Starting line for the 2019 San Diego Rock n’ Roll Marathon. Photo credit: @RunRocknRoll, via Twitter

Runners will fill the streets again Sunday as San Diego’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon makes its comeback after its 2020 pandemic hiatus.

The race is a little late – it’s usually an early-summer affair – and it has a new look and name this year. Here’s the keys to heading out to root the runners on.


Runners and spectators can count on sunny and mild conditions for the big day. The high is expected to reach 70 degrees.


First up, Saturday’s 5K race will be confined to Balboa Park, starting at Inspiration Point and winding northwest to Sixth Avenue, before finishing on Balboa Drive.

Race-day courses

On Sunday though, as runners kick off the day on the northwest side of Balboa Park at 6:45 a.m., spectators are welcome – cheering everyone on is free! – but motorists will face many street closures until the afternoon.

The marathon and half-marathon routes extend from the park through Hillcrest and east to Normal Heights to start, before runners on the shorter route shift to the south, through North Park and along Pershing Drive to the finish line on Union and Ash streets.

Marathon runners will double back through North Park all the way west to Mission Bay, before heading through Linda Vista and University Heights on the way south to the park and the downtown finish line.


Most road closures and detours – including parts of state Route 163 and Interstate 5 – will be in effect from 5:30 a.m to 3:30 p.m. Police and event personnel will begin with soft closures along the entire race route. A few of the major affected streets include University Avenue, Adams Avenue, 30th Street, Sea World Drive and Tecolote Road.

Parking will be blocked off in some areas too.

Streets will reopen on a rolling basis once the last participant has passed and all course materials have been removed.

Transit options

The Metropolitan Transit System has added bus and trolley service for the marathon, starting as early as 4 a.m. on some lines. Officials also urge spectators to consider the Green Line for its County Center/Little Italy stop, five blocks from the finish line.

Nearly 20 bus lines, though, will have detours due to street closures. For a complete list of additional Sunday service and detours, see the MTS marathon page.


Enjoy performances throughout the route, from bands, impersonators and DJ’s. See the marathon list for which mile marker to choose for favored entertainers.