4th Annual Cardiff Kook Run
Nearly 3,000 runners are expected to participate in the 4th Annual Cardiff Kook Run on big game day, Sunday, February 1. The race, which includes a 10K and 5K along historic Coast Highway101 in Encinitas, has become one of the fastest growing races in Southern California. The event, which attracted 2,200 runners in 2014, also includes a costume contest and a Beachside Bar & Grill 10K Elite Race, which will feature elite runners from around the country.
The Cardiff Kook Run was created by Steve Lebherz and Seth Brewer, two locals who have been running this particular route for 15 years.
“My wife and I were original benefactors of the Kook statue, ‘The Magic Carpet Ride.’ A few years back, my son-in-law and I were jogging by the Kook on Super Bowl Sunday and decided to have a Kook run to raise some funds to clean up the area, which was showing its years,” Lebherz says.
Recently, Lebherz and his crew used $6,000 raised from last year’s race to landscape the area in front of the Cardiff Kook. Local landscaper Jeremy Spath donated his time and expertise to help design a zero scape garden using local native plants. The first two races raised $8,000, which paid for infrastructure improvements and repairs around the Kook. Lebherz says funds raised from this year’s race will go towards an ADA ramp, and a walkway from the crosswalk at HWY 101 to the south entrance of the campgrounds along San Elijo State Beach.
“We hope to keep improving the area between the PCH and the campgrounds as a park, and we will call it Cardiff Kook Park,” Lebherz said. “We all love Cardiff and the area deserves to be nicer.”
The Cardiff Kook improvements have also helped boost the overall image of downtown Cardiff, according to Tess Radmill, executive director of Cardiff 101 Main Street. “With the area being improved it will make our community feel more connected and more walkable,” Radmill says. “A lot of events come into our community, but this one has a lasting effect.”
Elite runners participating in this year’s Cardiff Kook Run race will include:
- Ben Bruce – Flagstaff, AZ., 3rd place at the Olympic Trials, past Cardiff Kook Run champ and record holder
- Brett Gotcher – Aptos, Calif., 5th Place in 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials
- Anthoy Solis – Barstow, Calif., professional runner, USATF California 10K champion
- Luke McKenzie – Noosa Heads, Australia, six-time Ironman champion
- Okwaro Raura – Oceanside, Calif, defending Cardiff Kook run champion, 1st local finisher in this year’s Carlsbad half marathon
- Ariana Hilborn – Olympic Trials A standard marathoner
- Caitlin Comfort – Flagstaff, AZ, 3rd place 2014 1/2 Marathon Champ, 2014 Team USA 1/2 Marathon, former Big Ten champion
- Beth Gerdes – Cardiff, Calif., pro triathlete, Triathlete Magazine’s ‘Comeback of the Year’
- Magali Tyssere – Quebec Canada, pro triathlete, 15-time champion
- Claire Rathmeier – San Marcos, Calif., 2012 Cardiff Kook Run champion, and Olympic trials qualifier in the marathon
- Heather Jackson – pro triathlete, 2014 champ and Cardiff Kook Run record holder
The Cardiff Kook run will also include a big showing from the Prado Racing Team, San Diego’s strongest elite running team, as well as elite runners from the San Diego Track Club.
“If, for no other reason, you should come to the Cardiff Kook Run to see the costume contest, which must have a Cardiff or ‘Kook’ theme. Some of the costumes are very creative,” Lebherz says.