Brad’s Corner – Happy Bastille Day 2017

July 14, 2017,  Happy Bastille Day. To those of you not interested in the history of France evert your eyes for a couple of paragraphs. This national holiday originated with the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789.  This action was a major turning point of the French Revolution. The Bastille was a fortress-prison often holding political dissidents and authors whose writings angered the Nobel class.  As such, the Bastille was a symbol of absolutism of the Monarchy. As it turns out, the Bastille was also a storage facility of guns, ammunition and gun powder. So quicker than you could say, BAM – ZOOM, the peasant/working class had made their mark and statement to the ruling class and the trajectory of the French Revolution was forever changed.

But enough of my simple version of history, Bastille Day for me marks the midpoint of the Tour de France bicycle race. And the big question is; Will this be the year a French rider wins the Bastille Day Stage (14 this year)?  For those of you who have been following this years version of the TdF, it has definitely been interesting and remarkably close this deep into the event (8 stages left). From the rain slicked opening stage (Prologue) with a myriad of crashes and crash outs through multiple stages of intense heat and more slick roads and even more bad crash outs this years Tour has had a fabulous storyline. In contrast to most of the tours this century, the race is very close with 4 riders within 35 seconds of the leader (yellow jersey wearer-maille jeune) and the top 10 all within 5 minutes of the podium.

Today’s race continued this story of close racing, multiple attacks, riders taking chances on downhills and tightening of the general classification results.  In fact just today, the top 10 riders overall ended up in the top 10 of the day’s stage, and for the first time since 2005, a Frenchman (Warren Barguil) won the Bastille Day Stage.  Not only was Barguil brought to tears but so was most of France (or maybe the tears were from Trump’s visit – I don’t know 🙂

The results of Stage 14:

  1. Warren Barguil (France)
  2. Nairo Quintana (Colombia)
  3. Alberto Contador (Spain)

GC results (total of 14 stages): (Over 1500 miles)

  1. Fabio Aru (Italy)                         Yellow Jersey
  2. Chris Froome (RSA)                    6 seconds back
  3. Romain Bardet (France)           25 seconds back
  4. Rigoberto Uran (Colombia      35 seconds back

Jersey Holders:

Yellow (1st Place) – Fabio Aru

Polka Dot (climber) – Warren Barguil

White (top under 25yo) – Sean Yates

Green (sprinter) – Marcel Kittel

Top Team – Sky

So maybe you are wondering why the TdF update.  Well I thought:

1- A fair amount of runners also follow the TdF.

2- It is Bastille Day.

3-  A book review will be coming soon including a mention of the book,  “The Secret Race”, by Tyler Hamilton.

For those of you who remember of the Pre-2013 TdF you might remember a guy named, Lance Armstrong, who dominated the tour for about 10 years, tried to cure cancer and then came clean(?) on how he cheated the whole time on Oprah. Well not exactly entirely clean, but it was a start.  Frankly I never met anyone who didn’t back Lance for most of this tenure and many didn’t believe it even after the Oprah interview.  But now years later (anybody know where Lance is, anybody care?) does having more answers to how far he went to cheat and keep from getting caught interest you? Well if it does, consider this book by Tyler Hamilton a must read.  It is informative, I believe accurate (if you followed this closely I think you will agree) and well written. It has the pace of a mystery adventure novel and I highly recommend it. I will leave the reader to write their own review.

Also coming soon will be the review of 2 running books:

1-   “The Longest Fall”, by, Lee Krinsky

2-  “On Sundays We Go Long”, by, Ty Strange (fellow ER member and XC National teammate(2011)

I will begin the review this weekend, but a here’s a teaser line:

“I enjoyed it and everything from the book cover to the storyline itself will be familiar to many Empire Runners who have run the PAUSATF XC Circuit and our many trails in Annadel and Santa Rosa Creek. You might even recognize some of the characters.”

This is Ty’s second novel and one runners have been looking for: A novel written by a runner for a runner.

Keep reading:

Brad Zanetti
Brad’s Corner

Student Grant Fund Awardees 2017

The Empire Runners have a long-standing commitment to providing scholarships to deserving student athletes of Sonoma County making the transition from high school to college. Made possible by dues and contributions from our members, we are giving our 4 recipients a total of $5000 in scholarship awards this year. All club members should be proud of the part they play in this most wonderful of traditions through generous donations.

These four student-athletes will be formally introduced and awarded their scholarship checks at the Kenwood Footrace on July 4th. Please join us in congratulating these outstanding young members of our running community.

Our first recipient comes from a large family of Empire Runners. He began his athletic career as a varsity soccer player at Windsor High. With the changing of the boys soccer season to the spring, the Fall 2016 became open to explore cross country, and through determination and hard work he made varsity his very first year. As a first year runner, his coach was very impressed with his positive attitude and hard work.

To just discuss this athlete’s athletic accomplishments would be a disservice to his academic career. This scholarship student is not only a 4.5+ GPA but also graduated #1 in his class and was the Salutatorian at Windsor HS. His teachers speak of him in glowing terms not just because of his GPA but rather the impact he has in the classroom, bringing the level up for his fellow students. Our first recipient will be continuing his studies at UC Irvine and continuing his running in intramurals and we are looking forward to him coming home and running more Empire Runner events.

Please join us in recognizing this future Anteater, from Windsor High School: Dylan Moberly

 

Our next recipient also began his running career later after playing soccer and basketball his first 2 years of high school, finding his way to cross country and track his junior year. In his first year of cross country his impact was evident as he was voted most inspirational and accompanied his teammate who had qualified for the State XC Championships in Fresno. He has been an outstanding track and field athlete for Rincon Valley Christian running the 400, 800, 1600, triple jump and discus. His true passion is the pole vault where in just 2 years he has already cleared 12’9” and qualified for the NCS Meet of Champions. He has a PR of 18:00 on the Spring Lake Course which he then matched on a more difficult course at the NCS XC Championships.

This fine multi talented athlete has also had a strong and varied scholastic career, carrying a 3.75 GPA and excelling in music and piano. What impressed the committee the most was his thought that the influence of cross country has made him a better student. In his own words, “by making running a lifestyle, running 5 miles will not phase the individual. When something difficult becomes familiar, then other concepts become easier. Therefore, after running 5 miles, a test or paper no longer appeared difficult”.

This talented scholarship athlete will be continuing his studies and furthering his athletic career at SRJC. Coach Wellman is looking forward to this XC and multi-talented track and field athlete staying local and perhaps developing his decathlon skills.

We welcome this new Bear Cub, from Rincon Valley Christian HS: Nicholas Dolan

 

Our third scholarship recipient is the classic story of a runner with no experience who joins the XC team mostly for its social aspects, gets comfortable, works hard, sets goals… did we say works hard? Then she finally achieves her goal to run Varsity and has her best 2 races of her life at NBL, then NCS. Through her 4 years with the XC and track families at Santa Rosa High it wasn’t all just a meteoric rise but rather peaks and valleys, failures and achievements. But overall it looks like this classic story is just the first part of a multi-part sojourn with the next sequel being able to run at her chosen university.

From a 9 minute miler in her first XC race to a PR of 20:39 at NBL her senior season, she followed with the same time at NCS on a notoriously harder course. Her best team finish ever fulfilled her goals for XC and with this new found strength led her to success on the track.

Yet metrics alone fail in comparison to her impact on team dynamics, her hard work, toughness and respect she both earns and gives.

An excellent student with a GPA above 4.4 in a dedicated all honors and Art Quest curriculum, this recipient also filled her spare time with volunteering at a variety of events including a 6 year commitment at the Sonoma County Animal Shelter.

With a plan to direct her college career at Scripps University in the area of literature and writing with a goal of becoming an author, our third scholarship recipient can very well write her own sequel to this memorable story.

We’re pleased to recognize this former Panther and new Athena, from Santa Rosa HS: Samantha Baker

 

Our final scholarship recipient ran with the SR Express as a middle schooler but began his high school athletics on the football field. When he was recruited for the track team his running began in earnest. Natural ability led him to perform at an all-league level this first track year and continued well through junior year in XC and had him qualify to NCS. But that was not enough for this talented runner; his habit of setting “strong” goals drove him to improve his summer training regimen with the goal qualifying to State. He was a top area XC runner this last season with a PR of 15:32 (34th AT) on the SLC. A 9th place at NCS qualified him to State and his 11th place finish in his very first time on the difficult 5K Woodward Park course was evidence of his talent and commitment. It was more of the same in track with excellent times of 4:29 and 9:32 in the 1600 and 3200 respectively and a qualification to the NCS Meet of Champions. He was All Empire 1st Team in XC and Track.

Through all of this, our fine student athlete maintained a 3.6 GPA and worked at Fleet Feet as a shoe fitter. His outgoing nature, shoe knowledge and social ease makes him a top seller. His small team at Rincon Valley Christian often worked out with a combined group of Montgomery HS runners, to the benefit for all involved. He also volunteered regularly with Church events.

Commitment, strong goal setting and the determination to achieve those goals make this scholarship recipient attractive to a number of collegiate coaches. Those of us who follow College XC and Track will keep an eye out for him at Master’s University in Santa Clarita.

From Rincon Valley Christian HS we are pleased to present: Wes Methum

New Member Spotlight: Thursday Night Run with Brian Ambrosini

Many of us had the pleasure of running with Brian on Thursday evening at Howarth Park for his first Empire Runners training run. Sure, he’s done a handful of races, but nothing could prepare him for Larry’s one-liners or Zanetti’s, well…Zanetti. Just kidding, the guys and gals are always extra pleasant around first-timers.

How long have you been a member of the Empire Runners?
I’ve been a member for 5 months now.

Why did you join the club?
I became a member to be part of a running community and motivate me to make time for exercising. Plus you get to run in a bunch of local events for free. What’s not to like?

How did you enjoy your first club training run?
It was great and I’ll definitely feel it in the morning. The group was inclusive and the runs allowed you to participate at your ability. There was beer at the end too!

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.
I once did a 2,200 mile National Parks road trip with my sister in under 3 days.

TRACK!

