2014 Stairway to Heaven Half Marathon and 15K

(3rd Race in the Trail Half Marathon Series and Progressive Series)
Date:  August 10, 2014

Registration: August 10th to Close

Ultrasignup.com http://ultrasignup.com/register.aspx?did=26756

Results: to be posted after race immediately on Ultrasignup.com

Entry Fee Stairway to Heaven 15K

  • $50 – Early Bird to April 30th
  • $55 –  Thru May 31
  • $60  -  June 1 Thru Close

Entry Fee Half Marathon

  • $60 – Early Bird to April 30th
  • $65 –  Thru May 31
  • $75  –  June 1 Thru Close

Registration closes 8/1/2014 or previously when race sells out … and it will.


Mission Trails Regional Park
Equestrian Center off Mast Blvd.
Santee,CA  92071

Race Capacity:  400

Race Start Time: 7 AM

(Mandatory Race Day Check-in: 6:00-6:45 am only)
(Parking Lot opens at: 5:45 am)

Course Description Half Marathon and 15K: Runners will follow the course markings through the grasslands until they begin to ascend a steep ¾ mile hill at mile 2 encountering their first aid station at the top. After reaching the top, runners will wind down into the canyon on a combination of narrow single track and fire road trails. After reaching the second aid station runners will descend into Suycott Wash making their way towards South Fortuna Mountain and the infamous “Stairway to Heaven.” When runners reach the stairway they will ascend up South Fortuna on steps that have been carved into the mountain. Once at the top their efforts are rewarded with spectacular views of the valley … and our own Dirt Devil Stairway Angel.

Stairway To Heaven

Runners now make their way to the 3rd aid station (which was also aid station #1 at the top of the hill) before descending the steep ¾ mile hill and returning on the same trails back towards the starting area.  About ½ mile before the finish runners will make a sharp left deviating from the original fire road they originally ran out on.  After the left turn deviation they will shortly make a sharp right following the double track back to the starting area.  This course is not a true out and back.  Look at the map below for more detailed instruction.



It is MANDATORY that ALL runners carry at minimum 12 oz. hand bottle for hydration.  This race is in August, is dusty and steep at points, and you will use more hydration than you normally do.  So be prepared!!!

About This Race
. . . and it’s role in both the Half Marathon and Progressive Series:

The Stairway to Heaven Half Marathon and 15k Trail Race is brought to you by Dirt Devil Racing.com and is the 3rd of the four races in the Half Marathon and Progressive Series. All our trail races are incredible, but the Stairway to Heaven Half Marathon and 15k is a challenging, and extremely rewarding course. You will definitely feel a major sense of accomplishment after you cross the finish line!  You can run this race independently or as part of the series.

If you plan to do the Half Marathon or Progressive Series you MUST run all FOUR races depending which series you are competing in.  The Progressive Series kicks off with the Foxy 5k in April, followed by the Wildhorse 10k in June, then this Stairway to Heaven 15k in August, and finally the Raptor Ridge Half Marathon in October.  The Half Marathon Series takes place the same days with the Foxy Half in April, Wildhorse Half in June, Stairway to Heaven Half in August and finally Raptor Ridge in October.

If you are NOT doing the series and just want to run a great Half or 15k trail … then this is an amazing and challenging trail.  It sold out a month in advance last year, and we expect the same this year!

So act fast and don’t delay on registering thru Ultrasingup.com  http://ultrasignup.com/register.aspx?did=26506

Course cut-off:  The course cut-off time is 4  hours for the Half and 3 hours for the 15K.  No finisher awards will be given for any racer not completing the course within the required time.

Aid Stations:  There will be 4 aid stations for the 15K and Half.  Miles 2 … 4.5 …. 6.5 … and mile 8.  There will be aid at the finish area as well.

IMPORTANT:   It is MANDATORY that all runners carry at minimum 12 oz. hand bottle for hydration.  Besides the fact that this race is in August, is a dusty and steep trail at times, it is also wise to wear the proper sun protection, hat/visors, and carry more hydration that you normally would for a trail of this distance.  This is a trail race and we are trying to eliminate the use of cups at Aid Stations to truly go green. We need you to do your part. We will meet you half way this year … but may go completely green in 2014. So get your practice runs in now carrying a hydration pack or belt!

