You can walk all the way through. We just control the safety of the runners … with fencing and bicycle barriers.”

The race is expected to take about four hours in the morning. Race staff will open nearby roads as runners clear out, and sweepers will go through to clean up the streets. A complimentary bus service will take runners from La Jolla Cove to the Half Marathon starting area at Del Mar racetrack between 4:30 and 5:15 a.m. the day of the race.

LJP&B trustee Melinda Merryweather said Kiwanis “does a lot of wonderful things for a lot of people” and said she supports the event.

LJP&B President Bob Evans, who has run the race in past years, said he appreciates “the investment that goes back to thousands of people.”

A motion to support the event and associated use of the park passed unanimously.

After the race, awards will be presented at the main stage at 8:15 a.m. to the top three overall male and female finishers and top three male and female finishers in various age groups.

Learn more at ◆