SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – For the thousands of runners expected to participate in this month’s San Francisco Marathon, some significant changes are coming.

Unlike in previous years, only runners who are doing the full marathon will get to cross the Golden Gate Bridge, and they will have staggered starts to ensure there will be enough room for the expected 9,000 of them on the sidewalks.

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“It would have been nice to have continued with the tradition of running the race on the roadway, but as vehicles have become weapons in recent years, that is no longer a safe option,” bridge spokesperson Priya Clemens told KPIX 5.

Lanes of the Golden Gate Bridge closed to traffic for a previous San Francisco marathon. (CBS)

Lanes of the Golden Gate Bridge closed to traffic for a previous San Francisco marathon. (CBS)

Sam Singer, spokesperson for the marathon, told KPIX 5, “The rules have been changed by the Golden Gate Bridge District. We’re disappointed too, but we think the race is still a really great race.”

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The marathon said they just learned of the bridge district’s decision, so the courses on the website have now been updated. Typically, first half marathoners run over the Golden Gate. This course is pricier and more popular than the second half marathon course.

This year, the runners will bypass the Golden Gate Bridge and run along a coastal trail and through Golden Gate Park.

“We hope that the runners who have any issues with the bridge district help us this next year to lobby the bridge district to change their mind,” Singer said.

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Participants registered for the first half marathon can upgrade to the full marathon to run the Golden Gate or can defer registration to next year, for free. Runners can also request a full refund by July 13th.