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Marathoners pound the pavement for local causes

  • The Santa Rosa Marathon and half-marathon kicked off at 7 a.m. from Juilliard Park in Santa Rosa under cool grey skies Sunday, August 30.

Santa Rosa's first marathon brought out hundreds of runners Sunday from across the country, but mainly local runners who were thrilled to be able to race close to home.

"The fact it was local .<TH>.<TH>. it's so fantastic. I woke up and ran down to start the marathon," said Bob Shebest, 35, who lives near downtown.

The Windsor Middle School, sixth-grade teacher came in second in the 26.2-mile race and took first place for his age group with a time of 2:42:17. The fastest time was by Jeff Gardina of Santa Clara at 2:30:05. He competed in the 25 to 29 age group.

Santa Rosa Marathon & Half

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<NO1><NO>"It was flat. It was fast. The weather was really cooperating," said Shebest, an East Coast transplant who's run marathons for 11 years. "It was fun."

The marathon and half-marathon event were charity benefits for the Valley of the Moon Children's Foundation and the Sonoma Humane Society.

At the 7 a.m. start, 563 runners were at the line, race organizers said. About 100 of them ran the full 26.2-mile route, while the rest ran or walked the half-marathon.

Under cool, foggy skies they left Juilliard Park south of downtown Santa Rosa for the nearby Prince Memorial Greenway path and followed it west along Santa Rosa Creek.

At Willowside Road they turned back. The full race was two loops around.

Marathon director Arthur Webb said organizers were thrilled with the interest in the first-time run.

"We had no clue we'd get so many," said Webb, 67, of Santa Rosa and a veteran distance runner who specializes in 100-mile runs.


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