Upcoming 5K, 10K and Other Ventura County Area Running and Fitness Events

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Start training for upcoming 5K, 10K, half marathon and other Ventura County running and fitness events! We've made it easy for you to find a local race by tracking local events right here. So go on, get moving, lace up those shoes and start training! CLICK HERE for local running groups and clubs.  Training for a marathon? Check out 26.2 Training Tips for Your First Marathon!

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26.2 Miles or Bust: Marathons Within a One Hour Range of Ventura County

The marathon has an official distance of 42.195 kilometres (26 miles and 385 yards). Most of us marathoners refer to it as a 26.2 mile race. Let's put some perspective on that. We're talking roughly the distance from the Muvico Theater in Thousand Oaks to Downtown Ventura (Main St at California St).

Running USA estimates that in 2016, there were 507,600 marathon finishers in the United States, a slight drop from 509,000 in 2015 and an 8% drop over the all-time high of 550,600 in 2014. That is over 13.3 million miles, not including the training miles to get there. That's a lot of running! There are over 1,100 marathons now throughout the country.

Until fairly recently, there were no marathons run on Ventura County soil. When I began running in the mid 1990s, the closest marathons to us were in Los Angeles, Santa Clarita and Culver City. Now there are marathons in Ventura, Ojai and Camarillo.

While it's fun to travel to faraway lands to run a marathon, there's something to be said for sleeping in your own bed, waking up early, and driving out to run a local marathon. So how about a rundown of local marathons within a one hour range of Ventura County!

Los Angeles Marathon (www.lamarathon.com)

  • Time of Year: A Sunday usually in March
  • Course Description: The course route has changed a number of times over the years, but most recently the point to point "Stadium to the Sea" route from Dodger Stadium to the Santa Monica Pier has proved extraordinarily popular. The course takes you through sections of Downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Century City, West Los Angeles and Santa Monica. There are race day shuttles that take runners from Santa Monica to the start.
  • Other Events: 5K
  • Pricing: Registration started at $195 for the 2017 event.
  • Other: On a personal note, I set my personal best time on this course back in 1997. This is THE race to do if you enjoy lots of crowd support along the course.

Mountains to Beach Marathon (www.mountains2beachmarathon.com)

  • Time of Year: Late May; generally last Sunday of May.
  • Course Description: Point to point course that starts with a 10K loop in Ojai, then 10 miles of bike path to the Ventura oceanfront, down the Ventura Keys to Marina Park and back to the Ventura Pier. Net downhill of 700 feet makes this a fast course. 
  • Other Events: Half Marathon, 5K
  • Pricing: 2018 event starts at $113 (includes processing fee)

Camarillo Marathon (www.camarillomarathon.com)

  • Time of Year: The Camarillo Marathon was previously in the January time frame but the January 8, 2017 was cancelled. However, it is coming back on August 12, 2018.
  • Course: Starts at Pleasant Valley Fields, goes along the Camarillo Bike Path and nearby roads. New course.
  • Other Events: Half Marathon, 5K, 10K
  • Pricing: Started at $95 for the 2018 event.

Lexus Ventura Marathon (www.venturamarathon.com)

  • Time of Year: The inaugural event was Sunday, September 8, 2013. The 6th annual event is October 21, 2018.
  • Course Description: The course starts in Ojai down the bike path to finish at the Ventura Pier. There were 763 finishers in the 2017 event
  • Other Events: Half marathon, 5K, kids fun run, bike rides.
  • Pricing: Pricing for 2017 event was $130.
Finish line of the Inaugural Ventura Marathon on September 8, 2013.

Finish line of the Inaugural Ventura Marathon on September 8, 2013.

Santa Clarita Marathon (www.scmarathon.org)

  • Time of Year: Generally runs on the 1st Sunday in November
  • Course Description: The course starts and finishes at the Valencia Town Center and has a number of out and back turns, mostly along bike paths. One of the more low key marathons in the area, with around 350 to 400 finishers.
  • Other Events: Half marathon, 5K, Kid K
  • Pricing: $80 to $100 depending on timing for the 2017 event.

Seaside Marathon (www.seasidehalf.com)

  • Time of Year: Mid-February
  • Course Description: Two out and back runs along the boardwalk and bike path and shoulder of Highway 1 in Ventura. (Same course as Surfer's Point Marathon.)
  • Other Events: Half marathon, 5K
  • Pricing: Pricing for the 2019 event ranges up to $130 depending on timing.

Surfer's Point Marathon (www.surferspointmarathon.com)

  • Time of Year: Set to take place November 11, 2018
  • Course Description: Course is along the ocean/Highway 101, starting at Promenade Park in Ventura, on bike paths and shoulder of roads. It goes out and back (the half marathon course) twice.
  • Other Events: Half marathon, 5K, 10K
  • Pricing: Ranges from $95 to $130 for the 2018 event.

