44th Annual Artichoke Invitational Preview

The world famous Artichoke Invitational has taken place for the past 43 years on the first Saturday in October. The 44th version of this Invite takes place tomorrow at Half Moon Bay HS. The course has always been approximately 2.3 miles but many changes have taken place over the years due to school construction. The one consistent presence of the course has been "Cougar Hill", the fearsome hill in the middle of the course. When I ran in high school, an ominous chalk marking on the ground read "Prepare to Die". Now, a more politically correct "Prepare to Suffer" greets runners at the base of the hill.

You can check out all the competing schools below. You can also check out some of the history about this great Invitational and course at the links below. It's definitely one of the oldest running Invitationals in California although not quite as old as Mt. SAC which has been around since it's inaugural race in 1948.
Ace Charter
BASIS Independent Silicon Va...
Bay School of San Francisco
Castro Valley
Downtown College Prep
East Palo Alto Phoenix Academy
El Camino
Evergreen Valley
George Washington
Grace Davis
Impact Academy of Arts and T...
King City
Leadership Public
Monta Vista
Moreau Catholic
Nueva School
Oakland Tech
Piedmont Hills
Redwood Christian
River Valley
San Benito (Hollister)
San Lorenzo Valley
Santa Clara
Santa Teresa
Scotts Valley
Silver Creek
Summit Rainier
Summit Tahoma
Yuba City

Here is the Invite schedule for tomorrow.

Small Schools (Divisions 3, 4 & 5)

Time: division: Time: Division:
9:00 frosh boys
9:25 frosh/soph girls
9:55 frosh/soph boys
10:20 varsity girls race
10:50 varsity boys race
11:15 varsity "B" boys race
11:40 varsity "B" girls race

12:00 lunch break/coach's race

Large Schools (Divisions 1 & 2)

1:00 frosh boys
1:25 frosh/soph girls
1:55 frosh/soph boys
2:20 varsity girls race
2:50 varsity boys race
3:15 varsity "B" boys race
3:40 varsity "B" girls race

The course records (1971-1999) can be found at this LINK. As you can see, the list includes 1983 Kinney National champion and 1996 Olympian Matt Giusto and ultra-distance legend, Ann Trason. The next set of records ran through 2004 and they can be found at this LINK. The next set of records that are not updated through this season can be found at this LINK. Take note of the course record now held by German Fernandez of Riverbank. He ran 11:04 in 2007 (photo below), the same year as his spectacular Woodward Park course record (14:24). The 2nd place time on the HMB course is held by Erik Olson, who ran 11:44 and was a 8:55.19 3200 meter runner and competed at Stanford University.

As you can see by the schedule above, the meet is divided between smalls schools (III, IV and V) in the morning and larger schools (I and II) in the afternoon. The weather should be fantastic and many of the schools will make the short trip to the local beaches that are right down the road from the school.

The original course map that ran through 1999 can be seen here.

The next version of the course (1999-2005) can be seen here:

The final version of the course can be seen here: