This Sunday, February 5, the 27th annual the Surf City Marathon and Half Marathon presented by 361° returns with 15,000 runners. The popular Orange County road race is a convenient destination event with the expo, headquarter hotels, start line and finish line festival all taking place along the Pacific Coast Highway just steps away from the sand.
Phil Anthony is the brand manager for 361, an Irvine-based performance footwear brand, which becomes the first presenting sponsor in the event’s history. He was raised in Huntington Beach, graduated from UC Irvine and lives in Costa Mesa.
“As a performance footwear brand, 361 represents the ideal of going one degree beyond,” said Anthony. “We are always thinking of ways to support the running community and to provide enhanced venues for all athletes to achieve their goals, be it to run faster, farther or simply enjoy a day with family and friends.”
Anthony is quite familiar with the Surf City event, having run both races multiple times. Few courses are more scenic with the out and back layout hugging the coast, waves crashing in the background and the Huntington Beach pier as a landmark.
“It’s just a beautiful, iconic setup,” he said. “The PCH and Huntington Beach are iconic Americana locations. This is an event that’s aspirational and inspirational. It’s not just dedicated to the elite, high-performance runner. It’s welcoming to people who want to get out and be active. Really, it’s a festival-style event.”
One of running’s all-time greats, Sylvia Mosqueda, will be on the course Sunday, running the 5K. Mosqueda, 56, ran at San Gabriel High, East Los Angeles College and Cal State Los Angeles. She qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials five times in the 10,000 and twice in the marathon.
“I know the half marathon (course) like the back of my hand,” said Mosqueda, who has run the event multiple times. “I know every spot. It’s a beautiful course.”
Mosqueda is easing into the 2023 running season, starting with the 5K this weekend.
“I’ve always put so much pressure on myself,” she said. “I decided this year I’m just going to come out and enjoy myself, see what I can do. Let things happen gradually rather than being so forceful.”
For those running the marathon and half marathon, Mosqueda thinks the participants are in for a treat.
“I like out and backs,” she said. “You can see people coming and going. People can cheer you on. It’s beautiful scenery with the ocean. People root you on and let you know how far ahead or back you are.”
Mosqueda finds the setting and her fellow runners to be inspiring.
“You’re not the only one suffering out there,” she said. “You’re looking at their pain. You see people older than you and think, ‘If they can do it, I can do it.’ Now that I’m an older woman, I hope I motivate people. It’s not always about winning. It’s about being fortunate to be out there, enjoying what you love to do.”
361° will create an interactive exhibit at the two-day Active Lifestyle Expo on Friday and Saturday at the main Huntington Beach parking lot. The wellness expo is open to the public and will feature the latest in running gear, nutrition and fitness apparel.
The running gets started on Saturday with the Beach Mile on the Sand at 11:00am. Participants can take the‘Cowabunga Challenge’ by completing both the mile on Saturday and any distance on Sunday to earn the coveted bonus medal.
Race Day begins on Sunday at 6:30am with the marathon, 5k at 7:00am and half-marathon at 7:30am. Starting and finishing on the iconic Pacific Coast Highway, the coastal course is flat and fast, perfect for a Boston Qualifier or running a personal best.
After crossing the finish line to the cheers of family and friends, participants celebrate their accomplishment at the oceanfront finish line festival and Michelob Ultra beer garden.
For more information or a weekend scheduled of events, please visit www.runsurfcity.com.