Going the Extra Mile

Imagine running alone on the top of a mountain ridge…at 2am...in a rainstorm…in a 100-mile Ultra Race. Sounds pretty extreme, right? Well, this is exactly what Gabe Garcia was doing two weeks ago.

Gabe checked off a huge bucket list item by completing his first 100 mile run in this year’s Born to Run Ultra Marathon Extravaganza in Los Olivos. While obviously no stranger to long distance running, this was by far his most challenging race yet.

“My first 50 miles of the race were shared with old friends and new friends and went by fast without any major challenges, but by midnight, I was alone, and it had started to rain hard. By the time the sun came up, I was at mile 74, with wet soggy socks, blisters on my feet, and mud caked onto my shoes. With no finishers’ buckle for 74-99 miles completed, I gritted down to run/walk the last 26 mile (marathon) section. I finally crossed the finish line after over 30 hours of nonstop forward motion and was so thankful for the support of other runners, the volunteers and fans – I couldn’t have done it without them. It may sound strange, but for 97 out of the 100 miles I can honestly say I had a smile on my face and actually had tons of fun. Just don’t ask me about those never ending last 3 miles that were supposed to be easy.”

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Gabe is the CFO at Morris & Garritano, the largest independently owned insurance agency on the Central Coast, and also an annual sponsor of the SLO Half Marathon. He started running in his mid-20s, but only caught that “runner’s high” once he started working at M&G. As part of their company culture, the agency promotes and embraces a healthy lifestyle for its employees. Their SLO office includes a gym and showers where employees can exercise before work, after work, or during their lunch break. They also provide wellness subsidies for people to participate in monthly gym memberships or sign up for community races.

It was a natural fit for Morris & Garritano to team up with Race SLO to promote health and wellness throughout the community. Since the marathon’s inaugural race in 2012, Gabe, along with a number of his co-workers have participated and volunteered every year. In 2016, they even boasted the largest team of the whole weekend with 56 participants!

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As one of the most experienced runners at M&G, having completed nearly 20 full marathons, 3 SLO Ultra Races (50M & 50K), the Boston Marathon last month and now a 100 miler, Gabe helps motivate and educate his co-workers. Leading up to the Race SLO events each year, they put together a running team that meets each week to train together (with early morning Saturday runs ending with breakfast and mimosas)! M&G has also hosted community runs where they invite runners of all experience levels to join in the fun.

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Never one to shy away from a challenge, Gabe will continue running in races that inspire him and training to improve his times. He says, “I am grateful to have a family that supports my running and allows me the time to be away from home for training and races.”

His advice to runners – of any level – is to “set lofty goals and then work to achieve them over your running career, but to make sure you have fun along the way.”  So, if you ever find yourself running along the top of a mountain at 2am in a rainstorm, just make sure you’re having fun at the same time.

ZAM - the Youngest 2019 SLO Half Marathon Relay Team

We are team ZAM - Zoe, Addison (Addie), and Mia. Some people ask how we came up with the name ZAM. Last year, on our yearly father-daughter camping trip, there was a bug on Zoe. Addie found it, Zoe freaked out, then Mia came along and claimed it. Since we all had a part in finding the bug, we wanted to all decide on a name together. That’s when we came up with the name ZAM - Z for Zoe, A for Addie and M for Mia. Ever since then we used the name ZAM.

It all began 8 years ago in 2011. We first met when we were three, and have remained best friends ever since. Preschool were the only years we all went to school together. Ever since we became friends, we have not had any major arguments. Over the years we’ve been inseparable.

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Almost every weekend we carpool to soccer games and tournaments for club soccer. Soccer is a huge part of our lives and we all love soccer greatly. All three of us are in 6th grade at great schools - Addie and Mia go to Los Ranchos and Zoe goes to Old Mission. We see each other almost every weekend and every Monday and Wednesday at soccer practice. We have all been on the same soccer team for about 5 years. Soccer comes with a lot of running and we all know that the better we are at running, the better we will be at soccer.

Almost every weekend we hang out with each other, and when we do, we always try to fit in a run or a workout. It's not just soccer that brings us together. It's also the amazing personalities we all share. Every time we are together there's always a feel of happiness and laughter. We are all very competitive and we all hope someday to be professional athletes.

We don’t just only hangout with each other, our family is very important to each of us. All of our success is thanks to our parents. They drive us from place to place, even when it’s not their cup of tea. They always cheer us on and support us at all times. We are all VERY thankful for our families.

We have huge motivators. For Zoe, it’s Alex Morgan. For Addie and Mia, it’s Carli Lloyd. One quote that we all love is by Jordan Hassey, “Give 100 percent all the time and eventually results will come, because that’s all you can control.” We love this quote and we try our hardest, because that is all we can control. Even if we don't win, we still feel good about ourselves, because we know we tried our best and that is all we can control.

Addie did the first leg of the SLO half marathon, which was about 4.5 miles through the downtown area. Once Addie finished her leg, it was then Zoe’s turn. She ran 3.5 miles all uphill. Once Zoe was finished, it was then Mia’s turn, she ran 5 miles to the finish line. We all knew during the race that there was going to be parts when we are in pain and want to stop, but we just tried to get through the pain and keep on going.

From the left - Zoe, Mia and Addison

From the left - Zoe, Mia and Addison

In the end, it was all worth it. When Mia finished the last leg of the race, we felt accomplished and proud of each other and ourselves. We first received a medal for first place in the relay for our division. We left thinking that was our only medal, until we got an email saying that we came in third place in all of the women relay teams that entered! We were very excited and energetic throughout the race. Team ZAM was the youngest relay team, but it makes no difference for all of us. We can't wait to see the journey running will take us. This race was just the start of something great.

Thank you to everyone who came to support us and admired us just for doing something we love. We are so honored just to even be writing this paper. Just remember, even if you’re the youngest in a race or oldest in a race, there’s no difference or advantage - you decide if you win or not.

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About Race SLO

Established in 2008 to bring world class events to the beautiful California Central Coast, the Race SLO family of events includes the SLO Half Marathon, Half Relay and Family 5K & Kids Races plus NEW SLO YogaMusic Fest (Spring) as well as the NEW SLO County Ultra Games & the SLO Ultra Trail Races (Fall). Race SLO sponsors community run & fitness training programs, supports sporting event projects nationwide, produces a health & fitness blog, plus hosts the popular Endurance Town USA Podcast, all while raising funds for local nonprofits: Jack’s Helping Hand, The Land Conservancy of SLO, SLO County Parks, and Grizzly Youth Academy. Over the last 10 years, Race SLO has helped raise and donated over $250,000 to nonprofits in our community. We invite anyone sharing our values to join us today by volunteering, participating or sponsoring our powerful efforts.

New SLO County Ultra Games Competition Added to SLO Ultra Trail Races at Lopez Lake

Race SLO expanding Fall event into functional fitness games, obstacle racing and trail running & hiking to benefit the Sheriff's Advisory Foundation and SLO County Parks

The fourth annual outdoor adventure event SLO Ultra, organized by the local endurance sport leader Race SLO, is scheduled for October 26 – 27, 2019 and will take place at the beautiful Lopez Lake recreation area and campground just outside of the historic village of Arroyo Grande. Two thousand athletes are expected to attend.

The Fall weekend full of outdoor activities welcomes participants of all levels and ages. OCR athletes, trail runners and hikers can choose from five events - a 1 mile kids obstacle race, 5K adult obstacle race, half marathon trail run-hike, full marathon trail run-hike, or take on the 39.3 mile ‘Ultra Double’ trail race by doing both the marathon on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday. The trail courses feature 60% single track trail, 360 degree ocean views and rolling hills full of California wildlife and native plants.

New this year are SLO County Ultra Games, offering all abilities of athletes the opportunity to compete as an individual or team in three unique events over the two days. Each person or team will participate in all three crossfit style events; event 1 focused on strength, event 2 focused on functional fitness (both on Saturday), and event 3 focused on endurance (on Sunday). Spectators are encouraged to come out, camp and cheer on the competitors, with all events taking place around Lopez Lake. Categories to compete are either as a First Responder & Military Team, or First Responder & Military Individual, or as a civilian individual, or civilian team, separated by sex and age groups.

“Our team is STOKED to create this ‘crossfit-style’ adventure fitness event for our new Race SLO audience. In collaboration with the local leaders in functional fitness, Headstrong Fit, C5 Fit and Atascadero Crossfit, we are building a multi-day Games Competition where all ages and levels can test their pure strength, their dynamic fitness and then their pure endurance all in one weekend. Teaming up to raise funds and awareness for the SLO County Sheriff’s Advisory Foundation is highly motivating and will spotlight our First Responders and Military Division competitors. Using raw mother nature and human potential we will create an opportunity for people to really explore both their fitness and mindset like nothing else in California,” said Samantha Pruitt, Race SLO Founder & CEO.     

