La Jolla Half Marathon to roll through town this Sunday


The La Jolla Half Marathon and 5K, described as a “challenging, hilly course with iconic distractions,” returns 7 a.m. Sunday, April 22, bringing thousands of runners from Del Mar to La Jolla Cove.

The 13.1-mile half marathon course starts at the Del Mar Racetrack and proceeds through Del Mar into La Jolla Shores and ends in Scripps Park. The 5K starts at the top of La Jolla Shores Drive near Horizon Way and runs through La Jolla Shores and along Torrey Pines Road, down Prospect Avenue and Coast Boulevard before finishing at La Jolla Cove in the same location as the La Jolla Half Marathon’s finish line.

The only real change from last year is that the race starts half an hour earlier. “It’s the original course from previous years (the route temporarily re-routed to accommodate construction in La Jolla Shores),” said Kiwanis Club of La Jolla president and event chair Bart Calame. “So we’re back to normal and the runners get to run along more of the beach and feel the ocean breeze on their face as they run.

“It starts at 7 a.m. this year rather than 7:30, which is to get ahead of traffic by a half-hour and be finished that much sooner. It also gives us time to get Scripps Park back to the way we found it that much earlier.”

The 37th annual La Jolla Half Marathon launches in a “wave start” system, so there are no timing clocks on the course. Those interested in tracking their time on race day should plan to wear or carry a GPS/timing device.

“The wave start helps eliminate congestion at the beginning of the race and makes it more pleasant for runners,” Calame said.

La Jolla Shores 5K

The La Jolla Shores 5K is a point-to-point course that follows the last 3.1 miles of the half-marathon course. The course will be marked with traffic cones and course guides and, except when otherwise directed, participants should run as close to the right hand curb as possible.

The course will close to 5K runners and walkers one hour after race start.

Registration for the 5K is open until the night before the race, “in case people want to make a last minute decision to participate,” Calame said. “It’s open to anyone who can run, jog or walk three miles. We see it as a race inside of a race. Registration is less expensive than the half marathon, but all the money still goes to charity.”

The race is a signature event for the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla. It is presented by the Kiwanis Club, and managed under In Motion Events.

“This is our major fundraiser of the year, where the bulk of our non-profit revenue is captured,” Calame said. “This covers our 2018-2019 fiscal year, and funds the grants we will give away next year. We hope to be north of $200,000 that we net from the race.”

The Kiwanis Club of La Jolla works with about 80 groups — from schools in the community to Boy Scout troops, La Jolla Recreation Center, La Jolla Parks & Beaches advisory group, La Jolla Community Center, local Meals on Wheels chapters, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Reality Changers, international causes and more.

Spectators are welcome along the course and in Scripps Park. As Calame pointed out: “We run through some neighborhoods, so people tend to come out and cheer on the runners, especially in The Shores and in Del Mar, and people get really excited in (Scripps) Park because it’s a fast finish as the end of the race is downhill ... it really builds excitement.”