Sammy Mutai and Paige Burgin beat the heat to win the Santa Barbara Veterans Marathon on Saturday.
On the hottest day of the event’s six-year history, Sammy Mutai–a recent winner at the Long Beach Marathon–raced to the finish at Leadbetter Beach Park in two hours, 31 minutes and 40 seconds.
Santa Barbara’s Damon Valenzona was second overall and Van McCarty, from San Luis Obispo, came in third.
Valenzona and Mutai stayed together until around mile 20. “When we started the race I was not that strong but when we reached Los Positas, I gained a lot of energy,” Mutai said.
Valenzona was running his fifth marathon–third in Santa Barbara–and set a personal record with a time of 2:34.30.
“The race went really well,” Valenzona said. “I knew the heat was coming so I wanted to get out there and get fast for the first half before it kind of took its toll.”
Valenzona fell off Mutai’s pace and took about three miles to recover. He said he finished strong from Los Positas onwards.
Paige Burgin, from Los Alamitos, was clocked at 3:06.39 and came in 10th overall. Jen Marquardt placed second in the women’s race, and Deanna Odell was in third.
It’s Burgin’s first marathon victory after three runner-ups at the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco (twice) and at the Ojai Marathon. “It feels good. It was exciting,” Burgin said of her breakthrough. “It’s kind of like that hurdle to jump over, that last hurdle.”
Moninda Marube, the full-length marathon winner in 2010 and 2011, competed in the half-marathon field this year and captured another Santa Barbara title. His winning time was 1:13:31.
Santa Barbara local Rita Beynon won the women’s title in 1:27.29 four and a half months after giving birth to her third child. “I got really crampy the last three miles so at that point I just wanted to be done,” Beynon admitted. “But I felt good in the beginning and I just thought, ‘Well, I might as well see how long I can keep this up and I’ll go from there. And if I totally bomb oh well.’”
Beynon said she didn’t plan on being able to do so well. “I honestly just wanted to finish because I hadn’t been doing a lot of running.”
The marathon began in Goleta at Dos Pueblos High School while the half-distance–with more than three times the number of runners–started out from the Page Youth Center.
At the end of the day, 860 were able to complete the marathon. Another 2,282 conquered the half-marathon distance.
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