The 2nd Annual Ojai 2 Ocean Marathon took place this past Sunday, June 3rd, under mostly overcast skies...perfect marathon weather.
The marathon course starts near Nordhoff High School in Ojai and has a net downhill of 700 feet as it takes runners through a scenic bike path to the Ventura waterfront. My friends that ran it said it is a really nice course and that they would run it again. One friend who was targeting a 3:30 had some solid training and blew through the course in 3:10.
Both the marathon and half marathon races sold out, with 809 finishers in the marathon and 877 in the half marathon. My friend indicated there is talk that they make some change next year to allow for a larger number of participants, given the race's popularity.
Indicative of the steady downhill, there were 24 marathoner that finished the race in under 3 hours. That is fully 3% of all finishers, which is quite impressive. Contrast that with this past year's Los Angeles Marathon, where 116 finishers out of 18,729, or just .6% finished in under 3 hours. That is a factor of five difference!
Of course, the large proportion of speedy marathons could also be in part to course organizers' reaching out to faster runners. On its website, they indicate they will give a free entry to any men and women that have recent times under 2:45 and 3 hours, respectively. And they give 50% of the cost of an entry to men and women with recent times under 3 hours and 3:20, respectively. Nice!
The top 2 men in the race were only 37 seconds apart. Overall winner Jay Thomson of Santa Cruz finished in 2:30:16 while Clyde Behunin of St. George, Utah (also known for one of the most downhill courses in the United States) was 2nd. Blue Benadum of Malibu finished 3rd in 2:35.
Julie Brekke of San Diego won the woman's race in 2:59, followed by Shauna Rountree of Bakersfield in 3:00:16 and Amy Laughter of Ogden, Utah in 3:00:41. Pretty close race!
Top Ventura County finishers were Aaron Torres of Ventura, 6th place overall in 2:48:46 and Melissa Hernandez of Oxnard in 3:08:39.
Ojai 2 Ocean is one of only 2 full marathon courses that are run completely in Ventura County, the Camarillo Marathon being the other one. Prior to 2009, there were no Ventura County based marathons. Keep up the great work in bringing 26.2 mile races to our local area!