Thousands of runners expected Sunday at 20th annual OC Marathon – Orange County Register

Approximately 13,000 runners have registered to travel the seaside route for the 20th running of Orange County’s iconic marathon on Sunday, May 5.

The weekend also includes a 5K and kids fun run on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday.

Festivities for the Hoag OC Marathon Running Festival, including an expo, live music, food vendors and finish line celebration will take place at the OC Fair & Event Center.

The 26.2-mile marathon is scheduled to begin at 5:30 a.m. Sunday, in front of the Vea Newport Beach Marriott Resort and Spa near Fashion Island. Runners will pass through Newport Beach, Costa Mesa and Santa Ana before finishing at the fairgrounds. This course is relatively downhill from start to finish, but has a few small hills.

The half marathon starts and ends at the same locations, but features a short course that skips Santa Ana. The start of the race is scheduled in front of the same hotel at 6:15 a.m.

Runners can expect panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean within the first mile of the start, before passing through the beach community of Corona del Mar.

“It’s probably one of the most attractive courses in Southern California. It’s a sharply downhill course. Runners love it. The first seven miles are downhill, so they’ll feel really good for those first seven miles,” said Gary Kutscher, race director for the marathon event. “The marathon and half marathon split off where the Santa Ana Country Club is located and the marathon continues north to Irvine, then Santa Ana, then back to the OC Fair & Event Center here in Costa Mesa .”

Bleachers will be set up at the finish line to welcome runners as they complete the final quarter mile of the course. Community members are invited to the event center free of charge to cheer on participants.

“It’s just amazing to see people coming all the way to the far east side of the property,” Kutscher said. “And once they’re done, and they’ve eaten and eaten, they’ll come out and meet their family members inside our festival.”

Online registration closes Friday evening, however, people can register in person before Sunday at the OC Lifestyle and Fitness Expo during regular hours if races are not sold out. Participants will be able to collect their bib and T-shirt on site on Saturday between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. There will be no parcel collection on Sunday.

Additional details and registration information can be found at

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