By Phil Reid

The morning started off as a typical half marathon pre-race routine: coffee, yogurt, and banana with my playlist buddies T.I. and Rick Ross. My former Poly teammate, groomsman, and good friend Ben Bruce (HOKA ONE ONE Northern Arizona Elite) was in town as an ambassador for the SLO Marathon, and we decided to car pool to the race. I picked Ben up from his hotel and we sipped our coffee as we chatted on our drive through the pre-dawn darkness to race HQ located at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo.

I made my way to the elite athlete tent where Ben and I met up with Kara Thorne and new Aggie, Mattie Webb. As the sun began illuminating the landscape, the four of us began our warm-up where we also spotted fellow Aggie Gordon Sturgess who joined us for the remainder of the jog.

The race started at 7am, with Gordon handling the pacing duties for the first 5 miles as the course looped a couple times around downtown SLO. Miles 5-6 included Johnson Avenue, which is a very steep hill. This is where I took the lead, which is not normal as I'm not a great hill runner, but sometimes you just roll with it. At mile 8, my wife Krista was out cheering which was a big mid-race morale boost.

I was able to maintain the lead and broke the tape in 1:07:29, breaking Ben's course record by 2 minutes. Overall, it was fun to race in the town I call home, while repping the HOKA ONE ONE Aggies and supporting the local running community. It was great to spend some time with my buddy Ben and his family and look forward to future running adventures!

Winning Shoes: Tracer 2