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About the Race for Open Space

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Spending time in nature is tremendously important for our wellbeing. In overwhelming moments of stress, time outdoors can have a calming effect – whether it’s simply stepping into your backyard or a neighborhood park, or, if you’re fortunate enough, heading out to a magnificent open space that’s not too far away from home. Moving in nature helps us find our wonder. 

The Race for Open Space is a trail running event that promotes healthy outdoor recreation in connection to local landscapes while raising funds and awareness to support Big Sur Land Trust's work throughout Monterey County. Big Sur Land Trust's mission is to inspire love of land across generations, conservation of our unique Monterey County landscapes, and access to outdoor experiences for all. During this year's Race for Open Space, Big Sur Land Trust encourages you to lace up your shoes, step outside, and race... for open space! 

Centered around Palo Corona Regional Park, participants are invited to choose their adventure by registering for a 12K, 25K, or 35K+ trail run. Each course promises a spectacular journey through sections of the Palo Corona Regional Park (all distances) and Mitteldorf Preserve (35k+ only). A 1-mile Fun-Run will be offered for individuals of all ages and abilities. 

Palo Corona Regional Park is one of the Central Coast’s most significant undeveloped open spaces. In the largest land conservation project in Monterey County history, Big Sur Land Trust, the State of California, Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District (MPRPD), and The Nature Conservancy partnered to acquire the 10,000-acre Palo Corona Ranch. The acquisition was finalized in 2004. The 10,000-acre ranch was then divided between the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and MPRPD to be protected in perpetuity. MPRPD created the new Palo Corona Regional Park with the northern 4,350 acres of the former ranch. In 2018, in partnership with The Trust for Public Land, California Wildlife Conservation Board, CDFW, California State Coastal Conservancy, California Natural Resources Agency and Santa Lucia Conservancy, an additional 190 acres of the former Rancho Cañada Golf Course was added to the park. 

Beginning at near sea level and rising to over 3,400 feet in elevation, Palo Corona is home to over 500 species of plants as well as several federally endangered and threatened species including steelhead trout, California red-legged frog, California tiger salamander, Smith’s blue butterfly, golden eagle, and California condor. Palo Corona also provides habitat connectivity for several previously protected conservation properties, including Garrapata State Park, Joshua Creek Ecological Preserve, Mitteldorf Preserve, Glen Deven Ranch, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, Santa Lucia Conservancy lands, and the Ventana Wilderness.

Home to Monterey County’s largest and oldest known redwood tree, the amazing landscape of Mitteldorf Preserve was forever protected from industrial logging when Harriet and Arthur Mitteldorf provided funds for Big Sur Land Trust to purchase the property in 1990. Over 1,000 acres of riparian and oak woodlands, chaparral, grasslands, and a rare stand of madrone contribute to the beauty of this important watershed and habitat for several protected species. Mitteldorf Preserve will be featured in the 35k+ course. Throughout the year, Mitteldorf Preserve is accessible to self-guided hikers by reservation at

Big Sur Land Trust, MPRPD, California State Parks, and the Point Lobos Foundation created the Lobos-Corona Parklands (LCP) project by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in 2014. Our integrated efforts will benefit the public and promote the preservation of parklands and open space between Carmel and Garrapata State Park. These 10,000+ acres host some of California’s most spectacular coastal areas and vistas, abundant wildlife, diverse habitats and profound historical and cultural resources. The group envisions LCP as the next great parks and conservation landscape in California, while putting a priority on responsible visits and enduring care for the land. Palo Corona and Mitteldorf Preserve are prominent features within the continuous LCP mosaic of conserved lands.  

Over its 45-year history, Big Sur Land Trust has helped to conserve over 45,000 acres, including places we love to run and hike, such as Palo Corona Regional Park, Garland Ranch, Mission Trail. Want to learn more? Take a visual tour of Big Sur Land Trust's protected lands throughout Monterey County

Park/Preserve Information: Palo Corona Regional Park / Mitteldorf Preserve / Lobos Corona Parklands Partnership 

