Steven Martinez Sets Course Record at OC Marathon

People running in marathon on city streets. Motion blur.

Photo: Getty Images

NEWPORT BEACH (CNS) - San Diego's Steven Martinez won the 19th OC Marathon Sunday in a record time of 2:18:06, while Northern California's Jenny Grimshaw won the women's race in 2:53:06.

Martinez earned a $2,500 bonus for breaking the old course record of 2:22:45 set in 2011 by Peter Omae Ayieni.

He said after the race that his plan was to run about 18 miles, pacing a friend to what they hoped would be an Olympic Trials qualifying time, but that plan changed when it became apparent that the friend wouldn't make the time.

"We had a Plan A, B and C," Martinez said. "C was the worst-case scenario, me finishing."

Emilio De La Torrey finished second for the men with a time of 2:20:45, while Victoria Cronin was second for the women, just 47 seconds behind Grimshaw.

Grimshaw left her 18-month-old at home with her husband, whose birthday was Saturday.

"I left him alone, so I had to make it worth it," she said. "I really wanted a day to remember. That's why I loved it."

The event featured a capacity field of 2,600 entrants from 47 states, part of a 45% increase in registration for the four races that comprise the SDCCU OC Marathon Running Festival.

"The number of participants is returning to pre-COVID days," said Gary Kutscher, the race director for the festival, which also included a half- marathon Sunday and a 5K and kids' mile run that were held Saturday.

"After three years of pandemic restrictions folks are finally comfortable being out there together. They are ready to get out there and run in large groups and have a lot of fun," he said. "Our whole theme this year is `Let's run together,' and I think that is truly what is happening."

The marathon field included 135 runners from the nonprofit youth marathon training program We Run Our Community's Kids (WeRock).

The half-marathon drew nearly 9,000 entrants, Kutscher said. It serves as the national championship for the Road Runners Club of America, the nation's oldest and largest distance running organization with a membership of more than 1,500 clubs representing more than 200,000 runners.

The club's designation of the OC Marathon's half-marathon as its national championship "really does showcase what we think is one of the most beautiful half marathons in the country," Kutscher said.

Jordan Bramblett of Arizona won the men's half-marathon in 1:07:20, while the Bay Area's Tasia Potasinski won the women's version in 1:19:52.

The 26-mile, 385-yard full marathon course began in front of the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa, then went through Corona del Mar and the Newport Harbor area. Runners then entered Costa Mesa, passed the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, went around the South Coast Plaza and through Segerstrom High School.

The course continued for one mile in Santa Ana, then turned onto the Santa Ana River Trail for 1.5 miles, exiting at the Gisler foot bridge to run through the Mesa Verde neighborhoods and then the "Bird Streets."

The race ended at the OC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa.

Runners raised more than $500,000 for the race's 19 charity partners, Kutscher told City News Service.

The charity partners include:

-- The Autism Community in Action which provides education and support to families living with autism;

-- Hark-ALS for Peggy Fort, which raises funds to pay for in-home caregivers and specialized medical equipment for the CEO of a Corona del Mar- based boutique marketing agency diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease in 2021;

-- Project Possible, which raises money to help fund early learning centers that provide various types of therapies for children with disabilities;

-- Korean American Special Education Center which helps Korean American families with children with disabilities who were not receiving adequate special education and social welfare services due to language and cultural barriers; and

-- HD-CARE, a UC Irvine support group supporting research and patient care for people diagnosed with Huntington's disease, a progressive, inherited neurodegenerative brain disorder for which there is no treatment or cure.

Photos and complete race results can be found at

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