Thanks to Rusty Snow, SBIM Race Director, for taking a few moments with us to share the latest and greatest about this year's race! We are thrilled to again be a part of what is quickly turning out to be one of the West Coast's fall distance gems.
FNF:How did the inaugural race go from your perspective. Last year, we talked about trying to create a really special experience for each athlete with great amenities and so on, for instance. How did things unfold according to your plan?
RS: The Inaugural year was a great success given lots of last minute traffic control issue. Luckily, the most of the things that didn’t go well, our participants didn’t see. Our reviews reflect this. One of the things we were really proud of was our fan presence on the course and this wasn’t an accident. We had 8 volunteer captains each in charge of 3 mile segments on the course and their job was to not only be in charge of their volunteers but also to get the word out in each neighborhood to come out and watch the race....so for a first year marathon the fan presence was incredible. We also provided one of the most beautiful ice baths post race anywhere....the Pacific Ocean at the finish at Leadbetter beach! We have much more in store with an incredible track finish this year as well as the addition of a super fast 1/2 marathon. (both races finish at the same spot on the brand new SBCC track)
FNF: Are there any major changes planned for the race this year besides the date? And, what helped sway you to change the date of the race to a month earlier this year.
RS: Major changes include the addition of a 1/2 marathon as well as some logistical changes such as all marathoners MUST take the Beautiful smooth riding SBAirbus to the start this year (parking at the SBCC). There are no extra fees for parking or the bus this year. This is for many reasons one being we started 30 minutes late last year as locals tried to get to the start at the last minute and a traffic jam occurred. We are starting on time this year whether folks are there or not so we ask for all to take the very short 13 minute bus ride to the start. We changed the date for a couple reasons. One, we took over directing the local 1/2 marathon (formerly the News-Press 1/2 marathon) that has been part of our community for the past 35 years and has always been on this date (we also go through the same neighborhood on the mesa so going through once a year versus twice in a month will lessen the impact there) and two we got lucky and just missed rain last year which if it’s going to rain in SB, december is the month.
FNF: A race like this is such a community undertaking. What are some of the ways in which the Santa Barbara area has embraced the race and are invested in its success?
RS: Looking at the community presence on the course last year is all you’d need to see to know the community embraced the event.....now we continue to educate our business community on what a marathon can do for our local economy and continue to have more involvement on that level. We also have a local running boom in SB directly related to the marathon. Heck, just this morning I had 60 people at practice this morning at 6am and our team has grown from 40 to 140 since last year!
FNF: What are your long term plans for the race and any related events or programs you envision for the future?
RS: Perfect running weather 45 low/69 high and dry. Fast Boston Marathon qualifying course both the Full and 1/2. One of the most gorgeous last 2 miles ever and lots of supportive fans on the course.
FNF: If you were a distance runner looking for a great fall half marathon or marathon, what are three top reasons you might want to consider the SBIM?