Course Map:  http://goo.gl/maps/fZqk1

*This map is a mix of the Half and the 15K…..a separate map will be posted….eventually.


Course Video:


Directions to Start:  The starting area is located at the EquestrianCenter at MissionTrails Park just off of Mast Blvd.  To get to theEquestrian Center take the 52 Freeway EAST from San Diego or WEST from El Cajon and exit Mast Blvd.  Turn Right (if headed East) at the bottom of the off ramp, and drive straight into the Equestrian center.  Turn LEFT (if headed West), and drive straight into the Equestrian center.   If the gate is closed you have arrived prior to the 5:45 am parking lot opening.  We must follow permit rules and times that we are authorized to open.

Click Here for Directions (Google Maps)

Please pre-print directions to ensure you know where you are going the morning of the race.

Race Day Parking: There is ample parking in dirt lots at theEquestrianCenter adjacent to the check-in area near the start line.  Please follow ALL Parking Staff instructions, as we want to ensure that ALL racers have a parking spot. If you can carpool please do. This makes parking quicker and easier for all.  Overflow parking is about ¾ mile away on Mast Blvd, at West Hills Park … just before West Hills High School.

Race Check in:  6:00 am – 6:45am

Race Start Time:  7 am

There will be a separate start for the Half and 15K with the Half Marathon starting roughly 15 minutes prior to the 15K.

Prizes:  All Half finishers will receive a moisture-wicking technical T-shirt and a commemorative BEER GLASS with the race logo and event date.  This collector’s glass is the 3rd in the set of 4 that finishers can earn. However, by completing All 4 Half Marathons runners can earn a set of all 4 glasses and the coveted Dirt Devil Racing-Mike Hess Beer Logo Stainless Steel Beer Growler.  All 15K finishers will receive a moisture wicking technical T-shirt in addition to another really cool race award.

For prizes provided to Overall and Age Group Winners please see the Race Prizes page.

2012 Stairway To Heaven Finisher’s Award – Actual 2014 schwag will vary.

Pat and his Team of Professional Photographers will have your pictures from the race on display at the After Party for you and your loved one’s to see … and they will be awesome!!  You can have Pat take post-race pictures of you, your family, your group, or your team to capture your special day. All race-day photo purchases will be discounted!!!  See Pat for details.  Unable to make the after-party, go to …. Photos By Pat  …. to purchase all your race photos … even previous season if you’ve run with us before.

Race Results: Race results will not be available at the finish line. Please do not interrupt the professional timing team. Just as you want an accurate time, so do the racers that have yet to finish behind you. We will have the Overall & Age Group Winner times available at the Post-Race Party & Awards Ceremony. All race times and distance placing will be available on the DirtDevilRacing.com website no later than the Wednesday after the race.

Post-Race Party and Awards Ceremony: Dirt Devil Racing is in the process of teaming up with a great location to host our Post-Race Party & Awards Ceremony!   If a Breakfast Buffet is not offered on Active.com at the time of registration, you will be notified via your Active email address about the pricing, location, and directions.  Purchasing the Buffet is not required to attend ANY post race party.  It merely ensures a seat at the post-party and saves the racer a few bucks on a great breakfast.  At-the-door buffet purchases will cost more money and seating may require a slight wait time.  Last year the party was at Hooley’s Irish Pub and Grill in Grossmont Center and was awesome!

After Party locations are always a short 15 minute (or less) drive from the race site and will be on the way home for most people residing in the San Diego area.  For directions from the race site to the Post Race Party, please check back HERE prior to race day.

Post-Race Party/Buffet typically starts at 10am … Awards at 11am!

