Posted on Mon, Apr. 29, 2002
By KEN OTTMAR and VICTORIA MANLEY
Herald staff writers
Big Sur run a hit
They braced themselves for rain. They wore layers of clothes,
including makeshift raincoats made from garbage bags. But as
the morning sun peeked through the clouds above Big Sur’s coast
Sunday, runners cast off much of their rain gear.
Threats of rain turned empty, as mild temperatures and a
coastal breeze were the ingredients for a picture-perfect day
for the 10,030 runners who participated in the Big Sur International
Marathon. “This course gets more and more beautiful each
year,” said Mark Cameron of Pacific Grove. “Today it was incredible.
This weather was absolutely perfect. No wind, no worries.”
That made the race a lot more fun and satisfying for runners
such as Emily Clark of Mountain View, who was running the marathon
for the first time. “The weather may have been the reason
I did better than I was projected to do,” said Clark, a Monterey
native. “There was absolutely no wind.”
There were, however, plenty of positive distractions from
the challenging course. The world-famous scenic views turned
the heads of many, and several carried disposable cameras and
stopped for snapshots. Tables, spaced about a mile apart
along the course, were crowded with volunteers of all ages to
serve water and Gatorade, fresh fruit and wet sponges to participants.
Salinas had the most participants with 833, according to
marathon officials. There were also 576 from Carmel and
545 from Monterey. Other top cities represented were San Jose
and San Francisco, Greenfield, Seaside and Pacific Grove.
“The enthusiasm just grows and grows,” said Franca Gargiulo,
a spokeswoman for the marathon. The event sells out quickly
- often in a matter of months - but officials are working on
ways to make next year’s event more inclusive, Gargiulo said.
“We’re working to make it so that everyone who wants to
run can,” she said. The bulk of the participants Sunday
- about 7,500 were from California, but each of the 50 states
was represented. The race was truly international - more than
160 runners came from Canada, and dozens of others came from
Mexico, Germany and England. There were even runners from as
far away as India, Singapore, South Africa and the Netherlands.
Jonathan Ndambuki of Kenya won the men’s marathon race, with
a time of 2 hours, 18 minutes and 5 seconds. Julie Anne White
of England took first in the women’s race, coming in at 2:51:10.
For many, however, time didn’t matter.
For Julie Chesney, a homemaker from Pacific Grove, the best
part of the 10.6-mile walk was the view.
“It was the chance of a lifetime to walk the road without
the cars,” Chesney said.
It was the view that brought Clark to Big Sur.
“I wanted my first marathon to have a scenic view,” Clark
said. “The city races just have skyscrapers to run through.
But here, people actually turn around to take pictures.
“It appeals to so many different people. I want to bring
everyone I know.”