Avalon Benefit 50-Mile Run challenges racers from around the world.
Catalina Island is known for its endurance events. Several marathons and a triathlon encourage athletes to push themselves beyond their limits, tackling the island’s challenging terrain and their own endurance. The most challenging of all Catalina Island’s endurance events happens Jan. 11. The Avalon Benefit 50-Mile Run attracts some of the world’s top endurance competitors for a challenge that makes most weak in the knees just thinking about it.
The race begins just before dawn in Avalon. Racers face the island’s challenging terrain immediately, with the climb out of Avalon and up into the hills. Once they reach the summit, the course leads them across the island, past grazing bison, along dramatic seascapes and through oak forests. Just past Two Harbors, the racers turn around, facing the return course back to Avalon. Competitors have 12 hours to complete the race, with the competition ending at 5 p.m. Top finishers will arrive well before then; the course record is just under six hours.
The benefit part of the Avalon Benefit 50-Mile Run has helped several local organizations. The race is a fundraiser for the Avalon Lions Club and proceeds have benefitted the Catalina Island Medical Center and the Catalina Island Conservancy as well as scholarships for students from Avalon Schools.