The athletes who call Del Mar home

Presented by Joe Jelley

Current housing prices for coastal communities make Del Mar an attractive location for high-paid athletes, but even lower-profile athletes have taken advantage of the opportunities of a Del Mar residence.

“It’s been a good place to be and the training here is exceptional,” said triathlete Scott Tinley, who has lived in Del Mar since the late 1980s.

Tinley grew up in Orange County and came to the San Diego area in the mid-1970s to attend college. He was living in Pacific Beach when he began competing in triathlons in 1976, and he moved from Encinitas to Del Mar during his competitive running career.

Tinley’s highlights include winning the Ironman Triathlon twice. His record also includes winning the Del Mar Days Race, one of the first triathlons in San Diego County, which took place in the early 1980s and included racing in Old Del Mar.

Tinley ran his last triathlon in 1999, but he now competes in ocean paddleboard races. Although Tinley’s current primary occupation is as a college professor, he works as a lifeguard in Del Mar during the summer. Working with the lifeguards, he oversees paddleboard racing and staffing for Jake’s Beach Fun Run.

Triathlete Ron Smith, who runs in the master’s over 40 — in Smith’s case, the 70-and-over age group — triathlons and formerly raced bicycles, is also a Del Mar resident. Triathlete Scott Molina now lives in New Zealand but formerly lived in Del Mar.

“It’s attractive because you can be anonymous and people won’t bother you,” Tinley said of living in Del Mar.

The triathlon consists of swimming, distance running and bicycling. Bill Toomey’s former Del Mar residence also augments the belief that Del Mar is suitable for training in multiple events. Toomey won the decathlon at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City and he also won the Sullivan Award in 1969 as the nation’s top athlete.

Editor’s note: This article, written by Joe Naiman, is reprinted from the “Del Mar Picture Book,” published by Joe Jelley. Contact him at