Eco-Marathon spawns record-breaking weekend

The weekend for the Catalina Island Eco-Marathon and Run Catalina Racing Series saw sunny skies, dry trails and endurance-run-friendly temperatures in the low 60s greeted the participants in the 6th Annual Catalina Island Eco-Marathon and 10k on Saturday, Nov. 10.

Established in 2007 by Spectrum Sports Management, Inc., the Catalina Island Eco-Marathon has established a reputation as one of the most challenging and beautiful trail marathons in the country.

The weekend for the Catalina Island Eco-Marathon and Run Catalina Racing Series saw sunny skies, dry trails and endurance-run-friendly temperatures in the low 60s greeted the participants in the 6th Annual Catalina Island Eco-Marathon and 10k on Saturday, Nov. 10.

Established in 2007 by Spectrum Sports Management, Inc., the Catalina Island Eco-Marathon has established a reputation as one of the most challenging and beautiful trail marathons in the country.

The race, recently named “Best Island Run” by Runner’s World Magazine, took runners from the flats in Avalon up challenging trails to scenic ridgelines, deep valleys, and spectacular views that only Catalina Island could provide. A record-breaking 269 marathon runners crossed the finish line back in Avalon. Included in those runners were 20 registered Legacy Runners. Legacy runners have been registered in the Catalina Island Eco-Marathon every year since the inaugural event in 2007. In the 10K, 192 finished the race.

The overall winner of this year’s marathon was Mike Davies of Santa Monica with a time of 3:22:26. The first-place female winner and second-place overall winner, was Sheri Foster of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, with a time of 3:52:14.

 “It was my first time on Catalina and my first trail marathon,” said Kris Martinez, a runner from Los Angeles. “This marathon is my new favorite. The volunteers were so helpful and happy to be there. The aid stations were fully stocked and the course was well marked and provided a very good challenge to the runners. I think you guys did a wonderful job and I would happily return to run it again.”

Yolanda Holder of Corona, Calif., ran in her fourth Catalina Island Eco-Marathon this year. She is currently on record to break her own Guinness Book of World Records mark of 106 marathons run in a single year by a female. Saturday marked Yolanda’s 400th lifetime marathon as well as her 997th marathon in 2012. If all goes according to her plan, Yolanda would set the record at 115 marathons run in a single year by a female by Dec. 31.

In the 10K, the overall winner was Dano Swanson with a time of 00:39:47. The first-place female winner and second-place overall winner was Liliana Hernandez with a time of 00:40:01.

“My marathon running days are behind me, but I always participate in the 10k and it’s a blast,” said Mindy Malen of Avalon. “What a great course—and the organization is awesome. I love the encouragement along the course, and the smiling, supportive faces at the finish line. Thank you for a fabulous event.”

Wayne Griffin, president of the Avalon Chamber of Commerce, said that visitor numbers have been up because of events such as the Catalina Island Eco-Marathon and the Catalina Island Triathlon, held the prior weekend. “Participation in the Triathlon was up 27 percent compared to 2011,” Griffin said. He said that on September 29, the day of the Catalina Island Half Marathon, the city also hosted the first-ever Catalina Air Show and two large weddings. “Everything was off the charts.”

Helping to make the Catalina Eco-Marathon, and all of the endurance races, a success year after year is the Avalon Lions Club. The club provides the volunteers on the courses and is the official charity partner for the races. Proceeds received by the Avalon Lions Club benefiting non-profit organizations for the youth of Avalon.

John Regalado, a Lions Club member who acts as volunteer liaison between the Avalon schools and the Conservancy, said that 16 students were standing by the finish line to cheer the tired runners as they came in.  “We always have a good bunch of kids,” he said. “Their enthusiasm always makes it fun for the runners.”

Patty Engel, athletic director for the Avalon schools, said the clubs and organizations that supplied volunteers would split $500 for their work with the Catalina Eco-Marathon. However, for the Triathlon and the Catalina Island Conservancy Marathon, to be held in March, more than 70 students are expected to volunteer.

During last year, Avalon schools received $25,000 to help fund a multitude of events and projects during the course of the school year.

2013 Run Catalina Schedule

According to Spectrum Sports, the Avalon Benefit 50 Mile Run, a fundraiser for the Lions Club, is already tracking to have a record number of participants in 2013.

The Catalina Island Conservancy Marathon, the second race of the Run Catalina Series, continues to gain momentum within the running communities.  It was recently ranked no. 6 on weather.com’s “World’s 15 Toughest Marathons” list.

The five major annual running events on the Island in 2013 include:

Avalon Benefit 50 Mile Run – January 12, 2013

Catalina Island Conservancy Marathon – March 9, 2013

Catalina Island Conservancy Half Marathon – September 28, 2013

Catalina Island Triathlon – November 2, 2013

Catalina Island Eco-Marathon – November 9, 2013

For more, visit runcatalina.com.

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