For 40 years the Catalina Island Marathon has brought runners to the island to compete in California’s oldest trail marathon, that features an exciting and historic marathon course used largely since the first year it started on the Catalina Island. Thousand of runners have participated in this race over the years, and last Saturday, March 11, 355 runners took on the challenge of the island’s rugged terrain, and along the way they experienced spectacular vistas, perhaps a sighting of buffalo or several, and a very lush green island interior blooming with wildflowers. It was a day of running, and if a marathon was too challenging, there was the Avalon 5K, Avalon 10K and even the Avalon Kids Run for the young ones.
The marathon runners started at Two Harbors at 7:00 a.m. to make the 26 mile run to Avalon. The first runner to cross the Avalon finish line was Nicholas Arciniaga, who traveled all the way from Flagstaff, Arizona, to run the island’s challenging interior hills. Nicholas finished in 02:46:08. It was a good race time, but not good enough to beat the course record held by Bill McDermott, who in 1991 set the record time of 2:39:58.
On Facebook Nicholas commented, “Came out to the #CatalinaMarathon to win, and I did just that. Missed the course record by about 6 minutes. But I’ll be back Bill McDermott!”
It was over 15 minutes before the second finisher flew across the finish line. Second was John Litzenberg III, from Glen Ellen, California, and his time was 03:04:07. The third to finish, and third male finisher, was Christophe Sigel, from San Marcos, California, and his time was 03:17:19.
Seanna Robinson was the first female to finish, and also the fourth overall finisher. Her time was 03:23:50. Seanna did not beat the course record set by Heather Fuhr in 2010 of 3:07:00. The second female finisher was Stephanie Wurtz, from Manitou Springs, Colorado, she was 11th overall and her time was 03:44:20. And just 14 seconds behind Stephanie was the third overall female to finish, Mary Jones, from Ventura, California. Mary was 12th overall and her time was 03:44:34.
Representing Avalon in the marathon were five runners: Adam Black and Gary Black were the first two Avalon runners to finish, and Adam Black was 226th overall and his time was 06:04:3; Gary Black finished 227th overall and his time was 06:04:35; Alex Moreno finished 237th overall and his time was 06:10:58; finishing 320th overall was Laura Roll, and her time was 07:19:28; and the last Avalon runner to cross the finish line was Ariel Lafontaine, she was 348th overall and finished in 08:11:21.
The 5K started in Avalon at 8:15 a.m. with 125 runners competing. Avalon made a great showing with three of the first four finishers being Avalon runners: The first runner to cross the finish line was Avalon’s Tom Oddone, who finished in 00:19:39. The second finisher and second male to finish was Gregory Alaniz, from Pico Rivera, California and his time was 00:23:10. Mark Ramirez, from Avalon, was third overall and his time was 00:23:55. And the third Avalon finisher, and fourth overall, was Corbin Machado,and his time was 00:24:01. Avalon runner, Cal Parsons, was 10th overall, with a time of 00:26:46. Actually all of the Avalon runners finished in the top 20 overall: Jeffrey Schmidt, 12th overall, 00:27:31; and Daniella Moreno, 19th overall, 00:28:27.
The first female finisher was Julia Newbold, who traveled all the way from Purcellville, Virginia, and she was sixth overall and her time was 00:25:57. Eight seconds behind Julia was the second overall female finisher, Maria Gallardo-Gower, who was seventh overall and her time was 00:26:05. From Chula Vista, California, Joy Nagal was the third overall female finisher, was eighth overall and her time was 00:26:20.
The 5K course record for males is held by Robert Grove, who in 2008 finished with a time of 0:16:27. For the female 5K course record, Jennifer Rubio in 2009 finished the course in 0:19:32.
The 10K started in Avalon at 8:20 a.m. with 187 runners. First to cross the finish line was Jonathan Ross, who hails from Pasadena, and his finish time was 00:42:24. Second to finish overall, and second male, was John Taylor, from Seal Beach, and his finish time was 00:43:29. And the third overall and third male to cross the finish line was Majdi Al-Saleh, from Ventura, and his time was 00:44:35.
The first female finisher was Mary Lynch, from Santa Ana, and she was the sixth finisher overall and her time was 00:45:39. Just under two minutes later the second and third females crossed the finish line. First was Stephanie Consiglio, from Carlsbad, who was 10th overall and finished in 00:47:27 and running in the Female 25-29 division. But just one second behind Stephanie, was Corinne Ventar-Phillips, from Honolulu, running in the Female 60-64 Division, and her time was 00:47:28 and she was 11th overall.
The 10K is always a favorite of Avalon runners, and this year was no exception. The first overall Avalon resident to cross the finish line was Isaiah Gomez, and he was fifth overall and his time was 00:45:09. The second Avalon runner to finish was David Ponce, and he finished in 00:46:16. David was eighth overall. Jerry Zayas was 14th overall and finished the 10K in 00:49:56. The first Avalon female finisher was Aubrey Gilman, who was 31st overall and her time was 00:56:59. Samantha Rubin was the second Avalon female to finish and her time was 00:57:43 and she was 36th overall. About a half minute later the third Avalon female to cross the finish line was Faith Gilman, who was 39th overall and her time was 00:58:14.
Other Avalon finishers were: David Grey, 23rd overall, 00:53:24; Mathew Long, 24th overall, 00:53:24; Viviana Chavoya Cervantes, 42nd overall, 00:59:16; Christy Lins 43rd overall, 00:59:21; Martin Leyva, 66th overall, 01:06:31; David Rentinger, 75th overall, 01:07:50; John Long, 80th overall, 01:09:07; Cassandra Burch, 94th overall 01:14:52; Julia Parish, 124th overall, 01:21:45; Kristin Howland, 125th overall, 01:21:45; and Silvia Harrell, 148th overall, 01:33:28.
The 10K course record for males is held by Peter Long when in 2009 he finished in 0:32:34.
For females, Sherri Ellerby holds the 5K record for her 2009 time of 0:38:49.
The Kids Run started at 9:30 with a heard of young runners all eager and excited to run the Avalon course, and each child that crossed the finish line received a Kids Finisher Medal.
The Catalina Island Marathon is hosted by the Catalina Island Conservancy and organized by Spectrum Sports. Funds raised by this event helps the Conservancy maintain the island’s interior.
Spectrum Sports strives to provide Catalina’s community and visitors with an extraordinary running experience that people will not forget. Get hooked on Catalina running and return for all of the RunCatalina events that will navigate you through the Catalina Interior which features untouched landscapes, Bald Eagles, Catalina Island Fox, and the occasional buffalo sighting. For event dates and registration information check out Spectrum’s website at runcatalina.com.
About the Conservancy: Formed in 1972, the Catalina Island Conservancy is one of California’s oldest land trusts. Its mission is to be a responsible steward of its lands through a balance of conservation, education and recreation. Through its ongoing efforts, the Conservancy protects the magnificent natural and cultural heritage of Santa Catalina Island, stewarding approximately 42,000 acres of land and more than 60 miles of rugged shoreline. It provides an airport and 50 miles of biking and nearly 150 miles of hiking opportunities within its road and trail system. The Conservancy conducts educational outreach through two nature centers, its Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden and guided experiences in the Island’s rugged interior. Twenty miles from the mainland, the Island is a treasure trove of historical and archaeological sites. It also contains numerous rare and endangered animals and plants. The Island is home to 60 species – and counting – that are found only on Catalina. For additional information, please visit www.catalinaconservancy.org.