Race History

Semana Nautica 15K

The oldest continuously running race on the central coast. The first running was in 1955 and there were 13 finishers. By looking at this race one can observe how running has changed over the years. The first races were fairly formal events with everyone represented by full names (The Phillip S. Clarke, Jr. of 1955 became Phil Clarke by 1963). All the runners were young men, and there was no need to specify age or sex in the results forms. By the mid 60s, masters runners started running more, and people 40+ would have their ages listed. In 1969 there were two runnings, one open and one solely for masters runners. Divisions started to appear. At first these were very vague by modern standards: “Boys” or “Junior High”, but over time they became more specific. In 1971 the first women ran the race. By 1979 almost everyone had their age (and sex) listed, and in 1980 the modern concept of divisions appeared. The race was initially a team race (a team consisting of at least 5 runners, the first 5 of whom score, the next 2 displace and any others are ignored. A team’s score is determined by adding the places of the top 5 finishers on the team (the winning team being the one with the lowest score), finishers 6 and 7 on a team do not score directly, but they take up space on the place list causing runners behind them [on other teams] to have higher scores, finishers after 7th on a team do not get places [at least not as far as team scoring is concerned]). Over time running has become more of an individual endeavor and by 1982 teams had vanished. In 2010 John Brennand reintroduced the team aspect.

not repeated, but a separate walk start remains.

In 1991 the concept of Age Grading first appeared. This is an attempt to quantify how much decline a runner should expect in his/her speed as s/he ages, and to quantify the speed difference between men and women. WAVA (world athletics veteran’s associate) examined world record times for runners of each age and sex and then fitted the result to a smooth curve that best fits the scatter graph. Runners’ speeds can then be transformed into a percentage of the world record speed for that particular distance and their particular age.

In the early days of the race everyone was young and male and fairly fast. In 1955 I only have results for the top ten finishers (of 13 total) but all finished in under an hour. In 2011 20 runners out of 286 finished in under an hour; perhaps a better comparison is: in 2011 of the 15 runners between 19 and 29 only 5 were under an hour.

Over time running has waxed and waned in popularity. In 1955 this race had 13 finishers; in 1978 it peaked with 463; nowadays it seems to attract about 300~350 runners. The percentage of women has grown, fairly steadily, from 0% at the start to just under 50% now.

When the race started there were very few races anywhere and people were more willing to travel to find a race. In 1955 (of the top 10 finishers) there was only one runner who was from the SB area, while the other 9 came from LA. In 2012 out of 348 finishers 232 were from the SB area while 47 were from the LA area.

In the 1955 until the 1986 (and a couple of times in the 90s) this race was the regional championship 15K race of the Southern Pacific Association of the AAU. In 1965, 1976, 1979 this was the AAU National Championship 15K race (with Merle McGee, 45:59, Gary Tuttle, 45:42, and Breton Hart, 45:32 being the National Champions).

The course originally started on the UCSB campus and involved two loops down to the airport and back (I’m not sure of the exact route). In 1968 the course moved to Goleta and started and finished at San Marcos HS. In 1981 the race start moved slightly to San Simeon Dr. In 1988 the bike path was first used to get under the freeway, and Hollister, and the route has remained essentially the same since.

In 1993 separate wheel chair and walk races were added. The wheel chair race was not repeated, but a separate walk start remains.

Santa Barbara Marathon,Santa Barbara Half Marathon

Santa Barbara News Press Half Marathon, Santa Barbara International Marathon, and Santa Barbara International Half Marathon

All are part of the same evolutionary process. The SB Marathon was first run in 1965, and it had 17 finishers. Attendance peaked in 1977 with 354 finishers, and that year also saw the first running of the half marathon (with 240 finishers). By 1984 the full marathon had declined and only had 114 finishers. At this point the race director decided that it would be better to put more energy into the half marathon and the full was dropped (see John’s comments at the end of the race results for more info). In the early days of the marathon it was also a team race (as was everything in those days I think); in 1968 teams only had 3 runners scoring (probably because no team had more than 4 runners).

The 1966 SB Marathon was the first local race (for which I have data) in which a woman ran. In those days women were not allowed to run in races longer than a mile and a half so the woman does not appear in the official results (as printed then, I’ve added her on line) but is only mentioned in the comments. In 1969 two women ran (still unofficially) but this time they appear in the results with just initials.

