Last week, our staff members Pam Guenther and Kimberly Jenkins talked about their hopes and fears for the Big Sur Half Marathon. Sunday both of them ran the race – and we tracked them all morning long!
A wave of runners comes out of the Lighthouse Tunnel in Monterey at the beginning of the Big Sur Half Marathon.
"Once you get out there, all your fears fall away and the adrenaline kicks in," Kimberly says. "It's such a nice experience, being out there, surrounded by all the other runners."
"The course was great," Pam says. "It really doesn't get much better. We were along the coastline for most of the time, and the weather was spectacular. And I like that it's a fundraiser for a youth fitness program. That's huge to me."
Thousands of runners raced along the Pacific Grove coastline.
We'd like to say we first spotted Pam and Kimberly at the Asilomar water station — but actually, Kimberly was the one who spotted us! The number of people racing by was overwhelming, but Kimberly managed to pick us out of the crowd of spectators.
Pam and Kimberly at a water station about one mile before the turnaround at Asilomar Beach.
Kimberly and Pam had been running together for quite a while at this point. "I don't normally run with other people," Pam said, "but Kimberly really pushed me to run faster and get a better time. There was a little bit of teamwork involved there. She made me go faster, especially at the end when I was dying!"
Kimberly agreed. "We were kind of pushing each other a little bit. At one point I said, 'I'm a little tired.' She said, 'Well, I'm going to keep going.' So I had to keep going too!"
Pam and Kimberly wave as they head toward the finish line along the Pacific Grove coast.
Kimberly was worried about the distance to begin with, and more so when she got a cold just a week before the race, disrupting her training schedule. Her performance, however, showed she had nothing to worry about.
"I definitely hit a wall between mile 9 and 12." Kimberly said. "I had to stop a lot more often. But once we hit Monterey Plaza and cut back up to the rec trail, it was the home stretch. My adrenalin kicked in and I picked up speed."
Kimberly had enough energy left to put on a burst of speed at the finish line. In fact, she was so fast we didn't even get a photo before she blazed past us!
She achieved a very respectable time of 2:18:46, better than half the women in the race and half the people in her age group. "My original goal was under two and a half hours. I came in way under that, so I was really excited."
Just after the race, Kimberly poses with her medal.
Pam had one goal for her race: to come in under 2 hours and 30 minutes. She beat that goal handily, with a time of 2:21:39. "I'm very pleased to have beat my previous time by 12 minutes," she said.
Her focus may have had something to do with it — she was so focused at the finish line we couldn't even get her attention for this photo!
Pam (in background) was so focused at the finish line that we couldn't get her attention!
As the two posed with their medals on Monday, they were already talking about their next big run.
Kimberly and Pam pose with their hard-earned medals.
"We're planning to run the Big Sur Marathon relay," Kimberly says. They're currently pulling together their team; we'll be sure to post their progress!
And what about next year? Pam is "strongly considering" running the Big Sur Half Marathon next November; Kimberly's already planning to do it. You can be sure we'll be there to cheer them on!