The runners took off early Sunday morning for the annual Monterey Bay Half Marathon. The 13-mile run is a Central Coast tradition.
“It was amazing because we ran. We ran the whole time, and we didn’t expect to do that,” said runner, Marie Espinoza.
Last year, the race was canceled due to poor air quality from the Camp Fire in Paradise, California. Smoke traveled over 200 miles South, as crews worked to put out the 153,000 acre fire.
“I ran in 2016, 2017, and was going to take last year off. It actually worked out quite well for me, but I feel for everyone that did have to reschedule,” said runner, Allison Armstrong.
This year the half-marathon was back on and it was anyone’s race.
26-year-old Futsum Zienasellassie from Flagstaff, Arizona finished in 1st place. He ran all 13 miles in just one hour, two minutes and 31 seconds.
25-year-old Vicoty Chepngeno from Grand Prairie, Texas was the first woman to cross the finish line. She finished in one hour, eight minutes, and three seconds.
“Aside from our fears, once we got here it was the most amazing run. I’m so glad I did it. It was beautiful. Absolutely gorgeous,” said runner, Lori Burleson.
Many ran Sunday’s race in preparation for an even bigger challenge. The Big Sur Marathon, a 26-mile run, is scheduled for April 26, 2020.
“It’s hands down the most beautiful race in the world. I’ve only done a few elsewhere but obviously this is the one to do,” said Armstrong.