The cool morning fog provided prime racing conditions Sunday at the 15th annual Two Cities Marathon & Half.
Paired with an extra hour’s sleep as daylight savings time ended, the 2,500-plus participants were primed for a smooth run (or walk) through north Fresno and Clovis and across the finish line at Woodward Park.
Charlie Brenneman (2 hours, 28:35 minutes), 38, of Rocklin, was crowned the men’s marathon winner, and West Covina’s Lenore Moreno, 26, took the women’s title in 2:38:33.
“Honestly, it couldn’t have gone better,” said Moreno, who took home the $750 grand prize given to the two marathon winners. “I think the weather played a lot into it. It made me feel very comfortable.”
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It was Moreno’s first time in Fresno in seven years after competing at Woodward Park as a distance runner for Mt. San Antonio College and becoming an NCAA Division III champion at La Verne in the indoor 5,000 meters and outdoor 10,000.
Honestly, it couldn’t have gone better.
West Covina’s Lenore Moreno, who won the women’s marathon in 2:38:33
“I thought (the marathon) was wonderful,” Moreno said. “I've always liked it here. That’s why I wanted to come back and do it.”
Brenneman also was no stranger to the course, having run at Woodward on the Jesuit High School cross country team.
“This was perfect. I loved it,” he said. “The wheels started falling off a bit in the last 10K, but I held on.”
Local favorites Jesus Campos, 32, and Molly Friel, 49, finished among the leaders. Campos was third (2:32:34) in the men’s race, and Friel was the women’s runner-up in 2:54:42.
Fresno’s Martin Ramirez, 24, was the first person to cross the finish line, completing the Clovis Half in 1:14:23. Maria Rivera, 28, of Fresno, was the women’s Clovis Half winner (1:25:48).
The event, in its ninth year with a marathon, was possible only with the help of nearly 1,000 volunteers, race director Nate Moore said.
“This is a huge success,” he added. “We had a few hiccups in the morning. Things happen, but we have so many great volunteers that things get fixed so quick because everybody is on top of it.”
The most notable change from previous years was the relocated finisher’s village, which provided more interaction between spectators and participants.
“This is awesome because everybody is still hanging out,” Moore added. “This is where you share your experience and make new friends.”
Two Cities will celebrate its 10th anniversary next year.
“We’re going to do it big,” Moore said. “We’ve got some cool stuff in store, and we hope everyone comes back.”