MONTEREY, CA—Besides running alongside the beautiful Monterey Bay and Pacific Ocean, participants in the 14th annual Half Marathon on Monterey Bay on Sunday, November 13 will run next to several Olympians, national champions, and even a Boston Marathon champion.
Caroline Rotich, last year’s Boston Marathon winner from Kenya with a PR of 1:09:09, heads the women’s field. She’ll be joining other top females including track stars Sara Slattery, Sarah Pagano, Becky Wade, and Heather McWhirter, who finished 12th overall in the 2016 Olympic Trials. Three-time Olympian Jen Rhines (10K in 2000, marathon in 2004 and 5K in 2008), and winner of the 2006 Half Marathon on Monterey Bay, will also be in the women’s field along with 2016 Olympic marathoner from Latvia, Ariana Hilborn, and others.
U.S. Olympic marathoner Jared Ward, who finished sixth in the 2016 Rio Games, along with four additional marathon Olympic Trials contestants highlight the men’s field. Benjamin Bruce, the 2012 Monterey Bay champion, Danny Tapia, a Monterey County native and winner of the 2010 Big Sur International Marathon, Scott Bauhs, Jeff Eggleston, and Aaron Braun all have personal records (PR’s) within 11 minutes of the top women runners.
“With the middle six miles of our course being out and back along the ocean in Pacific Grove, all runners will have a front-row seat to see the elites as they pass by on their way to the finish line,” said Doug Thurston, race director.
The unique set up of this year’s race will pit the men and women in a head-to-head race to the finish line and a $5,000 bonus. The elite women will start the race at 6:50 a.m., nine minutes before the men head out. The first elite runner across the finish line will win the bonus.
“This ‘battle of the sexes’ should make for a very exciting race,” said Blake Russell, the new elite athlete coordinator. “Will the lead men catch the women in the last mile or will she hold on for the win?”
The Half Marathon on Monterey Bay offers one of the highest prize purses for a half marathon in the U.S. with funds going to the top eight male and female finishers. Many of the athletes will also meet the runners and sign autographs at the two-day Health and Fitness Expo at the Portola Hotel and Spa and appear at the Pacific Grove Lighthouse 5K and By the Bay 3K the day before the Half Marathon.
Registration for all events is still available at bigsurhalfmarathon.org. The race is organized by the Big Sur International Marathon, a non-profit organization dedicated to organizing world-class events and improving the health and fitness of their community.
2016 Half Marathon on Monterey Bay Elite Athlete Line-up, as of October 14:
(Subject to change)
- Caroline Rotich: Kenya, Personal Record (PR) 1:09:09 (1:10:45 earlier this year); 2015 Boston Marathon champion, 2007 Half Marathon on Monterey Bay champion.
- Jen Rhines: U.S., PR 1:11:14 (2011), (1:14:57 earlier this year); 2006 Monterey Bay Champion, World Championships team member, age 42 and a top U.S. master’s runner, with national record for 12K.
- Natasha Wodnak: Canada, Asics athlete, PR 1:11:20 (2016); 2016 Canadian Olympian, 5,000m Canadian National record-holder in the half marathon.
- Lindsey Scherf: U.S., PR 1:11:45; 7th at the recent 5K USA Championships and 2nd in the 25K Championships last May.
- Becky Wade: U.S., Asics athlete, PR 1:12:18; 2014 California International Marathon Champion, ran in the 2016 Olympic track trials, author of “Run the World.”
- Sarah Pagano: U.S., PR 1:12:27; 2016 Olympic Track and Field Trials participant, top five in two different national championships this year.
- Sara Slattery: U.S., PR 1:13:23; (1:15:07 in 2016), two-time NCAA champion at the University of Colorado, winner, Pan Am Games 10,000 in 2007, member of two USA World Cross Country championship teams.
- Ariana Hilborn: Latvia, PR 1:14:19; 2016 Marathon Olympian, duel USA citizenship, 2:35:20 marathon best.
- Emma Bates U.S., debut half marathon, 32:13 10,000-meter best, 1st 2014 NCAA 10,000.
- Heather McWhirter: U.S., local Pacific Grove resident, 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier, 12th in last year’s race.
- Aaron Braun: U.S., PR 1:01:38; (1:03:41 in 2016), 6-time national champion and 16-time All American at Adams State.
- Jared Ward: U.S., PR 1:01:42; 6th place finisher in 2016 Olympics marathon with a PR of 2:11:30, 3rd place in 2016 Olympic Trials, 2015 USA Marathon Champion and runner up in 2015 Half Marathon Championships.
- Benjamin Bruce: U.S., PR 1:02:53; Olympic Trials qualifier 5,000m, 2012 Monterey Bay Champion, member of three U.S. national teams.
- Jeffrey Eggleston: U.S., PR 1:02: 41; marathon 2:10:52, Two-time World Championship Marathon team member.
- Scott Bauhs: U.S., PR 1:03:15; 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier, 6th place in last year’s race in 1:03:57.
- Danny Tapia: U.S., Mammoth ASICS track club member, PR 1:03:52 (2015); 2:14:30 marathon best (2013), 2013 World Championship Marathon team, local Castroville/Hartnell athlete now training in Mammoth Lakes, CA.
- Adam Roach: U.S., local Pebble Beach elite runner, four-time Big Sur Marathon Champion, 20th in last year’s Monterey Bay Half.