Surf City, Here We Come

Finisher's Medal

Formerly the Pacific Shoreline Marathon, the inaugural Surf City USA? Marathon will be Sunday, Feb. 3, 2008. Kick off Super Bowl Sunday Surf City-style with Beach Boys' music and a beachfront run.

In the summer of 1963, Surf City became the first surf song to hit No. 1 on the Billboard national charts. The song's popularity enhanced Huntington Beach's national reputation as THE place to surf, party and enjoy Southern California's laid-back lifestyle.

More than four decades after the Jan and Dean chart-topper, Huntington Beach remains a surfer's paradise, an oceanfront mecca where the phrase "catching a wave" resonates as loudly as "catching a pass" does in the most football-crazed parts of this country.

But this striking seaside city also remains home to a popular sporting event on land: the Surf City USA? Marathon, a race with a new title that has had thousands of runners "stoked" and "amped"? about running over the last 11 years.

On Sunday, Feb. 3, 2008–Super Bowl Sunday–nearly 16,000 runners are expected to compete in the inaugural Surf City USA? marathon, formerly known as the Pacific Shoreline Marathon. Registration remains open for the event, which includes a marathon, half-marathon, 5K and kids' run.

"This event has always been characterized by the laid back, unique surf culture of Huntington Beach and Southern California," said Amy Tomchak, the event's owner. "The Surf City USA? brand adds to this allure." The Surf City USA? Marathon, said Tomchak, is a "surf-themed marathon" held at the "most authentic surfing beach in the world."

"If the Beach Boys were ever to run a marathon, they would do it here," Marathon and Beyond Magazine wrote of the Surf City USA? Marathon. The magazine also rated this marathon among "the top five marathon experiences in America."

And speaking of the Beach Boys, all of the Surf City USA? Marathon events–the marathon, half-marathon, 5K and kids' run–begin with their classic soundtrack "Surfin' USA" playing. Runners are also cheered at the starting line by local surfers from Huntington Beach's own surfing clubs. In addition, "a covey of restored woody sedans and lifeguard vehicles, complete with surfboards on top, lead the runners at the start of the race," Tomchak said.

"Huntington Beach is a true beach. It is about eight miles long–open to the public and unfettered. It is also one of the few beaches in the country to have maintained its surf scene," Tomchak said. "The Surf City USA? Marathon has a relaxed, retro-surf scene feel to it. It has all the elements of a?1960s surf movie."

The last two years, the Surf City USA? Marathon has filled its starting field in advance. Due to the event's popularity, it is expected to sell out even earlier this year, said Kathy Kinane, Surf City USA? Marathon's race director.

To register for the event online, visit:

The Course

The largest and only oceanfront marathon held in Orange County, California, the Surf City USA? Marathon course can be described in two words, said Kinane: "absolutely magnificent."

"The views along the course are spectacular, mostly white-water views," Kinane said. "Runners will enjoy the salty breeze and the smell of the ocean."

The flat and fast route starts on the Pacific Coast Highway. Runners will pass the famous Huntington Beach Pier, run through scenic Huntington Central Park with its California foliage, and chug along the beautiful beachfront running path.

"The path is about seven miles long and winds through many of the legendary surfing beaches of Southern California," Tomchak said. "With the encouragement of local surfers cheering on participants, runners find the atmosphere unique and inspiring."

For a detailed course description of the Surf City USA? Marathon, including a course map, visit:

Finishing in Style

Beach Boys music. Beautiful course. How do you top that?

How about a "bodacious" finisher's medal and a beer garden beach party? "Each finisher receives a classic, wooden surfboard-shaped medal," Kinane said. "The medals are very innovative."

After receiving their medal, runners are invited to the Michelob Ultra Beach Party (in the finish-line area)--featuring live music and ample food--a perfect place to cap off a Super Sunday in Surf City.?

For information on all aspects of the Surf City USA? Marathon, including lodging and the Active Lifestyle Expo, visit the race's website at:

To register for the event online, visit:

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