Catalina Island Marathon challenges runners

Running in Catalina Echo Marathon

Catalina Island’s rugged terrain and spectacular vistas have thrilled visitors for generations, whether they were traveling across the island by stagecoach, bus or Jeep. That rugged terrain has also made Santa Catalina a mecca for distance athletes from around the world.

One of the island’s most popular endurance races is the Catalina Island Marathon, scheduled this year for Saturday, March 19. This challenging race starts in Cat Harbor at the island’s remote West End. From there, endurance athletes will compete against each other – and themselves – across 26 miles of road, trail and track. With frequent bison spottings and entertaining aid stations, the race is popular not only for its dramatic elevation changes. Most racers will take several hours to finish the course – the course record is just under two hours and 40 minutes, set in 1991 by legendary marathoner Bill McDermott.

This year’s Catalina Island Marathon will include a change that organizers hope will reduce the race’s footprint on the island the rest of the world. The Catalina Island Marathon will now be a cupless course. Racers are encouraged to bring their own hydration system or reusable soft cups will be available for purchase.

Not quite up for the challenge of 26 miles and several brutal hills? Race day will also include a 10K, 5K and Kids Run. Proceeds from all of the day’s races benefit the Catalina Island Conservancy, which is responsible for preserving and protecting the island in its natural state in perpetuity. Visit the Run Catalina website for more information or to sign-up for the races.