Southern California Runners Jason Yang and Michelle Jacobsen win men’s and women’s marathon titles
Yale graduate Robert Miranda; Simi Valley's Elizabeth Camy take half-marathon victories
Huntington Beach's Classic Road Race kicks off first event of the 2023 Golden State Run Series
Huntington Beach - More than 15,000 runners, walkers and wheelchair athletes spanned all six lanes of the Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach on Sunday morning for the 27th Surf City Marathon and Half Marathon presented by 361°. They were greeted by cloud cover and a light mist at the start. There were palm trees gently swaying in the background, with the iconic pier and dark blue Pacific Ocean to the west.
Courtesy Surf City Marathon / @RWBMultimedia
Translation: it was a Chamber of Commerce morning for running.
And no one enjoyed the idyllic conditions more than Michelle Jacobsen and Heather Gilliland. Gilliland led the women’s marathon most of the way until a quad injury slowed her down. Jacobsen took the lead at Mile 24 and beat all the other women to the finish line, winning in 2 hours, 57 minutes and 41 seconds. Gilliland took second in 3:00:26.
Part of what made the women’s marathon so memorable was the sportsmanship Jacobsen, 44, and Gilliland, 26, showed each other.
“We were thumbs up the whole time,” said Jacobsen, who lives in Newport Beach.
“Michelle crushed it,” said Gilliland, who lives in the San Diego County beach suburb of Cardiff by the Sea.
When Jacobsen made the turn around on the out-and-back course, she crossed paths with Gilliland, who was leading, and said, “You got it! Good job! Dude, you are smoking!”
When Jacobsen passed Gilliland at Mile 24, the second-place finisher passed along the positive vibes.
“Take it in,” said Gilliland.
“That was so heartwarming,” said Jacobsen. “A lot of times women can be competitive and ugly. It wasn’t like that at all. We were encouraging. It was females pushing females. Women can encourage each other.
“I think I’ve got a new training partner.”
The fastest marathoner on the day was men’s winner Jason Yang, 31, of Los Angeles, who finished in 2:29:01. Ruben Gonzalez of Anaheim finished second in 2:41:37. Yang let it be known he wasn’t holding anything back.
“I wanted to start fast and finish strong,” he said. “And I think I executed it pretty well.”
It was Yang’s first marathon win. He finished third at the Surf City Marathon last year.
“I love the beach. The crowd here is amazing,” said Yang. “Huntington Beach is beautiful. The crowd’s great. It’s just beautiful here.”
Elizabeth Camy, 39, of Simi Valley won the women’s half marathon in 1:18:40. A 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier, Camy knows her way around distance running and couldn’t give a more positive review of the event.
“I love this place,” she said. “I love the course, I love the people. I love the weather. I love the beach. The whole package.”
Camy is an assistant vice principal at a school in Camarillo that specializes in teaching students with autism. Surf City was her first race in 2023. She had taken a break after running the California International Marathon in December and is building up for the Boston Marathon.
“I feel like this race is a hidden gem,” she said. “I would highly encourage people to try it.”
Robert Miranda, 22, of Venice won the men’s half marathon in 1:05:03. Thomas Dialynas placed second in 1:09:47.
“There’s not much to (running),” said Miranda, a sub-4 minute miler. “You run hard, you run fast, you do it a lot and you get faster. I couldn’t have done it without the support (of the spectators) on the course. It’s a flat course and a fast course. Today was a beautiful day for it.”
In the 5K, Ismael Samano of Los Angeles hit the tape first in 15:25, three seconds ahead of Michael Foley. Rachel Miura of Laguna Hills won the women’s 5K in 18:00.
But maybe the day’s most impressive performance was turned in by Sylvia Mosqueda. Mosqueda is a seven-time Olympic Trials qualifier, five times in the 10,000, twice in the marathon.
She finished second in the women’s 5K in 18:55! Not bad for a woman who’s 56 years young.
The Surf City Marathon serves as the first event of the Golden State Run Series, which comprises 8 iconic California races throughout the year. Huntington Beach’s signature marathon will return to the Pacific Coast Highway for its 28th edition on Sunday, February 4, 2024. For complete results or special 2024 pre-sale registration, visit RunSurfCity.com.
ABOUT THE SURF CITY MARATHON
The 27th annual Surf City Marathon and Half Marathon presented by 361° will take place on Sunday, February 5, 2023. One of Southern California’s favorite races, the scenic course gives runners a first-class tour of Huntington Beach with a convenient start and finish line located on the Pacific Coast Highway 101 just steps from the oceanfront. A two-day Active Lifestyle Expo kicks off race weekend in Huntington Beach Parking Lot on Friday and Saturday. The wellness expo is free and open to the public featuring numerous vendors offering the latest in health and fitness, running gear, nutrition and more. Further information can be found online at "RunSurfCity.com.