It was a truly San Francisco experience. The summer sky was gray and drizzly; food trucks circled like wagons, and runners passed rock bands, drum circles and accordionists as they weaved through one of the most beautiful courses in the nation: The San Francisco Marathon.
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Sunday marked the 34th annual marathon for San Francisco, and a sold-out crowd of runners took over the city.
Winner Michael Wardian crossed the finish line with a light-speed unofficial time of two hours, 27 minutes and six seconds -- made only more amazing by the fact that he survived a reeling case of food poisoning from a Mill Valley burrito the day before, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle. “It was nice to be able to hold in there and pull through the win,” he breathlessly told ABC7. Wardian, a semi-professional runner, finished third in the 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon just three weeks ago.
Second-place winner Alex Varner closed in seven minutes behind Wardian; not too shabby for his very first marathon. “My longest run of the summer was 14 miles the week before the marathon,” Varner told The Huffington Post. “I came into the race with a goal of finishing under three hours and not hitting the wall. I figured that if I bonked, well, at least I’d be in beautiful San Francisco.” With a race time of two hours and 35 minutes, Varner certainly didn’t bonk, but he still got plenty of beautiful San Francisco. “Being able to run on the empty streets and especially across the Golden Gate Bridge was an incredible experience.”
Though the race was marked with record-breakers, it was a fantastic day for runners of all levels. Our Assistant Editor Aaron Sankin even braved the ordeal. “It was my first marathon so it was an amazing experience,” he said. “The course is one of the prettiest runs in the entire city.”
Not surprising with a trail that starts at the city’s iconic Ferry Building and loops across the Golden Gate Bridge, through the Presidio and Golden Gate Park, and between the Mission, Potrero and Mission Bay districts with a pass by AT&T Park.
Check out the scene for yourself in our slideshow below: