Sunny skies over the Malibu Half Marathon

Brian Justie took the first-place podium for the Run Malibu Half Marathon on Sunday, Nov. 6 with a finish time of 1:09:14. Danae Dracht (not photographed here) also took home first place for placing 1:21:00 respectively. Photo by Samantha Bravo/TMT

There’s a reason the Malibu Half Marathon consistently sells out. The course along Pacific Coast Highway, beginning and ending at Zuma Beach, is one of the most scenic of all endurance runs. The 14-year-old race has become a bucket list or destination event for thousands of endurance athletes. And as this reporter can attest, after completing at least a half-dozen Malibu Half Marathons, the weather is always spectacular. This past weekend’s event didn’t disappoint and brought out enthusiastic crowds to cheer on participants.

Taking first place at Sunday’s 13.1-mile race was Brian Justie of Los Angeles with a win time of 01:09:14. That’s a 05:18 minute pace. He was followed just seconds later by Shane Brouwer of Venice at 01:09:26. Justin Crichlow of Los Angeles placed third at 01:12:45.

In the female division Danae Dracht of Los Angeles took first at 01:21:00; followed by Virginia Mercado, 01:21:48, and Sarah Rahon of Orange at 01:23:11.

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Danae Dracht also took home first place at the Run Malibu Marathon on Sunday, Nov. 6. Photo by Samantha Bravo/TMT.

This year, for the first time, athletes could register as non-binary. The top three finishers were Nicholas Howard of Woodland Hills 01:41:52, Myles Markham of Los Angeles 01:55:26, and KR Rose of Los Angeles at 02:17:59.

Race Director Erica Segel commented, “One of our core values is providing a supportive and inclusive space for every athlete to participate and be celebrated for their authentic selves. When I was approached by Nike, who had been training a group of non-binary athletes in LA for their first half marathon at our event, it was clear what we needed to do. We’re excited to play a part in supporting the Queer, Trans, and gender-expansive community to safely pursue the sport.” 

On Saturday, a 5K run was held, with Malibu’s own Tallula Murphree taking first in the women’s division at 00:19:38 and Brad Durant of Camarillo placing first for men at 00:17:01.

Also, of note in the 5K placing 4th overall was Malibu High School start Ranger Murphree followed by Hunter McCann, who placed 5th.

On Saturday, 130 kids, including dozens of Malibu students, competed in a kids’ race as part of the fundraising effort for flagship charity partner Boys & Girls Club of Malibu. One of the highlights was Webster Elementary School Principal Tedd Wakeman, who ran dressed as a Yeti. He launched two challenges directed at parents: “I will donate $5 if you beat my time. 

However, if I finish faster than you, you write a check for $50 to BGCM.” Their efforts, along with others, brought in a record donation this year, an estimated $55-60 thousand for the local club. Another non-profit, Girls on the Run LA, raised roughly $15,00 through the races. 

One runner who grew up in Malibu but now lives in Santa Monica returned to his hometown for the race. Michael Jacobson, 26, commented, “This was my first Malibu Half Marathon. The weather was perfect, and the scenery unmatchable. Thousands of friendly faces gathered, and it was a blast to run along such a beautiful route. A special shout out to the volunteers. They saved me with some energy gel and water around mile 10.”

This year’s race was dedicated to one of its cofounders, the late Alberto Perusset. “He believed in people,” Segel said. “He believed in enjoying running, not as a competitive activity, but for the joy of the community that’s around runners and walkers. We want to create that community that’s inclusive, accessible to all ages, all sizes, that’s family-friendly. Every year Alberto would be handing out medals at the finish line until the very last runner crossed. He used to say, ‘The last runners are the ones who need the most support, so I’m going to be there and put the medals around their necks.’”

In all, over the weekend of activities, 4600 people ran the various races. Some runners completed a challenge to run both the 5K and half marathon.

Segal concluded, “My mission is to provide an event that serves the Malibu community first, that provides an opportunity to get together as a community, to care for one another, to inspire our youth to do a really positive activity outdoors, and to open our doors to out-of-towners to experience the beauty of Malibu which starts with the people of this community. They make it even more beautiful. This is why we all love Malibu.”