"Best Off-Road Marathon in the World" celebrates 32nd edition and American Trail Championship finale
AVALON, Calif. - In its 32nd year, the Catalina Marathon - set for Saturday, March 14 - will give runners the thrill of a lifetime - the chance to run from one side of Catalina Island to the other, with only dirt trails and buffalo between themselves and the finish line. The beasts have become a mascot of Catalina, and roam freely along the inside of the island and marathoners might just catch a glimpse of one or two as they traverse 23 miles of fire roads from Two Harbors to Avalon. The trail run is sandwiched between two 1.5-mile stretches of city roads.
Named Runner's World's "Best Off-Road Marathon in the World", the Catalina Marathon is an instant favorite with athletes because of its degree of difficulty, breathtaking scenery and laid-back island atmosphere.
The course is a difficult one, taking athletes up hills that reach elevations of nearly 1,800 feet, but the experience and amazing scenic views make the hard work worth it. From the top of the island, runners can see Pacific Ocean in all directions, and on clear days can spot the mainland.
In conjunction with the full 26.2-mile run, the Catalina Marathon offers a 10K, 5K and Kids run, all of which lead runners through the streets of Avalon, the main city on the island.
The Catalina Marathon is also the second leg of the American Trail Championship, a premier trail series that includes last month's Buffalo Run Half Marathon, also on Catalina. The combined times of the Buffalo Run and Catalina Marathon will determine an American Trail Champion. Mike Whitcombe, who finished second in the ATC standings in 2008, is on track to compete for the 2009 ATC title as the winner of this February's Buffalo Run (with a time of 1:27:21).
This year's field includes runners from 32 different states, including a large contingent from California. The race has become an international hit as well, bringing in athletes from Germany, China and the United Arab Emirates.
For information or to register for the Catalina Marathon, visit .PacificSportsLLC.com or call (714) 978-1528.
Ryan Lamppa, Running USA Media Director
(805) 696-6232; Fax = (805) 659-0016