Just a little farther but still possible to commute to if you are an early riser:

jetBlue Long Beach Marathon (www.motivrunning.com/run-longbeach)

  • Time of Year: Early to mid-October range on a Sunday
  • Course Description: I've run the Long Beach Marathon several times and it is probably the most twisty, turny course I've ever run, yet it is still a reasonably flat and fast course. It starts and finishers in the heart of downtown Long Beach near Shoreline Village. There are sections along the beach, then it turns inland, up and around Cal State Long Beach, and back to the finish. Over 2,200 finishers in 2016.
  • Other Events: Half marathon is hugely popular
  • Pricing: $120 for the 2018 race

Surf City Marathon (formerly Pacific Shoreline Marathon) (www.runsurfcity.com)

  • Time of Year: Generally run on the 1st Sunday of February
  • Course Description: Much of course runs on PCH, streets and bike paths in and around the Huntington Beach Pier with views of the Pacific Ocean.  This race generally sells out each year with between 2,000 and 2,500 participants.
  • Other Events: Half marathon
  • Pricing: $100 for 2019 race

OC Marathon (www.ocmarathon.com)

  • Time of Year: Generally takes place the first Sunday of May
  • Course Description: The marathon starts in Newport Beach, runs past Balboa Island in kind of a figure eight-ish pattern in Newport Beach, Costa Mesa and adjacent cities. The race generally has around 2,000 participants. The race finishes at the OC Fair and Event Center.
  • Other Events: Half marathon and 5K
  • Pricing: 2018 event starts at just $80!

Marathons No More

There was a Pasadena Marathon in recent years but organizers announced it has been cancelled.

Malibu Marathon was cancelled in 2014, though the half marathon and 5K continue on (www.malibuintmarathon.com).

The Santa Barbara International Marathon also ran its final event in 2014, though a Veterans Day Half Marathon continues. www.sbmarathon.com

Looking for marathons around the world? My favorite place to find them is www.MarathonGuide.com. They do a great job of compiling a massive amount of information strictly about marathons.

CLICK HERE for other local races...5K, 10K, half marathon, etc.

I've run over 30 marathons or so through the years and periodically babble on about my training, experiences and other random running and training related items THIS LINK.

And last but not least, here are 26.2 training tips for running your first marathon.

Ventura County Area Finishers at Last Sunday's Los Angeles Marathon

There were over 21,500 finishers at the 2014 Los Angeles Marathon, including 559 finishers from the Ventura County area and adjacent cities. The marathoners highlighted below ran, jogged and walked 14,646 miles last Sunday at the 29th annual event over a cumulative time equating to approximately 124 days.

Special mentions go out to top age group finishers, Thomas McMahon of Newbury Park, 9th in the 30 to 34 age group and 51st place overall, not to mention top finishing Ventura County resident; Ben Atkins of Thousand Oaks, 9th in the 40 to 44 age group and 57th place overall; Jose Lastre of Camarillo, who finished 74th overall; Mike Malinzak, 10th in the 50 to 54 age group; Gabriella Brignardello, 4th in the 19 and under age group; and Courtney Novak of Oak Park, 9th in the 19 and under age group. Elizabeth Duran, 25, of Simi Valley, was the top placing woman from all of Ventura County and 75th female overall. Way to go!

Next year's event is March 15, 2015. Learn more at www.lamarathon.com.

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26.2 Training Tips for Your First Marathon!

NOW is the time to start training for a fall or spring marathon!  There are hundreds to choose from at MarathonGuide.com.

I've run a few marathons myself. 26 of them at last count. So I have about 26.2 thoughts and opinions to impart on training for your first marathon:

1. Don't Procrastinate! The first thing you need to do is get out there and start running. Talking about it is fine, but start making it happen! Today!

2. Start Slow and Go Steady: Don't try to prove something by running 10 miles your first time out. You'll injure yourself! Unless you're already a runner with solid base mileage, start out easy, maybe 10 to 15 miles in 3 to 4 runs per week. Increase weekly mileage no more than 10%.

3. Pick a Marathon Now and Set Your Goals: Always helps to establish a goal to train for. Sign up for a marathon 6 months out now (don't wait) and you'll have the end goal in mind. You'll need the motivation as you train through the warm summer months or colder winter months

4. Buy Decent Shoes and Change Them Often: Running is a very inexpensive in terms of equipment. So don't go cheap on the shoes. Change them often...the lesser of every 300 miles or 3 months. Your limbs and tendons will thank you for that.

5. Ramp up the Mileage: To run your first full marathon, plan to peak your weekly mileage at 30 to 35 miles per week. But once again, get there gradually, not all at once.

