The Rose Bowl Half Marathon and 5K romped through Pasadena on Sunday, Jan. 15, as thousands descended on the The Crown City for 13.1094 miles of running.
And, thankfully, for one crisp, 50-degree morning, the throng eluded the record-setting heavy rain that has blanketed the region of late.
More than 11,500 participants hit local streets for the event, seen as a precursor to the Los Angeles Marathon, which returns to the Southland in March.
Along the runners’ path were Pasadena’s scenic landmarks, from the Colorado Street Bridge, Old Town Pasadena, Caltech and others. All that, and the finish line: through the tunnel to the 100-year-old Rose Bowl stadium’s fabled field.
These were ideal conditions for Margaux Curcuru, who won the women’s bracket in 1 hour, 19 minutes, 10 seconds — just more than 6 minutes per mile.
“It was gorgeous,” said Curcuru in a statement. “The weather was really good. I was worried that it was going to rain, but it was great. I loved going up under the bridge the first couple of miles. It was a big climb but the views made it more comfortable.”
Shin “Rosie” Young from the Korea Town Run Club finished second in 1:24:59.
The men’s half-marathon finish was extremely close. Jonathan Martin, a 27-year-old from North Carolina, was first across the finish line, at 1:12:11, a 5:31 per-mile pace. Martin said he intended to treat the day as a simple workout but wound up snagging the gold.
Christopher Reid of La Habra Heights was at his heels, less than a minute behind at 1:12:47. Valentin Gonzalez of Newhall was another six seconds back in third.
Pasadena’s races always seem to inspire stirring subplots.
Curcuru, for instance, ran as part of a group called The Janes, an elite running troupe that empowers women to reach their athletic and professional goals.
There was also the massive gathering of 3,200 runners from Students Run LA, which empowers student runners both on the pavement, and iin the classroom.
For the six months leading up to the L.A. Marathon, SRLA students ages 12 -18 participate in community races of progressively longer distances. Pasadena marks the halfway point in their training for the L.A. event.
SRLA students also participated in a community service project buoying the Ronald McDonald House of Pasadena, donating paper towels, toilet paper, paper plates, diapers and feminine hygiene products for the center, which bills itself as a “a home-away-from-home for families with critically-ill children.”
It wouldn’t be a run in the L.A. area without a dose of star power amid all the huffing and puffing.
Organizers noted that actor Matt Jones and comedian Erik Riviera finished the 13.1-mile half-marathon.
Actor Ashton Kutcher and former Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner ran the 5K. It was the second year in a row that Turner tackled the 5K.
“It’s just nice to get out there, throw the headphones on and go jogging with a couple thousand people,” said Turner, who signed with the Boston Red Sox in the offseason.
The event also included the Rose Bowl Rush Kids Run, a 400-meter dash for kids ages 3 to 8.
Sunday’s event was put on by the McCourt Foundation, which also helms the L.A. Marathon each year.