Start Times: 
1-mile Fun Run – 9:30 AM 
12k Whisler Wilson Out-and-Back – 8:30 AM 
25k Williams Canyon Out-and-Back – 8:00 AM 
35k+ Lunch Bench Lollipop – 8:00 AM 
Check-in and Bib Pickup: Check-in and bib pickup will occur at the start-finish area on race morning: 7:00 – 9:30 AM 
Time Limit: There is a 7.5-hour time limit for the 35k+, with a firm 10:35 AM cut-off at the Williams Canyon Aid Station. 35k+ runners who reach the Williams Canyon Aid Station after 10:35 AM will be permitted to continue on the 25k course only. All runners must be off the course by 3:30 PM
Parking: Parking is free and available within the Community Church of the Monterey Peninsula parking lot, adjacent to the Start/Finish area. Please carpool if you can. 
Community Church of the Monterey Peninsula 
4590 Carmel Valley Rd, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923  
Click for Directions 
Capacity: Each course has a capacity of 100 runners (400 total, across all distances). 
Timing: All races are professionally chip timed, utilizing MyLaps and Race Director, ensuring your time is captured as accurately as possible. Disposable chips are attached to back of each bib number. 
Post-race: Alvarado Street Brewery and additional vendors will be on-hand with food and beverages available for purchase. The start/finish will also feature the same selection of snacks and drinks as offered at aid stations (see below). We look forward to a start/finish line that is a true community gathering, bringing together many of our wonderful partners, in celebration of open space and our runners! 
Dog Policy: Dogs are permitted on the 1-mile Fun Run only and must be on-leash. Dogs are not allowed in the Palo Corona Regional Park backcountry or front ranch. Runners with dogs participating in the 1-mile Fun Run must start at the back of the pack and yield to pup-less runners.  
Printable Course Information 

Course Map

Aid Station Distances

12k Elevation

25k Elevation

35k Elevation

Course Composition 
The courses are largely on non-technical fire roads. The 25k and 35k courses include multiple creek crossings. Hiking/trekking poles are allowed on all courses. 
Course Markings 
Courses are marked with colored surveyor ribbon, placed approximately every 200 meters along the course. Turns are marked heavily on the inside of the turn, with ~3 ribbons placed just before and just after the intersection. There will also be 8.5″ x 11″ laminated signs on the ground (when allowed) at critical or complicated sections. The detailed course map displays which colored ribbons must be followed for each route. Please keep in mind if you are running the 35k+ distance, you will need to follow more than one color while out on the course. The most important course marking is the blue ribbon. Blue ribbons indicate “wrong way” trails. You will see blue ribbons, but do not run past a blue ribbon or you will be heading off course! 
Aid Stations 
Inside Trail Racing aid stations are replete with an optimal variety of glycogen-replenishing, electrolyte-replacing products. The following is a list of some of the foods and beverages each aid station may provide: Gu Energy gels and chews, Gu Stroop-Waffles, trail mix, pretzels, potato chips, Oreo cookies, Pop Tarts, PB&J sandwiches, M&M’s, Mike & Ike’s, boiled potatoes with salt, Coke, Mountain Dew, Ginger Ale, water, Tailwind Nutrition Hydration, salt tablets, and seasonal fresh fruit. Aid stations are also equipped with general first aid items (but no anti-inflammatory medicine). Tailwind Nutrition Hydration is mixed so that it contains 180-200 calories per 20 fluid ounces. 
We encourage runners to carry at least one 20oz bottle during their run. 
Race medals 
As a conservation-minded event, Race for Open Space does not feature race medals. Instead of running for a medal, we invite runners to race for the views, the health benefits… the open space! 
Refund Policy:  
Registration is non-refundable and non-transferrable. Only registered runners can participate.  
Races may be cancelled or postponed and courses are subject to change due to weather, weather-related impacts, unsafe trail conditions, and other unforeseen events. Runner safety is our top priority, and putting on high-quality race events involves many up-front costs. If a race is cancelled for any reason, registered participants will not receive a refund. If a race is postponed, your registration will be transferred to the new date. We will communicate with all registered runners as soon as possible regarding a course cancellation, course change, or event postponement, and appreciate your support and understanding.  
Race Contact Info 
If you have any questions about this race, click the button below. 


Big Sur Land Trust's 2024 Race for Open Space is a one-day trail running event dedicated to fostering an appreciation of natural spaces in Monterey County and celebrating the health benefits of time spent in nature. This annual event invites runners and hikers of all ages to find wonder among Monterey County’s most iconic landscapes. This time of year will provide participants with sweeping views of green ridge lines punctuated by colorful wildflowers.

Centered around Palo Corona Regional Park, participants are invited to choose their adventure by registering for a 12K, 25K, or 35K+ trail run. Each course promises a spectacular journey through sections of the Palo Corona back country normally closed to the public. A one-mile Fun-Run will be offered for individuals of all ages and abilities.

Race for Open Space’s technical partner, Inside Trail Running, will oversee the start/finish line, aid stations, and participant timing/results. All activities will be offered in compliance with public health and safety guidelines. Our community is deeply passionate about our mission to inspire love of land across generations, conservation of our unique Monterey County landscapes, and access to outdoor experiences for all. 

On the day of the event, community partners and businesses such as Alvarado Street Brewery will help participants celebrate crossing the finish line with beer, food, and interactive tabling displays.

Race Contact Info

If you have any questions about this race, click the button below.

Steward - $2,500+

Trailblazer - $1,000+

Conservator - $500+


In-Kind Sponsors

Media Sponsors

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