By Erica Schroeder
Playa Del Run, the third event in the So Cal Beach Festival Series, came to Fletcher Cove in Solana Beach last Sunday, offering a wide range of physically challenging events for Southern Californians.
The events included a 1-mile ocean swim, an aquathon - an all men's and all women's 1,000-meter ocean swim and 3-mile run - a 1-mile sand sprint and a 5-kilometer run.
The events kicked off at 8 a.m. with a plunge into the 72-degree ocean.
"Good times are the main thing we're shooting for, just to get people out here for exercise," said event director Brennan Lindner.
Generic Events and Ed Hardy hosted the event, which enticed athletes of all ages and experience levels.
"We have a few swimmers in the 1-mile ocean swim who are just 12 years old," Lindner said. "People in San Diego, and especially Solana Beach, really love exercising."
Participants chose how much they wanted to participate. They could compete in all of the races or just one.
There were several booths providing onlookers and participants with samples of food and energy drinks before and after the races. A raffle was also held for with a slurry of prizes including wet suits and sports merchandise. All proceeds went to the organization Heal the Bay, which commits itself to keeping ocean waters clean.
"The events today are very newcomer-friendly," said Andrew Stevens, the event's announcer. "We have a broad spectrum of people participating and the somewhat mellow atmosphere accommodates newer athletes."
Onlookers cheered their friends and relatives to the finish line.
"This is the first time I've been to one of these and it's been good, seems to be very well organized," said Richard Geck as he watched a family member compete in the 1-mile ocean swim.
Cody Miller, son of Solana Beach Lifeguard captain Craig Miller, came in first in the 1-mile ocean swim. Jesse Haynes of Vista came in first for the 5k run and Vic Rosenthal of Solana Beach came in first in the aquathon.
The annual event takes place in Huntington Beach, Playa Del Rey, Malibu and Solana Beach. For more information, visit