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‘Curly’ Guillen Qualifies for Olympic Marathon Trial; Dani Moreno Wins Xterra Trail World Title

Dani Moreno of Santa Barbara won the 21k race at the Xterra Trails World Championships in Hawaii. Click to view larger
Dani Moreno of Santa Barbara won the 21k race at the Xterra Trails World Championships in Hawaii. (Xterra photo)

Two local runners pulled off terrific accomplishments on the roads and trails last Sunday (Dec. 3).

Ramiro “Curly” Guillen met the qualifying standard for the 2020 USA Olympics Marathon Trials, running a personal best of 2 hours, 17 minutes, 33 seconds for a 24th-place finish at the Sacramento Marathon.

Ramiro “Curly” Guillen of Goleta qualified for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trial by running 2:17.33 at the Sacramento Marathon.
Ramiro “Curly” Guillen of Goleta qualified for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trial by running 2:17.33 at the Sacramento Marathon.

Dani Moreno won the women’s title in the 21-kilometer race at the Xterra Trail World Championships in Kaaawa, Oahu, Hawaii.

Both runners are coached by Santa Barbara’s Terry Howell.

Moreno, a former UCSB cross country and track standout, won the trail event at the Kualoa Ranch in 1 hour, 39 minutes, 22 seconds. Giselle Slotboom of the Netherlands (currently training in Salt Lake City, Utah) was second in 1:40.30 and Teyler Adelsberger of Columbia, Mo. was third in 1:43.46.

Moreno went out fast, aiming to beat race favorite and defending champion Polina Carlson of Kailua, Hawaii. Carlson pulled out of the race just before two miles with an injury, but Moreno continued to push the pace.

“I wanted to play to my strengths, so first off I wanted to push the climbs,” Moreno told the Xterra web site. “My plan was to be conservative for the first five miles and then work on the climb, but that just did not happen. I was so nervous I just took off.”

She pulled away from the rest of the women competitors and set her sights on passing as many male runners as she could.

Slotboom picked up her pace and challenged Moreno at the site where the movie “Jurassic Park” was shot.

“I started having a little bit too much fun,” Moreno admitted. “It was so beautiful I just wanted to take a picture. That’s when Giselle caught me, and I told myself, ‘Oh no, you’ve got to race.'”

Moreno got her competitive juices flowing and pulled ahead in the mud.

“I closed the gap to Dani on the uphill, and we were both sliding and slipping in the mud,” Slotbottom told Xterra. “But as soon as we came out of the mud, she just hauled and was like 50 meters ahead of me in two seconds.”

This was the first time Moreno raced the event. She took home a first-place prize of $2,000.

“Dani is fast becoming one the top female trail runners in the world,” said Howell.

Guillen posted the fastest marathon time for a Santa Barbara native, according to Howell. “Robert Hollister had previously run 2:18 and change.”

Guillen, 35, is an alum of Dos Pueblos, SBCC and UCSB. 

Before Sacramento, his previous best time in the marathon was 2:23.33 at the 2015 Chicago Marathon.

His qualification for the Olympic Trials is story of perseverance and hard work.

He got serious about running again after taking a 7 1/2-year hiatus from it.

“When I first started I was overweight and struggling to run 2-3 miles at a time without fainting,” he said in a previous interview. “After six months of running consistently I shed 50 pounds. I have been running 80-100 mile weeks ever since.”

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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