Both the half marathon and 5K will take place on Sunday, August 15, 2021.


Each half marathon and 5K participant will receive:

  • Technical fabric short-sleeve shirt in men’s and women’s styles
  • Gorgeous finisher medal
  • Souvenir grocery bag
  • Complimentary beer in post-race Ballast Point beer garden
  • Finisher food bag filled with tasty and nutritious refueling foods at the finish line
  • Finish line festival with live band, refreshments and celebration

Should 2021 AFC be unable to take place in person as planned, we will be offering our registered participants a choice of switching to a virtual participant or deferring to the following year.

Yes! During registration, you can choose to sign up as an individual or join a team. Once a team has been created, it will be available for other participants to join as well. The first person to create the team automatically becomes the team captain. We do not offer team scoring. Team registration is just for fun!

Team Help
Creating a Team
Changing a Team Name
Invite People to Join Your Team

If your team has 30 or more members by July 31 you qualify for a team booth in our Finish Line Festival! We will contact team captains in July if they qualify.

Medical assistance will be available at the start and at the finish. Race Guards trained in CPR and first aid will also be out on the course. Runners observing others with possible medical difficulties along the route should alert the nearest police officer, race official, aid station or call 911.

There will be one medical tent in the secure, fenced-in finish chute (just beyond the finish line) and one medical tent and a self-serve ice tent in the post-race Finish Line Festival.


Half Marathon – 13.1 Miles
5K – 3.1 Miles


Yes; however, a time limit of 3.25 hours for the half marathon will be strictly enforced. This means you must maintain a 14:53-minute-per-mile pace or faster.  For the 5K, you must be able to complete the course in 1 hour. This means you must maintain a 19:21-minute-per-mile pace or faster.


Yes! Since its inception in 1978, The America’s Finest City Half Marathon has raised millions of dollars for national and local non-profit organizations.  The event’s primary beneficiaries are the Cabrillo National Monument Foundation, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, San Diego Fire Rescue and Friends of Balboa Park. The AFC Half Marathon also provides the opportunity for other local charities to raise funds through their association with the event.


Log in to Events.com, click on your name from the top navigation bar and click “My Events.” This page will show all of the events you are registered for. You can also email hello@events.com to request a confirmation email.

Forgot your password? Follow these instructions. 


Yes. We offer a $10 military discount to active duty service members only. Make sure to answer the questions about military service during registration to receive the discount instructions.


Location: Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina, 1380 Harbor Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92101

Hours: Saturday, August 14, 2021 from 9 AM to 5 PM


All participants must pick up their bib number with timing tag attached and race shirt at the one-day expo. The Expo will take pace at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina, 1380 Harbor Island Dr, San Diego, CA 92101 on Saturday, August 14, 2021 from 9 AM to 5 PM. They will not be mailed. At the expo, you’ll first pick up your bib number (you must have your photo ID) and will then use your bib number to pick up your race shirt and reusable shopping bag. While we do all we can to ensure you receive the shirt size you request, we cannot make any guarantees.

If you’re unable to attend the expo, you may authorize someone to pick up your items for you. This person must come with a photocopy or electronic copy of your photo ID.

IMPORTANT: If you’re unable to attend the expo or send someone in your place to pick up your bib number and race shirt, be sure to select the Race Day Pickup option and pay the additional $20 convenience fee when you register. If you’ve already registered and want to add the Race Day Pickup, you can log into Events.com and add it to your registration. If you do not already have an Events.com account, you will need to create one using these easy instructions. Anyone attempting to pick up their bib number on race day who hasn’t paid the $20 fee will be required to pay onsite (cash or credit card accepted).

Yes, if you’re unable to attend the expo, you may authorize someone to pick up your items for you. This person must come with a photocopy or electronic copy of your photo ID.

Yes! If you’re unable to attend the AFC Fitness Expo and need to pick up your bib number on race day, select the “Race Day Bib Number Pickup Convenience” option during your registration ($20). Your bib number will be available for pickup at the southwest corner of Park Boulevard and Presidents Way in the middle of the Finish Line Festival area on race morning starting at 4:00 AM. There is no mailing of bibs. Anyone attempting to pick up their bib number on race day who hasn’t paid the $20 fee will be required to pay onsite (cash or credit card accepted). Race shirts will be available for pickup at the Finish Line Festival after the race.

Yes, there is a strict 3.25-hour time limit (14:53-minute-per-mile pace) for the half marathon. Participants who do not reach North Harbor Drive and Harbor Island Drive (6.3 miles) by 90 minutes after the race starts, will not be permitted to do the Harbor Island section of the course (approximately 2 miles) and will instead be directed to continue on the route to the finish line.

There is a 1-hour time limit for finishing the 5K.  All participants must be able to maintain a 19:21-minute-mile pace or faster throughout the event.

Both the half marathon and 5K time limits are based on chip time, meaning the time limit countdown begins the moment the participant’s timing chip passes over the start line timing mat.

