Kogo, Higgins become new Santa Barbara Marathon champions

Abraham Kogo and Paige Higgins won the men?s and women?s titles at Saturday?s?Santa Barbara International Marathon.

Higgins set a new women?s course record of 2:48:34, beating Andrea McLarty?s all-time best (2:52:23) set in 2009. Higgins is from Colorado.

Kogo crossed the 26.2-mile course line first in 2 hours, 23 minutes and 9 seconds, just a minute off the men’s record held by two-time champion Moninda Marube.

Marube led the race up until close to mile 21 where Kogo passed him. Marube fell to fell to fourth place by the finish line with Scott Downard and Blue Benedum coming in second and third.

Kogo said it was challenging on the trails, but he got onto the highway running very well. Until, at mile 22, Kogo felt a cramp that affected his performance.

?I expected to run a good time, but now, the problem of stitch I had, so I couldn?t run it.?

This was his first time racing at the Santa Barbara International Marathon.

Passing the reigning champion in the last mile, Downard and Benadum battled it out to a close finish just six seconds apart with Downard second in 2:28:19 and Benadum in 2:28:25.

Benadum, from Malibu, discussed the course.

?It was kind of ideal. I think there was kind of a tail wind for a lot of it so it helped. The temperature was awesome.?

First woman finisher and new course record-holder Higgins also spoke highly of the course over-looking the ocean.

?It was nice,” Higgins explained. “I didn?t really get to preview the course yesterday, but it was nice we kind of got to do a double loop. So, by the time I came back to the ten mile I kind of had a feel of it and I new once we did that loop it was kind of a one way home.?

Higgins heard about the hill at mile 23 on Cliff Drive and knew she needed to hold through for it.

Sarah Hallas and Joy Moats came in second and third with times of 2:52:11 and?2:55:04, respectively.

The hill at Cliff Drive held to be the biggest challenge for most of the half marathon runners as well.

First place in the half marathon was Kenyan Geofrey Terer with a time of 1:06:59 in a 5:07 minute mile pace.

?It is very challenging, a lot of corners,? Terer described.

Aaron Sharp, the 2009 Santa Barbara Half-Marathon champion, came in second place just 16 seconds behind Teror.

?My goal was to finish in the top two and to break 1:08 and I did that.? Sharp saw Cliff Drive as the biggest challenge of the course as well.

?Most of it was pretty easy until that point. I thought I?m waiting for that point, but it wasn?t as bad as I thought it was going to be.?

Ramiro (Curly) Guillen came in third place for the half marathon in 1:11:21.

The first place woman for the half marathon was Alvina Begay who placed sixth?overall in 1:14:59.

?The course was a little bit tough, but I really liked it,? Begay said.

This was her first time racing the course.

Another notable performance for the half-marathon came from local Joshua?McGregor from Santa Barbara Junior High, who at 12 years old completed the?course in 1:30:23.

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