Catalina Island

On a Rainy Day, 209 Runners Finish the 34th Avalon Benefit 50 Mile Race

On a Rainy Day, 209 Runners Finish the 34th Avalon Benefit 50 Mile Race. 
By Barbara Crow. 

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Approaching the finish line is Fabrice Hardel, the overall winner in the 2015 Avalon 50 Mile Run. He has been the first runner to cross the finish line four times out of the last five years. Photo by Dave's Premium Photos

Under dark, and sometimes wet, skies the 34th Avalon Benefit got underway at 5:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, January 10. The elite runners took off from the base of the green Pleasure Pier, with flashlights in hand to guide them through the streets of Avalon and into the interior until sunrise. The run was to Two Harbors and back to Avalon, with plenty of aid stations along the way for water and food, all staffed by volunteers.This annual event is sponsored by the Avalon Lions Club and managed by Mike Bone of Spectrum Sports. The proceeds from this race fund charities in Avalon and the Avalon Lions’ Scholarship Fund which provides each Avalon High School graduate a scholarship to a collage or trade school. Each year runners and their supporters make pledges to the Avalon Benefit 50 Mile Race to help raise funds for the scholarships and Avalon charities.

For the third year in a row, Fabrice Hardel, a 41-year old from San Deigo was the first to cross the finish line. The rain slowed him down a little, about 25 minutes, his time was 6 hours,31 minutes, 15 seconds, last year’s time was 6:05:55. Second overall finisher was 35-year-old Fernando Blanco, who hails from Encinitas, he was just 8 minutes,15 seconds behind Hardel, with a time of 6:39:30. Paul Sinclair took third place overall, finishing the race in 6:57:00. Last year, Sinclair finished fourth, and this year, despite the rainy and muddy conditions, he cut 38 minutes off his time. Stacey Stern, a 44-year-old from Pacific Palisades, was the first female to cross the finish line. Her time was 8:12:10 and she finished 19th overall. Christy Baker, from Corondo, was the second female to cross the finish line, her time was 8:35:20. Third female across the finish line was Melissa Kurek, from La Jolla, and her time was 8:45:12. Last man across the finish line was Hal Winton, an 83 year old from Harbor City, finishing in 22:22:30. (Congratulations Hal, most people a few decades younger than you can’t finish this race at all.)

Barefoot runnerOne runner must have feet tougher than nails, he's running without shoes. Photo by Nick Morrow
Hardel-3Fabrice Hardel, first overall, 6:31:15. Photo by Nick Morrow
BlancoFernando Blanco, second overall, 6:39:30. Photo by Nick Morrow

SinclairxxPaul Sinclair, third over all,6:57:00. Photo by Nick Morrow
SternStacey Stern was the first female to cross the finish line. Her time was 8:12:10 and she finished 19th overall. Photo by Nick Morrow.