SANTA CRUZ, CA -- Runners and other outdoor enthusiasts in Santa Cruz have a new way of marking their exercise progress along the West Cliff pathway thanks to a recent addition installed by the City Parks and Recreation Department.
A new series of colored markers embedded every quarter mile along the pathway was completed last month and will help locals and visitors track just how far they’ve gone as they walk, bike, skateboard or simply take in the stunning views of the Monterey Bay.
Santa Cruz City Parks Superintendent Mauro Garcia was in charge of the project. He came to Santa Cruz two years ago after 20 years working in a similar position in San Diego, and he loves running.
“We had them in San Diego on the path along Mission Bay,” said Garcia, who frequently runs on the West Cliff pathway. “We talked about it and thought they would be a great addition to places in Santa Cruz where people enjoy exercising.”
The West Cliff pathway markers line the 2-1/2 miles from Dutra Overlook Park by the Sea and Sand Motel to Natural Bridges State Park and back. They are similar to markers installed last year along the San Lorenzo levee. The levee pathway markers start at Gateway Plaza and run toward the ocean and then return. That course has been certified as an official 5k race course and has already been the site of a number of races.
In planning the markers, the City worked with local race promoter Penni Bengtson. “These markers are really good because they allow people to benchmark their progress. They can figure out what their pace is, measure against their goal, and see if they’re improving,” she said of the new markers.
The new markers, which cost less than $1,000 to purchase and install, are different from the San Diego markers, since maintenance costs will be much lower. The San Diego markers were repainted frequently. The Santa Cruz markers are made with thermoplastic material, which is designed for roadways and should last for several years.
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