The time limit is necessary to ensure the safety of all participants as the public roadways must be opened to normal traffic at specified times and closed to participants. Participants exceeding the time limit pace may be asked by race staff or San Diego Police Department personnel to take a shuttle van to the finish. PLEASE DO NOT ENTER THE HALF MARATHON OR THE 5K IF YOU DO NOT EXPECT TO FINISH WITHIN THE TIME LIMITS.


The Half Marathon Triple CrownSM Series is a fun opportunity to recognize dedicated athletes who commit to complete a trio of scenic Southern California half marathons within the same calendar year. The threesome includes the Carlsbad Marathon or Half Marathon, the La Jolla Half Marathon and the America’s Finest City Half Marathon. Learn more here!


Participants are eligible for the TRIPLE Triple Crown medal by completing the Half Marathon Triple Crown series in three consecutive years. That’s right, on year three you will receive TRIPLE bling at the AFC Finish Line Festival and at the end of the TRIPLE Triple Crown series you will have received 13 medals!!

Once you’ve accepted a TRIPLE Triple Crown medal, the challenge restarts and you are eligible again after three additional consecutive years of Half Marathon Triple Crown completion.

Just like the Half Marathon Triple Crown, we will keep track of your eligibility. You don’t need to do anything except sign up for the races and make sure you have a TRIPLE Triple Crown bib for AFC in your final year of the series.

Click here for more information.


The SoCal 3×5 is a fun opportunity to recognize our dedicated 5K participants who complete a quality trio of 5K events. The series starts in January with the Carlsbad Surf Sun Run 5K featuring an out and back course that passes by the beautiful Buena Vista Lagoon and starts and finishes at The Shoppes at Carlsbad, the same location as the Carlsbad full and half marathon. Next is the La Jolla Shores 5K in April featuring a point-to-point course that starts at the top of La Jolla Shores Drive (near UCSD) and takes runners down to an exciting finishing at the La Jolla Cove sweeping ocean views all along the way. The series finishes in August with the America’s Finest City 5K, featuring a mostly flat loop course in historic and beautiful Balboa Park. All three events feature fun, post-race festivals each complete with a craft beer garden, live entertainment and vendor booths.

To qualify for the SoCal 3×5, simply register for and complete (within each event’s time limit) the Carlsbad Surf Sun Run 5K, the La Jolla Shores 5K and the America’s Finest City 5K in the same calendar year and we’ll take care of the rest! Special commemorative medals will be waiting for all who qualify at the SoCal 3×5 bling bestowment booth located in the America’s Finest City Half Marathon Finish Line Festival. Click here to learn more.


Switching from the 5K to the Half Marathon

To switch from the 5K to the half marathon please call your girls at In Motion at 760-692-2900. We will need your estimated finish time for the half marathon and your credit card number. NOTE: You must do this before the half marathon sells out and you will need to pay the difference between what you initially paid for your 5K entry fee and the half marathon entry fee, plus the applicable processing fee.

Switching from the Full or Half Marathon to the 5K

To switch from the full or half marathon to the 5K, you will keep your same bib and start your race from the start line at the the 5K start time 6:15. There is no refund for the price difference.



No! All half marathon participants must take the shuttle buses from Balboa Park to the start and there are no pickup locations along the way. Registered guests of the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina on Harbor Island (host hotel) may take the race-provided shuttle for hotel guests only that goes directly to the start line from the hotel.

The road to the Cabrillo National Monument is closed to all traffic with the exception of race vehicles and the participant bus shuttles. It is also very dark on race morning and pedestrians and all types of unmotorized or motorized access are not allowed.

More shuttle details are available here.


No; however, there is a 5K shuttle that spectators may take that will leave the hotel at 5:15 AM and go to the finish line. Since they will be arriving quite early, they could consider registering for and running the 5K or signing up to volunteer while they wait for their loved ones to finish the half marathon!  Otherwise, we suggest spectators use a service such as Uber, Lyft or a San Diego taxi.

Yes! Shuttle service for participants and spectators returning to the host hotel starts at 8:30 AM and runs until 11 AM.

Shuttles to the half marathon start will run from 4 to 5:15 AM from Balboa Park near the Finish Line Festival and from Zoo Place and Park Boulevard.  Learn more here.


You may not run the half marathon, but you can still run the 5K using your half marathon bib number and timing tag.


You may park in any legal parking lot in Balboa Park. Parking lots are shown on the Finish Area map and labeled with a “P.” The largest parking lot is the Zoo parking lot adjacent to the northern bus loading area. Allow yourself at least an extra 30 minutes for parking.


No, only race participants with a current bib are allowed at the start and on the start line shuttles.


All entry fees are NONREFUNDABLE, NONTRANSFERABLE* to a future In Motion Event and NONDEFERRABLE to a future year of the same event with the following exceptions ONLY:

Active duty military members who are unable to participate because they are unexpectedly deployed may choose to either defer their entry to the following year’s race or receive a refund less a $15 administration fee. Email request with a copy of orders to info@inmotionevents.com no later than 10 days prior to event day.

*See transfer period details below.


The transfer period is August 2 – August 6, 2021. During this timeframe only, you will be able to log into your Events.com account and transfer your entry to someone else. There is a $20 transfer fee and registered participants are responsible for finding transferees and making sure transfers are completed prior to the deadline. Transfers must be completed by 11:59 PM on August 7, 2020.

