They’re off! The 21st annual Santa Clarita Marathon kicked off at 7 a.m. Sunday morning, bringing runners from around the world to compete in one of the city’s biggest events.
“This brings such a great appreciation for our city,” said Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar.
“People come up here and they say ‘Wait a minute, this city is something special.’”
Athletes from 10 different countries and 20 different states came out to participate in one of the several courses offered, which included the marathon, half marathon, 5k Run, Mayor’s Walk, the Kid K Fun Run and a new handcycling division for people in wheelchairs.
The first person to cross the finish line in the full-length marathon was Highland Park resident Victor Martinez with a time of 2:46:24.
Martinez said the race was brutal, but felt good after being out of the marathon game for three years.
“I hadn’t done a marathon in so long, and I was finally healthy, I tore my ACL twice,” he said.
Sunday was Martinez’s third marathon, but the first he has won.
Valencia resident Angela Reynolds was the first female across the finish line with a time of 3:18:05.
Chris Sproule crossed the finish line as the first-place finisher in the handcycle division with a time of 1:48:00. Chris is the son of Gary Sproule, Chief Operating Officer & Chief Financial Officer of The Signal.
For Anaheim resident Daniel Cantu, who spoke to The Signal before the race, Sunday meant running his 10th marathon, but his first in his hometown of Santa Clarita.
“My family is going to be here and they’re going to be cheering for me. It’s just great to come back,” he said.
Cantu also spoke on the challenge of running in a marathon.
“They’re extremely painful but for some reason I just love to do them and you get a very strong feeling of accomplishment,” he said.
“You constantly push yourself to do better and better in every race,” he added.
Cantu finished in 5th place with a time of 2:56:08.
Around 50 percent of Sunday’s participants were from the Santa Clarita Valley.
Valencia resident Ramanan Kanikannan was one of 1,500 people who ran in the half marathon.
“(I do this) to keep fit,” he said. “This year it’s a half marathon, hopefully next year it’s a full.”
Over 5,000 runners competed in Sunday’s event, which traced through city streets and trails.
Marathon results can be found here.