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Posted: February 16, 2009  :

(RWire) Athletics: Whitcombe, Campbell Win Buffalo Run Half Marathon on Catalina Island

From Holly Laubacher

AVALON, Calif. - Rain, mud and plenty of puddles on Saturday, February 7 could not stop hundreds of athletes from participating in the 2009 Buffalo Run Half Marathon and 5K, the ultimate trail run on the island of Santa Catalina off the coast of Southern California.

Sandwiched between two 1.5-mile stretches on the roads of Avalon, the Buffalo Run took athletes on a nine-mile climb on the dirt fire roads of the east end of Catalina Island; the trail run's elevation reached nearly 1,600 feet at the top of the hill. Conditions were wet and muddy on the trails, but runners enjoyed the challenge and said the rain made the run all the more memorable.

Race director Jack Caress said of the event, "This is a great race, a very challenging race. Athletes are tested on the hills and trails, but are rewarded with gorgeous views of Catalina Island and the Pacific Ocean. The view from the top of the course can't be beat."

Mike Whitcombe of Manhattan Beach, Calif. led the way over the 13.1-mile course, finishing with a time of 1 hour, 27 minutes, 21 seconds. Ryan Chase of Lake Forest, Calif, was runner-up in 1:27:36. Quan Campbell of San Diego, Calif. was the winner of the women's division, crossing the finish line in 1:51:05 with Novato's Patty Alushin, 48, second, just 6 seconds back.

In conjunction with the Buffalo Run Half Marathon was a 5K event, an out-and-back 3.1 mile run through the center of Avalon. The first finisher was Andres Gutierrez, a 15-year-old Avalon native, in 18:59. Another teenager, Haile Brant of Cardiff, Calif., 13, won the women's race in 27:12.

The laid-back Catalina Island atmosphere and tough conditions made for a friendly, yet competitive race. And because the athletes were able to beat the elements last weekend, the 2009 Buffalo Run will be a race to remember.

For complete race results, go to: .

Ryan Lamppa, Running USA Media Director
(805) 696-6232; Fax = (805) 659-0016

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