The SLO Ultra will benefit the SLO County Parks Department again this year, and a new beneficiary of this event is the Sheriff's Advisory Foundation. The Sheriff's Advisory Foundation (SAF) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to support the Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies in the county. SAF has helped open the first ever Sheriff’s Coroner’s Office and new Behavioral Health Unit. They were able to help fund and open these facilities with the generous support of the community. “If it wasn’t for the Sheriff’s Advisory Foundation, the Sheriff’s Office would not have been able to open these two important facilities and provide this benefit to the public. We are proud to join in partnership with Race SLO to hold the first SLO Ultra and be the beneficiary. Race SLO is an amazing organization with a proven successful track record of running amazing events,” said Sheriff Ian Parkinson.

The two-day SLO Ultra Festival will offer entertainment, music, food and beverage, and fun activities for athletes and spectators alike. The 2 day Festival is open to public. Camping will be available at the Lopez Lake recreation area on a first-come, first-serve basis. Those who want to spend the weekend under the stars are encouraged to reserve their spot today at the SLO County Parks website.

Comfortable and affordable accommodation can be found in a nearby Arroyo Grande village, by booking through the SLO Ultra's exclusive lodging sponsor Visit Arroyo Grande.

“Arroyo Grande is a wonderful place to call home—and a great place to invite your out-of-town family and friends to visit. We are proud to support events like this that benefit our community and provide an opportunity to showcase what Arroyo Grande and the surrounding areas have to offer,” said Jocelyn Brennan, President and CEO of South County Chambers of Commerce. “We hope visitors who attend this event will make the most of their overnight stay with amazing restaurants, experience the beauty of our outdoor activities, wine tasting, and shopping.”

Race Rugrats childcare company will manage the childcare at the event, charging $20 per child for the first two hours and $8 per hour for each child after that.

All race participants will receive a finishers medal, branded event shirt, goody bag, award opportunities, ample on course Aid-Medical-Directional support and a First Class Festival Finish Line Party. For more information and to register, visit SLO Ultra website.

 
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About Race SLO

Established in 2008 to bring world class events to the beautiful California Central Coast, the Race SLO family of events includes the SLO Half Marathon, Half Relay and Family 5K & Kids Races plus NEW SLO YogaMusic Fest (Spring) as well as the NEW SLO County Ultra Games & the SLO Ultra Trail Races (Fall). Race SLO sponsors community run & fitness training programs, supports sporting event projects nationwide, produces a health & fitness blog, plus hosts the popular Endurance Town USA Podcast, all while raising funds for local nonprofits: Jack’s Helping Hand, The Land Conservancy of SLO, SLO County Parks, and Grizzly Youth Academy. Over the last 10 years, Race SLO has helped raise and donated over $250,000 to nonprofits in our community. We invite anyone sharing our values to join us today by volunteering, participating or sponsoring our powerful efforts.

Swarnjit Boyal & Hannah Koski Win SLO Half Marathon

SLO Half Marathon Course event record broken by 47 seconds in the 8th annual Race SLO event

The 8th annual SLO Half Marathon and Relay Race weekend, presented by Pacific Premier Bank, attracted over 3,000 thousand athletes and 7,000 spectators in the 5 events spread over 3 days. Over 2,000 runners, including 15 elites racing for prize monies, toed the start on Sunday’s overcast morning to race a scenic course through downtown San Luis Obispo and the rolling hills of Edna Valley, starting and finishing at the iconic Madonna Inn.

Swarnjit Boyal, Hoka Aggies Team runner of San Luis Obispo, crossed the finish line first, with a blistering  time of 1:08:34, breaking the prior course record of 1:09.21. Second place finisher, Semereab Gebrekidan of Berkely, was right behind him in at 1:09:48. Jameson Mora of Mammoth Lakes rounded out the top three in the men's division with a time of 1:10:01.

Hannah Koski of Danville won the women's half with a time of 1:20:33, finishing ahead of Arroyo Grande's Allison Gonzalez (1:21:03), and Liz Hogan of San Luis Obispo (1:30:49).

This years new 3-leg Corporate Relay Challenge, sponsored by Morris & Garritano, was won outright by the all male Nacho Best Team, stacked with top local athletes Daniel Gilman, Gabe Garcia and Nicholas Sullivan, all working together at the healthy workplace Morris & Garritano Insurance, with a time of 1:38:54.

Winning Women’s Relay team was Brunettes Have More Run with Lauren Stevens, Jennifer Fultz and Sara Holloway, also from Morris & Garritano, with a time of 2:02:08.

Winning Coed Relay team was Antrox Engineering Team Party Gator with Karen Martinez, Anthony Martinez and Hannah Peterson, who finished in 1:55:51.

In the event's 5K race, Vacaville's Dylan Nute won overall the men's division with a time of 18:35 and Hollister's Gabriella Alvarez won the overall women's classification with a time of 20:49.

Complete results can be found at https://slomarathon.com/race-results/.

“In our 8th year of this Spring Fitness Tradition we really feel we nailed it. Our athletes, our community, non-profit partners and invaluable sponsors all went above and beyond supporting and celebrating with us. It takes year-round work and an army of passionate people to create a massive first-class event like this. Adding the SLO YogaMusic Fest as our kick off allowed us to collaborate with a new group of local Yogis, artists, music lovers and with Cal Poly, adding another level of heart and soul to our weekend. We are so grateful to all these beautiful humans and to our beautiful City of SLO for embracing us once again,” said Samantha Pruitt, Race SLO Founder & CEO.

The largest fitness festival on the California Central Coast, produced by Race SLO, lasted all weekend and brought out over 3,000 athletes from 26 states and 3 different countries, with 63% of participants from out of town. The economic impact of the event on the local economy was estimated at over $2 million.

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Hundreds spent Friday afternoon at the inaugural YogaMusic Fest, participating in three different yoga sessions coached by local expert Yogis; SLO Yoga Center, SPARK Yoga and The Yoga Standard, enjoying music by Club 91 DJs. Throughout the weekend, spectators and supporters were entertained by live music, vendors and exhibitors, activities for children and a selection of food and beverages. The event benefited Jack's Helping Hand, the Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County and the Grizzly Youth Academy.

On stage Sunday, surrounded by hundreds of his fans, Coach Ivan Huff of Paso Robles joined the prestigious Race SLO Running Hall of Fame inductees Robyn Schmidt (2018), Joe Rubio (2017), Sean Ricketts and Dr. Paul Spangler (2016), Stan Rosenfield (2015), Roger Warnes (2014), Greg Hinds (2013), and Pete Dorn and Brian Waterbury (2012).

Early bird registration for the 9th annual Race SLO Spring Fit Festival with YogaMusic Fest, Half Marathon, Relay Race, 5K and kids races is now open. Racers, walkers and yogis can register at https://raceroster.com/events/2020/23305/2020-slo-half-marathon-relay-5k-kids-races-yogamusic-fest. Early bird pricing runs through May 12, with half marathon as little as $75, relay race $200, 5K $30, kids races $15 and YogaMusic Fest $25.

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About Race SLO

Established in 2008 to bring world class events to the beautiful California Central Coast, the Race SLO family of events includes the SLO Half Marathon, Half Relay and Family 5K & Kids Races plus NEW SLO YogaMusic Fest (Spring) as well as the NEW SLO County Ultra Games & the SLO Ultra Trail Races (Fall). Race SLO sponsors community run & fitness training programs, supports sporting event projects nationwide, produces a health & fitness blog, plus hosts the popular Endurance Town USA Podcast, all while raising funds for local nonprofits: Jack’s Helping Hand, The Land Conservancy of SLO, SLO County Parks, and Grizzly Youth Academy. Over the last 10 years, Race SLO has helped raise and donated over $250,000 to nonprofits in our community. We invite anyone sharing our values to join us today by volunteering, participating or sponsoring our powerful efforts.

FEARLess

Last month I danced with fear many many times. To different music, beats fast and slow, and with lots of fancy foot steps – not to mention all the homely ball gowns! It was like a ‘dancing with the stars in the dark' series. I am not usually an F(ear)Bomb person, so it caught me by surprise to be swept off my feet by this emotional waltz. Plus, I have no rhythm, so I insisted on stopping the music.