by Alex Wolf-Root

TRACK! If there’s a more exciting word in the English language I haven’t heard it.
After 2 years of injury (long story, but includes sacral stress fracture and a will-never-heal labral tear), I’ve finally had the chance to have a track season. Two track seasons, in fact!
At a personal level, I went from no track season since 2013 to (thus far) 4 meets and 7 races around the oval. Somehow included in that was a small (0.83) second PR (personal record) in the 1,500m. So that’s cool. But the other season has been a lot more fun.
The more important season is that of Santa Rosa Junior College (Go BearCubs!). Somehow former Maria Carrillo HS (Go Pumas!) teammate and Chico State standout David Wellman talked me into being his assistant distance coach this season. And it has been a blast. Helping others work hard to achieve goals is an awesome experience. And exhausting. I do not understand how those high school coaches with scores of athletes do it year after year. But major props to them!
(If you want BearCubs results, check out directathletics.com/lists/track/258_1896.html. And to follow along everything local T&F, especially at the HS level, check out redwoodempirerunning.com, run by the amazing Jim Crowhurst.)
Anyways, you didn’t open this article to read about my track or even about SRJC Track & Field, though you should (Go BearCubs!). You opened it to learn about how you (yes you!) can enjoy the wonders of racing around the oval!
Coming up tomorrow, Saturday, April 22nd, at Montgomery High School is the Viking Invitational. The Viking Invite is a huge track and field invite, but what makes it extra-awesome is that at 8:30am (be there by 8!) there is an open/community 3,200m. That’s right, you can burn up 8 laps of the track before watching some awesome HS T&F action. (Pro tip: Santa Rosa HS senior and Heart & Sole Co-Runner of the Year Luca Mazzanti has his eyes set on breaking 4:10 that day. You do not want to miss it!)
While you don’t have time to physically prep for this weekend, you’ve got plenty of time to prepare for summer. The Empire Runners Club hosts five all-comer meets over summer, every other week on Tuesdays, starting June 13th. These are truly all-comers; there are little kid 100m dashes, 80+ year old athletes running round the oval, fiesty HS student-athletes showing their speed, and everything in between. Each meet runs in the following order:
Mile
100m
800m
200m
400m
Distance Event*
Relay**
*The Distance Event rotates throughout the summer, going from 3,000m to 2mile to 5,000m to 3,000m for the first four meets.
**The first four meets conclude with the 4x400m relay. Grab your friends and each run a lap around the oval! There’s no better way to finish a track meet! Well, except for the…
Distance Medley Relay! The final meet combines the Distance Event with the Relay, for the awesome, the amazing, Distance Medley Relay! The DMR is another 4-person relay on the track, but each runner runs a different distance. The first runs a 1,200m (3 laps), the second a 400m (one lap), the third an 800m (two laps) and the fourth a 1,600m (four laps). That is the best way to finish off a track meet!
Now one concern many have is that they aren’t “fast enough”, or some such silly worry. Again, these are all-comers; EVERYONE is welcome. Races will be divided by expected finish time, so you don’t have to worry about being a lap behind or anything like that. It’s a super supportive environment for all.
Want to start getting prepared now? You’re in luck! The Empire Runners host weekly track workouts led by Larry Meredith on Tuesday evenings. Specifics for each week can be found on the ERC Training Calendar.
If you’re getting excited (and really, who isn’t?!), then let’s talk a little bit about spikes. SPIKES! (That’s one of the top-5 words in the English language.) Spikes are your light-weight, responsive racing shoes. They aren’t for every-day runs, but for races and workouts. They are for going FAST! (Remember: Fast is relative!) They are something you have to work into, but they are so much fun. One of the greatest feelings in the world is doing a quick stride on a warm summer day after lacing up a pair of fresh spikes.
Not sure if spikes are right for you? That’s okay! Heart & Sole, Santa Rosa’s local, independent running store, has done the legwork to provide Saucony Vendetta spikes for anyone to use at each of the five ERC Summer Track Meets! More details to come.
Already aware of the above local T&F options? Check out the Pacific Association of USATF’s annual Track Meet. On Sunday, June 11th at College of San Mateo you’ll experience a professional-level track meet with some impressive competition. The PAUSATF also provides information on other open, competitive track meets throughout spring/summer for your veteran tracksters. And yes, they provide info for Master’s competition (40+ years old). Getting older does not mean getting away from the oval!
While nothing beats racing fast around the oval, watching athletes race fast around the oval is pretty dang awesome too. So put these events on your calendar:
Payton Jordan Invitational: Saturday, May 5th, Stanford University
USA Track & Field National Championships: Thursday, June 22nd through Sunday, June 25th, Sacramento State
TrackTown Summer Series: Thursday, June 29th, Stanford University
Alright, you’ve spent way too long staring at a screen while reading this article. Time to get up, lace up your shoes, and go burn up the track!

2017 Spirt of the Club Award Winners

The Spirit of the Club award has been developed to honor the Empire Runner recipient(s) who have given exemplary service and dedication to our club and the running community. The nominee’s efforts shall have a major impact on the success of the Empire Runners Club and further contribute to youth and/or adult athletic activities.

Photo above: Mike McGuire accepting the award for Bob Shor along with the other 2017 winners Val Sell and Larry Meredith.

Spirit of the Club Awardee Bios:

Larry Meredith

Larry was born and raised in a small town near Muncie, Indiana.

He had a rather normal childhood sharing the household with 2 sisters and a brother. He got his start in running as a middle school sprinter(didn’t we all) but when success wasn’t imminent he tried the mile. By the eighth grade he finished 5th in the county meet which led him to being a 4 year member of the XC and track teams at Wapahani HS. Larry finished Jr and Sr year as the County Mile Champion with a PR of 4:38 and his senior year XC team finished first as well. He matriculated to Purdue majoring in engineering but finished his studies in PE at Ball State. It was during his time at Ball State that Larry began coaching high school track and realized how much he enjoyed coaching and the kids. Larry continued his love of running college intramurals at Ball State which coincided with the running boom of the 70’s and then marathoning (running 3 in 1 year! 1979) with a best of 2:52.

