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Vikings have a running quest

Marina High runners Catherine Durant and Richie Soto will be among the 20,000 runners who will participate in this year's Surf City USA Marathon.

February 02, 2011|By Mike Sciacca, michael.sciacca@latimes.com
  • Marina High School runners Catherine Durant and Richie Soto are both competing in the Surf City Marathon on Sunday.
Marina High School runners Catherine Durant and Richie… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

Catherine "Katie" Durant and Richie Soto have been on the run since their middle school days.

In that short time — a six-year period for Durant and four-year span for Soto — the two have grown into and excelled at cross-country and track and field as prep athletes at Marina High. They've both competed in the big invitationals and big meets, but neither has done a certain run.

Come early-Sunday, that will change.

Durant, 17, and Soto, 16, are entered in Sunday's 15th annual Surf City USA Marathon and both will run the half-marathon, along with numerous other Huntington Beach residents.

"It's a new challenge for me, and I know it's the same for Richie, so it should be a great experience for us both," said Durant, who has participated in past Surf City USA Marathon events, but as a 5K participant.

There is no 5K event this year.

More than 20,000 runners from around the world — 88% coming from Orange County — are expected for the Surf City USA Marathon, which has a course that travels along Pacific Coast Highway past the Huntington Beach Pier, toward the Bolsa Chica Wetlands and back to The Waterfront Beach Resort.

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Durant began running the event's 5K run in 2007 in honor of her grandfather, John Layden, who passed away in 2006. She'll enter the event for the sixth time in his memory.

"I'm keeping the tradition going for my grandpa," said the senior. "He was the one who motivated me to do track and introduced me to a great sport.

"When I entered the 5K for the first time, I really didn't enter it to race it, but to have fun. That's what he would have wanted. It's just a good experience to be out there with the rest of the community."

Durant, who began her running career as a student at Marine View, has been a varsity cross-country runner and track and field athlete at Marina for four years and also played varsity soccer as a freshman.

She has served as cross-country captain her junior and senior years, but was injured both years. Most recently, a stress fracture (fibula) prevented her from competing at the Sunset League Cross-Country Championships in late-October.

That injury nearly kept her out of Sunday's half-marathon.

"But I've been getting therapy and I'm cleared and ready to go," said Durant, who is a straight-A student and is Marina's Associated Student Body Commissioner of Activities. "I'm feeling strong and hope that this will be a good start to our track season."

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