Big Sur Marathon Foundation names new Executive/Race Director

Josh Priester has been named the new Executive Director/Race Director of the 36-year-old Big Sur Marathon Foundation (BSMF). Priester, who offers a wealth of experience in sports management, athlete coaching, and business development, is tasked with furthering the nonprofit organization’s mission to create beautiful events that promote health and benefit the community.

Priester will oversee the organization’s world-class races, including April’s Big Sur International Marathon and November’s Monterey Bay Half Marathon. He will also be responsible for the organization’s youth fitness programs, including the national elementary school “Just Run” program and the new Palo Corona cross-country trail.

Priester founded the Santa Barbara Track Club at Westmont (SBTC) in 2012, one of the most decorated track clubs in the United States, where he served as Executive Director and Head Coach for the past decade. Prior to founding the SBTC, Priester was the Associate Director of Track & Field at UC Santa Barbara. In his new role with the BSMF, Priester will aim to instruct the organization’s strategic and financial goals, develop a visionary culture, and manage the nonprofit’s several local initiatives.

“I am very excited to hit the ground running with the Big Sur Marathon Foundation,” said Priester. “At every stage of the interview process, I could see and feel the great spirit and culture that has been created by so many people over the years. I am both thrilled and humbled to be selected to serve as the next Executive Director/Race Director.”

Beyond the track at Westmont College, Priester also presents an impressive coaching résumé as a three-time member of the Team USA coaching staff. In reflecting on his past work, Priester emphasized the importance of fostering community through sport.

“I am so grateful for what we were able to accomplish with the Santa Barbara Track Club, and I want to thank everyone who has been involved since 2012,” Priester said. “What started off as a concept was brought to life because of our generous community. I want to thank all of our athletes, staff, partners and extended network of supporters.”

Priester replaces Doug Thurston, who retired this summer after nearly 10 years with the organization. In addition to hosting the Monterey Bay Half Marathon in November and the Big Sur International Marathon in April, the organization will be bringing back its award-winning youth running program in elementary schools and dedicating a newly built, best-in-class Palo Corona cross-country course to support cross country running in high schools and colleges.

“I want to thank Doug Thurston for leading our organization through natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic and concluding his tenure after organizing our staff and volunteers to produce the most successful race weekend in memory,” said Dino Pick, BSMF Board Chair.

Big Sur Marathon Foundation events are presented with the help of more than 75 Monterey County nonprofit groups supplying more than 2,000 volunteers from throughout the community. More than $5 million has been distributed to these local nonprofits since 1986.

“The Big Sur Marathon Foundation board unanimously selected Josh as our next ED/RD after a search that began with over one hundred applicants,” said Pick. “Josh Priester is the right leader to take our organization to a very bright future.”

Priester began his coaching career at his Alma-Mater, George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon. He earned a Master’s Degree in Sports Management from the United States Sports Academy in Daphne, Alabama. Priester and his wife, Nicole, will be relocating to the Monterey Peninsula later this month and are looking forward to creating new relationships on the Central Coast.

About the Big Sur Marathon Foundation

The Big Sur Marathon Foundation is a nonprofit organization that donates more than $400,000 to local non-profits annually. Its mission is to create beautiful running events that promote health and benefit the community. In addition to its yearly contributions to local nonprofits, the marathon will be bringing back its award-winning youth running program in elementary schools and dedicating a newly built, best-in-class Palo Corona cross-country course to support cross country running in high schools and colleges. Under the brand are two individual race weekends: Big Sur International Marathon in April and the Monterey Bay Half Marathon in November. For more information, visit www.bsim.org

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