Peter Huemer is the top local finisher at the Santa Cruz 10k
Santa Cruz Half Marathon and 10K: A chilly and record-setting day
SANTA CRUZ - Chilly weather made for fast feet Sunday at the Santa Cruz Half Marathon and 10k.
Temperatures in the low 60s had spectators bundling up and had the 2,200 racers donning long sleeves and gloves, but it proved perfect for running.
"It's one of those things where you're on the event staff and you're like, 'Oh, it's cold,' and they're like 'It's perfect weather,'" said race organizer Michelle Bradley.
For proof, look no further than John Mentzer of Monterey.
Mentzer finished the half marathon in 1 hour, 9 minutes, 54 seconds to crush the 4-year-old race's previous record of 1:15:22, set last year by Troy Herrera of Longmont, Colo.
The women's half marathon record was also threatened, though not broken, as Dina Rosenthal of San Jose finished the 13.1-mile race in 1:19:45. Rosenthal, a mom who took her 22-month-old son to the podium with her, finished just 18 seconds off the mark in her first race breaking 1:20:00.
Rosenthal placed third overall in the half marathon and ran most of the race — which stretches from the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk to the Bluffs Trail at Wilder Ranch State Park and back — alone. She said she would have preferred to have a few more runners in the vicinity — though not necessarily for their body heat.
"It would have been nice to have a pack," said Rosenthal. "A pack kind of pushes you along."
Barb Acosta of Santa Cruz, the top local finisher, fought the chill with a pair of flaming red gloves. She'd ditched her long-sleeve shirt three miles into the race, but she'd held onto the gloves.
"I didn't want to lose my favorite pair of gloves. What if some dog got a hold of them?" said Acosta, who had to tell her two children to stay away from the red pair after they made off with several other pairs of gloves. "Besides, by keeping your head, hands and feet covered, all the blood goes back to the heart."
As flashy as the red gloves were, they gave Acosta only enough of a boost to finish second among women and in the top 25 overall in 1:29:15. Acosta had hoped to run faster than 1:26:00, roughly the time she recorded when she ran the same race two years ago when, she says, she was in much worse shape. She has been running as many as 70 miles a week, and said she felt great after a long run just last week. But after a 10-day walking-tour vacation through New York and Washington, D.C., that ended Saturday, her legs had other ideas.
"You have those good days and you have the others," she said. "This was one of the others."
Jean Pommier of Cupertino was sporting a pair of warm wool gloves as well when he crossed the finish line in 1:16:47 for second in the half marathon. He also probably had weary legs after pressing for a top-10 spot in his age group 40-44 in the Boston Marathon less than a week earlier. Nonetheless, his time was blazing as he finished just under five minutes ahead of Rob Zimmerman of Hollister, the men's third-place finisher.
Pommier, who will race in the French National Marathon Championships next week, said the racer who was really hot, though, was Mentzer.
"The first guy is amazing," he said.
Indeed, Mentzer ran the race so quickly that he crossed the finish line for his 13.1-mile race at the same time as a group of runners who planned to run the half marathon but instead turned around midway and ran the 6.2-mile 10-kilometer race instead. Mentzer ran for the Naval Academy in college and won last year's Firecracker 10k.
Rigoberto Ramirez of San Jose won Sunday's 10k in 34:08, followed by Joshua Goldstein of Menlo Park 36:28. Linda Gallo of Mountain View was the top woman in 38:52. Santa Cruz's Brianna McNulty finished close behind her in 45:05 for third. The top local 10k finisher was Peter Huemer of Santa Cruz, who ran the American River 50-miler two weeks ago and is preparing for the Western States 100. Huemer finished fifth in 39:11.
You can find this story online at: