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A well-hydrated run

Event: Scores of runners participate in races through city of Santa Clarita

Posted: November 6, 2011 10:16 p.m.
Updated: November 6, 2011 10:16 p.m.

Hanh Ha celebrates after she finishes the Santa Clarita Half Marathon in Valencia on Sunday.

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It was a dark and stormy race but by the end of the day the 2011 Santa Clarita Marathon proved a bright spot in the day for those who persevered.

Scores of sopping wet runners gathered at the starting line on McBean Parkway just north of the Valencia Boulevard, some sporting lightweight protective rain gear, others with drops of rain hanging from their noses.

As the race commentator told runners waiting for the starting gun to sound: “You don’t have to worry about being hydrated, and you won’t overheat.”

Proud but wet participants sported different-colored racing bibs for each of the marathon’s five routes: the marathon, half-marathon, 5K Run/Walk, the Mayor’s Walk and the Kid K.

Overall winner of the 2011 Santa Clarita Marathon was 40-year-old Charles “Mj” Engle of Coos Bay, Ore., with a time of 2 hours, 35 minutes and 7 seconds.

A local runner captured the best time for women running the marathon.

Jana-Rose Whatley, 22, of Santa Clarita, completed the race with a time of three hours, 31 minutes and 28 seconds — 49th overall.

The Santa Clarita Marathon, which is an official qualifying race for the Boston Marathon, wound its way through the city — along trails through Bridgeport, down Soledad Canyon Road and along the South Fork Trail — and also made good use of the trails along the San Francisquito Creek.

A chip timing system was used to keep track of times for runners in the marathon, half-marathon and 5K.

In order to score, runners were expected to wear the chip on their shoe during the race and turn it in after crossing the finish line.

Keeping cool
Veteran marathoners David Kent and Rab Brown made the trip to Santa Clarita from West Los Angeles to run here Sunday.

Since both ran the Los Angeles Marathon in the rain, Sunday’s downpour was taken in stride.

“It keeps your core cool which helps a lot because you just generate so much heat,” said Kent about the rain, having completed 45 marathons.

He singled out “hidden puddles” as problematic: “Only because your feet get wet and slosh around in your shoe.”

The secret for making marathons a way of life is to run with friends, Brown said.

“Running with friends is key. You can’t do it alone,” he said.

For some wet and cold is all about perspective.

“It’s not that cold. I’m from Minnesota,” said half-marathon runner Jayna Tilstra, who now lives in Pasadena, adding “I’m just excited to get it over with.”

For others, like 14-year-old Rebecca Carrillo, a cold wet rainy Sunday morning would have normally been better spent in bed, under the covers.

“It’s better than being hot,” she said about the rain.

Her 11-year-old sister, Maria, said she woke up Sunday thinking: “It was going to be cold but not raining.”

Both sisters, both from the Santa Clarita Valley, woke up early having failed to take into account the time change Saturday.

All things considered, they said: “It’s going to be OK.”

Sister acts
For two other local sisters, running in adverse conditions is par for their course.

Seven-year-old Lexi Fernandez and her sister Hayley, 10, are in training for national cross-country running competitions.

“Having an extra hour to sleep in was a bonus,” their mother, Dana, said.

“She loves it. She runs all the time,” she said of her youngest daughter now in training for cross-country “nationals” in Florida.

The Fernandez sisters run three days a week and have meets on “every Saturday,” said their mother.

“I didn’t want it to rain,” she said with a groan. “But, it is what it is.”

About 40 runners taking part in the “Mayor’s Walk” left the starting line about 15 minutes after the other runners departed.

One young man taking part in the “Mayor’s Walk” said he wasn’t running because he was ill.

“I’m doing this because my mom is running the half-marathon,” he said.

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