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Thomas Dialynas and Ashley DeSanno win 2020 Surf City Marathon

Runners pay tribute to helicopter crash victims from Orange County

On a perfect Southern California morning, nearly 17,000 athletes ran the coastline of Huntington Beach as part of the Surf City Marathon weekend, one of the most scenic races in the United States.

Runners took on the marathon, half-marathon and 5K on Sunday, cheered on by thousands of spectators along the course that kept the energy high. Views of sandy beaches and the Pacific Ocean from the famous Pacific Coast Highway made for scenery unmatched in running.

“There’s great energy along the course,” said Thomas Dialynas, who won the men’s marathon in a time of 2:26:47. “Miles 20-24 is where it gets tough and there were a lot of people along the course and even a lot of people with their surfboards cheering us on. It was awesome to come out and do this.”

It was Dialynas’ first time running Surf City, and he called the race-day conditions ideal.

“Running on the PCH along the beach is awesome. Good temperatures, a little bit of cloud coverage. It was a great day,” he said.

Joining Dialynas on the men’s marathon podium was Kenneth Rideout of Pacific Palisades (2:30:48) and Robert Mohr of New York City (2:43:00).

The women’s marathon podium was made up of a trio from Portland, Ore. – Ashley DeSanno in first (3:05:26), followed by Kendra Goffredo (3:07:46) and Stephanie Henstrom (3:11:54).

Ryan Thompson of Anaheim, a recent graduate of Biola University, won the men’s half marathon in a time of 1:08:51. He held off veteran runner Roosevelt Cook (1:10:22) and Dmitriy Major (1:12:48).

“The course was good—pretty flat with a little bit of rolling hills here and there,” Thompson said. “There was some headwind coming back which was tough but overall it was a great day.”

The women’s half marathon was won by Weslie Pearce of Claremont in a time of 1:17:56. She edged Bonnie Keating of San Diego (1:18:15) and Tiffany Costello of Huntington Beach (1:18:52) atop the podium.

“Everyone should come race here, the weather is great, and the beach is beautiful,” Pearce said. “This is my first time and I’m so happy I hopped into it.”

Surf City is Orange County’s oldest full marathon, now in its 24th year. The picturesque course and traditional Super Bowl Sunday race day has made it an enduring destination event. Runners from 30 countries made up the field.

“We just love bringing people from around the world to this beautiful environment along the coast,” Huntington Beach Mayor Lyn Semeta said. “We’re very proud to be able to host this every year.”

The event also paid tribute to the nine people who perished in the January 26 helicopter crash, including basketball legend Kobe Bryant. There was a moment of silence before the race and tributes were set up at mile 8 and mile 24. Signs referencing Bryant were seen along the course and several runners ran in Bryant jerseys.

The Surf City Marathon will celebrate its 25th anniversary edition on Sunday, February 7, 2021.

#RunThisBeach Feb 7, 2021!
Surf City Marathon and Half Marathon

The biggest party on the beach returns for its 25th anniversary on February 7, 2021! Join us for SoCal sunshine, Pacific ocean views, and a post-race beach party you don't want to miss!

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