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The Surf City USA Marathon in Huntington Beach returned its traditional first Sunday in February date for the first time since 2020

The Surf City USA Marathon in Huntington Beach had a field of approximately 2,000 people competing in the race’s 26th edition.

The 2021 race was delayed to Sept. 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic. It usually draws a capacity field of 2,500. The smaller field is likely due to the pandemic and the fact that this was the second running of the race in less than five months, race publicist Dan Cruz told City News Service.

The marathon began at 6:30 a.m., 14 minutes before sunrise, on Pacific Coast Highway between the ocean and the Hilton Waterfront Beach Hotel.

The 26-mile, 385-yard course then quickly passed the Huntington Beach Pier. Miles two through nine went through Huntington Beach’s Central Park and miles 9 through 15 through the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve.

Miles 16 through 25 are on a beachfront running path paved over the sand. The final mile took runners along Pacific Coast Highway to the finish line, also near the Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort.

The marathon field was limited to 2,500 because the beachfront running path is not part of the race’s closed course and runners could encounter walkers, bicyclists and others not participating in the race. The path is only 8 feet wide for a few stretches, Cruz said. 

Johanna Torgesen of Coronado won the women’s race with a time of 3:06:12.44.

Robert Mohr of New York won the men’s race with a time of 2:32:52.90.

The field also included Heather LeFriec, a physical education teacher from Spokane, Washington, who ran in the Surf City USA Marathon to fulfill her goal of completing 50 marathons by her 50th birthday in March.

LeFriec became a competitive runner as a senior at Oak Harbor High School about 65 miles north of Seattle after tennis was moved from fall to the spring. She wanted to stay active, compete in another sport, something that might help her lose weight. She wasn’t skilled at soccer and volleyball, so they were out.

Because she always liked running, she chose cross-country and finished 12th in the Washington state cross-country championships. After running one year at an Idaho community college, she was offered a scholarship at Gonzaga where she set a school record in the 10,000 meters that stood for more than a decade.

 

(02/07/2022) Views: 432 ⚡AMP
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Surf City USA

Surf City USA

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 many Super Bowl parties, the three-day Active...

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Retired nurse Dorothy Strand 81, reigns as only athlete to run all 25 Surf City Marathons

Dorothy Strand has never been the fastest of runners. But what she lacks in speed she makes up for in consistency.

On Saturday, Sept. 11, Strand will tackle the 25th annual Surf City Marathon/Half Marathon. It’s her 25th as well.

“She’s the only athlete on planet Earth who has participated all 25 years,” said Surf City Marathon spokesman Dan Cruz.

At 81, and battling back pain, Strand will walk this year rather than trot. And instead of completing the full marathon she will settle for half.

Strand, a retired nurse who lives in Orange, said she’s getting inspiration from the friends in her running group. “I might have opted out this year if not for them. There was no way they were letting me miss my 25th year. I felt that pressure of, ‘I’m a “legacy.” I’ve got to do it.’”

Originally known as the Pacific Shoreline Marathon, the city’s first race was held in 1997. Traditionally, it takes place the morning of Super Bowl Sunday. But coronavirus concerns pushed this year’s event forward seven months. Organizers hope to return to the usual routine in February of 2022.

Cruz said Strand will be celebrated at both the start and finish lines. “She is our celebrity runner this year.”

In normal times, the race attracts more than 17,000 participants, including some of the world’s best distance runners. But this year the lingering pandemic has cut that number to about 13,000 runners, who will participate in several different events: marathon, half-marathon, 10K and 5K. Almost all will be from Southern California, Cruz said.

John Strand, 87, came mighty close to sharing in his wife’s glory. However, about 15 years ago he missed a Surf City Marathon when he was off running in another state.

The Strands developed their passion for long-distance running in the 1980s when their two sons ran cross country and track at Orange Lutheran High. “It became a family thing,” Dorothy Strand said.

“My husband was a natural, but I’m not,” she added. “Some of my friends would run with me in the back. Gradually, I got better.”

She’s run in 46 marathons, with her fastest time (so far) 4:57 in 1999, in Dublin, Ireland. “It’s not great, but it’s great for me,” Strand said.

By then, the couple had started traveling to run in marathons. Now retired, physician John Strand visited all 50 states and seven continents chasing his hobby. He’s run in 118 marathons, total, with a personal best of 4:04.

When she started running, Dorothy Strand recalled, “I didn’t have much competition in my age group. Women weren’t really out there competing as much.”

