The Ave has been called by no less of an authority than RUNNERS WORLD MAGAZINE one of the most beautiful courses in the country. The Marathon is a double out and back, as the course profile indicates; while the Half Marathon is a single out and back. The Marathon starts just beyond the Dyerville Bridge on Bull Creek Road and proceed 6.5 miles to the first turn around. The first mile is relatively flat, and within half a mile of the start, you will be running under a canopy of beautiful Redwoods. After the first mile, there are some sharp curves and fairly short hills. There is an open space and a sweeping curve at about the 4/9 mile mark.
Then for the next mile or so, you enter arguably the most beautiful part of the course. The giant Redwoods close to the road look as though they were painted on a large canvass, the way they are perfectly arranged. At about five and a half miles, just beyond the Albee Creek Campground, you will enter an opening that continues to the first turn around. Don’t worry about heat, however, for the temperature is usually still cool and part of the road is still shaded. The last mile plus is a gradual uphill with few curves. Turn around here, and retrace your steps. There are aid stations at 2, 3.8, 5 and 6+ miles: and of course they will be there on your return trip. Half marathoners will start at 8:30 and will run on the Avenue of the Giants, the second out and back for the marathon.
The second out and and back is mostly shaded, and has only one significant hill, as you travel through Weott at just beyond the 15 mile mark going out or the 23 mile mark coming back (2 and 11 for the half). There is what appears to be a steep hill near the 14/25 mile mark (1 and 12 for the half), but it is mostly an optical illusion. It’s actually an overpass over the freeway.
There are three and sometimes four aid stations, depending on the weather, along this out and back, so there will be plenty of refreshment for all. The area near Weott is open for about half a mile and the road is heavily cambered, so be careful how you attack this section of the course.
The 10K starts on the Avenue of the Giants at the same time as the Half; goes down the Avenue for 3.1 miles and then returns; thus giving 10K folks the fun of the real hill, and the scary bridge. Some time before or after the race, be sure to check out The Founders Tree and the Dyerville Giant, on a short trail circling Founders Grove, about 100 yards down the Avenue from the Dyerville Bridge.
Run wisely, enjoy the natural beauty of the area, and here’s hoping you have a great time as a runner, spectator, or race volunteer.