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Huntington Beach Hosts CA’s First Marathon Since Start Of Pandemic

Dorothy Strand, age 81, is shown smiling as she runs in a marathon wearing a blue t-shirt, black leggings and a blue hat. Five people cheer her on behind her. They are all running down a closed-off street lined with palm trees.
Dorothy Strand, 81, finishes the Surf City Half-Marathon on Sept. 11, cheered by a contingent of friends.
(Ryan Bethke
Surf City Marathon )
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Saturday's Surf City Marathon in Huntington Beach was the first full marathon held in California since the pandemic began.

The event also included a half marathon, a 5K, and a beach mile. The day’s challenges attracted 13,000 participants.

Dan Cruz, a Surf City Marathon spokesman, said it was a welcome spot of normalcy after 18 months of restrictions and precautions.

“You just see so many smiles, so many high fives, so many people just appreciative of what they do,” he said. “These passions that we love that were taken away from us during a pandemic.”

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Before the race, the normally rambunctious starting-line crowd stood silent in tribute to the lives lost on 9/11, 20 years ago.

Only one athlete has run in all 25 consecutive Surf City events, and that was 81-year-old Dorothy Strand, who competed in the half marathon.

On Sunday, another big local race — the Santa Monica Classic — will put runners on a 5K and 10K course that finishes near the Santa Monica Pier.