John Strand also has health problems now, so his plan for Saturday is to stroll in the 5K.

“That’s life,” he said. “I can’t do everything I used to do, but I very much enjoyed that chapter of my life.”

Before he started running, Strand said, he was a “couch potato.”

“Running made me more outgoing, more of an extrovert,” he said. “Healthy body, healthy mind. Because of running, I’ve seen so many beautiful trails and met so many great people.”

Icing on the cake: His wife has shared his passion.

“It’s been wonderful to have a partner with me, to have something we can do together,” Strand said.

For her part, Dorothy Strand said running made her more adventurous.

(09/10/2021) Views: 487 ⚡AMP
by Susan Christian Goulding
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Surf City USA

Surf City USA

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 many Super Bowl parties, the three-day Active...

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The Surf City Marathon on February 2 paid tribute to the nine victims killed in the Calabasas, California, helicopter crash on Sunday

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: 1,014 ⚡AMP
by Jordan Smith
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Surf City USA

Surf City USA

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 many Super Bowl parties, the three-day Active...

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Japan’s Suguru Osako ran an impressive 1:03:00 half-marathon to break the course record at the Surf City Half Marathon

Osako, who holds the Japanese National Record for the marathon of 2:05:50, ran a majority of the race with his training partner Tetsuya Yoroizaka. The duo put the hammer down from the beginning, clocking a 4:50 opening mile and hitting 14:24 at 5k. Both athletes finished with identical times, which were more than 7 minutes ahead of third place finisher Patrick Hearn (1:10:48) from Irvine.

 “It was really good today, a nice tough course, super flat but a little windy,” said Osako, who split the 10-K mark in 29:43. “My goal today was a solid effort at marathon pace and it helped to have some many runners out there cheering for me. I really like this city and today’s crowd was really good.”

Despite recently overcoming an IT band injury, Saguro, 27, who used the Surf City Half Marathon as a tune-up for next month’s Tokyo Marathon, was optimistic about his preparation for the March 3 race.

“My training is going well, I am up in Flagstaff right now, I’ve been training good for the past 3 weeks and we have 4 weeks left from today,” added Saguro, who admitted there is a “little pressure” competing in Tokyo for the first time as a national record holder. “I’m going into the race that I’m a challenger, and I‘m going to enjoy the challenge of running with (Kenenisa) Bekele and the other great athletes running in Toyko.”

(02/05/2019) Views: 1,592 ⚡AMP
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Surf City USA

Surf City USA

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 many Super Bowl parties, the three-day Active...

more...
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The Surf City Marathon and Half Marathon announced today that they are offering free entry to furloughed Government employees

Furloughed U.S. government employees can receive free entry to participate in the Surf City Marathon and Half Marathon. 

Featuring a scenic course that showcases the Huntington Beach oceanfront, the event annually attracts 17,000 runners and will take place the weekend of February 1-3, 2019.

“Our heart goes out to those government employees affected by this now 34-day government shutdown and what better time to get out and run,” said Tiffany Adams, event manager. 

“We know how running helps people get through tough situations and have allocated a limited number of our remaining entries for those furloughed employees to run the race for free this year. With our mile on the sand and 5k races, there is a distance for anyone to participate in this year.”

To take advantage of this offer, all such employees must register on-site at the event’s expo on Friday, February 1 or Saturday, February 2 and present their valid government I.D. and proof of furlough at the expo to receive an official race bib. The offer is only applicable to furloughed employees who have not yet registered for the race and entries will be limited based on availability. 

New in 2019, event weekend will feature a one mile race on the beach. Dubbed as the “Cowabunga Challenge,” the mile on the sand will take place on Saturday, February 2.  

(01/25/2019) Views: 1,832 ⚡AMP
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Surf City USA

Surf City USA

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 many Super Bowl parties, the three-day Active...

more...
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Surf City Marathon Kicks Off the Big Game Weekend with Running Activities for Everyone

Motiv Sports officially announced several new activities to celebrate the Surf City Marathon and big game weekend with something for everyone. On Saturday, the new Cowabunga Beach Challenge for Kids obstacle course will take place and the local favorite 5K Run and Walk returns after a brief hiatus. On Sunday, the “Sand Bar,” sponsored by Sam Adams and serving its newest beer, Sam ’76, and Truly Spiked & Sparkling hard sparkling water, will be open for adults 21 and over to enjoy a cold beverage. (01/25/2018) Views: 1,379 ⚡AMP
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