Once it got quiet I recognized that my shadow dance partner was swirling all around, looming around me in countless conversations with others. Through the Law of Attraction, not only was I personally feeling fear creep into my own mind, but I was also hearing and seeing others around me stuck in the same self-limiting fear cycle. Like with any dark force, I knew I had to shine a bright neon light towards it in order to take away its power. I knew that fear had no right to my dance floor. Here is what I learned.

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Fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by thoughts and beliefs that someone or something is dangerous. The thoughts sound like “what if” and look like “worse case scenarios.” So the thinking is first, followed by the emotional response, followed by the reaction to those emotions (either conscious or unconscious). Fear can paralyze you like a tranquilizer drug. It affects your brain AND body. It moves through your blood stream and creates a real physical reaction, making it hard to breathe or even move. True, sometimes fear makes you MOVE FAST, like when a lion is chasing you. In today's modern society most of us don’t live in wild cat country, so instead we freeze. We let fear stop us in our tracks and form an ice cold bubble around our heart. Once fear is inside you, it flows out of your own body & mouth into actions and words that negatively influence the environment and others around you. Therefore actually attracting the exact response, negative energy and things you do not want!

Once I really let all that sink in – and I have honestly been writing this blog post for over 30 days now – I understood deep in my bones that fear is illogical and toxic. I could then also see how silly we humans are as I examined what people around me were afraid of.

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Getting hurt by others or the environment as we move thru life. Not having any and having too much money. Loving too much and not being loved enough. Losing an old crappy job or trying to get a new unknown one. Searching for a new partner or letting go of an old one. Working your body too hard or not hard enough for health & fitness. Letting old dreams die and birthing new ones. Fear of letting others down and even worse letting down yourself. Fear of being sober, honest or open and fear of lies or being numb. Losing all your possessions or drowning in meaningless things. Fear of failure but even worse, fear of success and worthiness.

In their polarity I could see what they all have in common. Each of these silly yet powerful fears drive us 100mph into our comfort zone, where we don’t risk either success or failure. They push us into the gray middle ground where nothing is too scary but also nothing really significant is ever achieved. Where being ‘good enough’ or ‘comfortable’ is the goal. Usually these ‘safe’ goals are told to us by others trying to protect us or maybe they are just held back by their own fear and limiting beliefs

Determined to reject fear as one of my daily thoughts or emotions, I knew that awareness was the first defense. Watching, listening, feeling for when that dark dirty dancer wisps on by me or is swing dancing with those around me. Then paying attention to the energy, sounds and visuals I expose myself to daily to ensure they do not generate fearful thoughts or feelings. My willingness to have honest open conversations with those I care about around fear has also been a game changer. Knowing all this has given me my strength back to look fear in the face and even create “Fear Challenges” where, in a safe environment, I push to do the things that scare me and make me really uncomfortable so that my potential can get some regular exercise too. I also plan situations each week that get me hanging around brave badass adventurous people so that my definition of ‘comfortable’ is redefined and truly means always growing instead of remaining stagnant.

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I confess it has taken me 50 years to learn the hard way but I also fully embrace I am nowhere near done evolving yet. I used to be afraid of being alone and now I crave it. I used to fear reaching out and being rejected but now I leap at opportunities to hug strangers. Professional and business risk sound scary? Hell, I live and breathe that world 24/7 nowadays. For fun and exercise on weekends I go on outdoor adventures where I could get lost, get wet, go hungry, be too cold or too hot or possibly run into a wild animal but I say BRING IT ON. Why? Because when I quiet the music of the world, take off the dancing shoes and instead listen to my deep wise soul...all I hear is the roar of courage.

#Fierceat50 #Fearlessat50

It's Never Too Late to be a BADASS!

Think it’s too late to train for the SLO Half Marathon? We are here to tell you that YOU CAN DO IT! Here are 5 easy tips to get it done.

It was a long wet winter and odds are you did not stay on top of your New Year's resolutions or your race training. Not to worry. We are turning this year around NOW! Here’s how.

If they can, so can you! Become a part of our beloved Race SLO Tribe!

If they can, so can you! Become a part of our beloved Race SLO Tribe!

1) Commit right now to run one of any of our 3 races on April 27 or 28, and get a half-price YogaMusic Fest ticket to the new Friday night event. Use code IDESERVETHIS at check out (click here.) Hurry though, because all races are close to sold out!

2) Once you’re committed and registered, get your butt off the couch, put your tennies on and step outside. Don’t track miles, track time instead. At an easy conversational pace, walk-run-walk-run and repeat for as long as you can without pain or misery. Log that time. 

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3) Go home, put your feet up and refuel with hydration and quality food. Take out your planning calendar and look at the next 5 weeks til race day. Plan to walk-run 3 days a week as follows

  • 1x a week train at a long easy conversational pace as you did on day 1 above. Take the above off-the-couch run time and add 10 minutes to it each week. Ex: The first day you were able to go out for 45 minutes. Week two you’d do 55 minutes. By week 4 you’d be at 75 minutes for your long run.

  • Rest the day after your long run

  • 1x a week walk-run hills for 45min

  • 1x a week walk-run on the track for 45min alternating slow laps with fast laps after you’ve done about a 20min easy warm up 

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Do this and you WILL finish the SLO Half Marathon, get your medal & T-shirt, drink your Jamba or beer and lay on the grass in the sun at our festival feeling like a BADASS. Your family, friends and coworkers will all admire your Badassery. This in turn will inspire you to continue on this new path of Badass Livin’ towards your next goal. There will simply be no stopping the forward momentum you have created for yourself building a new life and body.

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4) Drag your squad along with you so you can become a Badass Gang! Relay Team the Half, take on the Corporate Cup Half Relay Challenge or 5k, and use these “training dates” as an excuse to gather, move your feet, then conspire over a recovery drink about how one day you will rule the universe.

Bring your squad along for support or to divide and conquer in a relay race!

Bring your squad along for support or to divide and conquer in a relay race!

5) Well? What are you waiting for? It’s spring and time to earn some bling! Register here, then scroll back to #1 and embrace your BADASS! 


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About Race SLO

Established in 2008 to bring world class events to the beautiful California Central Coast, the Race SLO family of events includes the SLO Half Marathon, Half Relay and Family 5K & Kids Races plus NEW SLO YogaMusic Fest (Spring) as well as the NEW SLO County Ultra Games & the SLO Ultra Trail Races (Fall). Race SLO sponsors community run & fitness training programs, supports sporting event projects nationwide, produces a health & fitness blog, plus hosts the popular Endurance Town USA Podcast, all while raising funds for local nonprofits: Jack’s Helping Hand, The Land Conservancy of SLO, SLO County Parks, and Grizzly Youth Academy. Over the last 10 years, Race SLO has helped raise and donated over $250,000 to nonprofits in our community. We invite anyone sharing our values to join us today by volunteering, participating or sponsoring our powerful efforts.

Ivan Huff to be Inducted Into Race SLO Hall of Fame

Paso Robles High School (PRHS) cross country and track and field coach Ivan Huff will be inducted into the Race SLO's Hall of Fame on Sunday, April 28, 2019 during the SLO Half Marathon and Relay Races awards ceremony. Hall of Fame nominees are chosen for their initiative and inspiration, high level of accomplishment in running and/or coaching, and generous contribution to the running community in San Luis Obispo and the growth and future of this sport.

Photo by Roger Warnes

Photo by Roger Warnes

Robyn Schmidt, Atascadero High School cross country coach and 2018 Hall of Fame inductee, calls coach Huff a gift to distance running. “He truly loves track and field, and the kids he coaches,” she says.

Coach Huff attended PRHS from 1973 to 1977, when he was named Athlete of the Year. After a successful career in running, in which he qualified for the Olympic Trials in 1984, 1988, and 1993 for the 3,000 meter steeplechase and the marathon, Ivan Huff started coaching Bearcats athletes in 1986. He is the longest tenured coach at the school, inspiring his athletes to achieve their goals, with many continuing to compete and succeed on the college level.

Pepe Gonzales, former student athlete at PRHS and Race SLO Ambassador says, “Coach Huff had a great impact on my running life. He's inspired me to keep running and reaching my goals of achieving the impossible. He gave me tools to break through mental restraints. He not only taught me how to be a great athlete on the track, but how to be a good person off the track.”

For Huff, coaching is about connection, not just miles, paces and drills. He respects that every athlete is different. He says, “Running teaches good habits. It's a lifestyle that informs how we eat, sleep and structure our lives. Running teaches kids to commit and work hard, and that even things that seem impossible can be accomplished by showing up every day.”