To transfer your registration to another person, follow these instructions. To accept a registration that was transferred to you, follow these instructions.

For help logging into your Events.com account, please review this helpful article.

If you purchased the event insurance, you will not able to use the online transfer tool through Events.com. You will need to email In Motion for the offline transfer form. 

Participating with a bib number and timing tag not officially assigned to you is not permitted. If race officials discover that this has occurred, you and the original registered participant will be banned from this event and future Half Marathon Triple Crown events.

Complimentary pace groups will be provided by the Road Runner Sports Pace Team. Pace group leaders run a steady pace throughout the race so members of their group are able to finish half marathon in the projected finish time for that group.
Pace groups with the following target finish times will be offered on race day (times are subject to change):
Half Marathon – 1:30, 1:40, 1:50, 2:00, 2:15, 2:30, 2:45, 3:00
Please note: besides the clock at the finish line, there are no additional clocks or timers on the course.

Yes! Check out our 8-week half marathon training schedule here!

We discourage the use of headphones; however, if you choose to use them, it is recommended you keep the volume at a level at which you are ardare of your environment, can hear course directions and any emergency situations that may arise.


No, there will not be timing clocks along the course.


Yes! Both the half marathon and 5K are run on certified and sanctioned courses. The half marathon certification number is CA11106RS and the 5K certification number is CA13083RS.


The half marathon course is certified using USA Track & Field course measurement criteria employing the use of an Alan Jones counter. The courses are measured along the shortest distance between the start line and finish line, which entails taking the straight line tangent on all curves. It is virtually impossible for anyone to run the course exactly as measured, even the front runners.

A GPS device measures distance wherever you go during the race. If you go to the side of the road to a water station or if you zig-zag around other runners in the first few miles, the GPS measures the extra distance. Wherever you do not run the short line tangent in the road, the additional distance you cover is measured by the GPS. A GPS device, worn in a race, will always record a distance greater than an accurately measured course.


Yes! Both 5K and half marathon finishers will be awarded a medal upon completion of the race in the finish line chute. Participants who are disqualified because they were not able to complete the event in the specified time limits are excluded. See time limits.


Half Marathon
Awards will be offered to the first three male and female finishers in the following age groups: 17 & under, 18-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79 and 80+.

Awards will be offered to the first three male and female finishers in the following age groups: 12 & under, 13-17, 18-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79 and 80+.

Award Ceremony
The 5K awards will be presented from the stage at 8:00 AM and all Half Marathon awards will be presented at 9:30.

Those who do not pick up their award during the ceremony will be emailed instructions for picking up your award from our office in San Marcos or having it mailed to you for a fee. Awards not claimed within 30 days of the event will no longer be available. 

Note: Awards will be based on net chip time and prize money (if applicable) will be based on clock time.


There will not be an elite athlete program or prize money for 2021 AFC; however, age group and overall awards will still be presented. Learn more about overall and age group awards here.

No. The half marathon course crosses the San Diego Trolley tracks in downtown San Diego at 10.7 mi. (Broadway & Kettner) and 10.9 mi. (India & C).

Later runners may have to wait for 20 to 30 seconds to allow the trolley to pass. MTS personnel hold trolleys for a limited period of time, but must allow them to pass after a certain time period.

Finish times will not be adjusted. If stopped, please stop your watch and then restart it when you begin running. DO NOT CROSS THE TROLLEY TRACKS IF THE GATES ARE DOWN – you will be disqualified.

PLEASE OBEY THE DIRECTIONS OF THE TROLLEY PERSONNEL STATIONED AT THE CROSSINGS. The trolley did not exist when the race course was first laid out in 1978.


Average 68 degrees F, and 70-80 percent humidity.


Results will be posted as available in the Finish Line Festival. Results will also be available online.


Not in the half marathon, due to a steep downhill on the half marathon course. Strollers are allowed in the 5K but must line up towards the back of the pack at the start line.


Though we love animals, dogs or pets of any kind except for service animals are not allowed at the race or the expo.


Although there is no official minimum age requirement for the half marathon, we recommend all half marathon participants be at least 12 years old on race day. All participants under 18 must have their event waiver signed by their parent or legal guardian. In addition, we recommend everyone under 16 years of age on race day be accompanied by their parent or legal guardian (who is also registered for the event) during his/her participation.


Individuals interested in participating in either event using a racing chair or handcycle must contact info@inmotionevents.com prior to registering for the event for detailed information.


Yes, registration insurance is available for purchase during the checkout process through FanShield. If you can’t attend this event for any of the fifteen (15) covered reasons, you will be reimbursed for your whole registration cost and processing fees, excluding the insurance premium per the insurance company’s guidelines. See full coverage details here.

The insurance charge is in addition to the cost of your registration and will be billed separately by FanShield. If you purchased insurance and need to submit a claim, you will need to contact FanShield here



Just contact your girls at In Motion by calling us at 760.692.2900 or sending an email to info@inmotionevents.com.


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