Video by Lisa Diaz
As the sun began its usual race against time this past Sunday, a group of energized individuals prepared for a race of their own.
The renowned City to the Sea Race — consisting of a half marathon and a 5K — brought a record 2,500 runners to downtown San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach this year. Both the 13.1-mile half marathon and 5 kilometer race sold out a month before the event.
“The participating base was great this year,” race director Brian Locher said. “Five hundred people (ran) in the 5K and 2,000 in the half marathon.”
The half marathon, which began on the intersection of Court and Higuera streets downtown, is the oldest half marathon race in San Luis Obispo, Locher said.
“The race began 18 years ago at a fundraiser for the track and field and cross-country facilities at Cuesta College,” Locher said. “Two gentleman decided that a half marathon would be a good way to start raising funds, and it’s turned into a fundraiser for both of our teams ever since.”
The money helps provide transportation, equipment and room and board for away races for both the cross-country and track and field teams at Cuesta College.
Cal Poly students and staff in particular are known to be great contributors and participators in the fundraiser, Locher said.
“I came up with 38 entries of registered calpoly.edu emails for this year’s race … but I’d guess the true number is many times that,” Locher said. “Safe to say there are a lot of students, staff and family running in the race.”
Kevin Miller, an architectural engineering senior and Cal Poly Triathlon Club member, trained for the race in hopes of beating his goal.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve done a half marathon so I was just excited to get out there and race,” Miller said. “I even set a goal for myself, so I definitely wanted to see if I could beat that.”
Miller beat his goal with a 1:32:11 time and finished in the top 100.
“Overall, I thought the race was amazing,” Miller said. “Fun course and great atmosphere … I would definitely do it again.”
Graphic communication senior Catherine Wang, who also ran the half marathon, agreed.
“I really just liked everything about this race,” Wang said. “Running with all these people and everybody cheering you on — it’s great.”
Aside from the number of Cal Poly students and staff who ran the race, many runners also happened to be Cal Poly alumni.
Cara Hallam, a class of 2011 alumna, has participated in the half marathon for three consecutive years and hopes to come back in the future.
“It’s just a really fun race and very scenic,” said Hallam. “I like that it starts in downtown and is local … it’s just that great community feeling.”
Jennifer Syed, who also graduated in 2011, agreed.
“It’s fun to see everyone out here and being active,” she said.
The race ended with 43-year-old Jason Cannon in first place in the wheelchair division with a time of 1:01:53 for the half marathon. Matthew Morales Visalia placed first in the half marathon with 1:14:17 and 20-year-old Jacob Schwarm winning with a time of 18 minutes and 10 seconds for the 5K. For women, 31-year-old Kara Thorne placed first in the half marathon with a time of 1:22:25, while 12-year-old Rebecca Laurence placed first in the 5K with a time of 22 minutes and six seconds.
Jason Cannon won the wheelchair division in 1:01:53, but it was Matthew Morales of Visalia that won the men’s overall race in 1:14:17
Despite top running times, it was evident many participants simply ran to embrace a community feeling of working together for a good cause.
“The mission of City to the Sea is to provide a top-quality, positive, family-friendly event that helps promote a healthy, active lifestyle on the Central Coast,” the City to the Sea team stated on its website.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated Jason Cannon won the overall men’s half marathon. He won the wheelchair division, but Matthew Morales placed first in the overall half marathon.