Coach Huff values the opportunity to have a good influence on children. He remembers coaching a student who'd fallen in with the wrong crowd, and even stole a car in middle school. Running in high school taught him a good work ethic. Eventually, the boy set a record for 2-mile run. He went to college and now serves as a San Jose police officer.

“Every year brings new people and events to be proud of,” says Huff. These moments are what keeps him coaching – he doesn't want to let the kids down.

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***Race SLO Fitness Festival is coming up on April 26-28! To register for the SLO Half Marathon, Half Marathon Relay, Corporate Challenge Relay, 5K and Kids Races, and for the inaugural YogaMusic Fest, visit https://www.slomarathon.com/

About Race SLO

Established in 2008 to bring world class events to the beautiful California Central Coast, the Race SLO family of events includes the SLO Half Marathon, Half Relay and Family 5K & Kids Races plus NEW SLO YogaMusic Fest (Spring) as well as the NEW SLO County Ultra Games & the SLO Ultra Trail Races (Fall). Race SLO sponsors community run & fitness training programs, supports sporting event projects nationwide, produces a health & fitness blog, plus hosts the popular Endurance Town USA Podcast, all while raising funds for local nonprofits: Jack’s Helping Hand, The Land Conservancy of SLO, SLO County Parks, and Grizzly Youth Academy. Over the last 10 years, Race SLO has helped raise and donated over $250,000 to nonprofits in our community. We invite anyone sharing our values to join us today by volunteering, participating or sponsoring our powerful efforts.

Race SLO Announces Portfolio Expansion With Inaugural YogaMusic Fest

A Central Coast celebration of mindful healthy lifestyle featuring music performances by Cal Poly Club 91 DJ’s, Forever Stoked Interactive Art Performances and a variety of popular Yoga Fitness Studios

The 8th annual SLO Half-Marathon weekend, produced by the Central Coast's endurance sport leader Race SLO, will open with an inaugural YogaMusic Fest on Friday, April 26, from 3pm to 9pm. Presented by Pacific Premier Bank and sponsored by Cal Poly, Whalebird Kombucha and several other locally owned businesses, the event will help raise awareness and funds for the Land Conservancy of SLO and Jack’s Helping Hand. This uplifting community event will feature hip local DJs, offer three unique yoga workouts, inspiring guest speakers, healthy food and interactive art with Forever Stoked. An event T-shirt or tank top, wristband, sticker, lululemon goody bag, parking and access to all Friday yoga workouts are included in the $40 admission.

“We are pumped to expand our event weekend offerings and to work closely with our beloved Cal Poly to engage a wider reach. Race SLO’s passion is to create experiences for people to build better bodies and better lives using human connection, outdoor adventure and endurance sports as the tools. This Spring addition, as well as our ‘soon to be announced’ new Fall event, are all about us taking our mission to the next level!” said Samantha Pruitt, Race SLO founder and CEO.

Working closely with the Cal Poly Experience Event Industry students and professors, this new SLO YogaMusic Fest brand was created along with a 2019 hashtag #beSLOwild. This event is a community focused effort to showcase the Cal Poly students, the Yoga collectives, powerful performance artists and provide a platform for people to express and connect through movement. Forever Stoked will facilitate  interactive mural art creation and performance art. Whalebird Kombucha along with a variety of local crafts, businesses and healthy food and beverage brands are invited to join the celebration.

The staggered 60-minute yoga workouts will include a Dance Groove yoga class led by the Yoga Standard’s Brittini Soo and a Vinyasa Flow yoga class taught by the SLO Yoga Center’s Robyn Gimler and Brooke Ludington, plus other locally loved Yogis.

“At SLO Yoga Center, we are all about celebrating community, the gift of yoga, and the benefits received from all forms of movement to our overall well being. We are honored to teach at the SLO Half Marathon & YogaMusic Fest,” said Stephanie Stackhouse, the owner of the SLO Yoga Center.

Club 91 DJ’s will weave in music all throughout the afternoon, while Whalebird Kombucha hosts a community connection lounge encouraging speaking, sharing and collaboration with our guest speakers. This event is a not-to-miss for anyone looking to deepen their connection with both self and others.  

For more information about getting involved in the Race SLO Festivals, and to register for the YogaMusic Fest, SLO Half Marathon, Half Marathon Relay, Corporate Relay, 5K and Kids races visit www.raceslo.com

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About Race SLO

Established in 2008 to bring world class events to the beautiful California Central Coast, the Race SLO family of events includes the SLO Half Marathon, Half Relay and Family 5K & Kids Races plus NEW SLO YogaMusic Fest (Spring) as well as the NEW SLO County Ultra Games & the SLO Ultra Trail Races (Fall). Race SLO sponsors community run & fitness training programs, supports sporting event projects nationwide, produces a health & fitness blog, plus hosts the popular Endurance Town USA Podcast, all while raising funds for local nonprofits: Jack’s Helping Hand, The Land Conservancy of SLO, SLO County Parks, and Grizzly Youth Academy. Over the last 10 years, Race SLO has helped raise and donated over $250,000 to nonprofits in our community. We invite anyone sharing our values to join us today by volunteering, participating or sponsoring our powerful efforts.

Behind the Scenes at the SLO Film Fest with Samantha Pruitt

Get "Behind the Scenes" with the Race SLO founder and ultra-runner Samantha Pruitt at the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival on March 16, 2019!

Join Samantha and the San Luis Distance Club for a FREE community coffee talk at 8am in the Festival Lounge, and then head out for a fun walk/run through the streets of San Luis Obispo. Finish at the Downtown Cinemas just in time for the 10:15am screening of the Faces of Adventure film about Samantha (by Adventure Aide), Running Man of Pasadena and Accidental Climber (tickets at the door).

All levels of walkers and runners are welcome! Plan on 30min talk/ 60min workout.

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Presented by City of San Luis Obispo. Sponsored by BlackHorse Espresso and Bakery, San Luis Distance Club and Race SLO.

For more information about this event visit https://slofilmfest.org/2019-films-by-category/samantha-pruitt-faces-of-adventure/



lululemon's Influential Women Leaders Series: Samantha Pruitt

Race SLO founder Samantha Pruitt in conversation with lululemon about powerful women and leadership on International Women’s Day.

What does it mean to lead powerfully and authentically?

For me, authentic leadership can only come from a place of deep life purpose. One’s unique purpose must be dug into, unearthed and harvested in order to use it as a powerful fuel for change and growth. Think of your life and personal leadership as your own limitless garden. You can make it big, small, wild or fancy, full of veggies-fruit or flowers, you can use it to feed yourself, your family or the entire community. However, left unattended, it will grow weeds, be unproductive and eventually die. Additionally, there are seasons to your leadership garden. Life's calendar and climate will affect what you plant, what you reap and how both your body and mind will respond to each harvest. Knowing and adapting to this natural cycle helps you understand that YOU hold the power to your own harvest. Understanding this ever-changing personal power allows you the freedom to explore your potential as life’s gardener without judgement or fear. Lastly, sweating on the earth while exercising your purpose will ensure you produce a nourishing life long harvest that will also inspire and feed countless others. For me, I connect again over and over to my own purpose each time I choose to lead and collaborate, ensuring that first my own garden is tended too, because only then I am most connected to how I can truly be of service to others and the world.

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How do you elevate and inspire other women?

One of my favorite things to do in the entire world is to mentor and collaborate with other women leaders. It is truly part of my life's purpose and what I feel the world needs more of. When we diverse women reach out our hands and hearts to inspire and support the evolution of those females around us, we are truly unstoppable. Since the dawn of time, women are the community members who have the most influence over their families, their friends, their villages and their workplaces. Because of our true nature to give, raise, support and take action with those around us, we women are the real influencers. Therefore, if we each are healthier, stronger, braver and more connected to our own truth, we can selflessly carry that limitless energy out into the world. One circle of influence at a time, we will create positive change. I live and breathe to be surrounded by, to be a mentor to, and to truly be one of the legit GAME CHANGERS.

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What would you like to see shift in our community?

I define my own community as far beyond the town I live in or my close circle of friends & family. As a female business owner, coach and influencer, athlete and teammate, mother, wife, sister, aunt, nana and friend, my community circle is massive and I am so grateful. The shift I would like to see most in this nationwide community at large is a movement towards simplicity and self investment. I am working towards living a life with less stuff and more connection. I feel that most humans (including myself) have gotten lost chasing and collecting things instead of experiences and that is a waste of time and resources on this earth. I also feel that humans (and I learned this one the hard way) put more value into investing in money-work and relationships with others before themselves and their own bodies. This is a true crisis of both health and happiness in the world. One we can not afford to fix, because when we self-invest we are more productive, more powerful and more able to really live the purpose driven life we deserve.

