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Lovely day for a run

About 12,000 participate in the OC Marathon that featured a new course through Newport Beach, Costa Mesa and Santa Ana.

May 02, 2011|By Britney Barnes, britney.barnes@latimes.com
  • Runners take off from the starting line of the 2011 OC Marathon at Fashion Island in Newport Beach on Sunday.
Runners take off from the starting line of the 2011 OC Marathon… (Ani Yessayan, Daily…)

COSTA MESA — The seventh annual OC Marathon drew more than 12,000 runners through Newport Beach, Santa Ana and Costa Mesa with ocean views and picture-perfect weather Sunday morning, officials said.

"I'm just extremely pleased," said Race Director Gary Kutscher. "It was a great day yesterday."

The countywide event, which featured a 5K, half- and full- marathon, debuted a new course that gave runners views of the Pacific starting at Newport Center Drive in front of the Newport Beach Marriott hotel and ending at the OC Fair & Event Center.

Kutscher said he didn't get one complaint about the new course, which was changed to protect endangered birds on Back Bay Drive, and hope they continue with the change next year.

"We're so pleased with the course," he said. "I hope we can move forward without a course change."

The event brought out about 25,000 spectators to cheer on the runners. In residential areas like Newport Beach's Dover Shores and Costa Mesa, the streets were lined with supporters, Kutscher said.

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The weather was perfect, though warm, and about 3,000 fewer than registered either completed or showed up for the races, Kutscher said.

Crestline, Calif., resident Peter Omae Ayieni, 33, placed first in the marathon in 2:22:45. Brea resident Maika Nelson-Carlsen, 30, was the first woman in 3:00:57.

Students also got in on the action with the culmination of the "Kids Run the OC," with a mile run at the O.C. Fairgrounds. The students have been running at their schools, racking up 25.2 miles.

Newport Beach residents Adam Gaa, 6, Sean McCarthy, 7, Briana Pelago, 10, and Conrad Hampson, 11; Corona del Mar resident Van Freund, 8; Costa Mesa resident Samantha Garcia, 9; Huntington Beach residents Sierra Williams, 8, and Julian Shackelford, 10; Tustin resident Semiramis Tanasescu, 7; Orange resident Pyper Slattery, 7; Chino resident Lenny Jacob Lara, 9; and Santa Ana resident Hannah Hall, 11, placed first overall in their respective categories.

—Alexandra Baird also contributed to this report.

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