High School Runner of the Month: Cuyler Gabriel

CUyler-GabrielBecause of its difficulty, the annual Pier to Peak Half Marathon isn’t a race normally run by high school students.

Cuyler Gabriel broke the mold last weekend by becoming the first teenager in nine years to record a top-25 result on the 13.1 mile course that includes 4,000 feet of elevation gain. Gabriel has been chosen as a Santa Barbara Running High School Runner of the Month.

The 16-year-old placed 13th overall with a time of 1:59.57. In his first race of this distance, Gabriel was able keep his composure and reach his goal.

“I was just trying to do everything I could to be able to finish fast enough, just by looking at my watch, to get right under two hours,” Gabriel said.

The last teenager with a top-25 result was Adam Zok, then 16, in 2004. Zok finished in 24th that year.

Gabriel, a Santa Barbara Swim Club competitor and student at Santa Barbara High, saw the course as a tough challenge he could beat. Frequent trail runs with similar inclines made him feel ready. His preparation included some serious training on Catalina Island and a test-run on Gibraltar Road in which he climbed six miles from Mountain Drive.

“I’ve just been running since I was little, it’s fun for me to do,” Gabriel said.

But the Pier to Peak Half Marathon was indeed more than he had covered before and two days after there was still some soreness.

“An hour afterwards it was pretty hard to handle, but it was worth it,” he said.

He likes the challenges after all, and plans to compete in the long course competition at the Carpinteria Triathlon later this month.

Gabriel wore Adidas Adistar Boost running shoes for the race.

SB Running CompanyThe High School Runner of the Month award recognizes local prep runners that exemplify the term ?Student-Athlete? by demonstrating leadership and excellence in high school athletics. ?Thanks to?Santa Barbara Running Company??for making this award possible and for supporting local athletes.

Find other Runners of the Month?HERE