Japan’s Suguru Osako breaks half-marathon course record in tune-up race for Tokyo Marathon; Cal grad Mariel Mendoza wins woman’s half-marathon; Californians Spencer Johnson and Caroline Boller take marathon crowns
February 3, 2019
Huntington Beach – Under the swaying palm trees along the Pacific Coast Highway, Japan’s Suguru Osako ran an impressive 1:03:00 half-marathon to break the course record today at the Surf City Half Marathon.
Osako, who holds the Japanese National Record for the marathon of 2:05:50, ran a majority of the race with his training partner Tetsuya Yoroizaka. The duo put the hammer down from the beginning, clocking a 4:50 opening mile and hitting 14:24 at 5k. Both athletes finished with identical times, which were more than 7 minutes ahead of third place finisher Patrick Hearn (1:10:48) from Irvine.
“It was really good today, a nice tough course, super flat but a little windy,” said Osako, who split the 10-K mark in 29:43. “My goal today was a solid effort at marathon pace and it helped to have some many runners out there cheering for me. I really like this city and today’s crowd was really good.”
Despite recently overcoming an IT band injury, Saguro, 27, who used the Surf City Half Marathon as a tune-up for next month’s Tokyo Marathon, was optimistic about his preparation for the March 3 race.
“My training is going well, I am up in Flagstaff right now, I’ve been training good for the past 3 weeks and we have 4 weeks left from today,” added Saguro, who admitted there is a “little pressure” competing in Tokyo for the first time as a national record holder. “I’m going into the race that I’m a challenger, and I‘m going to enjoy the challenge of running with (Kenenisa) Bekele and the other great athletes running in Toyko.”
Saguro earned $1000 in bonus money for breaking the course record.
The women’s half marathon was won by 24-year-old Mariel Mendoza of nearby Riverside, Calif. breaking the tape in just her second half-marathon ever with a time of 1:18:30. Meghan Roth of Minneapolis, MN finished second in a time of 1:20:19.
“The plan was to pace my teammate through 8 miles at 6 minute pace, but I think at mile 5 I got a little hungry and she said go for it,” said Mendoza, who graduated from Cal in 2016 where she ran track & cross country. “Road racing is so much fun, just the energy is really great and there we’re people along the course cheering me on. Today was such a great atmosphere.”
Marathon victories went to Marist College graduate Spencer Johnson (2:39:05) and Caroline Boller (2:55:44), who also won the half-marathon here in 2017.
“You have to go with whatever the day brings and be prepared to run anyways,” said Boller, 44, who lives in Solvang and works for Terravant Wine Company. “But this is a fun course with lots of people out here cheering you on, and it’s a great time of year as one of the first big races of the year in Southern California.”
The Surf City Marathon is a convenient destination event with the expo, start line and finish line festival all taking place just steps away from the sand. For the first time this year’s event weekend included two days of running with “Cowabunga Challenge” mile on the sand on Saturday. Runners who completed both the mile on Saturday and either the 5k, half-marathon or marathon on Sunday received a commemorative football.
Featuring an award-winning route that showcases the scenic Huntington Beach oceanfront, race day began at 6:30am with the marathon, half-marathon and 5k. Runners enjoyed one of the most scenic race courses in the United States with spectacular waterfront views along the route.
After participants crossed the finish line, they enjoyed a finish line with local favorites the Tijuana Dogs headlining the post race concert on the main stage from 9am-1pm. With complimentary beer for athletes 21+, food trucks, live music and thousands of spectators, it’s truly one of the biggest beach parties of the year in Orange County.
The 24th annual Surf City Marathon & Half Marathon will take place on Sunday, February 2, 2020. Special pre-sale early entry pricing is available online through Sunday, February 10 at RunSurfCity.com.