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After a cross country bike trip to the western states and looking forward to being a PE teacher, Larry came to Sonoma County in 1981. PE teaching positions were few and far between so Larry took a position at OCLI and while checking on PE positions spied a notice for a Cross Country coaching position at Montgomery HS. In 1982 he got the job just days before the season opener, a first calling began. As a fledgling coach, unsure of himself and exactly how do get things done, Larry was touched by the sportsmanship and encouragement of Piner’s Jim Underhill. Larry coached for 18 years at MHS beginning with a second place league finish for boys in his inaugural season and winning league in only his second year. Highlights of his coaching career include but are not limited to: winning league for boys 5 straight years (12 total), 2 NBL titles for Girls, sending many individual boys and girls and boys and girls teams to the CIF State XC championships. Larry noted the girls program really took off when Tori became the girls coach. The boys best result was 7th overall at State. Larry’s XC coaching career culminated in 2000 with the Girls, led by Sara Bei and a precocious freshman, Kim Conley following their #1 NCS finish with a Division 3 State Championship. As head and co-head coach in track and field, Larry sent many individuals to the State championships over his 16 seasons again culminating in championship gold.

In 1987 Larry joined the Empire Runners, looking for a place to develop group training to better his personal running goals. He brought his coaching and training skills to the group as training director. He also quickly became involved in many aspects of the club, first as newsletter editor. He was instrumental in developing the Valley Ford Relays with Doug Courtemarche. He also started the high school support program during his 3 year presidency. He has been a major contributor and volunteer for a variety of races to the betterment of the club. As a racer he has produced many outstanding results individually and as an Empire Team Captain at such events as: Hood to Coast, Decelles Lake Tahoe circumnavigation, Xmas Relays, etc. One of his highlights was the 2008 trip for 23 Empire runners at the Boston Marathon. Finally he has grown the Empire Runner XC program (along with John Harmon) to the 60-80 annual participants we now have.

Larry has always loved the social aspect of the club and his competitive nature keeps him running in health and injury. His dream has always been to be an athletic “star” and as such has been driven to excel at every level of our sport to be the best he can be. To truly appreciate his impact you just needed to be at the 25th Annual Viking Opener when over a hundred of his former athletes descended on the Spring Lake course in the coaches race and raised the level of each race that followed. Following that, over 200 athletes and their families spent the rest of the day at Doyle Park sharing food, a beverage (or 2), stories, laughter and no end of tears. As a coach myself, it answered the question is the time spent worth it? As a fellow runner, teammate and friend is the time spent worth it? As an active volunteer in every aspect of our club’s production and improvement has that time been worth it? I know Larry would say a resounding YES… and I would too! – Brad Zanetti

Val Sell

November 1993. The young mother of four finally got a break for herself, and headed over to the SRJC track for a workout and a chance to clear her head. The track was crowded that day with a large group doing a speed workout. She caught up to them and asked what was going on. A nice woman, Pam Horton, answered that they were members of the Empire Runners club, and would she like to join them. And she joined in a big way. Her first real run with the club was a few weeks later, Thanksgiving Day, back in the day when that was a macho over-the-hill 12 miler, none of the “turkey trot in costumes” of today. She hadn’t run in Annadel before then and it showed. She fell twice, broke a toe, and didn’t return for several months.

Back Camera

Thus began a special relationship of Val Sell with Empire Runners. She has become one of our most stalwart advocates, serving as club president, vice president and secretary at various times as well as race director for the Resolution Run for 15 years. Her greatest volunteer impact has been in the growth in popularity and efficiency of the Kenwood Footrace, our major fundraiser, that allows us to be fiscally solvent the rest of the year. With the help of countless others, her natural inclination has been to improve the race every year for the past 10 years, which now includes chip timing, instantaneous results for 1200+ runners, sponsorships and the festive 4th of July event that it has become today.

Despite Val’s formidable volunteer efforts for Empire Runners, her proudest accomplishments have come from coaching high school runners. Here’s how that came about: She was assistant coach to Danny Aldridge at Maria Carillo for the 2001-2 XC and track seasons. Larry and Tori Merideth had just retired from their storied stint at Montgomery HS, and Josh Dorris who took over for Larry was looking for an assistant with his intent of stepping down in a year. Val, not intimidated by the idea of taking on the program so quickly, jumped at the chance. She served as head XC and track coach for the next 12 years, until she turned over that job in 2015. The results in competitive success and social and emotional growth of her athletes are well known.

Val’s advice for would-be volunteers who think they don’t have enough knowledge: Just do it! Don’t be afraid. You don’t need to know everything about the sport to get involved. Everyone has a specialty that is useful, maybe a bit of nutrition advice, a secret way to tie a shoe, or just being good with numbers. Helping time a track workout, volunteer to run a race with newbie at Girls-on-the-Run. The time you spend is incredibly rewarding and will make a huge impact on kids’ lives.

Val’s coaching motto can be distilled to “Be your best no matter how good you are”. She hopes to instill in teens a life-long love of participation that will have a positive impact on their busy lives. She gets to know her athletes personally, and enjoys being a fly on the wall at practice and traveling to meets. Val feels that today’s over-scheduled and digitally connected kids need running now more than ever. The chance to be connected to your body, with a team and with a positive outcome is an important outlet and a chance to unwind.

One of Val’s greatest rewards is to see her countless former athletes continue to thrive and participate and compete long after high school. She vividly remembers sharing a hotel room in 2003 with one of her athletes on a Montgomery team trip to Hawaii. One evening this athlete shrieked as she plucked the first gray hair from Val’s head, followed by a ritual of flushing of the hair down the toilet. That memory is a bookend to the highlight of her coaching career as she witnessed that same athlete’s surreal finish at the 2012 Olympic Trials in Eugene, our local Olympian Kim Conley.