On 1 April 1995 a group named Power Endurance Events, which was not affiliated with the SBAA, put on a race they called “The Santa Barbara Marathon”. This race started near the intersection of 154 and Camino Cielo, went along Camino Cielo to Gibraltar, down that to Mountain, out Mountain into Montecito then (somehow) down to the beach finishing near Butterfly beach.

On 12 May 2001 someone else put on a “Santa Barbara Marathon” complete with an attached half marathon.

As mentioned above the half marathon was initially run in 1977, and it has run every year since then. It was created to provide something for partners and children to do while their partner/parent ran the marathon, but by its second year it had overtaken the marathon in popularity, and ultimately caused its demise.

In 1996 the Santa Barbara News Press started sponsoring the half, and with that sponsorship the name changed to be the SB News Press Half Marathon

In 2009 we had the first running of the Select Staffing/Santa Barbara International Marathon. In 2010 marathon and the half marathon were again conjoined and the News Press sponsorship was replaced by that of Select Staffing.

The route has changed over the years. The current routes are shown on the SBIM website. From 1993 to 2009 the half marathon started and finished at Leadbetter Beach with a ~5 mile excursion to the Mesa and back and then running out to butterfly beach, around the music academy and back. In 1992 the course started near Castillo and Cabrillo and took a very scenic route through Montecito before returning. In 1991 (I think) the course started at Cliff & Miegs, went down Shoreline, Cabrillo, past the cemetery and out Channel Dr. down Humphrey, past the Miramar and then back.In 1972 the N.A.I.A. District III held a collegiate marathon using the then SBM course.

AAU National One Hour Run Championship, TAC National Postal One Hour Run Championship

In the ’60s and ’70s the one hour run was moderately popular; unlike most races where people try to run a given distance as fast as possible, in this race people tried to run for a given time as far as possible. The national one hour run championship was held yearly at several (one in 1958, three in 1968 and twenty-eight in 1977) locations scattered across the US; from the late-60s on, one of these locations was Santa Barbara. Initially all the heats were on the same day and at the end of the day the results were pooled. Later the races could be held on different dates (but within the same year), and the results were pooled after the last heat; this was sometimes called a “postal” run as the results had to be compiled by mail (post). This type of race lead to the interesting result that the same person could appear in the results several times if s/he ran more than one of the heats. This was always a track race. In Santa Barbara the field of runners was split in half (faster and slower) and everyone teamed up with someone in the other group. Then one group would run for an hour while their team mates recorded the number of laps and splits for each lap. Then after the hour was up everyone would stop and they’d go out and measure how far each runner had gotten into his/her last lap. After this the teams would reverse and the person who hadn’t run earlier would now run while the first runner was record keeper. (You can’t keep track of your own laps, it’s just too easy to lose count after 40 or 50, and no one then had watches (or chips) that could do it automagically).

This race was held for many years. The first national championship one hour run was hosted in Chicago in 1958 by the Midwest Road-Runners Club (the National 12 mile championship was held concurrently). The first results I have are from 1968, and the last from 1981 (I believe the last running was 1982 — I have no results for it but the SBAA newsletter from July 1982 says it would be run on the UCSB track on 7 August, so I presume it was. I can find no mention of the race in 1983 or subsequent years.).

One hour races continue to be held (albeit sporadically), the current world record (as of 2012) was set by Haile Gebrselassie in 2007 at 21,285 m (13 miles, 397 yards, just over a half marathon).

The first women runners were in 1971, the year before the AAU officially allowed women to run long distances. In 1970 there were no obvious women in the results, while in 1971 there are 8. (There is no other indication in the printed results as to their sex than their names, while in 1972 the women are picked out as “WOM”) Of the 8, 3 ran on the SB track (including Lyn Carmen and her daughter Mary), 3 in Wilmington DE, 1 in NY and 1 in Knoxville TN (while there were none in Seattle, DC, Columbia MO, Portland, Raleigh, Boston, Akron or Indiana).


The Amateur Athletic Union which supervised amateur running the way USATF does today. For various reasons it was split by congress in 1978/9 and the new entity in charge of running was The Athletic Committee (or TAC) which later changed its name to USATF. The races in 1980-82 were organized by TAC rather than the AAU.

