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Posted: December 7, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this

(RWire) Athletics: Handler, McLarty Win Inaugural Santa Barbara International Marathon

Marathon returns to The American Riviera with nearly 1,700 finishers

By Leah Etling, Running USA wire

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - (December 6, 2009) - For the first time in decades, a marathon run returned to Santa Barbara as on Sunday morning an event field of 2,500 contested the Select Staffing Santa Barbara International Marathon, between the cities of Goleta and Santa Barbara. The coastal towns - two hours northwest of Los Angeles - have an active running community that had long supported the return of a marathon distance event. The "last" Santa Barbara Marathon was held in 1984.

Despite a delayed start at 7:00am due to a traffic accident on Highway 101, Carlos Handler, 27, of Pomona, and local Andrea McLarty, 32, put together strong performances to win the debut event that also included approximately 200 relay teams under near ideal running conditions - 40-50F degrees, little wind and partly cloudy skies.

Handler was aiming for a 2012 Olympic Trials qualifying time of 2:19 but fell short with his 2 hour, 24 minute, 49 second performance. He broke away from third place finisher and local Westmont grad Robby Cherry at the 17 mile mark, but said after the race that he cramped up after climbing the race's largest hill, between mile 23 and 24.

"I wanted to push there, but I just had to maintain," he said. The point-to-point course finished with a nearly 2 mile downhill stretch that had ocean and harbor views.

An assistant coach of the Chino Hills Flash youth track club, Handler was cheered on by several of the athletes that he advises. He is a graduate of Concordia College, where he was an NCAA Division III All American, and also competed collegiately for UC Riverside.

McLarty trained for the 26.2 mile race with a program organized by race director Rusty Snow. The coaching enabled her to run a personal best 2:52:24, and felt great doing it, she commented post-race.

"It was my perfect race, as close to as good as it gets as it could be," said the Santa Barbara resident. McLarty ran unchallenged from other women the entire way, and said she took pleasure in being able to pass some of the men near her at the end.

With nearly 1,700 finishers, the Santa Barbara International Marathon will be one of the largest U.S. debut marathons in 2009. The second edition is scheduled for Sunday, December 5, 2010.

Inaugural Select Staffing Santa Barbara Int'l Marathon
Santa Barbara, CA, Sunday, December 6, 2009

MEN
1) Carlos Handler (CA), 2:24:49, $1000
2) Nathan Jones (IN), 2:36:39, $500
3) Robby Cherry (CA), 2:37:36, $250
4) John Lofthus (CA), 2:45:41, $100
5) Tim Smith, 45, CA, 2:49:04, $50

WOMEN
1) Andrea McLarty (CA), 2:52:24, $1000
2) Mary Jones (CA), 3:00:12, $500
3) Chrystee Bradley (CA), 3:00:30, $250
4) Michelle McToldridge (CA), 3:00:44, $100
5) Petra McDowell (NM), 3:08:05, $50
For deeper results, go to: www.sbimarathon.com.

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