Huntington Beach-California held its first marathon today since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, with a customary capacity field of 2,500 competing at the 25th annual Surf City USA Marathon in Huntington Beach.
According to race campaigner Dan Cruz, about 13,000 runners entered the marathon’s four races—a half-marathon and 5K race also held on Saturday and a one-mile run on the beach held on Friday.
The race is traditionally held on the first Sunday of February, but was postponed until September due to the coronavirus pandemic. It will return to its traditional date in 2022.
The marathon also celebrated the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on Saturday, which included a start line flyover and a moment of silence.
The marathon area was limited to 2,500 because the beachfront running path used for miles 16 to 25 is not part of the closed course of the race and runners, walkers, cyclists and others could not participate in the race. The path is only 8 feet wide for some parts, Cruz said.
Saturday’s marathon was won by Ben Winfield with a time of 2:47:29.
The women’s marathon was won by Michelle Jacobsen with a time of 2:53:45.
The marathon began at 6:30 a.m. eight minutes before sunrise on the Pacific Coast Highway between the ocean and the Hilton Waterfront Beach Hotel.
The course quickly passed through the Huntington Beach Pier. Two to nine miles went through Huntington Beach’s Central Park and nine to 15 miles through Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve.
Mile 16 to 25 was on a paved beach walk over sand. The final mile took runners along the Pacific Coast Highway to the finish line, also near the Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort.
More than 2,000 volunteers and several surf bands came along to support the runners by providing them with water and cheers.
Sid Vaughan of Arizona won the men’s half-marathon with a time of 1:06:53, and Rosie Edwards won the women’s half-marathon in 1:16:17.
The only runner to complete all 24 previous editions of the Surf City USA Marathon is Dorothy Strand, an 81-year-old retired nurse from Orange who was entered into Saturday’s half-marathon.
Strand became a runner in her late 40s. Her sons were running cross-country at Orange Lutheran High School when her husband John decided to join them in road races.
“I thought, ‘Heck, I need to get into this,'” she said.
Strand and her husband contracted the coronavirus in November.
“We were really sick,” she said. “We both went through a few days, we were sure that we were dying. That’s what changes you. Every sunny day is wonderful. “
Strand believes that because she and John were healthy, it helped in their fight against COVID-19.
“With running, our lungs were good,” Strand said. “I think it helped a lot. I tell people, just don’t stop running. I know you can get frustrated and say, ‘Oh, I’m not going to do this anymore.’ But don’t stop doing anything. You have to keep going.”
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times