Guillen, O’Donnell reign on 4th of July

Curly Guillen, left, and Annie O'Donnell, right, were fastest at the 60th Semana Nautica 15k.

Curly Guillen, left, and Annie O’Donnell, right, were fastest at the 60th Semana Nautica 15k.


Curly Guillen and Annie O’Donnell got their 4th of July celebrations started early on Friday by winning the 60th Semana Nautica 15k in Santa Barbara.

Guillen got it done on only four hours of sleep. The DJ performed at Sandbar late into the night on Thursday before waking up to prepare for the 8 a.m. start. The accomplished distance runner completed the course in 49 minutes and 11 seconds – more than five minutes faster than second-place finisher Gilbert Salazar.

“I tried to set out for a faster pace but kind of crashed a little bit, and settled into a more comfortable pace,” explained Guillen, who ended up with an average of 5:14 per mile.

Winning the race meant a lot to the Santa Barbara native because it was the first race he competed in two years ago after a seven-year hiatus from running. Since then, he’s ran in the Boston (twice) and Chicago Marathons, among others.

“I had my eye set on this race so I can measure how far I’ve come in two years,” Guillen said.

Guillen, who won Ojai’s Mountains to Beach Half Marathon this year, ended up improving on his time from 2012 by nearly four minutes.

After Guillen and Salazar came Aaron Gillen. Ricky Ho placed fourth with a time of 54:50 and Andrew Dixon was fifth overall at 55:48.


O’Donnell, a former college runner at Davidson, won with a time of 59:36 after finishing in second place last year. She said the biggest challenge of her race was getting short on breath two-thirds of the way through. It slowed her down but only for a short time.

“I felt like I finished strong but I was ready to be done at the same time,” O’Donnell said.

O’Donnell placed 12th overall and edged Jill Himlan for the women’s title. Himlan’s time was 1:01:41.  Desa Mandarino, dressed in stars and stripes, was third.

Two hundred and sixty seven completed the race. Among them was 78-year-old John Brennand, who finished in 1:34:33. Goleta’s David Gasper was the youngest competitor at 9, while 12-year-old Jake Ballantine finished in the top 100.