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    Thousands of runners expected at 20th annual OC Marathon Sunday
    • May 4, 2024

    About 13,000 runners are signed up to trek the seaside route for the 20th running of Orange County’s signature marathon on Sunday, May 5.

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

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

    The 26.2 mile marathon is set to begin at 5:30 a.m. on Sunday, starting in front of the Vea Newport Beach Marriott Resort and Spa near Fashion Island. Runners will go through Newport Beach, Costa Mesa and Santa Ana before finishing off at the fairgrounds. This course is relatively downhill from beginning to end, but does have a few minor hills.

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

    Runners can look forward to a panorama view of the Pacific Ocean within the first mile of starting, before making their way through the seaside community of Corona del Mar.

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

    Bleachers will be set up at the finish line to welcome the runners are they make their way through the last quarter mile of the course. Community members are invited out to the event center to cheer on the participants free of charge.

    “It’s just amazing to see people coming in all the way on the far east side of the property,” Kutscher said. “And once they finish, and they come through their food and fluids, they’ll exit and be reunited with their family members inside our festival.”

    Online registration closed on Friday night, however, folks can sign up in-person before Sunday at the OC Lifestyle and Fitness Expo during regular hours if races have not sold out. Participants can pick up their race bib and T-shirt at the expo between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday. There will be no packet pick-ups on Sunday.

    Additional details and registration information can be found at

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    ​ Orange County Register