Race Day Info
START TIME: 8:30am (sharp!)
REGISTRATION:. There was multiple registration windows available in April, May and June. However, the Wharf to Wharf Race is now SOLD OUT. Registration for the Little Wharf 3-Miler is currently unavailable, but will re-open in the next couple weeks.
REFUND POLICY: All entry fees are non-refundable, including if the race is modified or cancelled for any reason, including without limitation, natural disasters, catastrophes, pandemics, or any act of god or force majeure.
LOCATION: The Wharf to Wharf Race starts at the Santa Cruz Wharf (Beach St. & Cliff St.) near the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and finishes at the Capitola Wharf (Wharf Rd. & Cliff Dr.) near Capitola Village.
PARKING: Traffic and parking can be a challenge, so plan on getting to Santa Cruz early. We recommend being in town by 7:00am. There is extremely limited street parking near the start line and many nearby roads are closed for the race. DO NOT PARK ON STREETS THAT ARE POSTED NO PARKING. Free parking is available in Santa Cruz at the Ocean Street Government Center and paid parking is located near River Street Parking Plaza and all throughout Downtown, which is less than 1 mile to the Start Line. Take advantage of the bus shuttles that run from these two Santa Cruz parking lots to the Start Line of the race beginning at 6:30am. There is NO shuttle bus service from Capitola to Santa Cruz BEFORE the race. Here is a map of most of the parking options in Santa Cruz. Reminder, there is PLENTY of street parking throughout Santa Cruz that is less than 1 mile to the Starting Line, just give yourself time!
Many veteran runners carpool and/or park in Capitola. Please Note: The Capitola Village is closed to ALL traffic from 5am to 12 noon.
START CORRALS: The Wharf to Wharf Race starting area is fenced off and separated into corrals. The intention of Start Corrals is to organize everyone by their run/walk pace, and to prevent unregistered runners from entering the start area and running the race. Remember…the Wharf to Wharf Race is a fundraiser for the youth of Santa Cruz County and forbids people from participating in the event without registering. We politely ask everyone to respect this policy.
All bib numbers will be color coded with corresponding corral numbers that will designate your starting position. Take a look at your bib’s background color and corral number (corral number is located on the lower corners of your bib in small boxes, underneath your actual racing number). Note: Elite Corrals will have white background and red numbers. All other bib numbers will have a white background and a coral-corresponding color number.
Adult volunteers will be at every corral checkpoint to direct participants into their appropriate area, and to ensure no one enters the wrong corral. We will have staff, volunteers, and signage throughout the entire start area to provide direction and assistance to those who have questions regarding our Start Corrals.
***ONLY registered participants with 2023 bib numbers will be allowed to enter the Start Corral. Under NO circumstance will anyone be allowed into the Starting Corral without a bib number.
– Corral E is our Elite Corral. This is for bibs with red numbers and a white background. It can be accessed at Cliff St. & Beach St.
– Corral #1 is the next corral in line and can be accessed at 1st St & Westbrook St.
– Corral #2 follows Corral 1 and can also be accessed at 1st St & Westbrook St.
– Corral #3 is towards the back of the Start Corral and can be accessed at 1st St & Main St.
– Corral #4 is the last corral and can be accessed at 1st St & Main St.
– All Corrals can be accessed by entering the back of the Start Corral at the Santa Cruz Wharf near the WTW HDQTRS by utilizing the sidewalks.
***Corral Rule #1: The first rule of a Corral System and the only rule of a Corral System… Anyone can move BACK corrals… but no one can move UP corrals. For example: If you are in Corral #1, you can freely move back to Corral #3 to join a friend or family member. However, if you are in Corral #3, you cannot move up to Corral #1 to join a friend or family member.
*As stated on our registration page, on our website and in our Race Instructions, Joggers/Strollers are not permitted and will not be allowed to enter Start Corral under any circumstance. This is a safety policy.
Members of the Wharf to Wharf Racing Team, along with Maps and Directories of the Start Layout will be located at each Corral Entrance.
