The first Santa Barbara International Marathon is in the books, and organizers have set a date for the second one December 5, 2010.
Andrea McLarty said she intends to defend her crown as the women’s champion, and overall winner Carlos Handler may return too.
“Who wouldn’t want to run in Santa Barbara?” said Handler, who put a couple miles between himself and the rest of the field Sunday morning. The 27-year-old former college track athlete from Pomona chewed up the 26.2-mile course in two hours, 24 minutes and 48.7 seconds.
McLarty was equally dominant over the women’s entries and finished in 2:52:23.6, her first marathon under three hours. She placed 11th overall. Both winners were rewarded with cash prizes of $1,000.
“It went really well,” said McLarty, 32, a mother of two. “I ran really smart. I stayed within myself.”
The second overall finisher was Nathan Jones (2:36:38.8) of Indiana, followed by former Westmont College distance runner Robby Cherry (2:37:35.6).
Mary Jones (3:00:11.4) of Ventura was the second female. Santa Barbara’s Chrystee Bradley (3:00:29.1) was close behind her.
There were 1,686 official individual finishers, plus more than 300 additional runners on relay teams.
Pleasant temperatures and sunshine blessed the marathon. The race started shortly before 7 a.m. almost 30 minutes later than scheduled. Organizers blamed a traffic accident on Highway 101 for delaying the arrival of runners to the starting line on Hollister Avenue in Ellwood.
There were pockets of spectators throughout the course and a festive crowd at the finish line at Leadbetter Beach.