Zazzle Bay to Breakers is a homecoming for handful of elite runners

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For some of the elite athletes competing in this year’s Zazzle Bay to Breakers, the trip home from the finish line might take less time than the race itself.

“I live two blocks from Golden Gate Park,” said 24-year-old Katilin Gregg, who has lived in San Francisco for eight months and is new to professional racing. “I run the course every day. I’m really excited running it in a race environment.”

Neil McDonagh can especially relate to the home-field advantage. The 29-year-old Floridian grew up in the Sunset district and went to Saint Ignatius High School.

“I was camped out on the Great Highway watching the elite runners come by ever since I was a little kid,” McDonagh said. “I never imagined I’d be up in that front group.”

Last year, McDonagh won the Jacksonville Half Marathon, finishing in a time that qualified him for the 2012 Olympic Trials. Gregg, a UC Davis graduate, placed second last year in the 5,000-meter event for the Big West Conference.

The runners welcome San Francisco’s typically moist mornings.

“I’m excited for the weather,” McDonagh said. “I’m looking forward to fog and drizzle.”

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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