At 57, Annie Seawright-Newton Just Claimed a Win at the 50th Anniversary of the Ironman Competition in July—her 18th
That Hermosa spirit.
- Written & photographed byKat Monk
Annie Seawright-Newton prides herself as the first woman to compete in the South Bay’s legendary Ironman competition. The annual 4th of July outing consists of running a mile, paddling a mile and then chugging a six-pack (without vomiting). Contestants are timed and watched for 20 minutes after finishing their final beer.
Despite a competition dominated by younger participants, Annie could not be beaten. She celebrated her win by dancing with local band Pennywise, who returned this year to play for the anniversary. “The 20 minutes of the mosh pit is so much fun,” she says.
The Ironman spirit runs strong in her genes. Daughter Piper competed for the first time this year and took second place. When asked if she might pass off the torch to Piper, Annie says, “I take it year by year.”
“I’m always going to try my best, but the real victory is to see this tradition continue.”
Annie has been a competitive runner her entire life. In the 1996 United States Olympic Trials in Atlanta, she qualified for the 3,000-meter steeplechase exhibition event, the first year for women. The steeplechase is an obstacle race that combines barriers and water jumps. “It was an incredible experience running in the Olympic stadium in front of 30,000 people and being surrounded by world-class athletes,” she remembers.
Just prior to every Ironman, Annie gets a bit anxious, regardless of how many times she has won. “I’m superstitious, so I always purchase my beer at Boccato’s the night before to keep with tradition,” she shares. “I’m always going to try my best, but the real victory is to see this tradition continue.” Annie is a staunch supporter of Hermosa Beach traditions that enrich the city’s beach and music culture.
Last year Annie was named Hermosa Beach’s Person of the Year for her countless volunteer hours and unwavering support of the Hermosa Beach Historical Society. “She gives back so much, which makes her so special,” says Chris Brown, a fellow Hermosa Beach native resident. “Every community event she not only volunteers, but she also coordinates all the volunteers.”
For the last 15 years, Annie has been an active member of the board and created the museum’s Kindergarten Tour program so all Hermosa Beach children can learn about and develop an appreciation for the city’s history.
What started as an after-school fundraiser for Hermosa Valley School soon became Annie’s running club, which has continued for the last 16 years. The club is run on a volunteer basis and is free and open to all third through eighth graders. All she asks in return is that the kids want to run and that parents help when they can. Once a runner totals 101 miles, parents have the option of purchasing them a “101 miles” hoodie. The 2023 team has 80 kids so far.
For the last decade, Annie has also volunteered as an assistant coach with the Mira Costa cross-country and track teams. At competitions, she either runs with the team or cheers the runners on.
Annie’s grandmother Bunny started a college reunion tournament back in the mid-1960s. Every year Annie and her husband, Cory, find time to keep her family’s Seawright Volleyball Tournament tradition alive.
“I inherited the Seawright tournament, and I am lucky I married Cory, who loves volleyball and appreciates it,” says Annie, a third-generation resident. “It does take a tremendous amount of time and there are always lots of moving parts, but we have so many amazing friends who help us every year. It really takes a village.”
Annie’s and her family’s contributions to the community have been many and multifaceted across generations. Whether participating in the Ironman or volunteering with local schools or a beloved museum, Annie always has the traditions and history of Hermosa Beach in mind.