> The Fifteenth Presentation > Special Interest > Half Marathon Mile Marker Project

Half Marathon Mile Marker Project

In 2010 the Big Sur Marathon undertook the replacement of the signature cello mile markers that had taken a beating over the 25 years of their existence. The 7-foot tall, larger than life mile markers, designed to provide a humorous, motivational and inspirational backdrop along the course, were a huge success with our participants. Now, the Big Sur organization has decided to create a set for our Half Marathon as well.

Salinas muralist John Cerney has once more stepped forward and created these unique markers featuring a mostly aquatic theme, but also highlighting the unique aspects of Pacific Grove, Cannery Row and Monterey. Locally, Cerney is best known for his series of field workers (each 18 feet tall) located in the agricultural fields in Salinas, CA, and also for the series of cannery workers best viewed from the Recreational Trail above Cannery Row in Monterey, CA.

As a non-profit, BSIM endeavored to cover the cost of creating the mile markers by "selling" Big Sur Half Marathon miles to sponsors, local businesses, and individuals. All but 4 mile markers sold in record time, with each donor paying $1,000 for a three-year ownership of the marker. When that time expires, they have the option to renew, or a new donor may purchase the mile marker. If you are interested in purchasing one of the remaining markers click HERE.

Below is a brief description and photo of each mile marker as well as information on the model and donor. To view the full size image, click on the thumbnail picture.

Concept: All that nervous, pent-up energy at the start line sometimes results in an all-out sprint once the gun is fired and the race begins. With 13.1 miles to cover, this usually is not such a great idea. These two runners are paying the price for the 6:15 first mile which probably should have been an 8:00 minute pace. Remember to start easy so you can finish strong!

Models: Ben Balester is a Big Sur Board member, local businessman (The Coffee Shop on the Wharf), ultrarunner and triathlete. And, ladies, he's single! Our other runner, the one losing his breakfast, is our webmaster and Board member Tom Rolander, a Grizzled Vet of all 26 Big Sur Marathons and all 8 of the Half Marathons. He is also the narrator of the course video tour on the Big Sur Marathon website.
Mile 1

: Fisherman's Wharf Association encourages all runners and their families to come experience Fisherman's Wharf. Enjoy great restaurants, whale watching, bay cruises and unique shops.

Concept: Anyway you look at it, running 13.1 miles is no walk in the park! It takes dedication and hours of training. Sometimes the temptation to say the heck with it, and relax in front of the TV with some beer and pizza is too strong to resist. But be warned...if you do, you may end up like this guy who probably won't even make it to the start line.

Model: Mike Jimeson of Salinas is an insurance salesman for Afflac. While he is not actually a runner, he did once consider it. As the picture portrays, he has a great sense of humor and actually refused the pizza as a perk for the modeling assignment, as he truly would like to get back into shape.
Mile 2

: Available


Concept: The Monterey Bay's world famous sea otters can be frequently viewed playing in the waves near the shoreline or floating on their backs enjoying a meal of sea urchins or clams. As much as we view their activities, they also watch us land dwelling creatures as we go about our daily lives. Makes one wonder what they are thinking...

: Formally know as "Enhydra lutris nereis", the sea otter dwells mostly in the kelp beds off the California coast. They grow to a size of up to four feet and up to 50 pounds for females and 70 for males. Their dense two-layer fur coat is made up of more than a million hairs per square inch. To learn more about these cute and playful otters, visit www.montereybayaquarium.com.

Mile 3
Sponsor: Available


Concept: Nine of the 13.1 miles of the Half Marathon course are in Pacific Grove, known as "America's Last Hometown" and "Butterfly Town USA." Nestled between Monterey and Pebble Beach, PG (as the natives call it) offers stunning shoreline views accessible via the Coastal Recreation Trail coupled with charming Victorian homes.

Model: Every year over 25,000 Monarch Butterflies (Danaus plexippus) winter in Pacific Grove. They arrive each October and cluster together in the Monterey Pines and Eucalyptus trees of the Monarch Grove Sanctuary. The community has always welcomed the butterflies and sought their protection. To learn more about these unique and beautiful butterflies, click HERE.

Mile 4
Sponsor: The city of Pacific Grove, whose support of our Half Marathon, 5K and 3K is invaluable! We hope you'll take some time to explore this delightful little town and enjoy lunch or dinner at one of the many great restaurants in town.

Concept: Pacific Grove is endowed with more Victorian houses per capita than anywhere else in the United States, many of which have been converted into bed & breakfast inns. Pacific Grove was founded in 1875 and served as a Methodist Retreat. During the summer months, the Methodists would come and stay in the small houses close to Lovers of Jesus Point, now known as just Lovers Point Park. If any of them ran back then, they would be dressed like this young woman...minus the running shoes.

Model: Susanne Andresen of Salinas is currently a student at the University of California at San Diego where she is pursuing a Classical Studies major. She competed there for two years in track and cross country, and now is with the USC San Diego women's crew team.
Mile 5

Myer's Physical Therapy is located in Salinas, CA. Their mission is to "get you back to your active lifestyle as soon as possible."


Concept: Shoe retailers would probably love to have this creature as a customer! Those eight legs, however are actually arms, and the giant Pacific Octopus is much more comfortable in the ocean than attempting to race a half marathon (although he'd probably be pretty fast!) He is, however, showing great taste in his choice of shoe!

Model: The giant Pacific Octopus is described as both "brainy and beautiful." Full grown, they often top 50 pounds and the record was one weighing 600 pounds and measuring 30 feet across. They are shy creatures, and have the ability to change their skin color to blend in with their surroundings. To learn more about the Pacific Octopus, click HERE. The lucky shoe salesman is Phillip Bezouska, a recent Salinas High graduate and track runner.

Mile 6
Sponsor: The Treadmill is locally owned and operated by Deborah and Simon Rothhouse. This running specialty store is located at 111 Crossroads Blvd. in Carmel and offers a wide variety of shoes, sportswear and accessories.

Concept: Our local seagulls are a noisy, raucous group, forever hanging out where the food is. This gull noticed something shiny in the runner's hand and swooped down and snagged her GU packet, much to her chagrin as well as the other two gulls (although for different reasons!)

Model: Karen Nardozza of Salinas owns a local marketing firm, but we best know her as the Race Director of the Salinas Valley Half Marathon, held the first Saturday each August. This beautiful rural course winds through the vineyards of the Salinas Valley, ending at the Pessagno Winery. If you like our half marathon, you'll enjoy the Salinas Valley Half as well.
Mile 7



Concept: If the thought of heading back towards the finish line isn't enough motivation to turnaround, this fierce woman with her can of mace and ferocious dog should do the trick!

Model: Anne Goode of Pacific Grove is far from fierce. She's been running the streets of PG for the past 40 years, usually while most of you are still sleeping. She has run most of the Big Sur Halfs and has run the April marathon several times as well. She is actively involved with the local running club, the Wednesday Night Laundry Runners, and enjoys the company of two daughters and four grandchildren. And, she doesn't own a little dog nor carry a can of mace.

Turn Around
Sponsor: Available


Concept: The Monterey Bay is a National Marine Sanctuary and home to an abundance of aquatic life, including many varieties of whales. Orcas, gray whales, humpbacks and blue whales can be spotted throughout the year.

Model: Board Chairman Wayne Richey, local dentist, long time marathoner and Ironman triathlete happens to fit perfectly as a crusty old sea captain. Richey is also in charge of the course marshals for both the marathon and half marathon.

Mile 8
Sponsor: Wayne and Judee Richey, long time Big Sur supporters and volunteers.

Concept: For two young children having a good time playing at the beach, the sight of thousands of people running down the road must seem rather peculiar! Hopefully one day they too will discover the joy and wonderful benefits running provides!

Model: Savanna, AKA "Super Sav" and Alex are both local kids who know how to have a good time, whether at the beach or just hanging out in the back yard with family and friends.
Mile 9
Sponsor: Hula Island, an internet store owned by Richard Yant, Savanna's dad. They sell a huge variety of collectibles, glassware, coffee and just about everything else.


Concept: The Big Sur Half Marathon's course records were set in 2006 by Ian Dobson (1:02:32) and in 2010 by Belainish Gebre (1:09:43). Macdonard Ondara came close to breaking this in 2010 with a time of 1:03:20. Prior to Gebre, the women's record was set in 2006 by Jennifer Rhines with her time of 1:12:18.

Model: Ian Dobson, originally from Klamath Falls, OR, trains with Team USA California. Career highlights include 3rd at the 2008 Olympic Trials in the 5,000m; 2005 USA Outdoor Champs 5,000m runner-up; and 2001 USA Junior 5,000m champion. Belainish Gebre, originally from Ethiopia, now trains in Flagstaff, AZ. She won the Big Sur Half Marathon the first time in 2008, shortly after winning the America's Finest City Half in a course record of 1:10:28. She was also the winner of the 2010 Honolulu Marathon with a time of 2:32:13.

Mile 10
Sponsor: Dole Foods is a long time sponsor of both the marathon and the half marathon. Dole promotes both healthy eating and the right foods, coupled with an emphasis on health, weight loss and fitness.


Concept: This lovely mermaid might very well reside in the waters off Lovers Point in Pacific Grove. While she loves receiving nice gifts, she appears quite perplexed about getting a pair of ASICS running shoes when, after all, she is a swimmer, not a runner.

Model: Tiffany Yant of Pacific Grove divides her time between bringing up daughter Savanna (mile 9) and helping her husband Richard with his Hula Island business. She is a three year breast cancer survivor following a lengthy struggle with the disease which was not diagnosed until a late stage. While not a runner, Tiff can frequently be seen riding a bicycle with her family.

Mile 11
Sponsor: Kevin and Sally Smith of Pacific Grove. Sally is the Registrar and Creative/Social Media Director for the Big Sur Marathon and Kevin is best known as the "Mayor of Marathon Village." Tiffany Yant is their friend and next door neighbor.


Concept: Cannery Row was made famous not just for its sardine industry, but was also For Steinbeck's novel, Cannery Row. The original street name of Ocean View Avenue was officially changed to Cannery Row in 1958 to honor Steinbeck and this well-known novel.

Born in 1902, John Steinbeck is best known for his novels The Pastures of Heaven, Of Mice and Men, the Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden and Cannery Row. He lived for many years in Salinas, and his father had a home in Pacific Grove. He died in 1968 in New York City.

Mile 12
Sponsor: The Cannery Row Company. Cannery Row is home to some of the most successful retail stores on the Monterey Peninsula. Each year 4 - 5 million visitors come to Cannery Row, making it the number one tourist destination on the Monterey Peninsula.

Mile 13

Concept: You've all seen them near the end of the race...the overly enthusiastic parents who are SOOOO proud that their son or daughter has set this half marathon goal and is now achieving it! We encourage all our runners to invite friends and family to the start and finish to cheer you on and keep you motivated!

Models: Caitilin McGuire and Dave Pratt are both runners and parents of runners. They are in charge of sweats on race day and you'll see them race morning, making sure your sweats bags are safely transported to the finish area and there for you when you finish your race.

Mile 13
Sponsor: The Portola Hotel & Spa is located next to the Health & Fitness Expo and adjacent to Fisherman's Wharf and Custom House Plaza. They are one of our two host hotels for both our November and April events.