Some of us are convinced that Val is the energizer bunny or her world contains a different sort of clock. Besides coaching, she somehow finds time to raise chickens, design kitchens, grow copious amounts of vegetables, be a mom to a teenager and study French, all the while training well enough to have won the Empire Runners Grand Prix 10 years in a row. We acknowledge Val for her extraordinary efforts and success with our club and our sport. She is an easy selection for the inaugural class of Empire Runners’ Spirit of the Club. – Paul Berg

Bob Shor

Bob Shor has been a fixture in local, regional and national running events longer than many people can remember. His presence has been a positive and steadying influence for organizers, participants and spectators for more than 30 years. Track and field and cross-country participation and achievements have boomed during those years, partly due to the contributions of those like Bob.

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While in high school, Bob noticed the starting position of a runner while in the starting blocks. The poor position caused the sprinter to slow start. When Bob pointed out the faulty ‘set’ position, it was corrected and the runner quickly improved his performances. Bob saw that mechanics, self-discipline and dedication could pay great dividends.

In 1989-90 Bob and Doug Courtemarche became involved with the Santa Rosa Express, a youth running club, started in 1975 by John Gash from Rincon Valley Junior High. The program eventually moved to Santa Rosa High School where runners from eight years old through high school could compete in track and field events. The program offered a chance for young girls and boys to learn about running, training and the value of individual effort. Many stayed with the program for years. The Express was pretty equally divided between male and female athletes which gave team members an opportunity to appreciate a wide range of athletes in various events.

Bob likes the way youth sports builds character, the appreciation that winning is not the only goal of competing, and the ultimate value of individual effort. Athletes progress largely through time spent and self-motivation. Bob stressed that team members need to want to come to practice and put in the effort in order to get better. Fortunately these sports generally allow all interested participants to become part of a team. There is always an event for anyone willing to try.

Within and outside of Empire Runners, Bob is well known and highly respected as a race starter and general organizer. He makes certain procedures are followed so no complaints or challenges arise out of events he oversees. His count downs to race starts are clear and booming so everyone can move to the start in good order.

Like many volunteers, Bob started small with helping to set up the Kenwood race, then as local Pacific Association Cross Country chair for Youth. Events became bigger and travel farther as Bob’s reputation for skill became known. He has served for many years as a PA board member and continues to oversee many events. It is a comfort for runners to see Bob at the start or finish of an event, giving confidence the race will be properly conducted. Locally, Bob almost always attends Empire Runner club meetings and always has a positive productive comment or reaction about events under discussion.

Bob Shor is a worthy entrant into the inaugural class of Empire Runners’ Spirit of the Club.

Congratulations Bob! – Mike McGuire

2017 Empire Runners Hall of Fame Inductees

The 2017 Empire Runners Hall of Fame Inductees are Danny Aldridge and Steve Cryer.  Below you will find there bio’s in alphabetical order:

Danny Aldridge

Danny Aldridge was born in Michigan on September 13, 1956 but moved to Petaluma with his mom and brother at the age of four. In 1960 Petaluma was a very small town and many of Danny’s early activities revolved around school and working for the Parks and Recreation Department after high school.

Sports were an important part of his Petaluma days, especially when he discovered an aptitude for running. While not planning to go to college after high school, his 1:49 half mile time caught the attention of several college and university track coaches. With a promise of full ride scholarship, Danny headed to USC. Dislike of Los Angles, the turmoil of the ’70’s and a promised-but-not-delivered cross country program brought him back to Petaluma and to Santa Rosa Junior College where he became the state junior college champion at the 1500. More scholarship offers poured in.

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A long-time friend, Stan Hockerson, suggested that Danny look at Cal Poly, a smaller school in a smaller setting. It fit him perfectly. With two more years of track eligibility and three years of cross country, he excelled in his running events and worked with coaches and teammates with whom he would establish life long friendships. At Cal Poly he won two individual national titles and helped win two national team championships.

After Danny used up his college eligibility, he was asked to stay on as cross country coach. His team placed 4th place in the Division II Nationals during his first year of coaching (although he claims the team was already put together very well by the previous coach.)

Among a long list of outstanding racing accomplishments was a 1981 race with the great Kenyan runner, Henry Rono. Danny went under 4:00 minutes for the mile – one hundredth of a second under the magic number! He also ran a 3:58.2 mile that same year.

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In 1981, Danny was invited to join Athletics West, a team sponsored by Nike, in Eugene, Oregon and ran as a professional for five years. Athletics West was the first organization to offer high level training and support for post-college track and field and cross county athletes. Danny raced nationally and internationally with Athletics West for four years.

Following that career, he returned to Petaluma with an offer from Stan to run a speciality running shoe store, Sports Afoot. Back in the area lead to other opportunities to continue his presence in running. Again as a coach. Five years at Sonoma State in cross county and track; five years assistant coach under Doug Courtemarche with Santa Rosa High School and the Santa Rosa Express; nine years at Maria Carrillo High School; currently cross county at the Sonoma Academy.

His coaching experience has lead to many memories of times spent with his athletes. The most memorable events revolve around the growth and maturity of the athletes as they gain confidence in themselves and belief in their potential.

In his 50’s Danny decided to get back into running doing a sub-five minute mile as age 51.

800m – 1:49.21, age 18 – 95.1% of standard; mile- 3:59.95, age 24 – 92.75% of standard. Other impressive results include: 3:38, 1500m, 32:04, 2 mile, 28:28, 10k, 2:21.42, marathon.

