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One week after a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, tragically killed nine people—including NBA legend Kobe Bryant, 41, and his daughter Gianna Bryant, 13—the Surf City Marathon in Huntington Beach, California, honored the crash victims in many ways.
Passengers on the helicopter—John Altobelli, 56; Keri Altobelli, 46; Alyssa Altobelli,13; Christina Mauser, 38; Ara Zobayan, 50; Sarah Chester, 45, and Payton Chester, 13—were traveling with Bryant and his daughter to his Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California, when the helicopter crashed into a fog covered hillside.
Paying tribute was important because all nine of the helicopter crash victims were from Orange Country, including two passengers who lived in Huntington Beach, race organizer Dan Cruz told Runner’s World.
The city of Huntington Beach held a special vigil the night before the race at Pier Plaza for Christina Mauser, who was an assistant coach at Mamba Academy, and her husband, Matt Mauser, who was the lead singer in the Tijuana Dogs band that performed at the marathon finish line last year. “Our staff and runners were affected by the tragedy, and as the next big sporting event in Orange County, it was important to pay tribute and recognize those we lost who made such an impact in the local community,” Cruz said.
The race kicked off with a “24.2” moment of silence—24 for Kobe’s jersey number and 2 for Gianna’s jersey number—before the marathon and the half marathon, and all corrals were sent off with an eight-second countdown in honor of Kobe’s original jersey number for the Los Angeles Lakers. Special remembrance markers were also set up at miles 8 and 24. There were hundreds of selfies and high fives at the mile markers, and one runner left a special wreath at mile 24.
“The response was overwhelmingly positive, uplifting, and celebratory of the great legacy the victims left behind,” Cruz said.(02/04/2020) Views: 481 ⚡AMP
2021 race moved from Feb to September. The Surf City USA Marathon and Half-Marathon attracts more than 20,000 runners from around the world. The exclusive oceanfront course runs along the Pacific Coast Highway (which is more like a street than a highway in this area), past the Huntington Beach Pier and the famous Southern California surfing beaches. Weekend highlights include...more...