Catalina Marathon Results and Recap

Hello from the Catalina Express! I’m on a boat headed back to the mainland and trying to wrap my head around this amazing weekend.

Let’s start at the middle and then go back to the beginning and then give you a snippet from the end to tell the story…

catalina marathon ocean view (800x600)

Friday night I took an hour long boat ride to Catalina Island. The 7pm sail time was perfect timing to catch the end of a gorgeous sunset. long beach pink sunset (800x600)

Hello Queen Mary, how are you this fine evening? queen mary to catalina (800x600)

The party had already started when I arrived so I jumped in fast at The Lobster Trap. Friday night was all about hydrating and carb-loading Winking smile

margaritas are good for you (600x800)

I finally got my sweet potato fix! today i love sweet potato fries (800x600)

The Catalina Marathon was on Saturday morning. So, we were up at 4am to catch the boat to the start by 5am. Luckily our rental house is only a few blocks from the dock.

catalina boat to start of marathon (800x600)on boat to cataline marathon (800x600)

All the runners staying in Avalon take an hour long boat ride to the other side of the island where the race starts in Two Harbors.

Some people slept on the ride over, but I just kinda hung out getting nervous. catalina marathon boat to start (800x600)

I wore my Mizuno Wave Riders – I don’t wear these to run usually, but Steve said I should wear shoes with a little more cushion since the trails are rocky. Plus. ProCompression! Both my shoes and socks are FILTHY now, but the combo worked great for this trail marathon!

mizuno shoes and pro compression socks (600x800)

This is a small race so it was easy to get my bib and hit up the restroom before the start.

 marathon start line trail race catalina (600x800)

Catalina Island is awesome for 86 reasons, but one of them is that there are BUFFALO on the island! Rumor has it a few were brought over to film a western movie back in the day and they left them here. The buffalo flourished and now call Catalina their home!

There were three just eating breakfast about 50 yards from the start. buffalo at start of catalina marathon (800x600)

Hector has run more than 100 marathons and keeps coming back for more!runeatrepeat and hector photo bomb steve mackel (600x800)

The Catalina Marathon is a trail race and very hilly. I knew this going into the it and just wanted to have fun and not hate running by the end of it.

big hill at catalina marathon (800x600)

Even though I knew that, I got frustrated right away that it was sooooo steep and I had to walk before mile 3. But, I reminded myself that trail running is a different sport from road running and I had to deal with it in a different way. I kept telling myself, “You can’t go fast, so just have FUN!”

catalina marathon course (800x600)

The key to trail running (for me) is to let the course come to you – run when you can run, walk when you need to walk and try not to fall!

I almost ate it so many times and almost rolled my ankle a few too – that would be the worst!! So, I kept an eye on the ground ahead of me and just kept chugging along.

catalina marathon trail race (800x600)

The great thing about the Catalina Marathon is every time the course gets tough you are rewarded with the most gorgeous views when you get around a bend or to the top of a hill. So many times I just wanted to stop and take pictures and breathe it in. catalina marathon pacific ocrean (800x600)

Fuel fail – the one thing I did wrong was take fuel like it was a road race marathon instead of a trail marathon. Trail races take me (and most people) a lot longer than road races. So, I was out running almost an hour longer than usual. I needed extra fuel for that, but failed to bring enough.

Luckily, the aid stations were stocked with water, gatorade, M&Ms, gummi bears and pretzels. Plus they all had either gallon jugs or big coolers where you could fill up your water bottle. At the last minute I decided NOT to take my new hydration belt and just held a small bottle.

The best aid station was the ranch! They had it stocked with goodies, including beer. It was fun to see so many people walking away from that station a little happier, beer in hand Winking smile

best aid station at catalina marathon (800x600)

I took my fave Mocha gel at mile 18. And grabbed watermelon at a station around 20.

mocha gel catalina marathon mile 18 (600x800)

catalina marathon ocean view 2 (800x600)

Then, at mile 23 it was all downhill from there!! Finally. It was actually so steep  and my quads were completely shot by then so I couldn’t fly down the hills as much as I wanted. I did make up a lot of time there though!

I pushed it to finish in 4:34. It was probably the hardest race I’ve ever done. But, it is also the most gorgeous, no contest. catalina marathon results (600x800)thumbs up catalina marathon (600x800)

I got mad at Steve around mile 4 because I was dying and he was so happy and loving it. I told him I’m not running with him again. But by the end I changed my mind – I had a BLAST!!

