10 Things to Know about Santa Barbara’s Veterans Day Half-Marathon


The Santa Barbara Veterans Day Half-Marathon is the main event in 2015 as the full-length marathon was canceled in mid-October. There will still be thousands running on Saturday, November 7, tracking a new route starting on the UC Santa Barbara campus and finishing at Leadbetter Beach near the Santa Barbara Harbor. 

Whether you’re running or spectating, here’s 10 things worth knowing before the big event.

Santa Barbara Half Marathon Course Map

The new half-marathon course begins at UC Santa Barbara’s University Plaza and travels from Goleta to Leadbetter Beach next to Santa Barbara City College. Click Map for larger version.

1. New Course for Half-Marathon.  The 13.1-mile race begins at 7 a.m. in University Plaza on the UCSB campus and ends at Leadbetter Beach Park in Santa Barbara. It’s the first time the course has begun at UCSB, allowing for a “Beach to Beach” route, starting near Goleta Beach and finishing at Leadbetter Beach. It’s also the first time that Highway 217 will be closed to traffic for an event. The entire course is on the ocean-side of the 101 Freeway, at times touching Hollister Avenue, Modoc Road, Las Positas Road and Cliff Drive.

2. No More Full-Length Marathon. The surprise decision in October to cancel the 26.2-mile race was blamed on lack of registered participants and ballooning production costs. Race directors have indicated that they will not try to bring it back in 2016. The full-length marathon, resurrected in 2009 after hibernating since 1984, enjoyed a six-year revival.

3. Veterans Mile. The marathon’s salute to Veterans Day is not just lip service. The Veterans Mile is an impressive display of American pride. The final mile of the course is lined with 180 American flags and each runner is handed a small flag to carry across the finish line. The Finish Line Festival area last year featured a handful of military vehicles, including an army helicopter, transport vehicle and a tank. This year there will also be a beer garden and DJ.

4. Share Your Marathon Experience. The Santa Barbara Marathon organizing team created the hashtag #runamericasriviera as a way to share media across various social media platforms. Of course hashtag #santabarbara is a good one too. Instagram and Facebook will most likely have the most pictures and videos to take a look at. Presidio Sports will post a couple of its favorite photos/videos on its Instagram (presidio_sb)

5. Athletes to Watch. Moninda Marube will be back defending his title from 2014. Marube has been a Santa Barbara fixture, winning the full-length marathon in 2010 and 2011 before his half-marathon victory last year. The Santa Barbara Half-Marathon records are 1 hour, six minutes and 24 seconds set by Julian de Rubira in 2010, and 1:15:00 for the women set by Alvina Begay in 2012. Many of the competitors on the course will be part of Team Relays. The Wounded Warrior relay division is designated for teams with veterans who were injured in combat. There are 220 active military and veterans registered in the race.

6. Participation Numbers & Demographics. Of the nearly 3,000 registered participants, 60 percent are female. The average age is 39 years: youngest is 6 years old and oldest is 82. People come from all over to race. Santa Barbara and Goleta are the top two hometowns, followed by Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. A majority of runners are from California, although Colorado will deliver 65 and Washington 53.

7. Check out the Expo. Passionate runners will love the Health & Wellness Expo held at Earl Warren Showgrounds on Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Learn about the latest products, nutrition and apparel in the sport while interacting with like-minded athletes and fans. It’s also the location where runners can pick up their race packets.

8. Great place to spend Veterans Day weekend. There’s a fly-over of vintage fighter jets and a color guard at the starting line, and the Veterans Mile at the end of the course is another nod to our veterans. The race is a great opportunity to vocalize your support for our armed forces. The Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation organizes additional events over the weekend, including the 21st Military Ball at the Fess Parker DoubleTree Resort, and the Veteran’s Day Parade on State Street on Sunday at noon.

9. The History. In 2009, the current event directors re-established a full-length marathon in Santa Barbara for the first time since 1984. In 2010, the marathon was moved from December to November and added a half-marathon. The switch to November allowed the event to promote Veterans Day, and it transitioned from being the Santa Barbara International Marathon to the Santa Barbara Veterans Day Marathon & Half.  This year, without the marathon, it’s just the Santa Barbara Veterans Day Half Marathon.

10. Road Closure & Detour Information. An important piece of information for those who are only interested in finding out how to AVOID the marathon, road closure information can be found HERE

Runners approach the finish area of the Santa Barbara Half Marathon. The final mile is lined with American flags in honor of Veterans Day. (Presidio Sports File Photo)

Runners approach the finish area of the Santa Barbara Half Marathon. The final mile is lined with American flags, 180 of them, in honor of Veterans Day. (Presidio Sports File Photo)