Samantha Alderton Pruitt is an entrepreneur, endurance sports race director, ultra-endurance and adventure athlete, podcast host and lifestyle coach.

***Race SLO Fitness Festival is coming up on April 26-28! To register for the SLO Half Marathon, Half Marathon Relay, Corporate Challenge Relay, 5K and Kids Races, and for the inaugural YogaMusic Fest, visit https://www.slomarathon.com/

ABOUT RACE SLO

Established in 2008 to bring world class sporting events to the beautiful California Central Coast, the Race SLO family of events includes the SLO Half Marathon, Half Relay and Family 5K & Kids Races plus NEW SLO YogaMusic Fest (Spring) as well as the NEW SLO County Ultra Games & the SLO Ultra Trail Races (Fall). Race SLO sponsors community run & fitness training programs, supports sporting event projects nationwide, produces a health & fitness blog, plus hosts the popular Endurance Town USA Podcast, all while raising funds for local nonprofits: Jack’s Helping Hand, The Land Conservancy of SLO, SLO County Parks and Grizzly Youth Academy. Over the last 10 years, Race SLO has helped raise and donated over $250,000 to nonprofits in our community.

Our mission: Through human experiences, we create social & economic impact to share our legacy.

My Road to Spartan

Meet Amira Elkashef, a joyful, adventurous warrior and obstacle course race junkie. Read her story of how she pulled herself out of a two year flare up that almost took her life and transformed herself into an athlete who attacks every day with enthusiasm.

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Amira, I'm 33, and I have a story to tell. One of my goals in life is to be able to share my experiences in hopes of possibly helping one person before I leave this earth. Before we get into the nitty gritty of the very obvious purpose of this blog post (I know the title have left you with no idea of what I'm going to write about), I'd like to give you a brief summary of how I came into the brilliant idea of starting this journey.

Photo by Spartan

Photo by Spartan

I have been sick all my life. Legitimately. Since I was born. A good part of my elementary school career was spent in bed with a fever; don't worry, it didn't stunt my intellectual growth. When I was 18, I was diagnosed with Lupus. Being the not-rebellious-at-all young adult I was, I decided not to go to the experimental clinic my rheumatologist recommended, and never took the prescription I was given a subscription for. I figured I'd rather deal with whatever Lupus had to offer instead, of chancing it and dealing with Lupus and possible blindness and hearing loss. THIS IS NOT AN ENDORSEMENT TO FOLLOW MY LEAD.

Let's skip the awkward years and fast forward to age 28. I was living in San Francisco, working at an organization I had dreamed about since I was 18. One day while eating lunch, nothing crazy as I've always been health conscious, I noticed a sharp pain on my side. The more I ate, the more it hurt. Now, I have a very, very, high threshold for pain so when I tell you this pain brought me to my knees, you should be gasping. That was the beginning of the worst two years of my life. I could not eat anything from that moment forward. I was going from doctor to doctor, having every test known to the human and alien kind ran on me, with not one doctor being able to find what the cause was other than, "this is an autoimmune thing". I dropped down to 95 pounds, had zero energy, and just wanted to get the hell out of SF. Turns out that when you are malnourished, it makes you hate everything and everyone.

So I quit the job I had been working towards my whole life, left my beautiful rent controlled apartment in San Francisco, and moved back to where I grew up - San Luis Obispo - to be near family as I for sure thought this was the end for me. More doctors, more tests, blah blah blah...I was beyond over it. Then I meet people along the way who genuinely cared about me and what I was going through and helped me tremendously. When I finally decided for myself that I wasn't going out like this, I started advocating for myself and became really good at listening to my body, and then finally found a nutritionist that was able to help me, and began eating and taking a butt load (medical term) of drugs, and feeling sane again, my whole world changed. I remember thinking to myself one day lying in bed, that if I ever got better, I would like to spend the whole day, from sunrise to sunset, outdoors; being in nature and going on adventures.

Photo by Samantha Pruitt

Photo by Samantha Pruitt

Now, to the good part, and the reason you're reading this! Today, I feel the best I've ever felt in my life! It's been a long road but I firmly believe that my attitude, joy for life, sense of purpose, fantastic humor, friends, and family got me through some very tough times. Most importantly, it is critical to be your own advocate, listen to your body and be kind to it. I want everyone who's going through any kind of pain to know that if you're fighting tired and over it, keep fighting...it’s worth it. I live every day to the fullest and have tons of fun along the way, discovering new adventures whenever I can, and always challenging myself to be better than I was yesterday. Sure, I still have not so great days but I don’t let that stop me from appreciating every day. My body has kicked my ass for far too long; it’s my turn to kick some ass.

A year ago, I came across photos of a Spartan race and thought, "That is so bad ass. I'm doing it". That same day, I signed up for the race and started trying to figure out how I could get in shape in time for the race. When race day came, I was beyond nervous but I did it! The feeling of crossing that finish line was euphoric! I felt alive! I felt like I was living! I felt like my best self. Not too long ago, I was lying in bed with no strength or energy wondering when my last breath would be. Don’t ever give up on your life.

Photo by Spartan

Photo by Spartan

My number one lesson from all of this has been that it doesn’t matter how many times you fall; what matters is how you fall and if you choose to get back up. I choose to get back up every time life knocks me down. I choose to do things that bring me joy. I choose to live life the way I want to. No matter what. No matter what it takes. I use every struggle I’ve faced to propel me through my races. Racing is such an emotional, cathartic experience for me. I’ve gone form almost dying, sometimes not wanting to live, to feeling the most alive I’ve ever felt when I race and cross that finish line.

Since then, I’ve competed in 3 Spartan races and going for my trifecta this year! Wish me luck!

Follow Amira on Instagram, find her on Facebook and read her blog for more.


Why I Keep Coming Back to the Race SLO (Half) Marathon

When I was asked to write this blog, I was excited to share what I love about the San Luis Obispo Marathon and the surrounding areas. I asked for a deadline because I know without one, I will never get around to writing it due to an old friend known as Procrastination. As expected, this old friend visited. I found all kinds of reasons not to write. Family time. Work. The Masked Singer. Video games. I even got sick for over a week just so I could have an excuse to keep putting it off.

 My name is Ted Torres and I run with a camera. On social media, I am known as RunsWCam. I began running with my Canon Digital Rebel XT in 2013, taking photos during races from the runner’s perspective. Then I edit and upload photos to social media, unless my old friend visits. Then it may take months or even years before I post them. Or sometimes, never at all.

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I was introduced to the SLO Marathon in 2015 by the BNB Runners, a running club based out of Fresno, California. Although I live roughly 60 miles north, I joined the club in 2014. Members of the club were forming a team and I decided to tag along. My girlfriend Amy and I booked a room at the Madonna Inn. Then I registered us for the 5k and myself for the marathon.

 By the time the race weekend arrived, Procrastination had derailed my marathon training and I downgraded to the half marathon. Then due to circumstances beyond our control, our trip to the central coast was delayed by a day. There was no packet pickup on race morning and while on the road we had concerns if we would make it to the expo. Having already missed the 5k and not wanting to miss the half marathon, I e-mailed the race director to see if I could have one of my BNB team members pick up my packet. She replied quickly and made the process painless. This made a very positive first impression, setting the stage for my return every year since.

I really enjoy the variety the SLO half marathon course offers. It begins and ends at the historic Madonna Inn. Within the first few miles, runners find themselves running through residential neighborhoods and downtown San Luis Obispo, passing the famous, or infamous, Bubblegum Alley. Runners then head out of town passing through rolling hills with views of vineyards, farms, and an occasional alpaca, before returning through town to the finish.

 No race can operate without the generosity of its volunteers. The SLO Marathon has some of the best. Their abundance and efficiency help to keep runners fueled to keep going throughout the race. Their energy and enthusiasm help to fuel runners, especially those towards the back of the pack, like myself.

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In 2017, with everything reserved and paid for, we almost did not make it to the SLO Marathon. My sweet dog, Artemis, was diagnosed with lymphoma and her time with us was short. We decided instead to take Artemis on a trip somewhere she had never been before. We found ourselves staying in Pismo Beach. We took her to the beach. We took her to Old West Cinnamon Rolls. We took her to the SLO Marathon. When I finished the half marathon, Artemis was there wiggling her butt, wagging her tail, and smiling ear to ear. It was a bittersweet moment making my eyes fill with drops of emotion every time I think of it. We would lose her a few weeks later.