The SPA (Southern Pacific Association)

Geographical subdivision of the AAU/TAC/USATF in which Santa Barbara resides. It seems to include everything from LA to San Luis. In 1974 the results I have are only for the meets held within the SPA (this usually accounted for about a third to a quarter of the national total).

Winter Runs 10MChardonay 10M, SB Winery 10M Run, SB Running 10M.

First run in 1977 the Winter Run was initially sponsored by Sambo’s and the race started in front of the restaurant on Cabrillo (no idea where it went from there). Over time the race moved to start at the east beach bathhouse and went out into Montecito, along Butterfly beach, out N. Jameston to Sheffield, back along San Leandro, Santa Rosa, San Ysidro to 192, down Cota and Pepper to Olive Mill again and retraced its route to finish at the bath house.In 1986 the run was sponsored by the Consulate of New Zealand, and the attached 5K was called the Ron Dixon 5K. In 1988 the SB Winery started sponsoring the race and changed the name to Chardonay (and sometimes The SB Winery 10M).

By 2002 the course had changed again, starting at Leadbetter going out to the intersection of Jameston and Humphrey and returning.

Initially the race was partnered with a 6M run, but over time this dropped to a 5K.

Valley of the Flowers Half Marathon and Marathon

Originally run in 1977. The marathon seems to have died out in 1997, but the half marathon continues. Organized by the Lompoc Valley Distance Club.

McConnell’s Ice Cream Endurance Races

Originally run in 1977, when it followed the Winter Runs course (Starting on Cabrillo it ran to the Biltmore, up into Montecito then back down ending at the bird refuge). In 1978 it became a 5 mile beach run starting at Hendry’s and going down toward Leadbetter and back (sort of the opposite of Chuck’s). In 1984 it moved out to Goleta Beach and became the 5K, 10K and mile swim race which we have today. The race is held annually (although one year has been missed).

Woman’s Only 10K, Fay Hobbes 10K ♀, and Fay Hobbes 10K, She Is Beautiful 10K

The first Woman’s Only 10K was run in 1978, and it was run yearly until 1988. In July of 1988 local runner Fay Hobbs died of cancer and the race was renamed for her, in that year it also gained a 5K option. It continued as a woman’s only race for 4 years, but in the 1991 running a number of people (including the winner, Mary Ryzner) complained about woman’s only format (Mary said she couldn’t race as well if she didn’t have someone ahead of her, and that she liked passing men). In 1992 the race was partly opened to men — in addition to the female only 5 and 10K there were also male only 5 and 10Ks. In 1993 both distances were mixed, and the 5K was renamed for Terry Fox. The 10K died in the late 90s (or perhaps it was transnomened to the Cancer Center Run), while the 5K popped up a couple of times in the early 00s as the 5K option to the Resolution Runs. In 2008 Patsy Dorsey revived the race with a 5K distance and it was named the Patsy Dorsey 5K. Patsey encouraged runners to wear lots of bracelets as Fay had done in her heyday.

Avocado Festival 4M and 5K

Originally run in 1978, it was a 4 mile loop through Carp, starting near Carp HS on 192, going west Santa Monica Rd down to Via Real, then wiggling through the neighborhoods to Lindon, back up to 192 and finishing at the High School. In 2007 the course changed and became a 5K cross country run on the Carp bluffs. It is part of the Carp Avocado Festival

New Year’s Resolution Run

5K & 10K was originally run on New Years Day 1979 and has been run yearly ever since. There has always been a 5K and 10K, though on some years the 5K has had another name (Fay Hobbs, Terry Fox, etc.). The course has been along the downtown waterfront but has changed slightly over the years. In some years, when New Year’s Day fell on a week-end the race was moved up to New Year’s Eve, or even the day before because the week-end crafts fair has precedence.

New York Resolution Run

Map of the route of the 1984 races. The 10K goes out onto the breakwater. (Map complete with a laid-back sea-serpent).

Jim Ryun 10K

The first run in 1979 and run (at least) until 1989. Jim Ryun was the last American to hold the world record in the mile and he lived in Santa Barbara in the 70s and some of the 80s. He and his family ran in this race.

