Carlsbad hosted runners from across the globe for the 23rd annual Tri-City Medical Center Marathon and Half-Marathon on Sun. Jan. 19. Two thousand marathon and 8,500 half-marathon participants from 14 countries and 48 states ran along a 26.2 and 13.1 mile respectively course that weaved through Carlsbad Village and along the coast.
Tri-City Medical Center, Legoland and many other sponsors put on this weekend long Marathon event which helped to raise $200,000 for 21 charities.
Before the race, participants, spectators and volunteers were entertained by a Health and Lifestyle Expo in the southwest corner of the Westfield Plaza Camino Real parking lot on Fri. Jan. 17 and Sat. Jan. 18. The Expo, which featured vendors for health foods, athletic merchandise and live music, drew in large crowds and created an exciting environment that encompassed marathon weekend.
Also before the race on Sunday, children and their parents were allowed to participate in the Kids Marathon Mile which ran throughout the Legoland theme park. A Diaper Dash and Family Expo were also held at the theme park. The Kids Marathon helped to raise money for local schools though the Run For Your School Program.
“It [was] a perfect opportunity for moms, dads, siblings and friends to participate in a fun, healthy activity,” Christine Adams, Chief Executive Officer of In Motion, Inc. said.
The entertainment didn’t stop when the race started, however, as 28 local bands performed along the course in order to keep runners motivated and spectators full of energy. This was especially helpful to runners not running in groups, such as Half-Marathon winner, Stephen Sambu, who’s only running companion for the majority of the race was the sound of music and spectators’ cheers.
“I was running alone from the beginning and sometimes that can be difficult. It’s not easy to run alone,” Sambu said.
Also helpful in keeping the racers minds off of the long run, was the scenic view of Carlsbad village and the coast. The coastal location of the Carlsbad Marathon is one of the aspects which makes this race unique and keeps runners from across the globe coming back year after year.
“I love it here, it’s very beautiful and I enjoy it very much. The course is wonderful and Carlsbad has very nice people. They support the runners and the cheering is very loud, which I like,” Sambu said.
Many spectators woke up at 6 AM to cheer the runners on with poster, shouts of motivation and the ringing of bells which event coordinators provided. In addition to the many spectators, over 2,000 volunteers helped to keep the runners going by working at water stations along the way, working the expo and facilities and handing out the medals which each race participant took home.
“I volunteer for a lot of Marathons and runs because I find them really interesting and inspiring, ” volunteer Fatma Mohamed said.
Although everyone received a medal for participating and just finishing a half or full marathon is an impressive feat, the runners with the top four fastest times received cash prizes. Even greater than the money though, was the feeling of accomplishment that came with personal best time and second fastest time in the history of the Half Marathon for Men’s Half-Marathon winner Stephen Sambu.
“I feel confident now, it’s my first race in 2014 so now I’m feeling very good about this year,” Sambu said. “I came last year and I won and this year was my personal best so I think next year the course record will be mine.”
Sambu travelled from New York to participate in the Carlsbad Half-Marathon although he originally is from Ethiopia. Many past winners have travelled from Ethiopia, Kenya and Russia but this year one of the winners was a local San Diegan.
“I race locally and across the country and internationally too. I think there’s a lot of cheering and support which is always what you want when you’re a home runner, to feel like everyone is there for you. There’s a great crew and volunteers too so I would definitely come back over and over again,” winner of the Women’s Half-Marathon, Natasha LaBeaud Anzures said.
Sambu finished with a time of 1:02:13 and LaBeaud Anzures with a time of 1:14:17 for the Half Marathon. Abiyot Endale won the Men’s Marathon with a time of 2:18:35 and Aregash Abate won the Women’s Marathon with a time of 2:48:29.
“It’s always fun to come out and see these amazing athletes compete and even those who are just doing it for the experience,” spectator Danny Aijala said. “I think I could maybe run for a quarter mile straight so, it’s very impressive.”