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Posted: March 19, 2009  :

(RWire) Athletics: Charles, Enge Win 32nd Catalina Marathon

Turrieta, Termezy take American Trail titles; Turrieta, Elliot 52.4 Pacific Challenge champions

From Holly Laubacher

AVALON, Calif. - (March 14, 2009) - Marathoners could not have asked for a better day for the running of the 32nd Catalina Marathon, Runner's World's "Best Off-Road Marathon," on Saturday morning. The weather and conditions were near perfect for the race, a 26.2-mile trail run on the island off the coast of California. The 2009 race attracted over 1,000 athletes from 32 different states and five different countries, including China, Germany and the United Arab Emirates.

Runners began their journey in Two Harbors, running along 23 miles of dirt fire trails while climbing to elevations of 1,800 feet before crossing the finish line in Avalon. The race is a favorite of Catalina Marathon veterans, but many were running it for the first time this year. Familiar faces is a theme on the island, in conjunction with the "cult race" - five runners have completed the marathon in all of its 32 editions. Every year at the finish line, athletes receive the infamous Catalina Marathon "Year Bar," which they proudly hook together year after year and display as a chain all weekend. Some chains are short, and some are long, but all are instantly recognizable as a huge accomplishment.

Race director Jack Caress commented, "This is one of my favorite races of the year. The runners are all excited to see each other and the island year after year, and the course is just fantastic. The views from the top of the course are breathtaking. There's nothing not to like about a challenging race that's so rich with tradition."

This year's winner was Chris Charles in 3 hours, 9 minutes. The 32-year-old who hails from Seattle, Wash. made the trip down to Southern California specifically for the Catalina Marathon. The race for first place was a good one as Charles crossed the finish line only 26 seconds before runner-up, Chris Michael from Pasadena, finished.

Winning in the women's Open division was Jennifer Enge, a 36-year-old from Redondo Beach, Calif. Enge crossed the finish line in 3:37:58. This was Enge's first Catalina Marathon, and most likely not her last. She said, "I love that the Catalina course is a course to be experienced, appreciated and enjoyed - not necessarily to be raced. I liked that it is such a unique and challenging race, and finishing it feels like a new accomplishment."

In conjunction with the marathon, the Avalon 5K and 10K runs took runners on a tour of Avalon, the main city on Catalina Island. The winner of the 10K was 41-year-old Peter Long, who came through the finish line on Sumner Avenue in only 32:34, while 44-year-old Sherri Ellerby, from Orange, Calif., won the women's race in 38:49. Winning the 5K races were Fred Cowles (16:58) and Jennifer Rubio (19:32).

The Catalina Marathon was also the ending point of the American Trail Championship and 52.4 Pacific Challenge. The American Trail Championship, or ATC, is a trail series that combines the times of February's Buffalo Run Half Marathon (also on Catalina) and the marathon. The 2009 ATC Champions were Allen Turrieta, with a combined time of 5:06:36 and Tara Termezy, who finished with a combined time of 6:01:34.

The 52.4 Pacific Challenge combines three races: the Buffalo Run Half Marathon, the Catalina Marathon and the Rose Bowl Half Marathon (December 13, 2008). The three distances (two half-marathons and one full) add up to 52.4 miles in total. This year's 52.4 Pacific Challenge winners were Allen Turrieta (6:33:50) and Kim Elliot (9:43:44).

For more information about next year's race or any other Pacific Sports races, visit or call (714) 978-1528

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

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