Cancer Society 10K was first run in 1980. Races supporting cancer have been run pretty continuously since then. I think the Fay Hobbs races were for cancer prevention (at least toward the end), and now we have the Cancer Center runs in Montecito.

Stagecoach Road Race 4M  (Paradise Rd. Freefall)

The first run in 1980, continued annually until 1983 (at least), and then was held sporadically. The last results I have are from 1995. The race started at Cold Springs Tavern, ran 2 miles down Stagecoach road to Paradise Store, and then returned and went back to the tavern. This involves a ~700ft drop from the Tavern to Paradise followed by a ~700ft climb back up.

Sri Chinmoy Race Series

A collection of races of many distances (3, 5, & 7 miles, 10K, half marathon and marathon) sprinkled over the course of the year. Possibly races were held once a month (my data are incomplete) but I can detect no pattern to the distances. Races were certainly held from 1981 to 1988 and perhaps longer. I believe that for a while there was a two mile race once a week (but I have found no results for these).

The races were all held on a one mile loop, often at Chase Palm Park but I think their marathons were on a different mile loop.

Sri Chinmoy was an Indian mystic who believed that running was good for the soul (perhaps as the yogis believe that poses are) and started a set of running races to encourage this. Over its existence his organization put on more than 450 races about half of which were in SB.

Couple’s Relay, Partner’s Run, Valentine’s Day Run, Romeo’s Run & Relay

All represent variations on the basic theme of a male/female relay race to be held near Valentine’s Day. Between 1981 and 1996 (inclusive) there was a 2*4 mile race around the UCSB lagoon. When it was revived in 2008 it was 2*2 miles (each person running 2 miles) and a 4 mile run for people not doing a relay again round the UCSB lagoon. The race was not run in 2012 or 2013.

State Street Mile

Originally run in 1983 and continued annually until 1990, after which there was a three year hiatus and the race restarted in 1994. At least one year there was a wheelchair division and an inline skating division.

Originally the prize money for running faster than the previous record doubled each time someone broke it, but after several years the men’s record had been broken almost yearly while the women’s record only occasionally the men’s prize was 4 times the women’s (which seemed unfair) so the system was dropped.

Stroh’s Run for Liberty 8K

A nationwide fundraiser for the restoration of the Statue of Liberty in preparation for its centennial in 1986. The race was held annually from 1984 to 1986 in hundreds of cities across the US. In Santa Barbara it was run around Stow Park.

Law Day 15K

Originally run in 1987. Usually the high point of the race seems to have been the 3*5K relay rather than the 15K itself. The race did not happen in 1990, but resumed in 1991. It intermittently had a companion 5K which was sometimes a non-competitive walk, sometimes a competitive run. For a number of years there was also a non-competitive baby-jogger 5K push. In 2005 the 15K became a 10K instead. The last running was in 2008.

Tough Enough 100km Relay & Ultra was originally run in the 1980s (started in 86 or 87) but then died out in the early 90s (definitely run in 1995). In 2005 or 2006 Jim Kornell happened to see someone wearing a ancient Tough Enough tee-shirt and decided to revive it in 2006 and it has run yearly since.

Night Moves series was originally run in 1989 (it was spelled properly until 1995 at which point it became “Nite”). In the first year it was run every other week, and some of the races were 8Ks (rather than just 5Ks). The last 8K for which I have data was in 1991. By 1992 races were run weekly. I believe Night/Nite moves has been held annually and the 2013 will be the 25th year.

