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Campos And Woodward Win Big Sur Marathon

The men's winner made his move in the final mile.

The men’s winner made his move in the final mile.

From: Running USA

CARMEL, Calif. — The beautiful and daunting Big Sur International Marathon proved even tougher to 3,218 marathon finishers on Sunday due to a modified out-and-back course necessitated by the collapse of California’s Highway One last month. At the 26th Presentation, veteran runners of the scenic course all commented on the difficulty of the run which increased the number of hills and overall climb from 1,700 feet to 2,400 feet.

A tight race between Italy’s Hermann Achmueller, 40, and Mario Mendoza, 25, from Bend, OR, took place through 24 miles, with Monterey County’s own Jesus Campos, 26, trailing in third position by over a minute at mile 17. Achmueller made a strong move at mile 24 and dropped Mendoza, commenting later “I thought that move had won the race.”

As Mendoza faded to 4th, Campos, 26, caught and passed Achmueller just before Mile 25 with a strong move that carried him to an impressive win by 2-plus minutes over Achmueller. Campos finished first in 2 hours, 31 minutes, 54 seconds, capping an incredible six year run at Big Sur that saw him finish, 5th, 4th, 2nd, 4th, 6th and now race champion.

In the women’s race, Beth Woodward, 35, took her third 2011 marathon victory with a 3:05:05 clocking. In February, she won Huntington Beach’s Surf City USA Marathon and in April, the Orrville, Ohio resident won the Athens Marathon (Ohio). Though Nikia Brautovich, 20 from Aptos, CA, led the first 17 miles, Woodward overtook her at mile 17. Brautovich was later passed by Anne Marie Moffatt, 27, Philadelphia, who took second place at 3:09:35, while Brautovich ultimately finished third at 3:11:38.

Clear blue skies and temperatures reaching the mid seventies, made for a picture perfect day as nearly 7,000 runners crossed the finish line from six different events. The marathon relay saw 266 teams competing on the modified course which turned around at mile 12.1 and include a brief detour into Pt. Lobos State Reserve. The 21 Miler also was modified to an out-and-back route, while the 10.6 and 9 Milers and PA / USATF 5K were able to be held on their traditional courses.

Organizers of the Big Sur Marathon were forced to make course changes when heavy rains caused a 60-foot section of Highway One to collapse into the ocean. Less than a week before the scheduled May 1 date, CalTrans was able to open a one-lane section, but logistics and safety concerns prevented the course from being held on its traditional route. In 1998, a similar road collapse took place resulting in an out-and-back course.

“It’s the whims of Mother Nature when you’re running on the edge of the Western World,” commented one race official.

The 2012 race will be held on its traditional date on the last Sunday in April. Registration opens July 15, 2011.

26th Big Sur International Marathon

Carmel, CA, Sunday, May 1, 2011


1) Jesus Campos (CA), 2:31:54

2) Hermann Achmueller, 40, ITA, 2:34:17

3) David Welsh (NJ), 2:38:11


1) Beth Woodward (OH), 3:05:05

2) Anne Marie Moffatt (PA), 3:09:35

3) Nikia Brautovich (CA), 3:11:38

Complete results and more at: