Ryan Neely of Berkeley could have been the overall winner at Sunday’s Half Moon Bay International Marathon. However, with a good-sized lead and his girlfriend, Kimberly O’Donnell leading in the women’s race, Neely decided to hold up and run with O’Donnell.
The two crossed the finish line together. Thanks to a slight lean, O’Donnell, from Portola Valley, was the overall winner, even though both finished in 2 hours, 53 minutes, 58 seconds.
Neely had to settle for being just the men’s overall winner.
“I told her that if we were out front, I would pace her for the whole race,” Neely said. “I would try and beat who was out front. It ended up being us two.”
The two run together often. A few weeks ago, they ran part of the course as a training run.
The two stuck together from the start until the finish on Sunday. No one had ever seen a man and woman hit the finish line at the same time.
“Anything can happen in a marathon,” O’Donnell said.
The marathon was one of four races on Sunday. The marathon was the only race that went north toward Montara before heading south on the Coastal Trail. The other three races headed south before returning north.
Susanne Spano of Fresno took the women’s half-marathon in 1 hour, 36 minutes, 50 seconds, more than two minutes ahead of Betsy Diaz.
It was the first time she ever won a race, despite falling on the fifth mile of the 13-mile course. She went to the medical tent as soon as she finished the race and got herself cleaned up.
“Maybe I should stop now while the going is good,” she said with a smile.
Another Fresno resident, J.K. Lundberg, took the overall half-marathon title in 1:20:18. It’s his first ever win.
“The course is fantastic,” Lundberg said. “There isn’t an ocean in Fresno. The course is too beautiful to be hard.”
Jeff Rupert knows about running next to the Pacific Ocean. The Half Bay resident won the 10K race in 40:30.
“It’s just a beautiful place to run,” said Rupert, who didn’t have a problem with the foggy conditions.
“I got up this morning and thought it would be 45 degrees,” Rupert said. “I thought it would be a little too cold. But once the fog comes in, it warms a bit.”
El Granada resident Juliana Ron was the women’s 10K winner, in 45:48.
Combined with a 5K, the four races drew 1,000 runners.