First of all- I don’t run. I love long walks, but I’ve never been able to run very far, and I don’t find anything enjoyable about it. But lots of other people love to run, and every year one of the big summer events here is the Wharf to Wharf race. 16,000 entered it this year. Registration filled up in 19 hours. It starts by the Santa Cruz wharf and goes to the Capitola wharf, mostly near the ocean. Every year, I get a cup of coffee and walk to the end of 41st Ave where it meets East Cliff Dr. and wait for the action to start. Why there? Because that’s where the Blue and Red Circus Band plays. There are bands all along the route, but this is the one I like. A couple minutes after I got there, they started playing ‘Stars and Stripes Forever’.
The race starts at 8:30, and this location is just before the 5-mile mark, so I get there about 8:45. At about 8:50, a truck goes by, indicating that the first runners aren’t far behind.
Next come the motor cycle riding police or sheriffs.
They are followed by the big truck.
The small van behind the truck has the back open and someone inside filming the lead racer. And finally we get to see him:
He is Simon Ndirangu of Kenya. The winners are nearly always from Kenya or Ethiopia. Some years it’s not clear at the 5-mile mark just who is going to win, but Simon had a sizable lead. Often, the next several runners are also Africans, but we got a surprise this year. Second place went to Scott Bauhs of San Luis Obispo.
Here’s Scott followed by Ben Bruce of Arizona, and Nelson Oyugi of Kenya. Last year, Nelson won, Ben was 5th and Scott was 9th. Here are pictures of Ben and Nelson as they passed by the band:
After these leaders, runners start coming along in multiples, and women are among them.
She is Caroline Rotich of Kenya, fastest woman, and 13th place overall. Just three places behind her was Aliphine Tuliamuk-Bolton of Kenya:
As the crowds start coming it becomes a sea of bobbing heads:
I found Waldo. (Actually, this is the second Waldo I found). I can go back home now.