FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RAIN DOESN'T DETER SURF CITY USA MARATHON'S RECORD FINISHERS,
MEN'S AND WOMEN'S CHAMPIONS HAIL FROM PACIFIC NORTHWEST
Twenty seven runners qualify for Timex time to beat speed bonus,
Run for Mobility raises $400,000 for Free Wheelchair Mission
HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. - Sunday, Feb. 3, 2008 - Against the backdrop of
unprecedented rainy conditions more appropriate for the Pacific Northwest,
it seemed only fitting that the men's and women's 2008 Surf City USA
Marathon champions Todd Braje (2:32:56) and Laura Gould (3:08:29) hailed
from Eugene, Oregon and Sequim, Washington respectively.
Despite the inclement weather, the 12th annual Surf City USA Marathon
showcased its biggest, strongest and most diverse field as more than 12,000
runners from all 50 states and 15 foreign nations crossed the finish line.
Records fell as four male runners looked Mother Nature directly in the eye
and beat the half marathon course record, overcoming the heavy downpour and
brisk winds. Prior to race day nearly 45,000 spectators attended the
lifestyle exposition, also a new high water mark.
"This is by far the worst weather we've ever experienced," said Surf City
USA Marathon general manager Amy Tomchak. "Yet in spite of the conditions,
the half marathon course was very fast and the overall turnout was our best
ever. Much of the credit for this goes to the 2300 race staff and
volunteers that braved the elements to deliver an outstanding product."
Paying homage to Huntington Beach's surfing heritage, the marathon was led
by a procession of classic "Woody's" and surf lifesaving vehicles. Classic
Beach Boys and other surf tunes could be heard along Pacific Coast Highway
while colorful longboards dotted the main venue and exposition area. The
local surf community, spearheaded by the International Surf Museum which
staged a "paddle out" alongside the famed pier, was out in force to cheer
the thousands of brave runners.
Braje finshed more than 15 minutes ahead of runner-up Timothy Briggs
(2:49:15) of San Diego while Gould was just in front of Huntington Beach's
Leng Klukken (3:10:43). The men's half marathon was much closer with the
top four finishers all within a minute of each other. Peter Gilmore of San
Mateo won with a course record 1:03:53. Magdalena Lewy-Boulet of Oakland
won the women's half marathon with a time of 1:15:32, more than one minute
ahead of Stephanie Rothstein (1:16:52) of Eugene, Oregon.
Led by Gilmore, who was the first American to cross the finish line at the
2006 New York City Marathon and the 2007 Boston Marathon, 27 runners (18
men and nine women) qualified for the $12,000 Timex Time to Beat Speed
Bonus purse. The Timex Speed Bonus is unique to the Surf City USA Marathon
and is in large part responsible for the event's phenomenal growth; some
9,000 runners in 2008, of which 60 percent were women.
Featuring former NFL quarterback Jay Schroeder who ran the Surf City USA
Marathon 5K in a time of 35:21, the Marathon's third annual "Run for
Mobility" featured more than 300 runners who collectively rose over
$400,000 (more than 8300 wheelchairs) for the Free Wheelchair Mission. To
date, the Surf City USA Marathon has raised more than $1 million which
equates to 20,000 wheelchairs for those in need.
With an eclectic mix of elite runners, families, first-timers,
health-conscious and those with compelling human interest stories, the Surf
City USA Marathon served as one of the final "qualifiers" for the
prestigious Boston Marathon. Already the largest ocean-front running event
in California, the marathon reversed its picturesque course earlier this
year to accommodate the anticipated record participation.