The Santa Clarita Marathon ran another race on Sunday bringing hundreds of runners to Valencia. Athletes had a choice of participating in a full or half marathon, a 5K, a Mayor’s Walk, and a Kid K Fun run.
While many were competing on the cloudy Sunday, some even hoping to qualify for the Boston Marathon, others were completing personal goals or improving their stamina.
At the starting line, runners did their final stretches and queued up their playlists. While some took pictures together, others lowered their heads and mentally prepared for the twenty six mile trek.
Calmly stretching with a smile on his face, was SCV resident Jim Gowland, 46, who is no stranger to running long distances.
“I’m thinking about trying marathons again, but I’ve been more focused on trail and longer distance” said Gowland. He has spent the past several years ultrarunning on rougher terrain.
Austin Gonzalez, 24, was running his sixth marathon and his first in Santa Clarita. He was hoping to increase his time and finish strong.
After the runners set out to start the race, the mayor of Santa Clarita led his own walk just a few feet away from the finish line. Joined by Congressman Steve Knight and Senator Scott Wilk, approximately 50 people joined the local leaders in a 3 mile walk.
Several hours later, the first finisher of the 2017 Santa Clarita Marathon turned the corner to run the final stretch. With a time of 2:46:48, Phil Ganz, 28, from Seattle finished the run with a four minute gap from the next runner.
“I’ve done a couple marathons and gone out too fast, so I really tried to slow it down but even so, I had to pull it back a little towards the end and be patient, “ said Ganz.
“It’s always around mile 17 or 18 when it’s like, ‘oh yeah, this is a marathon.’
“You essentially feel like you’re halfway at that point. So it’s funny when people say, ‘you’re almost there’ at like mile 20, but you’re not,” he said.
Ganz was hoping to beat his personal best but missed it by a few seconds and will now return home to run the Seattle marathon.
Finishing first for the women’s group, was Idaho native Danielle Parks, 32, who signed up for the race on Friday. She had plans to do the New York marathon but changed travel plans at the last minute.
“The way everybody comes together to do this race is really really cool,” said Parks.
“I was just trying to get a [personal record] and trying to do well and trying to enjoy myself, and winning was pretty fun,” she said.