We Have a Race!

Here’s a guarantee: we will definitely have a course record at the Salinas Valley Half Marathon on August 7th. There will be records set in every age group as well. That’s what you get with a first time event.

The race sold out about a month ago with more than 1,250 runners entered. 414 of these claim it’s their first half marathon, so the race organization’s goal of finding new runners and promoting healthy lifestyles is already achieved. Over 200 runners participated in the Salinas YMCA’s training program.

The event also looks to be very competitive, with big guns from the local running scene battling it out against runners from 20 states and 2 foreign countries. If everyone shows up that is expected to, we’ll see some fast times from some great runners.

On the men’s side, Hartnell grad and Big Sur Marathon winner Danny Tapia from Castroville won’t have it easy. Danny ran a 1:05 half marathon last year but Crosby Freeman from the San Francisco Bay Area track club has a previous best of 1:04. Last week, Ethiopian born Tesfaye Sendeku, who now lives in the Bay Area contacted the race director about his intention to run. He won the recent Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon in a course record time of 1:03:58, but he has a half marathon best of 1:01.

The women’s race is equally competitive. Olympic Trials marathon qualifiers Brooke Wells and Shalluin Fullove from San Francisco seem to be the class of the field. Brooke is a Carmel High and Cal Berkeley grad now living in San Francisco and has run 1:18 for the half marathon. Shalluin, a friend of Brooke’s was the woman’s winner of the Napa to Sonoma half a few weeks ago in 1:22.

Also coming out of running semi-retirement for this race is another previous Olympic trials marathon competitor, Laura Sanchez, from Salinas. Laura turned 48 this year.

Some of the best master’s (over 40) runners in the United States live in our area and it seems they are all coming out to run this exciting half marathon.

Carmella Cuva, who just turned 40 is making her master’s debut, and has been the fastest Monterey County woman a record 4 times in the Big Sur Marathon. Other fast master’s women locally who are competing and should do well in their age groups are Sophia Robinson (47) from Monterey, Christina Price (50) from Carmel, Stella Gibbs (51) from Pacific Grove, Jan Holloway (74) from Monterey, and Gloria Dake (75) from Salinas.

Top age groupers on the men’s side are Keith Hedlund (47) from Salinas, Brian Robinson (49) from Monterey, Rosalio Campos (50) from Salinas, Dwight Smith (51) from Seaside, Dan Zulaica (52) from Carmel Valley, Jefferson Seay (56) from Salinas, Steve Marshall (56) from Seaside, Gerry Reynolds (61) from Salinas, Bill Garwood (65) from Salinas, and Dave Cortez (65) from Salinas.

The race also has an interesting array of young and future stars who are running their first half marathon to get ready for their high school or college cross country seasons. Nina Anderson, age 17, from Notre Dame high school, and State qualifier in the 2 mile during the track season, will be making her first try at the substantially longer distance. Sumeet Mudahar, who just graduated Notre Dame, and won the local Wednesday Night Laundry Runner scholarship as best graduating senior runner, will also be racing her first half marathon.

It promises to be a great race, and we can’t wait to see how everyone does.

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