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Vicoty Chepngeno was the first across the finish line at the 16th annual Monterey Bay Half Marathon holding off the elite men who started nine minutes and five seconds behind her

Chepngeno, a Kenyan living and training in Grand Prairie, TX, covered the 13.1-mile course in 1:08:03, smashing the women’s course record by over a minute and half. As the race began Sunday morning, the 25-year-old made a clear break from her competitors and maintained a healthy lead throughout the race, clicking off 5:10 miles. Futsum Zienasellassie, 26, of Flagstaff, AZ took the top spot for the men in 1:02:33, logging the second-fastest men’s finish in the race’s history.

Still, he and the other male competitors were unable to catch Chepngeno as she neared the finish line. As the first runner across the line, Chepngeno collected an additional $3,000 on top of the $4,000 award for being the first female.

“I’m so happy to be here, and I love the people of Monterey,” said Chepngeno. When asked if she’d return next year to defend her title, Chepngeno replied, “Absolutely, I can’t wait to be back out on the beautiful course next year.”

Panuel Mkungo of Coon Rapids, MN took second for the men in 1:02:37, and Patrick Smyth of Sante Fe, NM took third in 1:02:39. Second female was Australian Milly Clark in 1:11:49, followed by 2017 women’s champion Monicah Ngige in 1:11:59.

The top eight runners in the men’s and women’s divisions competed for a total purse of $25,000 plus another $5,000 in total bonus money for the first three runners of either gender to finish.

Runners were met with ideal conditions with overcast skies and temperatures from the low-50s to 60s during the race. Roughly 6,700 participants set out along the 13.1-mile scenic course that includes historic downtown Monterey, Cannery Row, and the Pacific Grove shoreline and Asilomar State Beach to finish back in downtown Monterey near Fisherman’s Wharf.

“It was a spectacular day with many runners setting personal bests,” said Doug Thurston, Race Director. “We were so glad to welcome back thousands of runners from our canceled race last year and many new runners to our race along the beautiful Monterey Bay.”

The 2018 Monterey Bay Half Marathon was canceled the day before when shifting winds brought smoky and unhealthy air into the area from the Camp Fire.

The Big Sur Marathon Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to create beautiful running events that promote health and benefit the community. Under the brand are three individual race weekends: Big Sur International Marathon in April, Run in the Name of Love 5K and 2K in June, and the Monterey Bay Half Marathon, 5K and 3K in November.

(11/11/2019) Views: 1,093 ⚡AMP
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Monterey Bay Half Marathon

Monterey Bay Half Marathon

The Monterey Bay Half Marathon on Monterey Bay contributes to the Ronald McDonald House, Breast Cancer Fund and Big Sur Marathon's JUST RUN Youth Fitness Program. ...

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After last year’s cancellation, the big news heading into the weekend of the Monterey Bay Half Marathon is that the race is on for Sunday

“We’re just really excited to have the race this year after last year’s unfortunate cancellation,” said Doug Thurston, executive director and race director for the Big Sur Marathon Foundation. “We’re not affected at all by any of the wildfires in California.”

Officials canceled the race last year the evening before the event when shifting winds brought high levels of smoke from the Camp Fire in Butte County into the area causing unhealthy air quality on the Monterey Peninsula. The 3K and 5K races were held the day prior in moderate air quality.

“We’ve got great weather forecasts and we’re looking forward to a record number of participants,” Thurston said. “All events will be sold out, so it will be the largest race weekend in the 17-year history of our half marathon.”

The half marathon itself has reached its limit of 9,000 participants in past years, though more than 4,000 entrants to last year’s canceled race deferred their registration fees to this year’s race causing the capacity to be reached several months ago. Thurston said the Pacific Grove Lighthouse 5K, with a capacity of 2,000 entrants, sold out as well.

