When I was asked to write this blog, I was excited to share what I love about the San Luis Obispo Marathon and the surrounding areas. I asked for a deadline because I know without one, I will never get around to writing it due to an old friend known as Procrastination. As expected, this old friend visited. I found all kinds of reasons not to write. Family time. Work. The Masked Singer. Video games. I even got sick for over a week just so I could have an excuse to keep putting it off.

 My name is Ted Torres and I run with a camera. On social media, I am known as RunsWCam. I began running with my Canon Digital Rebel XT in 2013, taking photos during races from the runner’s perspective. Then I edit and upload photos to social media, unless my old friend visits. Then it may take months or even years before I post them. Or sometimes, never at all.

I was introduced to the SLO Marathon in 2015 by the BNB Runners, a running club based out of Fresno, California. Although I live roughly 60 miles north, I joined the club in 2014. Members of the club were forming a team and I decided to tag along. My girlfriend Amy and I booked a room at the Madonna Inn. Then I registered us for the 5k and myself for the marathon.

 By the time the race weekend arrived, Procrastination had derailed my marathon training and I downgraded to the half marathon. Then due to circumstances beyond our control, our trip to the central coast was delayed by a day. There was no packet pickup on race morning and while on the road we had concerns if we would make it to the expo. Having already missed the 5k and not wanting to miss the half marathon, I e-mailed the race director to see if I could have one of my BNB team members pick up my packet. She replied quickly and made the process painless. This made a very positive first impression, setting the stage for my return every year since.

I really enjoy the variety the SLO half marathon course offers. It begins and ends at the historic Madonna Inn. Within the first few miles, runners find themselves running through residential neighborhoods and downtown San Luis Obispo, passing the famous, or infamous, Bubblegum Alley. Runners then head out of town passing through rolling hills with views of vineyards, farms, and an occasional alpaca, before returning through town to the finish.

 No race can operate without the generosity of its volunteers. The SLO Marathon has some of the best. Their abundance and efficiency help to keep runners fueled to keep going throughout the race. Their energy and enthusiasm help to fuel runners, especially those towards the back of the pack, like myself.

In 2017, with everything reserved and paid for, we almost did not make it to the SLO Marathon. My sweet dog, Artemis, was diagnosed with lymphoma and her time with us was short. We decided instead to take Artemis on a trip somewhere she had never been before. We found ourselves staying in Pismo Beach. We took her to the beach. We took her to Old West Cinnamon Rolls. We took her to the SLO Marathon. When I finished the half marathon, Artemis was there wiggling her butt, wagging her tail, and smiling ear to ear. It was a bittersweet moment making my eyes fill with drops of emotion every time I think of it. We would lose her a few weeks later.

About 2 months after the 2017 SLO Marathon, I became a father to a beautiful little girl. Naturally, she was there waiting for me at the finish of the 2018 half marathon. As I came down the hill for the final stretch of the race, I spotted Amy and my little girl among the large crowd at the finish. I traded my camera for my little girl and walked the last bit with her in my arms. It is a moment I get to treasure with my little girl. I hope when she is old enough, she will want to run SLO with me.

One of the sweet ironies of this race is the SLO moniker. San Luis Obispo is a wonderful running community and there are a lot of fast runners.  However, “SLO” is fitting for this guy. I have not run my best when I have run this event, but I have set a goal. I want to finish the 2019 SLO Half Marathon in under 2 hours, something I have not done in a race this distance in years. It is time for me to say goodbye to my old friend Procrastination and get to work!

*** To register for the SLO Half Marathon, Half Marathon Relay, Corporate Challenge Relay, 5K and Kids Races, and for the YogaMusic Fest, visit https://www.slomarathon.com/

ABOUT RACE SLO

Established in 2008 to bring world class sporting events to the beautiful California Central Coast, the Race SLO family of events includes the SLO Half Marathon, Half Relay and Family 5K & Kids Races plus NEW SLO YogaMusic Fest (Spring) as well as the NEW SLO County Ultra Games & the SLO Ultra Trail Races (Fall). Race SLO sponsors community run & fitness training programs, supports sporting event projects nationwide, produces a health & fitness blog, plus hosts the popular Endurance Town USA Podcast, all while raising funds for local nonprofits: Jack’s Helping Hand, The Land Conservancy of SLO, SLO County Parks and Grizzly Youth Academy. Over the last 10 years, Race SLO has helped raise and donated over $250,000 to nonprofits in our community.

Our mission: Through human experiences, we create social & economic impact to share our legacy.