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Lemon Grove runner places second in Orange County marathon

Posted at 9:48 PM, May 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-02 09:57:02-04

LEMON GROVE, Calif. (CNS) – Dylan Marx of Lemon Grove placed second in the OC Marathon among the men Sunday, in 2:24.13 in his first marathon since the 2020 Olympic Trials.

Marx ran two years at San Diego Mesa College under head coach Thom Hunt and recorded personal bests of 9:07 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and 14:29 in the 5k. He captured a state championship in the 5k and steeplechase.

The marathon was held on its customary first Sunday in May Sunday for the first time since 2019 after being held on a virtual basis in 2020 and moved to November without a marathon in 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"It's so good that we're back," Gary Kutscher, the race director for the SDCCU OC Marathon Running Festival, which also included a half-marathon Sunday and a 5K and kids' mile run that were held Saturday, said before the marathon. "I think it lets people know we're getting back to normal."

J.J. Santana of Las Vegas was the men's winner in two hours, 22 minutes, 57 seconds, 12 seconds off the course record in his third marathon in less than five months.

The 35-year-old Santana set the half-marathon course record in November. He said he planned to celebrate Sunday's victory by taking his 6- month-old daughter, Olivia, and her mother to Disneyland.

The women's winner was 48-year-old Heather Huggins of Monrovia in 3:07:29, her first marathon victory following second-, third-, fourth- and fifth-place finishes.

"I'm going to sit down and cry for a while," Huggins said.

Monique Bienvenue of Fresno was second among the women in 3:12.06.

The 26-mile, 385-yard marathon course began in front of the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa, then went through Corona del Mar and the Newport Harbor area.

The runners entered Costa Mesa, passed the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, went around South Coast Plaza, and through Segerstrom High School.

The course continued for one mile in Santa Ana, then turned onto the Santa Ana River Trail for 1.5 miles, exiting at the Gisler footbridge to run through the Mesa Verde neighborhoods and then the "Bird Streets."

The race ended at the OC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa.

The race's 15 charity partners were expected to raise a total of $500,000 through the event, race publicist Dan Cruz told City News Service.

The charity partners include:

-- Project Independence, which promotes civil rights for people with developmental disabilities;

-- PUSH for Empowered Pregnancy, which seeks to end preventable stillbirth;

-- Strides in Recovery, a nonprofit organization leading goal-oriented group running and walking programs for people with substance use disorders;

-- The OM Foundation, which seeks to build "early learning" centers providing various types of therapies for children with disabilities; and

-- Outreach to the World, which supports orphans and widows, the sick, and the poor in the rural community of Kiminini, Kenya.