Frequently Asked Questions

Although our courses are hilly and challenging, PCTR multiple-distance events are designed with shorter distances from 5K to 12K. For the first-time trail runner, this means while the longer distance runners can be our running for 5 to 10 hours, you will have plenty of time to finish your distance. One of the great things about trail running is that you can hike the uphills and run the downhills. You don’t need to be an experienced trail runner to enjoy our events. Just remember to bring a hand-held water bottle or wear a hydration pack.

There are no refunds, transfers, or roll-over credits for Pacific Coast Trail Runs events. We do offer race credits to be used for another PCTR event. We will offer you a 100% race credit (less registration fees) towards a future event if notified 45 days before the event. Also, we will offer you a 50% race credit towards a future event provided you let us know 15 days prior to your event. Shall you decide up to 72-hours before the start time of the first event that you can’t make it, then we will apply a credit in the amount of 25% of what you paid . All requests after the 72-hour time will not earn credit. All race credits earned will be good for one calendar year from the time it was earned.

Shirts are handed out at the event. Shall you decide to contact us to mail out your shirt, then we will gladly package, address, and go to the post office for you  and charge you $10 for one shirt and $15 for two shirts in one package.

We use to host our registrations and this is also the primary location for race information. You will see the entrants list within the first 30 days after registration opens. The wait list will be activated and seen immediately after the event sells out. The entrants list and wait lists will disappear during the last 24 hours leading up to the event when we set up the timing system.

If you would like to change distance, please do so by emailing us at [email protected] at least 72 hours before the event. We assign event distance specific bibs with timing transponder at this time and it makes the event less complicated for you, volunteers, and Team PCTR. Shall you want to change distances on race day, then you must notify us prior to the event starting. All entrants who change distance during the event will earn a finisher medal. However, you will not be eligible for “Overall Standings & Age Group” awards. For example, if you entered the Headlands 100 mile event and stopped after two 25 mile loops, then you will be given your finisher medal and credited with an “Unofficial Finish”. Similarly, if you enter the Headlands 50 Mile race and decide after two loops that I want to continue on and finish 100 miles, then you will earn a finisher medal or in this case a belt buckle. But, it will be termed an “Unofficial Finish” in your rankings. The reason this is done is to prevent other runners from being pushed out of a podium finish, overall standings position, or age group award because someone decided that they wanted to run a different distance during the race. This is the terminology commonly used in running and racing events.

We e-mail the race-day instructions the week of the event. If you haven’t received the e-mail by 2 days before, please Contact Us. We also send out updates as needed weeks or days before the event.

It’s very important to study the maps, arrive early enough to hear your pre-race briefing, and pay attention while on course. We mark the course extremely well with bright ribbons and limited signage. Very few runners get off course and, if they do, they realize fairly quickly that they missed an intersection. If you get off course, you should retrace your path until you find where you left the course and then continue along the marked course.  If you see a black and yellow striped ribbon, this means “No Go” or “Runner Wrong Way”. Review the course map, carry the course description, and read the race-day instructions. Don’t follow other runners blindly because they may have not been paying attention. 😉

On each race, posts the number of remaining entries as the event gets close to selling out.

NO. NO. NO!!!!! Running as a bandit (not registering) in organized events is inappropriate even though you don’t consume drinks or food. The organizers expend a tremendous amount of time and money for permits, park monitors, measuring and marking the course, insurance, and publicizing the event. Registered runners would not be able to enjoy the group experience if these efforts and costs were not made by the event organizers.

Please be courteous on the trail. If you’re passing another runner or hiker, announce “on your left” as you approach. When you see a horse, kindly ask the rider if it is ok to pass. If you litter, you will be disqualified and never run a PCTR event again.

Headphones are allowed are fire roads, but we recommend having one ear bud in your right ear only as other runners, bikes, or pathway users may pass on your left and you want to hear them coming. We recommend not wearing headphones on single-track dirt trails, while crossing paved roads, arriving at aid stations, or while crossing the finish line. It’s unsafe and quite frankly rude behavior. 

Please read the race information for each event. Some parks do not allow dogs in parks. No dogs are allowed on our dirt trail courses unless given permission by PCTR. Some of our bike pathway events allow dogs and we will to if you can keep them to a 6 foot leash limit. Please don’t leave pets in your vehicle or we will kindly have the rangers find it a temporary home until you finish your event.

All of our dirt courses include sections of narrow trail and baby joggers aren’t allowed. However, please feel free to use them on our bike pathway courses without headphones.

E-mail us at [email protected] for a quick response.

It depends on the event. Some will be there and some will not.

PCTR does donate money to charitable organizations. We donate to the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council, youth organizations, as well as those that serve trails, open space, and public parks. Runners occasionally run to raise money for charities and they’re welcome to do that, personally.

On some of our courses, we use an altimeter to measure Elevation Gain when we’re wheeling the course. The Elevation Profile chart gives a general visual idea of the major climbs/descents but we don’t know how much does furnace replacement cost. Some courses we use Strava, Google, RunGOapp, and other resources to get close to an appropriate reading. Not 100% accurate.