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April 25, 2010

Scenes From a Marathon, 2010

This is one of those weeks where I’ve got about twice as many things to report than I have days to write about them – so it’s likely that one of two things will happen: 1) The posts will come fast and furious for the next several days, or 2) I’ll have an acute carpal tunnel seizure somewhere around my third race or hike report that sidelines me for 6-8 weeks without splinting and/or high doses of anti-inflammatories. Honestly, I have no way which way it will play out.

We’ll get the week started with an insider’s recap of this morning’s Big Sur International Marathon that will appear in Monday’s Monterey Herald. Since I didn’t run the marathon myself (I was in the 5K with my daughter, one of the impending race reports on my docket), much of this information comes from my journalistic partner in crime Mike, who was also one of the Boston to Big Sur runners mentioned below.

I should also say that there’s really no way to spend a weekend around the Big Sur Marathon events without getting completely jazzed on the race; even though it’s not in my foreseeable plans, a large part of me is definitely chomping at the bit to race Big Sur again in 2011. Never say never, I guess.


Running Life 4/26/10 “Scenes From a Marathon, 2010”

With Big Sur’s 25th Anniversary in the books, we’re sharing a final handful of observations from another wonderful BSIM weekend …

Hometown Victory!

Even though it started as a small hometown event, the Big Sur Marathon never saw a local runner win the overall men’s title – at least, not until the 25th presentation. Big congratulations to Danny Tapia of Salinas, a recent Hartnell College runner coached by Chris Zepeda. Even more impressive is that this was Danny’s first marathon; it’s possible that we’ve got a legend in the making for future editions of the race.

Coach Zepeda tried making arrangements on Saturday afternoon for Danny to ride the elite bus, a privilege that top contenders in the race are offered by the race committee. Unfortunately, the van was already full, so Danny got up early to catch the Carmel Middle School buses with the “regular” schmoes, before taking off like crazy at the starting gun. He built a big lead after 5 miles, and never looked back en route to a 90-second victory. Next year, we’re guessing he’ll be on the elite bus.

Fast Ladies of Pacific Grove

Note that we said Danny was the first local men’s winner; on the women’s side, the Big Sur Marathon has had 3 local champions: Patty Selbicky in 1987, Nelly Wright in 1988, and legendary ultrarunner Ann Trason in 1989. Interestingly, all of these women were from Pacific Grove, the same town where 2008 Olympic marathoner Blake Russell currently resides. The lesson, perhaps: if you’re a speedy girl looking to win the Big Sur Marathon, you should definitely consider moving to PG.

Blake was at this year’s event as a spectator greeting runners after the race. She has recently returned to competitive running after having a baby a year ago, so if you ever see her on the start line at Big Sur, the smart money will be on her to win big.

Smiling Happy Little People

The JUST RUN Kids’ 3K was held in Pacific Grove for the first time on Saturday and had a record number of participants. About 3,000 kids and parents ran on a beautiful out and back course from Lovers Point. 33 schools participated, and smiling faces were everywhere. Hopefully these are the marathoners of tomorrow.

Boston to Big Sur Forever!

The Boston to Big Sur Challenge was a huge success, with fantastic feedback from everybody who participated. We’re happy to report that the challenge will be continued indefinitely in years to come. Like this year, the races will probably sell out early; mark your calendars now for the July 15th online entry date for Big Sur’s 26th presentation on May 1, 2011.

Where We Shamelessly Take a Portion of Undue Credit

A special shout-out goes to our running partner Carmella Cuva, for completing the Boston to Big Sur Challenge, for winning the top local female award at Big Sur, and for characteristically smiling her way through both races. We’ve run more miles than we can count with Carmella, so we like to think that some of those mornings together contributed to her amazingly successful week of racing.

By the Numbers

This year’s race saw 12,000 participants in the various events, with 2,800 volunteers helping them. 365 Porta Potties were picked up. 350 gallons of coffee were consumed, along with 85,000 cups of Gatorade on Highway 1. Post race, 25 kegs of beer vanished, as well as 2400 bagels, 72 gallons of soup, and 100 cases of bananas. The numbers keep getting bigger, and the race keeps getting better.

See you next year.


Addy 4/25/10, 6:45 PM  

Very nice recap! My fiance, sister, husband and I had an amazing time participating in various Big Sur races today :).

I also wanted to share that my sister shared with me a very entertaining article in the Herald yesterday, reading it out loud as we both laughed with enjoyment. Once she handed it over, I realized it was the column you write!

So, thanks for such an enjoyable story about the centipedes :)

Ric Munoz 4/27/10, 9:03 AM  

Thanks a million, Donald, for publicizing the B2B Challenge, which, of course, us folks down here in the L.A. area would not have known about had it not been for an insider like you.

I registered just before B2B sold out and am really glad I did. I'd done the Boston/Big Sur thing back in 1998, but that was the year the El Nino storm forced the course to be altered.

So on Sunday I got to experience the "true" Big Sur course and was STUNNED by how incredibly difficult it is. Oy vey - what a workout! I was crying for my mommy -- to no avail; she's been dead over 20 years -- halfway up to Hurricane Point. But I managed to survive the gazillion uphills and claim that snazzy B2B finisher's jacket (which I'm wearing for the 2nd day in a row!). And another thing: Boston is 10 times easier than Big Sur!!

But I loved every step of the race and definitely want to go back to your beautiful community next year to enjoy Big Sur all over again.

Thank you again for spreading the word about B2B -- I would have been really bummed if I had missed out on it!

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