Big improvement nets Olivera a Semana Nautica 15k title

Gabe Wu approaches the finish line in holiday appropriate attire. (Presidio Sports Photos)

Gabe Wu approaches the finish line in holiday appropriate attire. (Presidio Sports Photos)

Robert Olivera and Sergey Sushchikh?s friendly rivalry was at an all time high during this year?s annual 4th of July Semana Nautica 15k race. Olivera won the race with a time of 48:36, and with Sushchikh right behind at 48:39.


The two runners faced each other at last year?s 15k and are no stranger to one another?s competitive nature. Olivera bettered his time by 1:19 from 2012.

Thursday's race was the 59th Semana Nautica 15k.

Thursday’s race was the 59th Semana Nautica 15k.

?Last year he beat me — just smashed me. I had a huge improvement here today. A huge improvement,? said Olivera.

The two battled towards the end of the course, but Olivera edged just enough to come out on top.

?I made a slight move on him before reaching the bigger hill. I said to myself, ?All right, you got to go. It?s going to hurt but he?s already backing off ? if I can manage to make it up the hill, I think I can distance myself enough from him,? said Olivera about his opposition.

Todd Booth, Marcelo Mejia and?Roberto Chavez filled out the top five in that order.

Local Santa Barbara runner Drea McLarty crossed the finish line at 56:14, a personal PR on this course, to win the women?s race. Following close behind was Annie O?Donnell who finished second for women. McLarty was 10th overall.

?It?s awesome to run in your hometown with all the support of people cheering for you. This race is particularly special, I think, because so many good runners come and run this, so it means something to get to win, ? said McLarty.

McLarty also won the 4th of July 15k in 2009.

The Semana Nautica 15k begins close to El Camino School, cuts through the neighborhoods around Kellogg School and finishes on Turnpike road at San Marcos High School.

Semana Nautica is a popular mid-summer race that attracts both local and out of town participants.