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About 2 months after the 2017 SLO Marathon, I became a father to a beautiful little girl. Naturally, she was there waiting for me at the finish of the 2018 half marathon. As I came down the hill for the final stretch of the race, I spotted Amy and my little girl among the large crowd at the finish. I traded my camera for my little girl and walked the last bit with her in my arms. It is a moment I get to treasure with my little girl. I hope when she is old enough, she will want to run SLO with me.

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One of the sweet ironies of this race is the SLO moniker. San Luis Obispo is a wonderful running community and there are a lot of fast runners.  However, “SLO” is fitting for this guy. I have not run my best when I have run this event, but I have set a goal. I want to finish the 2019 SLO Half Marathon in under 2 hours, something I have not done in a race this distance in years. It is time for me to say goodbye to my old friend Procrastination and get to work!

*** To register for the SLO Half Marathon, Half Marathon Relay, Corporate Challenge Relay, 5K and Kids Races, and for the YogaMusic Fest, visit https://www.slomarathon.com/

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ABOUT RACE SLO

Established in 2008 to bring world class sporting events to the beautiful California Central Coast, the Race SLO family of events includes the SLO Half Marathon, Half Relay and Family 5K & Kids Races plus NEW SLO YogaMusic Fest (Spring) as well as the NEW SLO County Ultra Games & the SLO Ultra Trail Races (Fall). Race SLO sponsors community run & fitness training programs, supports sporting event projects nationwide, produces a health & fitness blog, plus hosts the popular Endurance Town USA Podcast, all while raising funds for local nonprofits: Jack’s Helping Hand, The Land Conservancy of SLO, SLO County Parks and Grizzly Youth Academy. Over the last 10 years, Race SLO has helped raise and donated over $250,000 to nonprofits in our community.

Our mission: Through human experiences, we create social & economic impact to share our legacy.

NEW CORPORATE RELAY TEAM CHALLENGE AT 2019 SLO HALF MARATHON

Sponsored by Morris & Garritano, the corporate challenge promotes employee wellness and team-building skills

Our region's largest community fitness festival, produced by the Central Coast's endurance sport leader Race SLO, is slated for the weekend of April 26 – 28 at the Madonna Meadows in San Luis Obispo. Runners, walkers and fit fans of all ages and levels are welcome to join one of the six weekend events. New to the expanding line up this year is the inaugural YogaMusic Fest Friday night and Sunday Corporate Relay Team Half Marathon Challenge. Also new this year will be on-site childcare provided by Race Rugrats.

The San Luis Obispo Half Marathon, Half Marathon Relay + 5K, presented by Pacific Premier Bank, is pleased to have Morris & Garritano as the sponsor of the Corporate Relay Team Half Marathon Challenge. The beautiful half marathon course is a scenic tour of San Luis Obispo starting and finishing at Madonna Inn Meadows. Male, female and coed teams of 2 or 3 persons will split a 3-leg half marathon distance of 13.1 miles, competing for the prestigious corporate cup, along with bragging rights, while promoting both team work and a healthy lifestyle. Companies and Gyms that sign up for the corporate relay challenge will also receive a 50% discount for their business vendor booth  so they can promote themselves to the 3,500 athletes and 7,000 spectators during the three day Race SLO Fitness Festival.

"We've always promoted health and wellness as part of our corporate culture, so it was a natural fit to partner with Race SLO to encourage other companies and community groups to do the same,” said Gabe Garcia, Morris & Garritano CFO and a SLO Marathon Legacy Runner. “We've been involved with the SLO marathon and half marathon since its first year and are happy to continue the tradition."

To get their teams both inspired and trained, a local eight-week training program for all levels is available for only $75, sponsored by RaceSLO, the San Luis Distance Club and Headstrong Fit. The discount training program fee includes a SLO Distance Club 2019 Membership, 8 week training program for half marathon, half marathon relay teams and 5K, coach-led workouts each Wednesday evening (Cal Poly Track) & Saturday mornings (in San Luis Obispo), plus clinics, socials and a SLO branded training shirt. Kick-off and sign-up is on Saturday, February 16th at 7:30am at Scout Coffee on Foothill Boulevard. Registration is also available now at the SLO Distance Club website. This program is for beginners all the way through competitive athletes.

“Though we have seen a drop in full marathon 26.2 runners in the last few years, we have also heard a demand for more variety and more community engagement programs. With our other races thriving, we decided it was time to double down on our mission of “creating meaningful experiences for people to build their best bodies & lives through endurance sports, outside adventure and human connection.” Adding events for people to be on teams, exposing our fans to new activities and new people, while upping our community impact has really fired us up for 2019! Wait until we announce our new Fall line-up at SLO Ultra!” said Samantha Pruitt, RaceSLO Founder & CEO.   

For more information about the Race SLO Fitness Festival, and to register for the YogaMusic Fest, SLO Half Marathon, Half Marathon relay, Corporate Relay, 5K and Kids races visit slomarathon.com.


About Race SLO

Established in 2008 to bring world class sporting events to the beautiful California Central Coast, the Race SLO family of events includes the SLO Half Marathon, Half Relay and Family 5K & Kids Races plus NEW SLO YogaMusic Fest (Spring) as well as the NEW SLO County Ultra Games & the SLO Ultra Trail Races (Fall). Race SLO sponsors community run & fitness training programs, supports sporting event projects nationwide, produces a health & fitness blog, plus hosts the popular Endurance Town USA Podcast, all while raising funds for local nonprofits: Jack’s Helping Hand, The Land Conservancy of SLO, SLO County Parks and Grizzly Youth Academy. Over the last 10 years, Race SLO has helped raise and donated over $250,000 to nonprofits in our community.

About Morris & Garritano

Morris & Garritano cares that you’re covered. For over 130 years, our agency has insured the Central Coast’s most valuable asset, its people. We are your capable Commercial, Employee Benefits and Personal insurance advisors, sharing expertise with integrity. Our team is committed to the success of every client from small businesses to growing families. Since 1885, our agency is dedicated to earning your trust twice, at the time of purchase and at the time of need.

Dear Beloved SLO Marathoner’s,

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We are beyond bummed to tell you all about our 2019 reality...but here it is.

Due to the steady decline in nation-wide full marathon running interest, our low 26.2 registration numbers, plus our increasing costs of race production, we have been forced to pull the SLO full 26.2 marathon race for 2019. Instead, we will focus on the half marathon, the 3-person half relay, our community 5k and kids races to ensure our race weekend continues to flourish and produce the positive human impact we work so hard for. Also, in response to our health & fitness communities requests, we are adding a NEW YogaMusic Fest on Friday afternoon-evening as well. It will be a not-to-miss experience of layered yoga workouts (sweaty style, dance style, restorative style), wrapped in vibe music, purpose & passion artistry, food & beverages and human connection.

Because we LOVE YOU and want to make this weekend change-up right, if you are currently registered for the Full Marathon, we are offering you several options to ensure you still come to Race SLO Town and play with us:

  1. Run the Half or the Half Relay with a team instead at no extra charge and get another entry at no charge to any distance at our SLO Ultra Oct 26-27 at Lopez Lake. You can even gift this extra race entry too!

  2. Run the Half or Half Relay with a team instead at no extra charge, and then get another FREE entry to any 2019 SLO Half Marathon, the 5k or the kids race. 

  3. Raincheck the full value of your race to any 2020 event we host as a "RaceSLO Bucks" credit.

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From the bottom of my heart, I apologize for affecting your run goals this year and really want to make it right by you. Our athlete community and creating experiences for you to reach your goals is our #1 mission. Please email me directly once you have determined your decision. Plus - if you do decide to still come play with us and if you are staying at a hotel in the City of San Luis Obispo, our city partners will hand-deliver you a welcome pack of goodies to express our shared gratitude. 

Again, we value YOU, we want YOU, and we love YOU! Please stay true to your 2019 goals and let us help you succeed. 

Sincerely, Samantha Pruitt

Race SLO Founder & CEO / Endurance Lifestyle Coach & Podcast Host

@thesamanthapruitt @raceslo @endurancetownusa

If you have any questions, you can reach out to:

Samantha Pruitt
samantha@raceslo.com

Morro Bay to Host Amgen Tour of California Stage Finish in Spring 2019

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For a third time, Morro Bay has been chosen as one of the Amgen Tour of California host cities. On Wednesday, May 15, 2019, the breathtaking Morro Bay waterfront will serve as the Stage 4 race finish area for the weeklong prestigious international professional cycling race. Everyone is invited to celebrate America’s biggest race as well as the Central Coast’s love of cycling and healthy lifestyle.

