Annual CSUB marathon runs well


Alexandra Apatiga

Bakersfield resident Austin Crist crosses the finish line and places third in the 5k race.

Alexandra Apatiga, Reporter

California State University, Bakersfield held its 2nd Annual Bakersfield Marathon, half marathon, half marathon relay, and 5K on Nov. 12. The full 26.2-mile marathon course stretched across Bakersfield, from the Stockdale Financial District to the Panorama Bluffs right across from Bakersfield College, and had the start and finish line on CSUB campus.

The event began as the first ever marathon in Bakersfield back in 2016, with the initial idea being to raise funds for CSUB scholarships. However, the idea quickly turned into a full-fledged town-wide marathon, with dozens of sponsors like Chevron and Dignity Health, hundreds of volunteers, and runners from across the state, nation, and globe.

Runners who came out to the event arrived as early as 4 a.m. to prepare for the marathon alone, with running partners, or with running teams. While many runners had a personal or even charitable goal in mind while running the marathon, others had bigger plan.

The Bakersfield Marathon is recognized as a world class running event by the USA Track & Field, the national governing body here in the United States that oversees all track and field, long-distance running, and race walking events in the United States. Under the USATF, the Bakersfield Marathon was recognized as a Boston-qualifying marathon and participants had the opportunity to qualify for the 2019 Boston Marathon.

Despite the many participates running locally and internationally, with goals and aims far and in between, all were determined with one mindset – to improve themselves and enjoy the marathon.

Benny Madrigal, a resident of Madera, CA and a marathon runner, ran the Bakersfield Half Marathon and placed first overall in the Men’s Division. A runner with type 1 diabetes, Madrigal is a member of Team Novo Nordisk, an American global all-diabetes sports team of cyclists, triathletes, and runners that have members participate in event across the world to educate, inspire, and empowers those affected by diabetes.

For Madrigal, this marathon was a way for him to improve his abilities and prepare for future marathons such as CIM or California International Marathon, and raise awareness for diabetes.

“November is Diabetes Awareness Month and Nov. 14 is World Diabetes Day” said Madrigal, “I felt I needed to win this for all those affected with diabetes like me and inspire others to push themselves and find ways to do the things they enjoy.”

According to Madrigal, the sense of community and level of organization made him feel welcomed and excited to compete in the marathon.

“There are a lot of first time runners participating in the marathon and Bakersfield has a great running community, I’m glad I can get the chance to meet and run with all these amazing competitors,” said Madrigal. “What really makes marathons like the one in Bakersfield worth coming to is the people you run with, always pushing you and encouraging you to go further.”

Runners throughout the day following the start of the marathon ended their race at Finisher Village at CSUB. Volunteers and various vendors and tents were set up to congratulate the runners with medals, water, and accommodations for the finishers.

The marathon continued into the late evening, as the last of the runners crossed the finish line. Only hours following the marathon’s end, plans for next year’s Bakersfield Marathon were already underway.

Charles Brown, co-founder of the Bakersfield Marathon, explained that they plan to make the next Annual Bakersfield Marathon bigger and better than this year.

“Our board of directors, volunteers, and staff are the real driving force for this event, without them we would never be able to coordinate such as large-scale event,” said Brown. Along with the community involvement, Brown says they are pushing to improve the marathon further than this year’s.

Brown also shared that the community’s involvement, while at first hesitant, has grown immensely.

“The community sees the value of hosting a marathon in Bakersfield, because it brings exposure to a city that would otherwise never be in the mind of someone outside our community,” said Brown, “And our already existing running groups here in Bakersfield really helped us in spreading the word out to other places, that mixed with shifting views of a marathon in Bakersfield helped us in holding this event.”

Brown, who he himself is a participant in activities like the Ironman Triathlon, says that running a marathon can be the most exciting and dreadful experience anyone can experience.

“The most difficult aspect of running over 20 miles is not the distance, but the mental doubt one can get while running, asking themselves things like, ‘Why did I even try?’” said Brown.

“But once runners can push past that, and cross the finish line, those few moments afterwards are the most beautiful parts because you were able to achieve a goal you didn’t even know you could do,” said Brown. The 3rd Annual Bakersfield Marathon is planned to take place on Nov. 18, 2018.