- Fontana’s Jennifer Sandoval, Mexico’s Ayrton Ledesma Fuentes take Half Marathon victories
- Thousands take to streets for 39th running of Southern California’s Premier Fall Marathon
- For complete results, photos and more; visit www.RunLongBeach.com
LONG BEACH – October 15, 2023 – Jason Yang is happiest when running marathons. The 32-year-old from Los Angeles ran his fourth marathon of the year Sunday and made his morning a memorable one, winning the 39th annual Long Beach Marathon presented by Philips Sonicare in 2 hours, 27 minutes and 4 seconds.
“Running,” said Yang, “it’s just a beautiful community.”
By contrast, Ryley Fick graduated from Cal State University Long Beach in May, then stepped to the starting line Sunday for her first marathon. She won her debut at 26.2-miles, breaking the tape in 2:58:30.
“From start to finish,” Fick said, “I’d say I enjoyed it.”
Yang has logged more than a few miles in 2023. He won the Surf City Marathon in February in 2:29, placed ninth at the Los Angeles Marathon in March in 2:27:59, took third at the Orange County Marathon in May, followed up by the Long Beach win.
“I’m always trying to improve myself and my time,” said Yang. “My goal is to set a personal best every race. I definitely put the time in and try to improve.”
The scenic and fast Long Beach course, 80 percent of which offers aquatic views, features stretches by the Shoreline Marina, jets past the Queen Mary, the Lighthouse, a beach path and the college campus.
“I think it’s one of the best courses in Southern California,” said Yang. “Everyone should do this marathon. Everyone is pushing each other to do better. Everyone’s encouraging. I love the part where you’re running on the beach. You don’t get that in many races. The Queen Mary is nice and at the end, the downhill finish is amazing.”
Raymon Ornelas of Long Beach finished second in the men’s marathon in 2:29:30, followed by Fernando Villeda Reyes of Mexico in 2:35:31.
While Yang is a marathon veteran, Fick was running cross country this time last year at Cal State Long Beach. Having earned a Bachelor’s degree in May, she didn’t need directions to navigate the course.
“Running around the other areas (besides the campus) of Long Beach, through Shoreline, the marina, all the places I ran in college, it was cool running in a familiar area,” Fick said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better first race after college.”
Makenzie Patten of Eagle, Idaho, finished second in the women’s marathon in 3:04:20. Liz Arnold of Los Angeles took third in 3:05:18.
In the women’s half-marathon, Jennifer Sandoval of Fontana ran the race for the first time and figures to be back, winning in 1:18:11. 2022 Marathon champion Margaux Curcuru was second in 1:22:03.
“I looked at the course before (the race) and said I’m just going to yo-yo with people,” said Sandoval. “A lot of people were encouraging. Whenever they said I was the first female, I was just like YEAH!!! I had a lot of fun on the beach path. That was nice. And the pacers on the bikes? An awesome shout out to them for making it such a clear path.”
In the men’s half-marathon, Ayrton Ledesma Fuentes of Mexico won in 1:05:27. Robert Miranda of Venice placed second in 1:07:31. Ledesma Fuentes is hoping to qualify for the Paris Olympics in the marathon for Mexico.
“The environment was fantastic,” said Ledesma Fuentes. “The people were absolutely great. That helps us run fast.”
Each winner earned $1,000 for their victory. The races featured runners from 32 countries and 47 states. Nearly 18,000 runners participated in the weekend events, including 9 Supreme Legacy Runners who have completed all previous 38 editions of the race.
The milestone 40th anniversary of the classic Long Beach event will take place the weekend of October 5-6, 2024. Runners can take advantage of a special pre-sale registration, offering the lowest prices of the year at www.RunLongBeach.com.