The 24th annual Surf City USA Marathon Sunday paid tribute to Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and the seven other Orange County residents killed in a helicopter crash.
There was a moment of silence at the start of the race and remembrances at the eighth and 24th miles coinciding with the numbers Bryant wore during his 20-season career with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Signs referencing Bryant were seen along the course and several runners ran in Bryant jerseys.
Huntington Beach residents Christina Mauser and pilot Ara Zobayan, 50, were among the victims in last Sunday’s crash in Calabasas. Mauser, 38, was one of Bryant’s assistant coaches on the Mamba Sports Academy girls’ basketball team.
The other victims were:
— John Altobelli, 56, the coach of the Orange Coast College baseball team;
— Altobelli’s wife, Keri, 46, and their 13-year-old daughter Alyssa, who was a teammate of Gianna on Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy basketball team; and
— Payton Chester, 13, another member of the team, and her mother, Sarah Chester, 45.
Thomas Dialynas of Newport Coast was the men’s winner, completing the 26-mile, 385-yard course in two hours, 26 minutes, 47 seconds. Kenneth Rideout of Pacific Palisades was second in 2:30:48 and Robert Mohr of New York City third in 2:43:00.
Each of the top three women’s finishers was from Portland, Oregon. Ashley DeSanno won in 3:05:26, followed by Kendra Goffredo in 3:07:46 and Stephanie Henstrom in 3:11:54.
The race drew its customary capacity field of 2,500.
The marathon field is limited to 2,500 because the beachfront running path is not part of the race’s closed course and runners may encounter walkers, bicyclists and others not participating in the race. The path is only 8 feet wide for a few stretches, according to organizers.
The marathon began at Pacific Coast Highway between the ocean and the Hilton Waterfront Beach Hotel, then quickly passed the Huntington Beach Pier. Miles 2 through 9 went through Huntington Beach’s Central Park and miles 9 through 15 through the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve.
Miles 16 through 25 were on a beachfront running path paved over the sand. The final mile took runners along Pacific Coast Highway to the finish line, also near the Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort.
There were more than 2,000 volunteers on the course and several surf bands, according to organizers.
“There’s great energy along the course,” said Dialynas, a first-time entrant in the Surf City USA Marathon. “Miles 20-24 is where it gets tough and there were a lot of people along the course and even a lot of people with their surfboards cheering us on. It was awesome to come out and do this.”
Another 14,500 runners entered the half-marathon. The races have drawn runners from 30 nations and 49 states, according to publicist Dan Cruz.
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