Runners from across the country braved the heat at the Sugar Daddy Marathon, which started and ended at the Iron Horse Trailhead in Valencia last weekend.
The marathon offered a kids fun run, a half-marathon, a 5k run and a 10k run. The event also treated runners to free ice cream at the end of their run, hence the marathon’s name.
The run came in the wake of the city of Santa Clarita’s decision to discontinue the Santa Clarita Marathon indefinitely last week citing “economic factors” surrounding the race. The number of participants had also been on the decline, which the city said was partly due to competition with other marathons.
Terry Majamaki, race director and event organizer, said he was disappointed the city did away with its marathon but that the Sugar Daddy race was never really meant to compete with it.
“It’s more of a community race. You know, this isn’t meant to be a big mass race, like thousands of people,” said Majamaki. “This is really, you know, our biggest race when we did this was up to  or 900 people. So it’s a much more intimate experience and we really liked that.”
Majamaki did, however, lament the city’s decision.
“I think it’s terrible. I think it shouldn’t be canceled,” said Majamaki. “I mean, it’s a long-running race. It’s a landmark race for the community and for the city and it’s something that I think has always been a part of it and we don’t, we shouldn’t lose it.”
The Sugar Daddy race ended up having approximately 500 runners this year. When informed of the declining participation numbers of the Santa Clarita Marathon in years past, he noted that Sugar Daddy was also down from its peak and cited the pandemic as a major factor in the trend.
Regardless, runners at the event seemed to be having a wonderful time. Kids who participated in the fun run were more than thrilled at the prospect of free ice cream and runners enjoyed the sights to be seen on the race’s path.
Natalie Uyeno, a Fresno resident who’s battling stage four cancer, said this is her third time doing the Sugar Daddy race and that this one in particular was a fun one to do. Uyeno noted that although the heat was a slight deterrent, nothing would prevent her from finishing.
“Yeah, not finishing is not an option. So I wanted to see this all the way through, absolutely,” said Uyeno. “[Running] makes me happy, it brings me joy. I get to see a lot of friends, [there] is a friend from Arizona here and it’s, you know, it feels like it gives me hope. It gives me goals to strive for and keep living. Keep fighting.”