Race Director, Surf City USA Marathon / Half Marathon / 1 Mile
Kathy Kinane, a 1984 Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier, runs Kinane Events, Inc, which is preparing to host its fifth Surf City USA race event. She sat down with FNF to give our Surf City trainees and other members a bit of a glimpse into the unique aspects of the Huntington Beach event.
FNF: Tell us some of the reasons why you think people continue to come back to the Surf City USA Marathon / Half Marathon?
KK: We have one of the fastest courses in the country. One of the keys is that it is so close to the ocean, so it is very cool. The temperature is so mild. There is a small hill, but it is early. Even when it rained, many people still got personal bests.
We have a wave start for every thousand runners and easy access to water stations. We have great volunteers and organized water stations, clearly labeled. They are easy to get to and to see, as are our mile markers.
Our parking is convenient and we have good bus service - less than a 3 minute ride. There are Porta-potties all along the state beach, at the parking lot, etc.
FNF: These days, there are so many little details that differentiate each race from another. Some races really try to carve out their little niche. How is Surf City doing that?
KK: We have amazing finish line medals (surfboard shaped). The shirts are beautiful. They are long sleeved, with men’s and women’s cuts, so the women get a v-neck. We have great surf bands along the route, bands that have been with the race every year. We have reusable goody-bags this year with a beautiful design.
At the finish, runners can head to our free beer garden, or get their picture taken on a surfboard with a wave backdrop. Also, one great detail about our race is that there is no cement on half marathon course, it is all asphalt.
Everybody can take part in the California Dreamin’ series as well and get a special prize for completing our race, Long Beach, and San Francisco.
On the course we’ll have Lara bars, Sharkies, peanut butter and jelly, and Vitalyte. Really good stuff. We have a couple of surprises planned also – I can’t tell you everything now!
FNF: How is your race involving the community?
KK: We are again working with the Free Wheelchair Mission. It has been great to see how the money has been spent to provide wheelchairs to people around the world. They build these garden chairs with mountain bike wheels on the side of it. It is huge to get Americans to realize what a difference they are making [Free Wheelchair Mission estimates they have helped 33,000 individuals and have raised $1,600,000 through the Surf City USA events since 2006]!
We decided against the 5k this year – we just ran out of room and the half-marathon demand was so high. We kept the 1 mile race for everyone who still wanted to go for a run, and it gave the charity a chance to keep their supporters involved.
Surf City has huge support from running clubs. It is amazing to see the support we get from very committed thousands of club runners. It is a testament to our commitment to providing what a runner needs. We have 31 running clubs, including one from Canada.
We also have a great quality of experience running through the park, with local middle schoolers encouraging everyone and cheerleaders along the course. 600 people are on a waiting list to volunteer!
Thanks to Kathy for her time and best wishes to all of our Surf City USA trainees!