The 50th Annual Rock to Pier Run and 8th Annual Rock’n Around the Pier Half Marathon will both fire off Saturday, July 20 at 8 a.m. at Morro Rock.

The Rock to Pier Run — the first race on the Central Coast to take place 50 years in a row — is in memory of Brian Waterbury, a beloved teacher and coach as well as a notable runner who co-founded the race in 1970 when there were no other organized races on the Central Coast.

In his 40 years of running, Waterbury competed in more than 400 races including the renowned Boston Marathon. His best time in the Rock to Pier race came in 1989 when he ran 34:48 and placed sixth.

The Morro Bay to Cayucos Fun Run, as it was originally named, drew 32 participants its first year with Waterbury finishing in third place.


This year, an expected 800 runners and walkers will participate in the Rock to Pier Run and 325 are expected to turn up for the half marathon. Participants come from all walks of life. Locals and visitors from all over California — and sometimes all over the world — come together for this event which draws everything from beginners to Olympic athletes.

 “We have had a wedding proposal at the finish line, a bride and groom who ran the race and then tied the knot afterwards, a local participant that has been here for 42 out of the 50 years, and countless reunions — family and friend groups,” said Karen Sweeny, Morro Bay’s Recreation Supervisor and organizer of the event.

 In 2003, after a tough battle with melanoma, Waterbury passed
away and the race was renamed the Brian Waterbury Memorial Rock
to Pier Run.

The half marathon was added in 2012 because some participants decided six miles was just not enough. Instead of taking the provided transportation back to Morro Bay, some runners were making the return trek on the beach.

The 6-mile Rock to Pier Run, taking place entirely on the beach, is open to all ages and abilities. The half marathon, for ages 14 and up, will branch off the beach through the Cloister’s neighborhood then back to the beach ending at the rock.

Water and aide stations will be available throughout the race and transportation will be provided from Cayucos Pier back to Morro Rock where a post-race breakfast and awards ceremony will take place.

Rock to Pier registration costs $45 while the half marathon costs $85 with limited spots available. Prices will increase as the event date nears.

Proceeds will go toward Morro Bay Recreation Department Youth Sport programs.

For more information, or to register for either race, go to