Runners of all ages lined up on Magic Mountain Parkway eager to kick off the 10K and 5K runs, both part of the 23rd annual Santa Clarita Marathon on Saturday.
The Santa Clarita Marathon, a qualifier race for the Boston Marathon, runs for two days and hosts a variety of events including a health and fitness expo, 5K race, half marathon, full marathon, mayor’s walk and a 10K race, which was introduced this year. The courses were also remapped and the marathon, half marathon and 10K will now pass through the Iron Horse bridge, an abandoned Colorado River train bridge built in 1898 that was relocated and recently incorporated into the city’s trail system.
“We have runners from seven different countries here this morning including Russia, Canada, Mexico and Iceland and probably 25 different states, which totals about 3,000 runners today,” said marathon director Patrick Downing. “We added the 10K race this year because a lot of people wanted to move up from the 5K race or down from the half marathon, and we have over 400 people who signed up so we think it’s been really successful. When we were redesigned the race course we thought this would be a good opportunity to have people experience this iconic symbol.”
Stevenson Ranch resident Andre Mendoza ran the 5K race last year and said that he enjoyed his experience and though that the 10K would be new and fun.
“This event is always well organized and planned, and it’s a good way to get the community engaged,” Mendoza said. “The trails and courses are all all very rigorous but still a lot of fun.”
Saugus High School student and cross country runner Aidan Soto was the first to finish the 10K race at 35 minutes and 40 seconds, despite having experienced 5K runs before.
“I wanted to push myself and do more than I normally train for, and I normally run in hills and dirt so running a road race was a good experience for me,” said Soto, who started running when he was a toddler. “I’ve never done a 10K before so it was really cool to have won the first one in Santa Clarita. I’ve run 5Ks in the marathon in the past and this event is a lot of fun because there are more people cheering you and and having older competition and adults to race with and push you rather than just students close to your age.”
Bryan Felber of Westlake Village was the first to finish the 5K with a time of 17 minutes and 45 seconds.
Downing emphasized the importance of the marathon for both the health of the city and of its residents.
“This race is great because it’s an opportunity for us to showcase our city and our trail system, but there’s also just something about seeing that accomplishment as people cross the finish line,” Downing said. “Our races are like a progression and I know people who started with our 5K and now run the marathon. Some of these people train for months or a year for this, and you can see the joy on their faces when they accomplish this major event.”