The Amgen Tour of California challenges the world’s top professional cycling teams to compete along a demanding course that traverses hundreds of miles of California’s iconic highways, byways and coastlines. In previous years, participants included UCI World Tour teams, Olympic medalists, Tour de France contenders and other World Champions, qualifying the Tour of California as one of the most important cycling races in the world. The 14th edition of the 7-stage race is scheduled to take place May 12-18, 2019.

Photo by Hunter Kilpatrick

Photo by Hunter Kilpatrick

“We are beyond thrilled to host this prestigious race in Morro Bay and show off our awesome community to the rest of the world,” said Morro Bay Mayor, Jamie Irons. “Morro Bay truly is a cyclist’s paradise with our picturesque views and open roads.”

The City of Morro Bay is working with Race SLO to produce a first class finish line, a festival to showcase Morro Bay as a premier cycling destination and to build connections with the valued cycling community members. The festival is free to the public, with live music, vendors, food and beverage offerings.

The public is also invited to a fundraising community fun ride and fun walk, at lunchtime on May 14, with all proceeds benefiting Bike SLO County. Bike SLO County is a non-profit organization with a mission to inspire, educate, advocate, and work to build a safe, healthy and connected community through bicycling.

The popularity of cycling is rising. In 2017, estimated 3.8 million visitors included biking in their vacation plans according to Visit California. In 2017, when the Amgen Tour of California finished the third stage in Morro Bay, the event drew thousands of people to town. The 2018 Amgen Tour was seen by an estimated 15.92 million worldwide TV viewers, and 125 million checked in on the race via social media.

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About Morro Bay

A true gem, this seaside fishing village with bustling waterfront offers a picture perfect getaway for travelers who seek food, wine and outdoor adventures found in a gorgeous natural setting. Located along coastal Highway 1 in San Luis Obispo County just south of Big Sur, midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Morro Bay offers year round activities in an unspoiled slice of California. Recently recognized as her home in Finding Dory, Morro Bay was named a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists, and outdoor activities are a way of life. From ocean-side golf, kayaking, sailing, hiking, fishing, surfing, biking, and bird watching, to kite flying, shopping, dining, wine bars, local craft brews and miles of unspoiled beaches, there is something for everyone.

Sitting majestically between the beach and the harbor lays the iconic and historic landmark Morro Rock, welcoming travelers from miles away as they approach Morro Bay. Located just minutes from world-renowned Hearst Castle, historic missions, breathtaking Montana de Oro State Park, and surrounded by vineyards from Paso Robles to Edna Valley, Morro Bay is a destination designed to fit any style and budget for families, couples or groups. Morro Bay also offers a myriad of year-round events including food, wine and music festivals, art fairs and car shows unique to the town. For more travel information, follow Morro Bay on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest or visit www.morrobay.org.

About Race SLO

Established in 2008 to bring world class sporting events to the beautiful California Central Coast, the 2018 Race SLO endurance event portfolio included the inaugural California Warrior Experience, 7th SLO Marathon + Half, Relays and 5K plus Kids Races, 3rd SLO Ultra trail races and the US Trail Running Conference. In 2018 Race SLO launched the new Endurance Town USA Podcast and a new Headstrong Fit Endurance Team for SLO County athletes to train and race together. Race SLO Team produces both fun & competitive endurance events year-round to create human connection through fitness while raising funds for local nonprofits: Jack’s Helping Hand, The Land Conservancy of SLO, Team Red, White & Blue, Grizzly Youth Academy and SLO County Parks. Over the last 10 years, Race SLO has helped raise and donated over $250,000 to nonprofits in our community.

Race SLO Mission: Through human experiences, we create social & economic impact to share our legacy.

Visit RaceSLO.com for more information.

Race SLO Welcomes Brooks Running as New Corporate Sponsor

Race SLO is proud to announce a new running product sponsor for the 2019 SLO Marathon, Half Marathon & Relays, and 2019 SLO Ultra trail races. Brooks Running is an American company that designs and markets high-performance men's and women's running shoes, clothing and accessories. Brooks products are available in 60 countries worldwide.

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“Brooks Running and Race SLO share the same values of getting people moving and actively engaged in building better bodies, better lives and ultimately better communities. For over a decade we have invested in humans, using endurance sports as our platform for good. Brooks is deeply invested in people as well by innovating quality gear and shoes designed to help runners run longer, farther and faster. We couldn't be more excited to have their support,” said Samantha Pruitt, Race SLO Founder and CEO.

"Brooks Running and Race Roster are excited to partner with Race SLO to learn more about running shoe purchasing habits and promote Brooks' unique 90 Day True Blue guarantee to close out 2018. This digital partnership will gather unique insights at the point of purchase on a runner's affinity towards specific brands and shoe models. Additionally, by reaching runners at the point of digital purchase, Brooks is joining runners on a training journey that begins online, continues on roads and trails, and ends at the finish line. The program will also encourage runners to engage with industry-leading digital tools like the Brooks Shoe Finder, and Sports Bra Finder before considering a purchase during a training cycle." said Dennis Mazajlo, Race Roster Manager of Strategic Partnership.

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The 8th annual SLO Marathon + Half and Relay Race event, presented by Pacific Premier Bank, will be held in San Luis Obispo, California on Saturday and Sunday, April 27 and 28, 2019. The Central Coast largest running festival will also offer relay races, 5K and kids' races, free yoga sessions and live music. The 4th annual SLO Ultra is scheduled for Fall 2019, new date TBA in January. This Dirt Festival weekend offers a trail 50K, half marathon, 5K, kids' race, as well as camping, yoga and live music. Runners, walkers and movers of all ages and abilities are welcome to attend both of these events. With the wide variety of activities, there is something for everyone.

#RaceSLO100 Challenge

Dear Race SLO Tribe,

2019 is coming! It’s all shiny and new, welcoming and full of opportunity. So we’re doing it. We are jumping right in with Human Connection, Community Building and YOU in our hearts and minds. We are more committed than ever to your success. Let’s dream big and ignite the FIRE within this new year.

For 2019, Race SLO is introducing the #RaceSLO100 challenge! One new year. One united community. One big goal - pick your own 100 challenge and then share it with our growing community to inspire others. Best part? YOU get to determine your own challenge. Complete it over time, or all at once. Run 100 miles. Swim 100km. Hike 100 trails. Paddle 100 miles. Work your way to 100 push ups or pull ups. Check off 100 days in the gym. Dance to 100 songs. Make it something that is a challenge but also a joy generator. Get creative - we want to see your wild ideas! Remember you can start anytime - it doesn’t matter if you don’t complete your challenge in 2019. It’s the starting and sticking with it that matters.

The only rule is that the 100 challenge activity you choose gets you off the couch and sets you on a path toward the health and fitness lifestyle you deserve. You have a whole year, so crush as many goals as you can. And when you reach your goal - we will reward you with a real #RaceSLO100 medal, plus a one-on-one coaching session with Samantha Pruitt, our RaceSLO Founder, endurance lifestyle and success mindset coach.

Your body can stand up to almost anything. It's your mind that you have to win over. Our RaceSLO Headstrong team is here to keep you motivated! Join our 100 community Facebook group, share your progress on social media, use hashtags #RaceSLO100 and #HeadstrongEndurance, and make sure to tag us @RaceSLO. Bring your friends along to hold each other accountable and make new friends in our fast growing, like-minded community.

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Once you complete your challenge, send an email (preferably with a photo that we can share on social media) to samantha@raceslo.com. Include your address so we can ship you your well-deserved medal, and best way to contact you for your coaching session.

Dream. Commit. Today. Now. Take this challenge. Own this year. Together we RISE. #RaceSLO100






S.A.D. is Real. But sadness is not permanent.

By Samantha Pruitt December, 2018

So it’s Wintertime and frankly I missed Fall altogether, since the weather patterns shifted early and I was too buried in work to even notice the changing color of the leaves. By Halloween it was cold, dark and heavy. I had a heavy head, heavy heart and heavy body. It’s like a hangover minus the lingering sketchy photos on Facebook. Unfortunately for me I have been down this muddy path before. In fact, this dirty trail even has it’s own trail marker labeled SAD >>> But fortunately for me, I’ve learned how to crawl out of dirt holes and even better, recognize and prepare for this annual mountain expedition. Tell me if you can relate?   

