A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Running the Golden Gate Bridge!

on October 6, 2013

Before I started exercising and losing weight, it would have never occurred to me to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, much less run it. When I was thinking about the things I wanted to try to see and do around the meeting sessions, it crossed my mind that I’d like to run in Golden Gate park. While I was looking into that, I googled running the bridge itself and was surprised to see that it was possible! There’s a walking/running/biking path on the bridge. Once I saw that, I knew I had to try it!

I did some research online about best times to run, crowds, safety and the best way to get to the bridge from Union Square. At daybreak on Saturday, I headed out to catch a Golden Gate Transit bus to the bridge (no one mention to my mother that I rode the bus – even though I’m 35, married, have a graduate degree and a job that entails traveling by myself all over the place, she’d worry). Side note:The Golden Gate Bridge Transit bus and driver were very nice.

The bus dropped me off at the visitor plaza, where there is a cafe and gift shop (neither open when I got there at 730) and several other runners and walkers milling around. It was easy to follow the signs up to the pedestrian path.

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Walkers and joggers are only allowed only on the outbound side of the bridge from San Francisco, whereas bikers are allowed on both per signs and the website. At 730 on Saturday morning, all of the bikers were on the other side which was nice. The pedestrian path is separated from the road by a guard rail, so you’re safe from cars (although they were definitely loud!) and the outer rail comes up above my waist. It’s a gradual slope up and down the bridge and very windy! I didn’t feel the bridge tremble or shake, but I was very grateful for my jacket and pants. It would have been chilly in that wind without them! I could smell the salty bay breeze and was continually stunned by the views on this clear, gorgeous morning.

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I found myself stopping frequently to take picture after picture of the bridge itself, the hills in Marin County and the city skyline.

I tried to take pictures of the sea lions for my little boy, but the darn iPhone was too slow. I also took note of, but didn’t feel right taking pictures of, the several places along the bridge with phones and information about crisis counseling and the tragic consequences of jumping from the bridge.

According to the Golden Gate Bridge website ( and my Garmin), it is 1.7 miles from one end of the bridge to the other. As I was aiming for four miles, I continued on from the bridge to the underpass trail at the Marin end before heading back across the bridge.

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The others runners were very friendly. There were several other solo runners, plus some small groups and lots of body types/speeds represented. There were also walkers and amblers, so I definitely wouldn’t feel out of place if I just wanted to walk across. There was lots of smiling and waving and general pleasantness from the lot. There was also a security guard/police officer on the bridge, so I felt safe as a solo runner. I was entertained by a couple of things on the way back, including the very quaintly dressed depiction of a pedestrian on the path marker:

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And the speed limit sign, set low enough to register my lowly speed as I passed:

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I felt so good after the bridge that I decided to head down to check out the path along the water on the SF side.
A) I’d looked at the area enough before heading out to know there were well used paths all through the area.
B) I knew that I would need at least two buses to get back to my hotel from the bridge, which I wasn’t keen on. I figured I may be able to find a more direct route further along or just take a cab.
C) coming down the bridge, I’d remembered that I was signed up for the Women’s Health virtual Run10Feed10 10K and thought this run would be much more fun to submit than a run in one of my parks back home.
*Caveat to all of this is the fact that I’ve just finished training for a 10K, so this wasn’t a new distance and I felt I could safely take it. In general, experts recommend avoiding big jumps in your mileage like this to decrease your chance of injury.

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I extended my run to go along the waterfront, which was almost all a packed gravel path. There were actually several local races in the area and frequently there were several different types of Race Bib mixed in with recreational runners. After hitting 6.2 miles, I walked an extra mile to Ghiradelli square. I’d decided to ride the trolley back to my hotel, rather than a bus or cab. Aside from the seriously long wait, it was a fun experience. I was hanging on the outside of the trolley, so lots of tourists snapping pics of the trolley as it passed have pics of me in my compression pants. I guess feeling self conscious in those pants is officially moot after that.

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This was definitely my favorite run so far! I’d highly recommend running or walking the bridge when you visit San Francisco!

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4 responses to “Running the Golden Gate Bridge!

  1. […] (October 2013 outdoors – the Golden Gate Bridge! – as a virtual 10K for the Women’s Health […]

  2. […] runs while I traveled to San Francisco and Rhode […]

  3. […] we got a bag filled with samples from some of the events other sponsors and I completed it over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. I ran parts of the same course that the official race would cover a few weeks […]

  4. […] gotten to run in some beautiful places this year, but my favorite was definitely crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. The scenery was fantastic, I proved to myself that the 10K I’d finished the month before […]

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