Danny has been a member of Empire Runners since 1990.

Congratulations Danny on your outstanding success and accomplishments in racing and your dedication to coaching others to meet their potential.

Steve Cryer

Steve was born March 17, 1952.

Hall of Fame qualifying races:

5K – Phaby-Gray Resolution Run, 20:06 (age 62) 81.18%

10 Mile – Credit Union Sactown Run 1:08:33 (age 62) 81.74%

10K – Marin Memorial Day Races 42:00 (age 62) 80.20%

Half marathon Modesto Marathon 1:32 (age 62) 81.04%

Also ran Boston Marathon (’14-’16),

California International Marathon (’13-’15),

Santa Rosa Marathon (’13, ’14),

Avenue of the Giants (’13)

Steve grew up in Massachusetts and loved sports at a young age. In high school, he played baseball (mainly 3rd base) and was a 135 pound running back on the football team for four years. He moved to California in 1976 and started running in 1980. From then until 1984, running was his main athletic activity. Then he began riding his bike, doing a century ride a week for a year. Triathlons came next. Swimming, biking and running take a lot of time in order to compete. Family life took priority and raising three children replaced athletic competition for a while. But Steve still managed to get in two or three races a year.

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Steve joined a gym in 1996 and my gym friend, Harald (Potts) Nordvold, spent ten years trying to get him to join Empire Runners. During that time Steve became an avid tennis player and ran the tennis league in Rohnert Park. He also got back into baseball playing for a Sonoma County league. Finally Potts and another friend, Gil Moreno, would not take “no” for an answer any longer. He joined the club and fell in love with running again, participating in every ER race and many training runs. For the first Summer Track Series meet he attended, he ran every event. He takes inspiration from many club members and is proud to be an active part of Empire Runners.

In 2013 Steve was excited to win the PA/USATF Road Racing Championship in the 60-69 age group. He runs 60 to 80 races a year while traveling all around the San Francisco Bay area. He rarely misses a weekend of running and racing. He has also travelled out-of-state for runs including three trips to Boston for their big event.

Recently Double Racing has become a special interest and a new joy in his life. He has done every double in California as well as traveling to Kansas City for a race. Double racing combines two events in the same day with a short rest period in between. A 10K followed by a 5K for example.

Unfortunately, Steve has been slowed a bit in the past year due to a bout with a lymphoma and the resulting chemotherapy and radiation treatment. In true running spirit, he pushed his doctor to finish treatment in time to run the 2016 Boston Marathon. It was a great accomplishment for Steve to finish the event ahead of many other Boston qualifiers.

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The goal for now is to get back into running shape. Maybe not 60 to 80 races a year, but to a point where running and racing can be enjoyed for many many years to come. It’s always good to have specific goals and Steve’s is to continue running Boston each year and to win his age group when he turns 70. That mark has been in his mind since he turned 60. He has several more years to work toward it. Working with the Empire Runners and seeing the result of steady practice and inspirational club members helps Steve realize his effort will pay off while he is enjoying what he loves to do.

Well done and congratulations Steve on your running career and accomplishments.

Happy New Year! 2017 Resolution Run – by Brad Zanetti

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It was a beautifully foggy and cold morning when the Empire Runner volunteer staff began filing into Place to Play Park in Santa Rosa off of W. 3rd Street for the set up of the 35th Annual Phaby-Gray Resolution Run. Visibility was so poor you couldn’t see much more than 100 yards ahead but that didn’t impede course marking, start/finish line and ER tent setup much by the energetic staff.

7:30 AM seems devilishly early on the first day of the new year to be out picking up last minute food items, unloading food and prizes, setup and prepping a race course for a 10AM race start, but that is what is necessary for this very special event. Course monitoring, registration, finish chute and food prep was provided by Luis Rosales’ Piner HS XC/Track squad. For this the 35th running of the Phaby-Gray NEW was the word of the day: New race director, new timing crew, new starter. The new race director taking over from longtime RD, Val Sell was Brad Zanetti. Yes, for the first time in forever our beloved starter and finish line setup star Bob Shor was unavailable. Even while Bob was rehabbing at home he called to make sure I was aware of the “specifics” of the finish line setup. Our timing czar, Chris Mason has moved on to greener pastures so timing was taken over by Jerry Lyman with his hardworking group: Larry Meredith, Kate Papadopoulos, Solomon Leung and Steve Agar. Tag retrieval was in the always capable hands of Tori Meredith and Scott Ames.

In an effort to add a bit of a facelift but still maintain the excellent race it has been, I was fortunate to have our local running stores presence at the race this year. As well, Saucony came to town with a choice of 2 shoes to be tested and/or raced in. So our tent encampment at the start/finish area included: Saucony, Heart & img_0293

Sole, Healdsburg Running Company, Fleet Feet and Empire Runners. They provided prizes, coffee, hot chocolate, OJ and sparkling apple juice and injury prevention tools to consume or use. So a special thank you to Alex Wolf-Root(H&S), Skip Brand (HRC), Melody Karpinsky (FF) and Gil Moreno(ER)is in order. They brought a wonderful energy to the race.