Restroom Locations: The map below shows the locations of all restrooms around the Starting Area.
Bib Numbers: DON’T FORGET YOUR BIB NUMBER! Remember, Wharf to Wharf is an exclusive, limited-entry event. Your bib number is your ticket to access all race venues, including your ticket onto the shuttle buses before and after the race! The timing chip strip on its flipside will record your official starting-line-to-finish-line race time enabling you to check your results online against that of the elites, your friends, relatives, neighbors, co-workers, boss, etc… Also, the chip strip is fragile. Treat it with care. Do not remove, fold, bend or crinkle.
Gear Check: Unfortunately, there is no gear check at the starting line.
COURE DETAILS: The scenic six-mile race is run on gently rolling hills in local seaside streets. The weather conditions for race morning are typically perfect: cool, 60 degrees, calm and foggy, but by noon, the skies are clear and warm.
START: The race begins at the corner of Beach & Cliff St, near the Santa Cruz Wharf.
MILE 1: The first mile is flat and picturesque, as you run alongside the iconic Giant Dipper in front of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. At the end of the first mile, you reach the base of the races biggest hill – a fairly steep, yet short hill that overlooks the Pacific Ocean & Boardwalk.
MILE 2-4: The next 3 miles are gently rolling with frequent breezes as you dip in and out of ocean view.
MILE 5: Mile 5 is flat and hugs the coastline by the legendary surf spots, “The Hook“ and “Pleasure Point.”
MILE 6: The final mile drifts through local seaside streets… once the ocean reappears; it’s all downhill to the finish.
FINISH: The Finish Line is at the corner of Cliff & Wharf Rd by the Capitola Wharf.
For your safety, the course is closed to all vehicular traffic, including skateboards, bikes, wagons, wheelbarrows, roller skates/blades and baby jogger/strollers. Pets are prohibited. Mile posts are marked splits will be called at each mile. All participants must maintain a 15-minute-per-mile pace. The race is over and the course re-opened to traffic at 10:30am. You must abandon the course at that time.
FINISH LINE: The Finish Line is at Wharf Road in Capitola, but don’t stop there. Follow the signs to the beach to retrieve your giftpak, refreshments and post-race festivities. On the beach is where you can meet up with your family and friends at the “FRIENDS & FAMILY MEET UP AREA.”
POST-RACE: All race finishers earn a giftpak loaded with goodies, featuring the coveted Wharf to Wharf Runner T-shirt. Pick up your giftpak on Capitola Beach after the race by exchanging the giftpak tag attached to your bib number for your giftpak. For correct T-shirt size, be sure to pick up your giftpak at the depot marked WOMENS S-M-L-XL-XXL or MENS S-M-L-XL-XXL according to your desired size. Giftpaks must be picked up in person at the beach on race day. No giftpaks will be mailed. Sorry, but no giftpak tag, no giftpak.
On race day, go to RACE HDQTRS at the big RACE HDQTRS banner at the Santa Cruz Wharf or check with the TROUBLESHOOTER on Capitola Beach.
TRANSPORTATION: After the race, free shuttles will run from Capitola back to Santa Cruz until 12pm noon. Buses will only be dropping off at the Government Center Building. The lot is a short walk back to Front St (0.5 miles) or the Start Line (1.0 miles).
AWARDS: The awards ceremony will be held at 10:20am at the Capitola Beach Bandstand. Race winners will be awarded The Mayor’s Cup and $4,000 cash prizes. Silver medalists win $3,000; Bronze medalists $2,000; 4th place finishers $1,000; top American M/F finishers $1,000. Local and wheelchair champs receive distinctive plaques. Top 100 M/F finishers will be awarded elite Wharf to Wharf apparel.
THE GOLD NUMBER! Each year, one hundred finalists are randomly drawn from the sold out field of 16,000. Check your bib number. If it is gold, you are one of these lucky finalists! The winning number will be drawn at the conclusion of the awards ceremony. The prize is a trip for two at a location TBD.
RESULTS & PHOTOS: Photos and Results will be available online after the conclusion of the event.