Kevin Schneider (Sunnyvale) built a half minute lead over Elad Vashdi (Aloney Aba) in winning the Santa Cruz half marathon, 1:16:59 to 1:17:35. Payam Saljoughian (Moraga) was third in 1:18:50.
In the women’s race Amy Shohet (San Carlos) ran 1:30:13 to hold off Ulrike Krotscheck (Olympia, WA) for the victory. Krotscheck finished in 1:30:32. Ali Klikna (Turlock) ran 1:31:11 to finish third.
Matthias Messner (Graz) won the 10K in 35:08, followed by Christopher Brown (Pacific Grove) in 35:59 and Raymond Rodriguez (Los Banos) in 36:00. Brown started fast and established an early lead, but was caught by Messner before the half-way turn-around. Rodriguez came from a couple hundred yards back to nearly catch Brown at the finish.
Caitlin Stern (Carmel Valley) surged past Nina Rosenbladt (Cupertino) to win the women’s race at the 10k distance, 42:35 to 42:37. Julie Stockwell of Santa Cruz finished third in 43:33.
The 8th Annual edition of the Santa Cruz Half Marathon and 10k featured blustery and rainy weather. Strong winds sent choppy waves against the Santa Cruz coastline as runners embarked on their races, showers peppering runners in the early going. Both races enjoyed a gentle nudge from the trailing wind on the way out onto the course, but were buffetted about wildly on the return. Downpours caught the pack before many of the runners finished.
Firstwave Events hosts these races, and does a commendable job in coordinating an event with nearly 4,000 participants. The strongest incentive to run these races is the scenic view of the Monterey Bay and the Pacific Ocean. No other local half marathon provides as many miles of scenic vistas. There are adequate aid stations, post-race food and water. Half marathon finishers receive medals and the awards are always unique.
Recreational runners, looking for a relatively flat course with inspiring scenery, will be fulfilled at this event. The most competitive portion of the participants will be far less satisfied, and this event finds few top competitors returning. Race organizers desperately need to devise a new plan for staging the two races in unison. Currently, the half marathon runners start 15 minutes before the 10k, forcing the fastest 10k runners to weave in and out of the masses of the slowest participants in the half marathon over the first half of the race.
Even more unfortunate, the fastest half marathoners must do the same, threading their way through the slowest of the 10k runners as they cover the final miles of the race. It was painful to watch final sprints between close finishing half marathon competitors as they worked through a minefield of slower moving 10k runners. Victory went to the half marathoner who most aggressively pushed the bodies of slower runners out of their way, often hurdling cones and other course markers. This should not be a part of anyone’s experience in running a half marathon or 10k.
I felt sad for the top half marathoners, finishing unnoticed and unheralded among the crowds of finishing 10k participants. Imagine running to victory in a half marathon, finishing before a crowd of onlookers, and no one realizes that you aren’t just another of the n-hundred 10k runners that have been pouring by for the past forty minutes. A device as simple as separate lanes for the participants of the two races could have solved the situation, and alleviated so much frustration and disappointment.
View full results. Note, the first appearance of these results contain obvious errors.