At 10AM, with the fog lifting just a touch yet still thick as pea soup, an ‘On Your Mark’ preceeded the blare of a marine air horn and the 35th Annual Resolution Run was on the way. As the leaders returned from the first loop around the soccer fields, UC Santa Cruz Dante Capone was setting the pace followed by high schoolers Lucas Chung and Paden Collard. Just off the leaders ran Patrick Lynch, Vojta Ripa and Nick Spector. The first woman was UC Davis and El Molino’s Nicole Lane followed by Patricia Bender and Rebekah Skandera. The group then disappeared west back into the fog and around the holding ponds past the 1 mile mark and then presumably out onto the Santa Rosa Creek Trail heading east past the 2 mile mark to the turn around just past Malibu Circle. While the leaders were flying around the course the fog lifted and the sun shone brightly. First back into the park was Nick Spector(Sonoma HS and Chico State) about 30 yards up on Dante Capone(Analy HS). Another 60 yards back was a Daniel Pride siting(Santa Rosa HS). In 13th place overall was Nicole Lane.

There were a lot of spirited finishes with the Top Three men being: Nick Spector (15:45), Dante Capone (15:49) and Daniel Pride(16:21). The Top Three women finishers were: Nicole Lane (18:19), Eva Stuart of Santa Rosa HS and Cal Berkeley (20:02) and Patricia Bender (20:27). Nearly 250 runners of all ages and abilities finished this years race.

The Top Three Men and Women received beautiful, screen printed Saucony long sleeved and zippered winter shirts provided by Heart and Sole. The top person in each age group and a random/handout received prizes from H&S, HRC and FF as well as bottles of beer from another sponsor, Lagunitas and champagne from Korbel. In total well over 100 items were given out. The plan for next year is a better designed raffle, so make you sure you wait around for your chance at a nice prize.

By noon on the first day of the new year the last remnants of runners, sponsors and clean up volunteers were getting into their cars and heading out of the park to recover, nap or continue their new years celebration. Four and a half hours to put on a race that lasted under 16 minutes for the fastest runners. And that could not be done without a significant amount of volunteer help. I would like to thank all of the volunteers who helped break down the event and those that participated in any fashion. To those that have run many of our races and have yet to help out consider volunteering for a future event(our next one is Feb. 19, Valley Ford Relays (VFR).

Brad’s Corner – What’s under the Christmas Tree? (running in neutral)

This is the time of the year when many of you will be treating yourself to an (early) Christmas present. Or if you are lucky enough to have a family member or significant other who is also a runner you might be looking to place a surprise under the Tree. Lucky for you there are literally hundreds of choices for your hard earned dollars. And there are dozens of styles of shoes from trail to road to racing flats, from zero drop to modified drop to full drop, from maximal to neutral to motion control. The choices and combinations can seem endless at times and that’s before you take into account if you like the color, the color combination or choice of colors for an individual product.

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This article won’t be all inclusive but rather what has and has not worked for me over this last year. Since it is my personal experience with some generalizations let me just start by saying  that there are a number of shoe companies I haven’t even tried yet or just don’t use much. Probably the largest company I don’t ever buy is Asics. That being said I think they make a great shoe and millions are sold; they have just not been for me. Contrarily I did test run their new DynaFlyte shoe, a maximally cushioned neutral shoe which felt great and I may find them on my shelf in the future (though a bit pricey at $140). I also have not tried any Altra products but I see more and more people wearing them and loving them so I guess there will be a test run or two in them for for me in the future as well.

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To further understand where I am coming from you must be aware of my stats and eccentricities. I am a male, 62 years old, short (5’7”) and stocky (165lbs). I have been running off and on for 47 years and consistently for the past 25 years. I average around 40+ miles per week. I have trained to race for the last 10 years which means: tempo, track and hill repeats, long runs, pickups, drills and fartlek. I train alone and with multiple groups. In short I have put in a lot of running miles.  I also played ball sports until I was 45 (softball, basketball). I have had a number of foot, ankle, knee and hip injuries that have made me miss running time. The bottom line of all of this is after making many slow changes I now tend to choose neutral, low drop(~4mm, not zero drop), cushioned and light shoes(<10oz, size 9).

This last year I have had 7-8 shoes move in and out of my stable. If you have read previous reviews you may remember my love of Hoka shoes especially for the over 50 set (50 years or 50 mi/wk). Well I just retired my last pair of Clifton 1’s (yes I shed a tear or two).

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But my smile has returned as I am 60 miles into the Clifton 3 and what a remake; nearly perfect (the tongue is, shall I say it, Voluptuous?!) Both the tongue and insert are almost too plush and in a perfect shoe could be minimized to shave of a bit of weight but they feel great out of the box (10 miles on day 1, perfectly settled in by day 3). I tried the Clifton 2 and hated it ( 1 snap). Hoka narrowed up the shoe box to the point of foot pain for me (and a lot of others hence the rapid update time for the ‘3’). Just be careful if you are getting the Clifton 2 on a great deal.

Hoka Clifton 3 – 8.5oz, 5mm drop, maximal cushioned, neutral, road sole but I use them all over the mountain/trails.

If you like these see also: Challenger 3(9.5oz, Clifton with trail sole)

Instinct(8.4oz, 3mm, trail sole)

I put 30 miles on the Hoka Claytons (7.5oz, road sole) and didn’t fall in love with these as I thought I would and also had some foot pain issues with these as well. Thought to be more of a performance shoe, I didn’t get that at all. If that was the goal consider the Tracer.

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I just retired the Kinvara 5’s from Saucony and have used all of the models from the original to the 5 over the last 5 years. I have loved the feel of every pair I have owned. The Kinvara 6 felt weird in the store so I haven’t ever owned a pair. Now that I am out of Kinvaras I will check out the model 7. Keep your fingers crossed for me. Also most of the new Saucony models have a new cushion technology-Everrun. I am looking forward to try new models with this tech.

