Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The rest of the big sur story

Editor's note: Blake is busy writing about her experience at the World Cross Country Championship in Spain. Meanwhile, a lot of running news here in Monterey County. Here's the Herald upcoming story on the Big Sur Marathon opting to go with an out-and-back course after the recent landslide on Highway 1:

B y   D E N N I S   T A Y L O R
Herald Staff Writer
o The uncertainty of the timetable to permanently repair the damage on Highway 1 prompted officials from the Big Sur International Marathon to confirm Tuesday that a modified course will be used for the 2011 race on May 1.
This year's 26.2-mile course will begin and end at Rio Road in Carmel — an out-and-back course — as opposed to the traditional Big Sur to Carmel setup.
The change was necessitated when a 60-foot section of Highway 1 fell into the Pacific Ocean on March 16, making the road impassible. The damage occurred about two miles south of Rocky Point.
The Department of Transportation said a temporary fix for the road is expected to be completed by April 16. A two-mile section, from Bixby Bridge to Palo Colorado Road, remains closed to all traffic.
Julie Armstrong, marketing and communications director for the Big Sur International, said the exact course won't be finalized for several weeks, but the hope is that the race can be routed through parts of Point Lobos State Reserve.
A meeting between marathon officials and state parks officials has been scheduled Thursday to determine whether the park can be made available to the marathoners for the event. The Big Sur International already uses part of Point Lobos for its 9-mile race on the same day.
"We really started looking at (using an out-and-back course) right after the slide. We had a precedent to do it," Armstrong said, referring to the 1998 marathon, which was altered to an out-and-back race when the El NiƱo storms destroyed part of Highway 1. "The information we're receiving from Cal Trans is that there might be a temporary opening of the road in a month, but we can't go forward on the assumption that all will be fine on May 1, and then find out two days before that we need to change our course. So the decision has been made."
Armstrong said logistical considerations such as transportation, aide stations, security and location of the musical acts have to be made, and all of the information has to be communicated in advance to the runners.
The Big Sur International Marathon page on Facebook has been inundated with comments from registered participants. Armstrong said the vast majority of the posts have been positive.
"We've been emphasizing some of the positive aspects of an out-and-back course," Armstrong said. "The runners won't have to run Hurricane Point, they'll hear twice as much music, they might get to see part of Point Lobos, and headwinds won't be as much of an issue."
Photos of the washout have been posted on the Big Sur International website to help participants understand the scope of the problem on Highway 1.
The new course, when finalized, will be a certified 26.2-miler, since Big Sur International Marathon times are used as qualifiers for the Boston Marathon and other major events.

Dennis Taylor can be reached at dtaylor@montereyherald.com or 646-4344.

No comments:

Post a Comment