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Posted: April 25, 2016:  

Athletics: 5th San Luis Obispo Marathon and Half Marathon Announces Elite Fields

Ultra national champion and world & U.S. record holder Zach Bitter and two past race champions headline top expected runners; event record prize purse available; register today to be part of the “Endurance Town USA” experience on April 30-May 1, 2016

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - (April 25, 2016) -The San Luis Obispo Marathon and Half Marathon presented by has announced its elite fields that include two-time USA ultra champion Zach Bitter, two past champions Van McCarty (inaugural Marathon winner) and Joe Thorne (2013 Marathon and 2014 Half Marathon champion) and local talent Brandon Messerly and Erin Tracht. The 5th anniversary SLO Marathon and Half event edition, an Endurance Town USA running tradition produced by Race SLO, will be held on April 30-May 1.

"For our 5th edition, it is wonderful to see two local past race champions returning, Joe Thorne and our first champion and Masters ace Van McCarty, and with USA ultra star Zach Bitter and other top runners, our event records will be in jeopardy again,” said Samantha Pruitt, Race SLO Founder & CEO. “On Sunday, May 1 in Endurance Town USA, we look forward to seeing all the runners as well as some great competition for the prize money and awards."

In the 26.2 mile race, Zach Bitter, 30, Davis, CA, with a marathon PR of 2:31:29 and record holder at 12 hours (world) and 100 miles, 100K and 200K (U.S.) headlines the men’s field. Also expected are top Master and local favorite Van McCarty, 45, who placed second in 2014 and 7th last year, Bihama Vedaste (San Jose, CA), 6th last year, and David Campa (San Luis Obispo). The top women include: 2015 runner-up Carri Arrieta (Moreno Valley, CA) and Nadia Ruiz (Santa Fe Springs, CA).

In the 13.1 mile race, 2014 Half Marathon champion Joe Thorne from nearby Grover Beach, Cory Smith (Santa Barbara, CA) and City to the Sea Half 2015 winner Brandon Messerly (San Luis Obispo) lead the men, while the top women expected are Makely Lyon (Oakland, CA), Maria Rivera (Visalia, CA), Erin Tracht (San Luis Obispo) and 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier and finisher Heather McWirther (Pacific Grove, CA).

Last year, event records were set in the Marathon by Jorge Maravilla (2:26:47) and Kimberly O’Donnell (2:59:02) and the Half Marathon by Cal Poly grad Ben Bruce (1:10:55).

The 2016 prize money, sponsored by LeftLane Sports and Race SLO, totals $3150 and will be awarded to the top 3 per gender in the Marathon ($600, $300 and $150) and Half Marathon ($300, $150 and $75). Post-race, the top 3 will be recognized on the podium at the finish line festival, while the Marathon champions will also receive a unique engraved antique cow bell, an event tradition.

In addition, for the 5th anniversary edition, there will be $2000 in bonus money available per the below:

Bonus #1

Any previous SLO Marathon or Half Marathon winner who is once again victorious in their respective event will receive a $250 bonus.

Bonus #2

Anyone setting an event record will receive a $250 bonus.


Jorge Maravilla (USA / CA), 2:26:47 in 2015
Kimberly O’Donnell (USA / CA), 2:59:02 in 2015


Ben Bruce (USA / AZ), 1:10:55 in 2015
Kara Thorne (USA / CA), 1:21:08 in 2014

To register for the Marathon, Half Marathon, 5K, Family Fitness Day or children’s races, view course maps, volunteer or for additional event information, go to:


Established in 2010 to bring world class sporting events to the beautiful California Central Coast, the Race SLO family of annual events includes the 5th SLO Marathon and Half and Family Fitness 5K (Spring 2016), SLO GranFondo cycling event (Fall 2016) and the inaugural SLO Ultra trail races at Wild Cherry Canyon (Fall 2016).

The Race SLO Team organizes and produces both fun and competitive running and cycling events that create a positive impact on both our participants and local communities.

Come experience the best the California Central Coast has to offer: year-round sunshine, rolling green hills, unspoiled open roads, first class finish lines and more. Come Race SLO: #EnduranceTownUSA!

Visit for more information.

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