2016 Alcatraz Challenge Aquathlon & Swim

East Beach
San Francisco, CA 94129


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Event Description

The Alcatraz Challenge Aquathlon & Swim

The Course


The swim is a 1.5 mile assisted swim.  It is actually about 2 miles, but with the tides and currents it is like swimming 1.5 miles.  The currents, winds, waves, chop, eddies and tides determine the final start location but it begins near Alcatraz and finishes at the East Beach of Crissy Field located in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area’s Presidio Park

Wetsuits and hoods are strongly recommended as water temperatures are a chilly 55 degrees.  Every year, several swimmers are unable to withstand the strong currents and chilly temperatures and are forced to forfeit at this stage of the race.

IMPORTANT: On race day, there will be an extremely strong current carrying you west.  Strong means that if you jumped off the ferry and did nothing but float you would be swept 3 miles west to the Golden Gate Bridge within an hour.

Alcatraz Challenge Course Map

Larger Map


The 7 mile run begins when the runners leave the transition area.  The run course follows the Presidio’s popular Golden Gate Promenade, a dirt trail that winds its way along the San Francisco Bay. After about 1.25 miles and once past the Warming Hut and the Torpedo Wharf, runners make a sharp left, veering away from the water and up a set of wooden steps, along a dirt trail, through a brick tunnel and up onto the east span of the Golden Gate Bridge (about 200 feet of elevation gain in less than a half-mile). Crossing to Vista Point at the north end of the bridge, runners turn around and retrace their steps to the finish line. Gatorade will be provided at the run turnaround aid station.

Runners—USE EXTREME CAUTION ON THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE—There are cyclist, other runners, walkers and tourist on the bridge with you. It is especially important to use caution this year as the west side of the bridge is closed and all pedestrian and cyclist traffic will be on the east side of the bridge where you are running. Keep your eyes wide open and be alert at all times. Race competitors do not have priority on the bridge so courtesy to everyone on the bridge is appreciated. Enjoy the great view – this is not a race for a PR.

Event details and schedule

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