Jennifer Pfeifer couldn't help but recall when she ran on some of these very same trails as a member of the Half Moon Bay High School cross-country team.

Sunday, as she competed in the first-ever Half Moon Bay International Marathon, she remembered working out on Coastside trails and sharing laughs with her friends.

She was all business Sunday, however, winning the women's portion of the Half Moon Bay International Marathon, which took place along the Coastal Trail. Her time was 3 hours, 5 minutes, 57 seconds.

Scott Dunlap was the overall winner, finishing the course in 3 hours, 31 seconds.

Pfeifer, who ran in the 2008 Olympic trials in the marathon, signed up for the race shortly after it was announced.

"I'm just thrilled that they put together a marathon," Pfeifer said. "It was really well organized. It was an excellent course."

Since the course was in her hometown, it made it easy for her to come back and run.

She also reflected on what her old cross-country coach, the late Dick Calvin, would think of the race.

"I think he would be thrilled to see a marathon put on here," Pfeifer said. "He was always happy to see his runners do well. He was very supportive."

Pfeifer now lives in the Sierra foothills community of El Dorado, where she's a teacher. She trained in hot conditions.

The weather was different Sunday, more like what she remembers from her days at Half Moon Bay. It was overcast most of the day with a slight drizzle near the end of the competition.

"It definitely brought back a lot of memories," Pfeifer said. "I tried to focus on how wonderful it was to be running by the ocean."

The view was the main selling point of the race.

"It was so beautiful," said Dunlap, a Woodside resident. "You see the high cliffs and the surfers were out, which was fantastic. There are the trails, and just enough hills to keep all of us honest. And all the neighbors came out along the course. It was just amazing."

There were people cheering on the runners at nearly every part of the 26-mile, 385-yard race.

The only time the runners had the course all to themselves was near the golf course. That didn't last for long. A bagpipe player appeared to serenade the runners.

"All the golfers stopped and cheered everybody," Dunlap said.

There were several competitions.

Adam Daoud of Somerville, Mass., currently a student at Stanford University was the overall half marathon winner, in 1:18.12. Marysol Varela of Orlando, Fla., won the female half marathon in 1:36.04. She was fifth overall. One of the first people to greet her was her husband.

"I loved watching the Pacific as I ran," Varela said. "I didn't know about Half Moon Bay until I found out about the marathon. I started researching more about it. I found out it was close to San Francisco. We just made it a whole trip, going to San Francisco and coming here for the run."

Overall female winner in the 10K, Alejandra Marin, was just edged out by overall 10K winner TJ Leising of Santa Clara.

It was the first time a marathon was held in Half Moon Bay. The competitors gave the organizers high marks.

"I'd put this in the top 10," Dunlap said, who runs about 15 marathons a year. "This one is really neat. What I liked was it was a little bit of everything. There was a little trail, a little road, some little hills and a little flat. You just keep looking to your side and it's a beautiful ocean. No doubt in my mind I am coming back."

(1) comment


Nonda Trimis of Seattle, HMBHS class of 1976, also ran the inaugural Half Moon Bay marathon on Sunday. He was on the Half Moon Bay High School cross-country team when Mr. Calvin was the coach. This was Nonda's 26th marathon.

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