Pasadena, HB Runners Top Fields in Surf City Marathon

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. -- Jacques Sallberg of Pasadena and Leng Klukken of Huntington Beach were the top finishers in Sunday's 13th Annual Surf City USA Marathon.

Sallberg won with a time of 2:24.56, followed by Mark Batres, 24, of Roland Heights, who clocked the 26.2 miles in 2:30.20, a spokeswoman said.

Third-place finisher Andy Koziatek, 27, of St. Louis, came in at 2:35.20, said  publicist Jennifer Hernandez.

The top woman was Leng Klukken, 37, of Huntington Beach, who won with a time of 3:04.52. Nicole Dlalock, 24, of Huntington Beach, finished second at 3:10.28, and Heidi Pahl, 36, of Scottsdale, Ariz., took third with a time of 3:11.58.

About 2,600 runners were expected to compete. Among them was Jenny Masche, the mother of sextuplets born in June 2007. She has run several marathons since giving birth.

Also finishing the marathon were Adrian Broca, dubbed by organizers as the nation's fastest blind marathon runner and Barry Wallman, who is seeking to complete a marathon for the 89th consecutive month.

The race is billed as the state's largest oceanfront running event and raises more than $1 million for charity.


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All together, about 18,000 people were entered to run in the marathon, a half-marathon and a 5K run and a milelong children's fun run. Combined, the races draw runners from all 50 states and eight other countries.

The winner of the half-marathon was Joseph Chirlee of Murrieta, Ga., followed by Peter Gilmore, 31, of San Mateo, Hernandez said.

The top woman in the half-marathon was Heather Gibson, 29, of Carpinteria, followed by Mary Coordt, 39, of Elk Grove, she said.

The number of marathon entrants was up about 30 percent this year compared to last year. Entries for the five-kilometer run also increased from about 2,000 last year, when the total field was just under 17,000. Race general manager Amy Tomchak credited the increase in participation to a positive article in Runner's World magazine and word-of-mouth.

"More and more runners are looking for a special experience, and when they have it, they share it with their friends," Tomchak said, adding that the race sold out in record time. "The cool perks, the oceanfront course and surf atmosphere make it special."

For a fourth year in a row, racers were encouraged to find sponsors to raise funds for the Free Wheelchair Mission, an Irvine-based Christian nonprofit group that provides wheelchairs to poor people in developing countries. This year's fundraising target is $600,000, which would result in an additional 11,600 wheelchairs. In its first three years, the Surf City USA Marathon has raised nearly $1.2 million.

More than $400,000 was expected to be raised for the American Stroke Association and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

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