As a legacy runner of this race, I’ll admit that the Malibu International Marathon has been an acquired taste. The first time I ran this race in its inaugural year, I struggled greatly after running the first 10 miles too fast and then hitting the wall once the sun and wind along PCH half killed me. I vowed never to run this course again. It took me 5:11 to finish that year with splits of about 2:05 / 3:06 and this was after running a 4:32 at the Silicon Valley Marathon three weeks earlier.
Ran it much smarter in 2010 dropping my finish time to 4:45 which was just 3 minutes slower than I ran the San Francisco Marathon 3.5 months earlier. I was able to enjoy this race far more as I ran it smarter and was ready for the late hills and the wind.
Improved by 17 more minutes for a 4:28 in 2011, 10 minutes slower than I ran the NYC Marathon the prior weekend, although I would’ve probably been a couple minutes quicker on fresher legs.
I don’t mind one bit that it is a tiny expo and I love that it is right on the sand of the beach in Malibu.
Also, I really like the course that starts in Camarillo, runs through agricultural / farming areas (but no livestock so only good smells!) and then has amazing ocean views during the second half of the course with the finish at the beach.
Post race on the beach is nice and I do like the finishers towels instead of a race shirt. I do so many races that I need another race shirt like I need a hole in the head.
Although this is one of the toughest road marathons out there, Malibu is a must do marathon for me each November and I look forward to keep improving on this tough course. Iin 71 marathons to date, only the Kauai Marathon was tougher while the ET Midnight Marathon is the only other about the same difficulty.