Nine Trails

Santa Barbara’s first ultramarathon, was originally Patsy Dorsey’s training course. She turned it into a race in 1990 and it ran (almost) yearly through 2007. In 1995 the west fork of Cold Spring washed out and the race was suspended until the trail was rerouted. In 2008 the Tea Fire closed the course a week before the race and it was moved (at the last minute) out to Ojai. In 2009 the Jesusita Fire closed the course in June and the race was moved permanently into the back country and renamed the Red Rock 40M. Due to a road closure in 2011 the start (and distance) were changed and it became the Red Rock 50M. A marathon distance was also added in 2011. Nine Trails was not held in 1995, 1996 or 1998.The course for Nine Trails started at Cater Water Treatment plant on San Roque Rd (at the flagpole), ran up the road slightly to the Jesusita trailhead, up Jesusita to Inspiration, then down to Tunnel Trail, up that to the Rattlesnake Connector, down that to the meadow, up Rattlesnake to Gibraltar Rd, down that to the hairpin turn, down Cold Springs West to the creek, across the creek and up Cold Springs East to the Hot Springs Connector (beyond the pylons), down past the hot springs to the fireroad, out that to San Ysidro, briefly down San Ysidro to the Wall (fireroad) up that to the top, down Buena Vista to the connector, up the connector to the fireroad that leads to Romero, out the fireroad to a spur road, up that to the Romero connector, down that to Romero, down Romero to the paved road. Draw breath. Turn around and do the whole thing in reverse.The course for Red Rock originally started at the Red Rock Recreation area at the end of Paradise Rd. and went across the creek and along the road to Gibraltar Dam, then turned left onto the side road that runs beside the reservoir, which fades out into a trail at the mercury mine, along the trail to the Grotto, on to Forbush, up to Camino Cielo, down San Ysidro and up the Wall to Buena Vista and eventually Romero. And turn around.

The current Red Rock course starts at Rancho Oso (off Paradise Rd.) heads out to Arroyo Burro fireroad, up to Mattias trail, out to Gibraltar Dam, and then as before.

Pier to Peak Half Marathon

Originally run in 1993 and I think has continued annually since then. The course starts at Stern’s Wharf and climbs up past the Mission, up Gibraltar to Camino Cielo and then on to La Cumbra peak. In 2008 the course was deemed a little short for a half marathon and a small out and back section was added on Camino Cielo. The Pier is at sea level, and the Peak is just shy of 4000ft.In the early races there was a $100,000 prize for anyone breaking 69 minutes on the course (seems a fairly safe bet on the part of the organizers)

Fiesta Footraces 30K

Started in 1986 and continued (at least) until 1988 when it was the TAC (early name for USATF) National Championship 30K race. The course started at Leadbetter, ran up (somewhere) onto the Mesa, back down and over to (somewhere in) Montecito, back again and finished (somewhere) in Old Town.There was an attached 5K and one year a 15K. Later the 30K became a 20K.

La Cumbra to La Playa

Another intermittent race. The first record I have is of a running in 1992, a 7.5 mile run, which went through Hope Ranch, taking Las Palmas to Lago to Estrella to Marina to Cliff to Shoreline and finishing with a lap around La Playa (SBCC) stadium. After that there is a gap until 2001. The last running was in 2003 and I believe it came down Los Positas then rather than going through Hope Ranch.In 2004 a new race was born Roses to La Playawhich began at the Mission rose garden, wiggled around a bit and then headed down State St, finishing at Leadbetter. This race had various distances over the years 10K, 5M, and 5K, usually with a bit of out and back running along the waterfront to make the distance come out right. This race, in turn, died in 2008.In 2009 Roses en La Playa was born, and it just ran along the Night Moves course.

Vicki’s 3K

Originally run in 1996, and has run yearly since. The only oddity happened in 2006, the first running on the Westmont track (which was then incomplete) when it was impossible to determine the exact distance of the race — best guess was 3.2K (or about 2 miles) give or take. Maybe sorta.The “Vicki” in the name was the daughter of SBCC coach Robin Paulsen, and any money raised by the event has since been donated to the special Olympics in her memory.This is the only track race for which I am keeping data. It was originally run on the SBCC track, and then moved to the Westmont track in 2006.The race consists of 3 or 4 heats, and people seat themselves. Online I ignore the heats and commingle the results.

Need more info:
Orchard to Ocean

Race Started Ended
Zonta 10K 1979 1990?
Celebration of Architecture 10K 1979 1983?
Goleta Kiwanis Parcourse 5K & 10K 1980 1981?
Carp. Orchard to Creek 7.1M 1977 1982?

Acknowledgements I need to thank everyone who kindly let me look at their old race results, specifically: John Brennand, Stephanie Welch, Ralph Philbrick, Joe Howell, Lauren Udden, David Groom, Kevin Young, Mike Kelly, Bill Rupp and Vern Caloudes.
I also need to thank John Brennand, and Jim Kornell for answering my endless questions about race histories.