Mohamed Fadil didn't have an arrogant tone when he expressed his reaction to winning the 10th annual U.S. Bank OC Marathon in course-record breaking fashion Sunday at the finish line in Costa Mesa. He was just being honest when he said he used the race as a workout to prepare for his upcoming events.
"This was a nice way to test my fitness," Fadil said.
The 32-year-old, who lives in Albuquerque, NM and is originally from Morocco, finished the 26.2 miles in an unofficial 2 hours, 21 minutes, 41 seconds, coming in under the previous record of 2:22:45, set in 2011 by Peter Omae Ayieni of Kenya. Fadil said he is working hard to prepare for the Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minn., June 21.
Fadil said he was aware of the course record at the start of the race and went after it halfway through the course that begins at Fashion Island in Newport Beach, runs past Balboa Island, through Irvine, into Santa Ana and Costa Mesa, ending at the OC Fair.
Fadil's record wasn't the only one set.
Bonnie Axman, a 29-year-old from Imperial Beach, won the women's title and broke the female course record in 2:45:55 (unofficial). The previous record was 2:47:13 set in 2013 by Kimberly O'Donnell of Santa Cruz.
Axman said she was in pursuit of finishing within the Olympic women's qualifying time, which is 2 hours, 43 seconds.
She felt she couldn't get it about halfway through the race and always kept the course record in the back of her mind. It could be easy to understand why she wasn't able to get the Olympic qualifying time. She had competed in the La Jolla Half-Marathon just last week, when she won in 1:22:40.
"I ran a race last week and I think I hadn't planned that and I looked at the race schedule and realized it went back-to-back," Axman said. "I kind of had the feeling my legs weren't going to be 100%."
Axman said she will continue to use the Olympic qualifying time as a goal. She'll next race in the San Diego Rock 'N Roll Marathon June 1, and will make sure not schedule a race a week before, she said.
Breaking records appeared to be the theme at the U.S. Bank OC Marathon, as the event featured the largest field ever, including 22,000 overall runners across four divisions (2,000 more than last year).
The marathon was expected to generate nearly $21 million for the Orange County economy, according to an analysis by Forward Analytics, a national marketing research firm.
The U.S. Bank OC Marathon also included the half-marathon and the Wahoo's OC 5K.
Ivan Medina, 28, of Hayward won the men's half-marathon in 1:08:40.
Allison Delancey, 33, of Gilbert, Ariz. won the women's half-marathon in 1:20.22.
The 5K route went through Orange Coast College and the fairgrounds, ending near a stage at the OC Fair, where the 80s cover band Flashback Heart Attack played pop tunes from Mike Score (Flock of Seagulls), Dale Bozzio (Missing Persons), Pete Byrne (Naked Eyes), Tommy Heath (Tommy Tutone) and John Easedale (Dramarama).
The runners were treated to a taco and beer during the entertainment.
It appeared to be a much different setting from last year, when the marathon was strapped with a great amount of security because of the Boston Marathon bombing fresh in organizers' minds.
"We had an amazing race weekend," race director Gary Kutscher said in a release. "From record fields in the full and half marathons to the incredible Kids Run the OC which continues its positive growth, a heartfelt thank you goes out to everyone who made it happen, the least of which are our sponsors, charities and volunteers."