Packet Pick-up Location: Packet Pick-up will take place at the San Diego Running Institute (SDRI) on the Friday and Saturday before the race:

  • Friday, August 8th, 10:00am – 6:00pm
  • Saturday, August 9th, 10:00am – 4:00pm

8525 Gibbs Drive, #205
San Diego, CA 92123

Google Maps - http://goo.gl/maps/fW9uF

Office: (858) 268-8525

For detailed directions and a map of the pickup, Click Here

MANDATORY Race Day Check-in: All race participants MUST check in on race morning. Failure to check in prior to starting the race will result in automatic disqualification. Check-in begins at 6AM.  Please read ALL of the “MANDATORY READ” race day rules prior to race day to ensure you have the best experience possible.

Refund Policy: There are no refunds….no exceptions.  Dirt Devil Racing does allow for free bib transfers though.  You must notify the race director or your intent to swap the bib.  The person taking your bib must also notify the race director and provide all necessary information in order to complete the process.  If all necessary information is not provided to the race director the bib will be “disqualified” regardless of who runs wearing it.  No bib transfers will be accepted after April 1, 2014…….no exceptions.

Traveling to San Diego for the Stairway To Heaven Trail Half Marathon or 15K? San Diego has a long list of great attractions and activities for you and your family to enjoy. If you will be traveling to the race for the weekend here are a few hotels close to the start as well as some places the Dirt Devils love to check out after a run in the area.

Places to Stay:

Holiday Inn Hotel San Diego–La Mesa  — 8000 Parkway Drive  – La Mesa, 91942


Days Inn & Suites  –7475 El Cajon Blvd–La Mesa, 91941


Heritage Inn La Mesa — 7851 Fletcher Pkwy — La Mesa, 91942


Things to Do:

Anthony’s Fish Market – A San Diego Landmark & Lake Restaurant
San Diego Safari Park
Sea World San Diego
Old Town Historic District & Shops
Birch Aquarium at Scripps
San Diego Padre’s Ballpark
San Diego Zoo

Thank you to our sponsors:



PLEASE NOTE: Some comments listed below are from previous year’s races. Look for the date listed above the comment to see what year and race the commenter is referencing.


13 Responses to 2014 Stairway to Heaven Half Marathon and 15K

  1. Joe Heflin says:

    I have a couple of questions.
    Approximately how many steps are there in the steps portion of the course? Or, what is the horizontal distance in feet that the steps portion covers (1000 feet, 3000 feet)?
    And is everybody in the same category? Or are there age groups, and Male, Female?

    • Dr. Runco says:

      Regarding the steps……..The climb from the little bridge to the South Fortuna Ridge is 558′ vertical and .6 miles. The last 250′ vertical will be over 350 steps fashioned from 4″x6″ timbers …
      When you register you must declare your avg. running minute per mile pace. Runners are placed into wave starts based on their average speed.
      There are age group and male and female categories

  2. Jon G says:

    Not sure if you’ve been out to the final stretch of this course yet this year. There are 3 really awful large sections of loose rocks where they tried to repair the trail but only laid the rocks and didn’t fill in with dirt. Makes the last 1/4 mile really nasty. Take a look if you can and perhaps consider tracking the finish back over the course beginning. I had thought it would be filled in eventually but it’s been like this all year. Nearly twisted my ankle twice on it yesterday.
    Thank you

    • Dr. Runco says:

      I ran it 2 weeks ago in the dark and the week before in the daylight. I am guessing you are talking about the section after the staircase on the approach to the saddle? I agree there are technical sections and I am not sure if the park will fix this or not prior to the event. Unfortunately I am at their mercy. They are also not big on allowing me to alter the course. Thanks for your input.

  3. Joe Price says:

    I just want to say I love this course! I previewed it and am happy I did.

  4. Joe Price says:

    Is there any changes to the course from last year? I noticed the course map does not correspond with the written description. I see the Oak Canyon and paved road sections in the written description but not the course map. Its all good if the course changed, just need clarification. Thanks, and all the best.

    • Dr. Runco says:

      Yes the course description reflects the “old” course that is used if the “new” course has any trails closed. I prefer to not use Oak Canyon as it is an ankle snapper

  5. Mary says:

    Can you use trekking poles?

  6. Paul Irvine says:

    Is Stairway To Heaven 15k sold out? It says registration is closed.


  7. Terence says:

    Hi- any word on where the breakfast/awards ceremony will be?

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