Race Recap: Big Sur International Marathon and Nashville Marathon 2021

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Race Recap: Big Sur International Marathon and Nashville Marathon 2018 Race Recap: Big Sur International Marathon and Nashville Marathon 2021 www.runnerclick.com

Big Sur International Marathon

The Big Sur International Marathon happened Sunday, April 29.  Despite the cold, wet weather, Adam Roach, a local 34 year old, took the big marathon win with a time of 2:31:51. He is no stranger to this tough marathon, having won 5 of the past 7 Big Sur Marathons and placing second at the 2017 Big Sur Marathon. He ran with Jorge Maravilla for most of the race, but decided to end the chatter and pick up the pace the last few miles. Roach finished about 2 minutes ahead of Maravilla who finished with a time of 2:31:49.

Bixby Creek Bridge, The Big Sur, California, Photo By ian mcwilliams [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Maravilla, 40 years old from Mill Valley, reported that he had fun while he was running and appreciated the energy from the spectators. He carried his toddler for the last few meters of the race across the finish line. While Roach was fresh, both Maravilla and third place finisher Michael Wardian completed the Boston Marathon only two weeks ago. Wardian, 44 years of age from Arlington, VA, won the Big Sur Marathon last year with a time more than 7 minutes faster than his time this year. He reported that this year he wasn’t feeling as good as previous years but he still ran much faster than he ran at Boston a couple weeks ago. Wardian has had an extensive running career involving winning 4 out of 5 marathons in 45 days, running in the Olympic trials for the marathon three times, setting marathon records, and competing in ultra marathons.

Julia Rhie from Chapel Hill, North Carolina won the women’s race. It was Rhie’s first time racing the Big Sur Marathon. She was out in front for the majority of the race. Jennifer Berry was far behind until the last mile when she began to gain on Rhie who was unaware of the approaching threat. It came down to a sprint finish, but Berry was unable to completely close the gap, coming in 6 seconds after Rhie with a time of 3:01:18. Even though she finished second, Berry’s race was all but unimpressive. The 37-year-old from Denver became the first woman to finish Boston and Big Sur in the same year in less than six hours. Almost 9 minutes later, Dara Steele-Belkin crossed the finish line in third place at 3:10:01. The 43-year-old lives and trains in Atlanta. None of the top three women finishers from last year entered in the race this year.

Big Sur Marathon Results:


  1. Adam Roach 2:29:25 – 34, Pebble Beach, CA
  2. Jorge Maravilla 2:31:49 – 40, Mill Valley, CA
  3. Michael Wardian 2:37:49 – 44, Arlington, VA


  1. Julia Rhie 3:01:12 – 39, Chapel Hill, NC
  2. Jennifer Berry 3:01:18 – 37, Denver, CO
  3. Dara Steele-Belkin 3:10:01 – 43, Atlanta, GA

The 26.2 mile course of the Big Sur International Marathon starts in Big Sur and goes up the coast on the scenic Highway 1 to the finish in Carmel. Though it may be scenic, the course is demanding. The last 13 miles have about 13 hills with a total elevation gain of 2,182 feet. Despite the challenging course, thousands sign up to race because it is a Boston Marathon qualifying race. In addition to the marathon, there are other distances offered like the marathon relay, 21 miler, 11 miler, 12K, 5K, and 3K.

Rock ‘ n’ Roll Nashville Marathon

Also taking place the morning of Sunday, April 29th was the Nashville Marathon, also known as the Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon. Unlike the chilly coastal weather that the Big Sur Marathon got, the weather was perfect for race day. The 4,000 runners turned up for the marathon and another 18,500 raced the half marathon. In addition to those numbers, Nashville’s iconic Broadway Street was crowded with spectators and live bands cheering on the runners. This year, the marathon raised over $2 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Nashville Skyline

Scott Wietecha won the marathon with a time of 2:28:16 despite losing one and half minutes for a bathroom break. This is the sixth consecutive year that the 36-year-old from Henderson, Tennessee has won the Nashville Marathon. Wietech beat his time from 2017 but it was not a personal best. This was the first year that he did not finish first by an average of 10 minutes but he still claimed his $500 prize. Garang Madut took advantage of the time Wietecha lost in the porta-potty and closed the gap. The 22-year-old student from Lebanon, Tennessee finished less than two minutes behind the reigning champion with a time of 2:29:52. Kevin Fink, 26, from Tipp City Ohio came in third almost ten minutes later with a time of 2:38:59.

Stella Chrisoforou, from Fort Campbell, Kentucky had the fastest women’s time at 2:53:44 claiming her first place $500 prize. It was Christoforou’s first Nashville Marathon. Heather Crowe from Illinois came in 13 minutes after followed close behind by Christina Noble, 43, from Michigan.

Gisela Olade had that fastest women’s half marathon time at 1:19:47. The first place male and female half marathoners win $250, (logically half the prize money as the marathon winners). Roosevelt Cook had the fastest men’s half marathon time at 1:09:25. There was also a 5K and one-mile race as part of the marathon weekend.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Marathon Results:


  1. Scott Wietecha 2:28:16 – 36 Henderson, TN
  2. Garang Madut  2:29:52 – 22 Lebanon, TN
  3. Kevin Fink 2:38:59 – 26 Tipp City, OH


  1. Stella Chrisoforou 2:53:44 – 26 Fort Campbell, KY
  2. Heather Crowe 3:07:46 – 28 Palatine, IL
  3. Christina Noble 3:08:21 – 43 Brighton, MI


Feature Image By Leon Roberts [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, Nashville Marathon 2016