At the end my quads were screaming so I walked past the finish straight into the Pacific Ocean for an ice bath….catalina marathon pacific ocean ice bath (800x600)

I was talking to a runner I met Friday night about the course and he said, “That was stupid hard.” Ha! We all agreed, but at the same time everyone was already talking about going back next year. It’s a great time and you cannot beat the scenery.

california ice bath after catalina marathon (800x600)

The rest of the weekend was probably harder on my liver than the hilly terrain was on my quads. And that’s saying A LOT considering I woke up with very sore quads Smile


To Be Continued…

the fing catalina wine mixer

Question: What did you do/eat this weekend??

Disclaimer: The Catalina Conservancy gave me a bib to run this race. All opinions are my own.


  1. says

    I want to go to Catalina! That view! Trail races definitely are harder and take more time. Congrats! You earned that medal!

    I ran the NYC Half marathon today with some extra miles before and after (well the after miles ended up being walked because i came to realize running extra mileage after a race is dumb).
    And then I went to a BBQ place and had ribs and garlic bread for dinner. So yummy and not healthy in the least bit =)

  2. Valerie says

    Was shooting for a 9 mile easy run this weekend but managed to trip and fall at mile 7 and hit my shoulder and my head. So I ate the sidewalk today. Luckily I was looping back and was only a few yards from my house when I fell. Hoping I will be all better for next weeks Oakland Half.

  3. says

    WOW! What a great time for a trail marathon. That is how long it took me to run my first marathon on roads (and it was pretty flat too). You are awesome!

  4. says

    I ran a 5k in Anchorage that was crazy hard due to a huge snow storm that fell the night before! ( my house got 16″ of snow, the race route had 10″!) it was half road, half trail, and at the end my calves, hamstrings, and quads were crazy tight! But, all good races end with beer and this one was no exception! Congrats on your race in beautiful Catalina.

  5. says

    Those views might (and that’s a BIG might…) be worth the torture of running 26.2 on Catalina! I’ve wanted to visit the island forever and I think you convinced me with this post. Heck, those fries and margarita had me convinced before I even saw the views 😉 Great job on the race!

  6. says

    Those views are incredible! I think even though it is a hilly trail race if I had to choose one I would do this because of those incredible views. Sometimes races are fun just to go and enjoy! Great job.

  7. says

    Catalina Island looks gorgeous! I have run a few trail races but most have been only 5 miles which are quite doable. I’ve run the HUFF (10 mile not the 30 mile), twice which is in the dead of winter and very hilly. The first time I ran it, the course was flooded and so muddy that I lost my shoe in the mud. The second year I did it we had so much snow and ice that I fell and slipped so many times I was surprised I didn’t break my hip. (I’m old). Congratulations on running what looks like a brutal marathon. I love reading about your races because the places you run seem so unlike any races I have run in. I love that you took an ice bath in the ocean. Can’t wait to read about your next race!

  8. Rob Runs says

    I woke up at 4AM Saturday with a bad cold, which super sucks because that was wake-up time for the RnR DC half. Fueled by Dayquil and caffeine my only goal before the leg-destroying hill at mile 6 was to not pass out on course. I was only 30 seconds off my PR though so I ain’t mad at it. Today I ate a burrito the size of my head to undo all that good calorie-burnin’.

  9. Anel says

    Those are some serious hills…. and views!!! Definitely going to add this marathon, if I ever get to running a marathon, to my bucket list. Do they have a half marathon?

  10. says

    I ran a really hilly race this weekend too! It was only a half, but I forgot how much those hills can be murder on the quads. Going down stairs today was the WORST.

    But so worth it. :)

  11. Deana says

    What a gorgeous race! After reading your last post, I was so in love with the idea of running on Catalina that I actually checked their site to see of there were any half marathons scheduled. Sadly for me, no. I will just have to to live vicariously through your Catalina pics. :)

  12. Rene says

    It was GREAT meeting you this weekend! You’re an incredible athlete, someone to look up to. I look forward to running into you again. :-)

  13. says

    I did a little 10k ‘trail’ run today. I say trail as the road conditions were in that in between icy/melty/no gravel placed on it and so I did a lot of catching my footing and a few parts I felt I did as good of job as some Olympian figure skaters!! My time wasn’t too bad at 1:03 even though I was shooting for something way lower.

  14. says

    Catalina is beautiful! My first half marathon was actually a trail race (wtf was I thinking?) and I felt like I nearly died by the end of it. It was crazy hard but it made me want to run more halfs. I just watched some college basketball this weekend, nothing exciting.

  15. says

    That’s an friggin amazing timing for a trail race!!!!

    Unfortunately, the MWM ( was called off at the last minute yesterday due to the haze. :(

  16. says

    wow, congrats on running such a steep, hilly trail marathon! you’re awesome. the views certainly look spectacular. i ran the NYC Half yesterday, which was a sweeeet race (albeit a bit chilly). easily one of my fave races i’ve done.

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