Spectator Areas for Marathons in Orange County: Everything You Need to Know

The Orange County Marathon is just around the corner and tickets are sold out. Whether you're running, cheering on the runners, or avoiding the event altogether, here's all the information you need to know about maps, street closures, and more. This annual event, held on the first Sunday of May, is a great opportunity for speed lovers. The marathon and half marathon are both “net downhill” courses, with runners finishing more than 100 feet lower than they started.

It's one of three marathons that make up the “Beach Cities Challenge”, which also includes the Long Beach and Surf City marathons. You can find more information about specific local closures, such as brochures for specific neighborhoods and alternative routes in the O. C., on the official website. There's also a 5 km race on Saturday night and a half-marathon version of the race on Sunday morning.

If you didn't sign up for this year's marathon, don't worry - you have 12 months to prepare for next year's marathon. Before the weekend of the race, there are races for children and a 5K race, plus a racing festival at the OC fairgrounds. The OC Half Marathon is particularly picturesque, with a route that starts at Fashion Island in Newport Beach and ends at the OC fairgrounds in Costa Mesa. Along the way, runners pass through Corona del Mar, Balboa Island, and Back Bay.

All half-marathon runners receive an elegant white jersey with a quarter zip closure featuring the OC Marathon logo on the lapel and side panels sublimated in blue with palm tree motifs; plus a blue technical t-shirt with a separate short sleeve and similar style with the “FINISHER” print on the back. This year's 19th annual Orange County Marathon saw 4,723 finalists. The race is popular enough that it can be used as a qualifier for any marathon in the country - including the Boston Marathon. If you're looking for special spectator areas to watch marathons in Orange County from, there are plenty of great spots to choose from along the route.

The Segerstrom Center for the Arts near South Coast Plaza is an ideal spot to cheer on runners as they pass by. You can also find plenty of great viewing spots along Balboa Island and Back Bay. And don't forget to cheer on Navy veteran Collin McSpirit at the finish line - he lost a leg in a motorcycle accident but still managed to complete the race.