Steven Martinez course record 2023
OC Marathon. Photo credit: Screen shot, @OCmarathon via Instagram

Steven Martinez of Chula Vista won the men’s race at the 19th OC Marathon Sunday in a record time of 2:18:06.

The runner, who attended Chico State University, earned a $2,500 bonus for breaking the old course record of 2:22:45 set in 2011 by Peter Omae Ayieni.

Meanwhile, three competitors from San Diego County finished in the top five on the women’s side.

Martinez said after the race that his plan was to run about 18 miles, pacing a friend to what they hoped would be an Olympic Trials qualifying time. That plan changed when it became apparent that the friend wouldn’t make the time.

“We had a Plan A, B and C,” Martinez said. “C was the worst-case scenario, me finishing.”

Emilio De La Torrey finished second for the men with a time of 2:20:45.

Northern California’s Jenny Grimshaw won the women’s race in 2:53:06, while Victoria Cronin of San Diego was second for the women, 47 seconds behind Grimshaw.

Ali Tebbs of Coronado finished third in 3:08:51, while Erin McConkey of La Jolla came in fifth with a time of 3:10:39.

Grimshaw left her 18-month-old at home with her husband, whose birthday was Saturday.

“I left him alone, so I had to make it worth it,” she said. “I really wanted a day to remember.”

The event featured a capacity field of 2,600 entrants from 47 states, part of a 45% increase in registration for the four races that comprise the SDCCU OC Marathon Running Festival.

“The number of participants is returning to pre-COVID days,” said Gary Kutscher, the race director.

“After three years of pandemic restrictions folks are finally comfortable being out there together. They are ready to get out there and run in large groups and have a lot of fun,” he said. “Our whole theme this year is `Let’s run together,’ and I think that is truly what is happening.”

The 26-mile, full marathon course began in front of the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa, then went through Corona del Mar, Newport Harbor, Costa Mesa and Santa Ana before turning back to end at the OC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa.

Runners raised more than $500,000 for the race’s 19 charity partners, Kutscher said.

– City News Service