It wasn’t the kind of weather a beachgoer would dig, but overcast skies and temperatures in the mid-50s were welcomed by City to the Sea’s 2,000 runners who finished the half marathon at Dinosaur Caves Park in Pismo Beach on Sunday.
The men’s race was dominated by Matthew Morales, 23, of Visalia. He was running his first City to the Sea, which started at Court and Higuera streets in downtown San Luis Obispo just after the Mission bells tolled at 7 a.m.
Morales left a small group of runners on Ontario Road at about Mile 3 and never looked back, clocking the 13.1-mile course in 1:14, short of the race record of 1:10.22 set in 2009.
“I didn’t know the course so I decided to just start off slow and just race how I felt,” he said. “That’s what I did pushed it when I felt good, then kind of slowed down in the low, rolling hills.”
Still, he was pleased with his result.
“It’s a minute off my PR,” he said of his best time. “I was happy with it.”
So was the women’s winner, Kara Thorne, 31, of Arroyo Grande, who was competing in her second 13.1-mile run since her daughter was born earlier this year.
Her plan was to “go out a little more relaxed and easy.”
“I know that the first portion is pretty much downhill, so it’s easy to get carried away, and several hills are kind of a little bit late,” she said. “I just wanted to run comfortably. Really was not sure what I could do. Workouts haven’t really indicated much. So I’m pretty impressed with the time that I ran and how good I felt.”
Her 1:22 time was over the course record of 1:16:55 set at last year’s race.
Race director Brian Locher, Cuesta College’s cross-country and track-and-field coach, was pleased with the 18th running of the event, which sold out to runners in September and attracted 500 more for a 5K.
He had high praise for the cooperative weather.
“This is perfect distance-running weather,” he said after the race. “Last year was really hot, and there were a lot of people who kind of struggled in the heat. So we ordered good weather this year: overcast and cloudy, nice and cool. That’s what we got.”
City to the Sea is a fundraiser for Cuesta’s cross-country, and track and field programs.