The weekend’s festivities begin with the Health and Fitness Expo opening up noon Friday at the Monterey Conference Center, giving entrants a chance to pick up their bib and race packet as well as providing information, services and the sales of merchandise. The races begin Saturday with the By-the-Bay 3K at 8 a.m. and the Pacific Grove Lighthouse 5K, both starting at Lovers Point in Pacific Grove, at 8:30 a.m.

The Monterey Bay Half Marathon starts Sunday at 6:50 a.m. on Del Monte Avenue at El Estero before traversing the Monterey Peninsula’s coastline to Asilomar State Beach, where runners will turn around and head back.

The race is different from many others in that it has 15 waves of starters, which Thurston said spreads the field out to make for smoother running through some of the more narrow sections of the course. The waves are set based on predicted times when entering the races.

“It allows people to run with people of similar ability for more consistent pacing throughout the race,” he said, adding that the out-and-back nature of the course allows for everyone to watch as the elite racers catch up and pass the others.

The top finisher among the men and among the women will each win a $4,000 top prize. The elite women will get a nine-minute, five-second head start against the elite men. The top finisher overall will then get an additional $3,000 “Equalizer Challenge” bonus.

Thurston said race organizers appreciate the support of the community, including those who come out to cheer. In Pacific Grove, school groups and others line the course to watch and cheer on the competitors.

“The enthusiastic support of friends and family and the community can really help people get through the later miles of the race,” he said

(11/08/2019) Views: 801 ⚡AMP
by Tom Wright
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Monterey Bay Half Marathon

Monterey Bay Half Marathon

The Monterey Bay Half Marathon on Monterey Bay contributes to the Ronald McDonald House, Breast Cancer Fund and Big Sur Marathon's JUST RUN Youth Fitness Program. ...

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Here are the options for those who entered the Monterey Bay Half Marathon which was cancelled

Race officials announced Wednesday that entrants in the canceled 2018 Monterey Bay Half Marathon can instead run in one of the next three editions of the race or donate $75 of their entry fee to charity. Officials canceled the Monterey Bay Half Marathon, scheduled for Sunday, the evening before the event when shifting winds brought high levels of smoke from the Camp Fire in Butte County into the area causing unhealthy air quality on the Monterey Peninsula. Entrants have until the end of the year to decide if they want to compete in the coming editions of the Monterey Bay Half Marathon on Nov. 10, 2019, Nov. 15, 2020, or Nov. 14, 2021, donate $75 of their entry fee to a nonprofit agency supporting Northern California fire relief or donate $75 of their entry fee to Monterey County charities funded by the Big Sur Marathon Foundation, which manages the race. Doug Thurston, the Monterey Bay Half Marathon race director, said the overall entry fee varied between $90 and $125 depending on when entrants paid the fee. He explained the entry fees have already been spent. “The cost of the race exceeds the entry fees, with the balance being made up by sponsorships, donations, merchandise sales, etc.,” he said. “It’s not like we have all the entry fees sitting in an account somewhere, they’ve already been spent on the production of the event.” The donations will be made out of the Big Sur Marathon Foundation reserve funds. Thurston said thousands of entrants still came out to the finish-line area at Custom House Plaza to get their shirts, medals, programs, food and drinks in what ended up being a party-like atmosphere. (11/15/2018) Views: 1,071 ⚡AMP
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Monterey Bay Half Marathon cancelled due to wildfire smoke in northern California rendered air quality unsafe

The Monterey Bay Half Marathon, scheduled to run Sunday November 11, was cancelled due to poor air quality from the Camp wildfire that started Thursday and which has seen thousands of northern California residents evacuated and 29 deaths. The 3K and 5K races went ahead Saturday as planned, but there was a shift in wind direction Saturday afternoon that brought smoke in from the northeast, decreasing visibility and rendering air quality unsafe for outdoor activity. California’s Monterey Bay Half Marathon is an out-and-back course along the rugged Pacific coast line that starts and finishes in downtown Monterey. The area is well known for its coastal road races and is also the site of the Big Sur International Marathon. This race attracts runners from all over the world.   (11/12/2018) Views: 1,062 ⚡AMP
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