The 40th annual Brian Waterbury Memorial Rock to Pier Fun Run is this Saturday. The six-mile race runs along the beach from Morro Rock to Cayucos Pier. It begins at 7:30 a.m with the low tide.
“You’ve got the serious runners; the families with moms, dads, and kids; high school teams training cross-country; people from all walks of life,” Morro Bay Recreation Supervisor Karen Sweeny said.
There are 15 age groups, ranging from under 10-years-old to over 80. The top runners usually finish in about 30 minutes; the slowest take around 2:30. A course sweeper will make sure no one is left behind.
Ed Cadena holds the men’s record with a time of 30:44; Linda Somer Smith holds the women’s at 34:53.
Brian Waterbury and his Cal Poly running teammate Terry Record founded the Morro Bay to Cayucos Fun Run. Thirty people attended the first race in 1970; it’s expected about 1,000 will race this Saturday, Sweeny said.
“It’s the right distance and close to home,” said Stan Rosenfield. “It’s well-organized and the people are great. It’s a beautiful race. You run along the beach, and it’s gorgeous.”
Rosenfield met Waterbury at the 1972 race and the two worked out several times a week for around 25 years. He also helped Waterbury start the San Luis Distance Club in 1973. Rosenfield and his wife Elaine will both participate in the race this year.
When Waterbury died of cancer on May 15, 2003, the San Luis Distance Club asked the Morro Bay Recreation and Parks Department to rename the race in his honor.
“That was truly a gift that will be forever and ever,” Waterbury’s widow Sue said. The race is part of his legacy, she said.
Brian Waterbury graduated from Cal Poly in 1972. Soon after, he married Sue, who he met when Sue’s roommate offered to trade dates with her. Brian taught mathematics and computer science at San Luis Obispo High School for 30 years. He was also the cross-country and track coach. During his free time, Waterbury competed in over 400 races.
“He was energetic, very encouraging. He had high expectations and he helped you achieve them,” Sue said. “He was always laughing. He was a fun person to be around.”
Brian’s family will be attending the race, as they have done consistently since 2003. His daughter Vikki and his granddaughter Kelsi will race. Vikki has run the race every year since her father died.
Sue was never much of a runner, but is always waiting at the finish line, she said.
“When we first got married, we decided to take a running class at Cal Poly. He started running backwards and laughing,” she said about Brian’s attempt to get her to love his hobby.
In addition to the race, Waterbury’s memory is honored by a $1,000 scholarship from the San Luis Obispo County Community Foundation. The recipient is always a cross-country and track athlete and a strong math student graduating from San Luis Obispo High School. The money goes toward the recipient’s first year of college.
The Morro Bay Recreation and Parks Department will spend about $21,000 on this event, said Sweeny, who has organized the event since 2003. The profit from the event, estimated to be around $4,000, will go toward youth sports programs in Morro Bay, she said.
Participants can register at the Morro Bay Recreation and Parks Department (1001 Kennedy Way) from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on July 10 for $20, or for $30 at Morro Rock from 6:30 a.m. to 7:15 a.m. on Saturday.
Race packets for those who register before or on Friday will be available for pick up at the Morro Bay Recreation and Parks Department on Friday from 4 p.m to 7 p.m. All participants can pick up their packets Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 7:15 a.m.
Shoreline Calvary Chapel will be serving breakfast at Morro Rock from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. It is free for registered racers and $5 otherwise. A band called the Mud Skippers will provide entertainment.
There will be an awards ceremony following the race at 11 a.m. at Morro Rock. All finishers will receive ribbons, and the top three racers in each age division as well as the top female and male runner will be given medals.
Buses will shuttle participants and spectators from the finish line back to Morro Rock parking lot every 15 minutes beginning at 8:30 a.m. Parking is free at the Morro Bay parking lot.