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a mood disorder subset in which people who have normal mental health throughout most of the year exhibit depressive symptoms most commonly in the winter. SAD is a type of major depressive disorder, and sufferers may exhibit any of the associated symptoms, such as feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness, thoughts of suicide, loss of interest in activities, withdrawal from social interaction, sleep and appetite problems, weight gain, difficulty with concentrating and making decisions, decreased libido, a lack of energy, or agitation.” 

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No this is NOT something we just suck up or get over, its a thing. A real physiological body chemistry imbalance thing. For me this started to become an issue when my Celiacs Autoimmune Disease was in full force and my hormones went postal around age 30. Then, adding insult too injury, my beloved Dad died right before Christmas, taking the idea of the holidays and family season to a bad head space. Several years later, again right before Christmas, my Mother died as well. So again Joy was not on my holiday menu. Then once I finally got off the couch and became an outdoor endurance athlete the seasonal light and temperature drops became another issue of distress. #forreal

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Lately there is a lot in the main stream news on depression and in particular I am seeing professional athletes also sharing their battle publicly. I am so glad to see the stigma being removed and felt the calling to share my own truth in hopes to support others. I can only assume that it affects athletic people often because we tend to be ‘doers’ and a Winter time hibernation mindset makes us uncomfortable. We also thrive on Vitamin D (made by your body in the sun) and B (derived from food), two very common deficiencies of athletes that are linked to depression and anxiety. We are so tightly connected to our hormones and energy system fluctuations as well so when we are off our game we tend to notice it more. Whatever the cause…….. it SUCKS! And life is too damn short to waste our Winters in the funkzone.     

Since this was not my first hike up SAD Mountain, I spent all November getting myself re-structured with fresh goals plus a sound strategy to deal.

I set up accountability methods and team support then red penned daily time for both working out as well as simply breathing fresh air in the sun to clear my foggy head. Below are my top 10 tips that have helped me A) not only make it out of the dark muddy hole and up the damn mountain but B)  allow me to stand onto of the summit and feel like my best self again. 

  1. Get your blood work checked each Fall so you know what is really happening inside. Then sit with a Health Coach, reviewing results and  build a personalized health plan. 

  2. Get out your paper calendar and plan outdoor active adventures. Write that shit down! Plan, log, track and journal. 

  3. Do not feel trapped inside by the cold, wet or daylight. Gym time is great for early am & pm workouts but lunch time and weekends get the hell outside people and BREATHE DEEP. 

  4. Join a team or club that lives by the value system you believe in. Use these valuable relationships to be held accountable and to fuel your spirit with positive beliefs and FUN ACTIONS. #sweatherapy 

  5. Tweak your normal daily schedule with the shift in sunrise and sunset so you MAXIMIZE your daylight exposure. Expose your body daily to some Mother Sun for solar power:) 

  6. Go home on time and get into those sexy flannel PJ’s early rather than sugar or coffee load each late afternoon in desperate attempt to trick your body that its really not dark outside! 

  7. Avoid the TV and internet drama and toxic news feeds. Focus your brain instead on meaningful words, sounds and images that inspire you (books, podcasts and documentaries). 

  8. Call in sick to holiday junk food and booze filled parties. Putting on the extra Winter pounds will only further lead to negative self talk and body image plus make your January CRUSHIT fitness goals that much farther to reach. 

  9. Instead of giving and getting holiday things, talk honestly to your loved ones about investing in an experience together (or let them buy you a race entry or workout / team / club membership). People who connect and share adventures together create bonds of a lifetime- not baggage.  

  10. Spend time alone reflecting on your year with gratitude. Make a list of all the cool epic shit you did and then a list of all the hard work you accomplished. Then let it all GO and dream BIGGER for the new year.  

I see you. I know you. We are of the same tribe. If you feel you need help with these things or are looking for your community of like minded BIG ASS DREAMERS to connect with then let me know. We are all waiting for you. 

#togtherwerise

Samantha (Alderton) Pruitt FB

@thesamanthapruitt 

samantha@raceslo.com  

My thoughts on Power. Purpose. Passion.

(Read by me publicly at the lululemon Worth 100% speakers event in San Luis Obispo, Ca.)

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Thank you to lululemon for the invitation to speak. It is truly an honor to share my short story with you all tonight in hopes that you too will exercise your power, connect to your purpose and use your passion to create good in your life and the world. Bare with me tonight as I read this rather than just speak it. Usually I do not get nervous speaking in public but as I stand here looking at each of you in this intimate setting, I want to really really see you. All of you and each one of you eye to eye and heart to heart. So in truth your beauty is distracting me.    

Power.

“I found my POWER late in life (early 30’s) after no shortage of failures and misery. Raised by war surviving immigrants, 1st American born, my childhood was less like the ‘yellow brick road’ and more like the Great Wall of China. Mc Donald’s grown chubby kid, who’s teenage eating disorder slowly traded up for drugs & alcohol. By age 16 I was living on my own lost, but searching. I moved a lot, tried countless new jobs, endless new boyfriends and ultimatley just as many self destructive words to say internally to myself. 

Young to marry, young to Mother, young to divorce. I made a lot of money, lost a lot of money and all of my desperate attempts to succeed at both business and fitness failed. My sense of self worth was close to bankrupt many many times. But like any true female Leo, I relentlessly pursued ME, but better.

By my early 30’s I hit the dark deep bottom with depression and a serious health crisis. Thankfully, I those hard ass life lesson “POWER muscles" had developed in my soul and they began to flex. I knew I could not live another day feeling so disconnected to my body and emotionally worthless. Sick and exhausted curled up on my bathroom floor I committed that very moment to simply start over. I wanted, needed and deserved a do-over. It was time to develop my body, my voice and my wisdom. I self INVESTED in my POWER. That was 18 years ago. Years and 50 lbs less later, I am the person you all know now. Race SLO CEO, Ultra Athlete, proud Mother & Wife, wild & crazy friend and empowered community leader.”

Purpose. 

“I found my life’s PURPOSE along that hilly path of empowerment. Self investing in exercise, education and like minded human connection I got healthy & fit.  It was then I determined my purpose was to help others who are also in search of themselves, but better. I became a Certified Personal Trainer, an Endurance Coach and then a Race Director. Founding Race SLO over 10 years ago. Over the Sam 2.0 journey there has been no shortage of challenges and failures. But now that I operate from a place of daily self investment and self-worth, I no longer get drug down into the dark disfunction. My own daily rituals of quality sleep, exercise, solid nutrition, stress reduction and (of course) my morning ritual (coffee & reflection) are simple ways I value myself. I learned it’s not selfish- it’s self aware and honorable to start with the self. Only from a place of WORTH can you show the world how to truly value you in return.” 


Passion.  

“My life sparked a hot PASSION fire when I discovered Endurance Sports. Towards my late 30’s, the work of going from Couch Potato to athlete was a total rebirth. I not only rebuilt by body and life from the ground up but I reshaped my heart. I have had the honor of coaching hundreds of others on their health & fitness journey, producing life & community changing endurance races plus the gift of self trust I developed over my own body & life- all by using endurance sports as the platform. Over 100 races later, including 5 x 100+ mile runs, Ironman and countless ultra outdoor adventures, I truly proved to myself that I am my own best self when exploring my boundaries. I have found both my beauty & true self while experiencing the physical world of endurance races. I’ve lay speechless in the cold dirt at 2am, at mile 68 of my first 100 miler, talking only to myself words of encouragement to get back up and move onward. Despite every single toe being covered in blisters, being severely undertrained and no fuel left in the tank- I somehow found the deep inner courage to finish that 100 mile race. Or when I was the only woman & least experienced member on a team running from Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim across the entire Grand Canyon and then back non-stop and 3 of the 5 got sick and were in danger. I was able to run ahead, secure nutrition and provide leadership for us to get out safely. You see, these ultra endurance events are not just about training, they require you to examine your purpose, develop self worth and ignite passion to dig deeper than you ever knew existed. Next August I turn 50 and I can honestly say BRING IT ON. I am preparing now for my next ultra endurance challenge and will continue to seek them out as long as I am alive. Because it is then I feel most fully ALIVE. “

“Lets pause and then circle back together on this…… We are each born with 100% full worth. Then life often provides us negative experiences that detract from our sense of value. But ultimately it is up to US to decide OUR true worth. Daily, we each have the POWER, the PURPOSE and the PASSION to not only invest in ourselves but to teach the world our true value.”


Together lets roar our truth. Read together from tonights program with me please:

My sensitively is my strength. 

My vulnerability is my fire. 

I feel, I heal, I experience deeply. 

I create. I impact.

I am powerful beyond measure. 

Enough already. 

We are Enough, ALREADY. 


- Samantha Pruitt, Founder & CEO of Race SLO