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Running for a Reason. By participating in the endurance events indicated, you will also be supporting the work of the Catalina Island Conservancy, a non-profit conservation organization working to keep Catalina Wildlands wild.

Catalina Island Conservancy: 
Running for a Reason
Eco MarathonSaturday, November 8, 2014
Runner’s World rates the Catalina Eco-Marathon as the Best Island Run,” because it travels through an otherworldly place where, the magazine notes, “you can see buffalo, bald eagles, seals and palm trees during a single run.” The Eco-Marathon course travels through three distinct ecosystems via trails and soft dirt roads. Runners traverse single-track trails, ridgelines, and vistas that afford views of the Pacific Ocean from both sides of the Island. Register now!

"It's the hardest race you'll ever love!"
--Michelle Speers- Legacy Runner

"First and foremost the Eco-Marathon has everything a trail runner could ask for - challenging climbs (namely The Crush), variety in terrain, views for miles, plenty of aid stations with cheery volunteers. It feels like a little slice of paradise.

Even though runners are only an hour boat ride and a mere 26 miles fron home, it feels like you are running on a beautiful island a thousand miles away from the hustle and bustle of normal day to day life.

I was honored and humbled to be able to compete amongst incredible athletes. I had a blast CHICKing all the guys, except one...all in the name of fun and love. I can hardly wait for next years race, the 5th anniversary of this all encompassing fun and exciting event. The Eco Marathon is one of my all time most favorite races.

Thank you Spectrum Sports for a day of excitement and sweat that I will never forget!! " 
--Michelle Barton 2007 & 2010 Female Eco-Marathon Champ

Avalon Lion’s Club
January 2015
One of the country's most challenging and scenic 50-milers. No cars, no smog, just great terrain, incredible views, fascinating historical sites, a well-organized race, nice people, great food . . . and even an occasional buffalo sighting. ALL proceeds from entry fees and sponsored mileage go to charity from this fundraiser for the Avalon Lion’s Club. Recipients include: Avalon Hospital, Avalon High School scholarships, Catalina Island Conservancy and the Bill Putnam Health Care Fund. For more information and to register, click here.

Catalina Chamber of Commerce

The annual Catalina Island Triathlon is considered one of the most picturesque venues for a Triathlon. The course consists of a .5 mile (.8 km) swim in the calm ocean waters of Avalon Bay, a 9.32 miles (15 km) bike ride and a 3.1 mile (5 km) run. 

Catalina Island Conservancy: Running for a Reason
Saturday, March 14, 2015
This event will feature the exciting marathon course used historically on the Catalina Island Conservancy’s lands, including much of the rugged terrain, spectacular vistas and special challenges enjoyed by Hans Albrecht and friends in the earliest days of the event under his management. In November 2012, it was ranked #6 on’s “World’s 15 Toughest Marathons” list. Register now!

Race Catalina
Racing on Catalina is one of the hardest yet rewarding runs you may ever do.

Running for a Reason. By participating in these endurance events you will also be supporting the work of the Catalina Island Conservancy, a non-profit conservation organization working to keep Catalina Wildlands wild.

Some exciting successes of the Conservancy in recent years include the leading-edge introduction of bison contraception to manage the iconic Catalina herd, the recovery of the Catalina Island Fox from near extinction, opening of the 37.2 mile Trans-Catalina Trail, and increasing the amount of youth served by education programs.

A portion of your registration fee for this event entitles you to the benefits of Conservancy membership at the ePal level, which includes a complimentary subscription to the Conservancy's online e-newsletter and the annual mailing of the Conservancy Times.

Plus, all expenses associated with your participation in this charitable race may be fully tax deductible. Click here to learn how.

Run CatalinaRegister Now!

History of Races on Catalina

While management of distance events on Catalina Island has changed hands many times over the years, one thing has remained constant: The thrill of running through the Island’s rugged wilderness.

Ask Hans Albrecht, the man who started it all in 1974. Hans and friends needed a place to train for the strenuous Western States 100, and Hans selected Catalina. Hans thought it would be great to come 26 miles across the sea to run 26 miles on Catalina, according to ultra-marathoner Kent Holder, a friend of Albrecht who ran some of the Island’s earliest events. It was under Hans’ management in 1978 that “the Catalina Marathon was born,” recalled Holder in a recent interview.

The years have passed, but the unsurpassed beauty of the Catalina Island Conservancy’s Nature Preserve—where marathons on Catalina have traditionally been run—has only gotten better under active management. “The hills are dense with colorful flowers, including species we haven’t seen for years,” says Carlos de la Rosa, Chief Conservation Officer for the Conservancy. “If you haven’t been here lately, you won’t want to miss it.”

Over the decades, marathons held on the Island have grown rich in tradition and legacy. Runner “Buffalo” Bill McDermott has competed in all 33 marathons as the 33 bars on his shirt attest. The Catalina Marathon Finishers Association, a semi-official group of marathon “old timers,” gives the bars to all who finish each race. Referred to as “The Human Shock Absorber” for his ability to triumph over the Island’s challenging terrain, McDermott has won marathons held on Catalina 13 times and holds the course record. The new Catalina Island Conservancy Marathon will continue to honor record-holders.

According to Mike Bone, founder and owner of Spectrum Sports, in addition to the 26-mile race, the new Catalina Island Conservancy Marathon will offer a 10K, 5K and 1-mile Kids Run so that the entire family can get out and compete.

As an important part of its formula for success, all distance events held on Catalina Island Conservancy property return 10% of a guaranteed minimum of registration fees to Island charities. In the past, those have included Avalon School, the Lions Club of Avalon, the Pony Club, the Little Red Schoolhouse, CHOICES, the Saddle Club and the Teen Center. All runners will become members of the Catalina Island Conservancy by participating in these events and will receive all benefits of membership.

“Runners will continue to be welcomed to enjoy the unrivaled beauty and ultimate challenge of Catalina,” said Leslie Baer, a spokesperson for the Conservancy. “All of these events will build on the history of distance events on Catalina Island which began in the 1970s. We are committed to these events, and proud to carry on the tradition.”

Races on Schedule (Press Release, June 17, 2011, PDF)
Change in Race Management (Press Release, March 4, 2011, PDF)

Please note that photographs and videos taken at all Catalina Island Conservancy events may be used in printed and electronic publications, website entries, and marketing materials produced by the Conservancy. By attending a Catalina Island Conservancy event you hereby waive the right to inspect or approve the finished product and waive any right to royalties or other compensation arising or related to the use of the photograph.

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