Santa Barbara International Marathon and 1/2 Marathon (2)
Written by Dena Evans July 31, 2011
In 2009, race director Rusty Snow brought a brand new mid-size marathon to one of the most scenic destinations in the US. Now heading toward its third year, Snow took a few moments with us to talk about this beautiful event along the California coast.
Coach: Last year, the date moved from December to a combination event with the former Santa Barbara Half Marathon date. How did that transition go and what does that switch continue to offer race participants?
RS: The transition went relatively smooth. We took the former SBAA’s News-Press Half Marathon from a previous max of 1700 in 2009 to 2710 last year! This year our max is 3500 for the Half and the way registration is going we will sell out. The SBIMarathon is our marquee event and the Half provides a great transition to it. Since both the Full and the Half travel over the same last 10 miles of the course there is a constant flow of energy from the fans on the course and at the finish.
Coach: Recently, new data was released by Running USA that indicated continued strong growth in the numbers of Americans taking part in endurance races. Women particularly have seen a huge increase over the last 20 years. As your half marathon especially has appeared to have been popular with women, what, if anything have you done to try and create an attractive event for women looking to schedule a goal race?
RS: No doubt that both the SBIMarathon and Half appeal to women, they are 65% of our registrants at the moment! What we are doing is providing a wonderful experience for the runner in general. This year we will have even more people and fan support as well as entertainment on the course and at the finish line. Women, in particular, tend to appreciate the beauty and romance of the SB setting and we are not only providing an incredible finish in the SBCC Stadium but also having a few of our famous Solstice Parade dancers welcoming all finishers (which should appeal to the men as well)!
Coach: You have always strived to provide a very hospitable atmosphere for each of the runners in your event. What are you looking to tweak this year to make the experience that much more memorable while they are actually out on the course on race day?
RS: Along with, of course, improving and adding to what we already have on the course, the biggest thing this year is honoring our veterans on Veterans day weekend! We are working on getting our veterans involved not only in walking or running our event but also being a huge presence on the course and leading the runners at the start. Our volunteers will be waving flags and cheering all participants! It’s going to be the best year thus far. We’re also giving one of the best Chocolate Chip cookies from Savoy Truffles away to each finisher! Worth the trip alone!
Coach: Sponsors are obviously key to allowing events like yours to provide those event experiences. How has Select Staffing's involvement been an asset to the event and how else has the community begun to embrace the event as it heads toward its third edition?
RS: Select Staffing has been an incredible title sponsor and this year Select has offered all their clients a free entry into Full or Half Marathon. They have a strong presence on marathon weekend from the expo to the course proving they truly do provide “Extra Mile Service” as their moniker states. The community is truly embracing the SBIM, which is so exciting in terms of more doors opening up in the community, helping us make the SBIM better every year.
Coach: What has been some of the feedback you have received from entrants over the past two years and how has that been reflected in some of the choices your committee has made or will make both this year and in future years?
RS: We had great feedback in our first year. Last year was like another first year with the addition of the Half Marathon and we had some negative feedback as we started both races late and needed more porta potties at the starts. We listen and respect all feedback and won’t have those issues again. Knowing what industry standard is in terms of numbers of porta potties to participants, I can say with all honesty we won’t have that issue again. The late start won’t happen as the reason was a safety issue and that has been resolved. The criticism we received is nothing compared to the criticism we give ourselves. This 3rd year will be a great one with so many more improvements. We are excited.
Coach: What is one thing a race director like yourself has had to do that you would have never expected you'd find yourself doing?
RS: There isn’t only one thing as I had no expectations other than to learn the job and do whatever it took. We continue to do this and improve on our organization.
Written by Dena Evans August 31, 2010
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)
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.
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!
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.