6. Rest as Needed: For those of us past the motivation hurdle to train, the next biggest marathon training issue is fending off injuries. Don't be fearful of taking days off when needed. Rest benefits you as much as training.

7. Train With Others: The best thing to motivate one to wake up at 5 a.m. on a Sunday morning for a 20 miler is knowing you'll be letting someone else down.  Click here for some local Ventura County running groups.

8. Share Your Goals: Tell your friends and family about your marathon commitment and your training. You'll need the support system and they'll keep you motivated.

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What Does It Take to Gain an Entry Into the 2014 Boston Marathon?

Dating myself a bit with this photo....ran the 100th Boston Marathon quite some time ago :)The 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings and subsequent pursuit of the culprits this past week overshadowed the race itself. Approximately 23,000 people were signed up for the 2013 race but because of the bombings, thousands of runners were unable to complete it.

On Thursday, Boston Marathon organizers indicated via Facebook that they will "address the issue of those who could not cross the finish line on Boylston Street due to the tragic events which occurred near the finish line," which tells me that perhaps they may offer up entries to the 2014 race to these people. But we shall see.

All of this tragedy and publicity will make 2014 quite an interesting year for the Boston Marathon, which is run on the 3rd Monday of April, Patriots' Day, each year. In 2014 that date will be April 21st.

Will people steer clear or will demand skyrocket in support of those who lost lives and limbs last Monday? Well my opinion is, we're talking Americans....I think everyone and their mother will be trying to get into the 2014 Boston Marathon.  So what will it take to gain an entry into the 2014 race? Let's review the qualifying standards for 2014:

  • Qualifying times must be run on or after 9/22/12.
  • Runners must be 18 or older on race day.
  • By 7/1/13, marathon organizers will announce specific  registration dates in September 2013.
  • Organizers allow faster runners, those who finished well under the qualifying standards shown below, to register first.
  • 2014 qualifying times are as follows:
    • Ages 18-34: Men 3:05; Women 3:35
    • Ages 35-39: Men 3:10; Women 3:40
    • Ages 40-44: Men 3:15; Women 3:45
    • Ages 45-49: Men 3:25; Women 3:55
    • Ages 50-54: Men 3:30; Women 4:00
    • Ages 55-59: Men 3:40; Women 4:10
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'Tis The Season for Santa Barbara Filmmaker's "Roadside Santa" Documentary

My kids and I always wave at Santa Claus facing the 101 freeway as we drive north through Camarillo and Oxnard. Since 2003 this 20 foot Santa has resided in the unincorporated area of Nyeland Acres, bringing smiles to the faces of passersby.

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Constructed in 1947, near the community of Carpinteria, Santa Claus was part of a roadside attraction known as Santa Claus Lane, a two-lane roadway that paralleled the south side of U.S. Highway 101, just west of the City of Carpinteria.  Between the late 1940s and the mid-1960s, Santa Claus Lane featured a thriving array of stores restaurants, motels, and a post office, as well as attractions, including a child’s train, small zoo, and pony rides, that catered both to travelers and nearby communities.

For over six years, Santa Barbara filmmaker Jody Nelson has chronicled the history of this popular Santa that will be made into a full-length film, "Roadside Santa." Through melding stories of community residents, interviews with scholars and activists, archival footage and stills, the documentary explores themes of cultural transition in California as experienced in the disparate communities that Santa has called home. “Roadside Santa” illuminates how the residents of Nyeland Acres have welcomed Santa to their neighborhood and reinvented him as a potent and positive symbol of community identity, demonstrating the adaptive capacities of new immigrant communities and American culture alike.

UPDATE Nov 2015: It does not appear that this film has been finalized as an fyi.

The video below highlights some some of the scenes, stories and interviews, as well as the popular annual Santa to the Sea Half Marathon that supports a toy drive for local underprivileged kids. Watch it! You'll learn about our own Ventura County Roadside Santa and how he brings joy to the local community.

Nelson is nearly finished with the film but is still interested in Santa Claus Lane photos, film footage and memorabilia from the 1940s to present day, Santa Claus Lane stories from people who lived/worked there and the whereabouts of the miniature train and carousel that used to reside there. She also seeks additional funding to help finalize the film and bring it to film festivals and perhaps TV.

Learn more by visiting www.nelsonfilms.com or at this Facebook page or calling Jody at 805.403.0602. She can also be reached at jgirlsb1@gmail.com.

Conejo Valley Namesake - The Rabbit

Yes indeed, there are a LOT of rabbits in the Conejo Valley, or Valley of the Rabbits! This little guy was seen at Cheeseboro Canyon in Agoura Hills. Looking for some great hiking, running and cycling? You'll find plenty of it there!

Rabbits like to run. How about training for an upcoming 5K or 10K? Great way to stay fit while enjoying the camaraderie of a local group run. CLICK HERE for upcoming local races!