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Hesch, Marley Win Santa Barbara Half

Hesch, Marley Win Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon.

Hesch Wins Santa Barbara Wine Country Half

Hesch Wins Santa Barbara Wine Country Half

SOLVANG, Calif. – (May 7, 2011) – Late entries Christian Hesch and Tiffanie Marley led a strong elite field of runners at the 5th Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon on Saturday morning. Hesch from Hollywood, CA set the pace from the start and cruised to victory in a time of 1 hour, 6 minutes, 53 seconds, defeating runner-up Bryant Jensen from Ogden, UT by seven seconds with Mark Batres of Rowland Heights, CA third.

Race record 2,401 finishers at 5th edition in beautiful Santa Ynez Valley

In the women’s race, Marley of Lake Hughes, CA held off 2008 race winner and Masters ace Susan Loken, 47, from Phoenix, AZ in 1:22:23 to 1:22:47. Both Hesch and Marley had won their only other previous Wine Country Half Marathon (Healdsburg), and this time the race champions took home a 3L bottle of wine, a Ball Watch and $500 cash. Second place finishers received $300 in cash and magnum of wine and third place took home $200 and a magnum of wine. The top three in each age group also won a bottle of wine.

Hesch, 32, had planned to run a one-mile race in Northern California on Saturday but changed his mind on Friday and decided to run the half-marathon instead. “I didn’t know how competitive I would be given the strength of the field,” said Hesch. “But it turned out to be a perfect day and a great race for me. I’m looking forward to running Napa-to-Sonoma in July.”

Marley, 28, also a short distance specialist, was running in only her second half-marathon. “The race was thoroughly enjoyable. These (Destination Races) are the best courses to run,” said Marley. She benefitted from her recent training program and the cool mid-fifty degree temperatures on race morning.

The scenic course runs from downtown Santa Ynez, through Los Olivos, then into Ballard Canyon before finishing in historic Solvang on Copenhagen Drive. Post-race, an event record 2,401 finishers were treated to a Wine & Music Festival.

5th Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon
Santa Ynez-Los Olivos-Solvang, CA, Saturday, May 7, 2011

1) Christian Hesch (CA), 1:06:53, $500 plus 3L bottle of wine and a Ball Watch
2) Bryant Jensen (UT), 1:07:00, $300 plus magnum of wine
3) Mark Batres (CA), 1:08:43, $200 plus magnum of wine

1) Tiffanie Marley (CA), 1:22:23, $500 plus 3L bottle of wine and a Ball Watch
2) Susan Loken, 47, (AZ), 1:22:47, $300 plus magnum of wine
3) Lindsey Mottus (CA), 1:24:27, $200 plus magnum of wine