Saucony Kinvara- 7.8 oz, 4mm drop, cushioned, neutral performance shoe.

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A new model for me this year is the Saucony Zealot which I have absolutely loved each and everytime I have put them on. They are a heavier more cushioned version of the Kinvara and are a perfect easy-day shoe. They run very smooth with efficient turnover and are well cushioned for long easy miles. I have run in a couple of pairs of Rides and find the Zealots far superior(as a side, I liked the Rides as well)

Saucony Zealot – 9.6oz, 4mm drop, cushioned, neutral, smooth

From another large company that I haven’t run in for 10 years, I tried the Adidas Boost Boston. I have been very happy with these except for the foot box is a bit narrow, but they work very well as a speed day shoe especially along flat trails(SR Creek) and up to say the 2nd bridge on canyon trail and smooth hill repeats. The Boost foam is pretty amazing stuff both responsive and cushioned. The Boston uses a thin layer in the forefoot which limits the use for me.

Adidas Boost Boston – 8.8oz, 10mm drop, neutral, performance.

Also picked up a pair of Supernovas for work. A more cushioned shoe, I haven’t run in them but they are a plush choice for long walks with your honey.

Through the years I have raced in many New Balance road and cross country flats and spikes; the 1400’s and 1600’s. After about a year of hearin about Freshfoam tech from NB I ventured to try the Fresh Foam Zante. The FF Zante is another neutral, cushioned, performance oriented shoe for fast training and the occasional road race. They feel lighter than their stated weight and have a glovelike fit. I have enjoyed every run with them with my only complaint bein that they wear a bit fast (maybe 250mi max) and you feel the pebbles underfoot.

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NB Zante – 8.6oz, 6mm drop, neutral, cushioned, performance.

I am still looking for the perfect trail specific shoe (any help out there?). I have tried the NB Hierro. I don’t love them but am still trying. Will update when I have made a final decision. In looking for a lightweight, trail specific shoe which could be light enough to race on (my feet cant handle XC flats any longer and road flats often don’t have enough traction). With that in mind I ventured toward the NB Vazee Summit TR, a trail specific shoe with a rock plate. First of all they are on the Vazee last which for me is a bit narrow through the instep; so much that I had to go for the wide version. This fixed the fit issue and they feel light and responsive on first try and feel good on dirt but with the rock plate a bit harsh on roads. I have used them on trail/hill runs of less than 8 miles and a 6.5mi trail race at Folsom Lake. They worked well at the race on a rainy Saturday. I get into a little trouble if the downhills exceed Lake Ilsanjo to Spring Lake. For me the cushioning is not adequate for a run down from South Burma to Spring Lake.

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NB Vazee Summit TR- 8.8oz, rock plate, neutral, varied trail running.

Well I have my eyes on other models from Hoka, NB and Brooks. Maybe its time stretch my horizons to the Altra Lone Pine. Zero drop(all Altras) may be a deal breaker though. Well Christmas is just around the corner so don’t be afraid to treat yourself to a slick new pair of running shoes.

Mike McGuire and the 34th CIM

The 34th California International Marathon was contested on Sunday, December 4th. The weather could not have been more perfect and the pre-race organization was superb. Seemingly all the school buses in the county were enlisted to transport us from Sacramento to Folsom. We could then stay warm and seated in the bus until the start of the race. One could venture out to get some food or drink and witness one of the longest line of porta-potties ever assembled. A lady on our bus who works for a ‘potty’ company said the usual user to potty ratio is 75 to 1. CIM used 35 to 1. Truly a benefit for us runners! Finish line bags were collected at the back of two big vans. As the start came near, there was a crush of runners wanting to get their bags loaded. Some tried to throw the bag over the heads of the volunteers in the truck. A couple of volunteers got conked. The supervisor, stout and burly, shouted that if another bag was thrown he would shut down the trucks! The crowd became instantly cooperative. Good for him!

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The start was smooth and efficient with pacers and over-head signs helping runners get in position. Off we went down a slight hill with no pushing or shoving or need to dance around ill-placed runners. Race conditions, I think, were perfect – cool, not cold, no wind and no forecast of dramatic changes. Aid stations were well placed with the first one about three miles out and then becoming more frequent and with greater offerings as the course continued. To those who went to the Healdsburg Running Club trail running movies, I was quite startled to see Jenn Shelton standing on the side of the road at eight miles, sweaty, smiling and looking like everyone’s best friend.

I had run CIM in 2013 under freezing conditions but ended up with a pretty good time and place. This time I was concerned about how aging and spotty training would affect my effort. I had enough training miles but only one run of 16 miles. My 1/2 marathon and 20 mile splits were both better than 2013. Beyond 20 miles, it all became more difficult. My watch displayed a great deal more time needed to pass each mile. I began to list to the right. Spectators had to move back as I veered toward them! With my name printed on my bib, people were calling out to me to do well, euphemistically meaning ‘don’t die!”

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As runners flooded past me in the last couple of miles, I had to concentrate to keep one foot going in front of the other and to not trip myself. But the end came in time for a successful finish and actually a pretty good time. I was met by a lovely runner/nurse who chatted with me as she took firm hold on my arm and led me on a walk. “Let’s go to the med tent.” As we walked, a still-listing few feet to the tent, Bob Shor came up to say hello and to confirm the tent visit. Never having been in one before, it was a nice field trip. Two dozen people sitting or lying about with a busy staff offering water, soup, and encouragement. The young lady sitting next to me had just made her Boston Qualifying time and soon left with a warm cup of soup. I stayed about 15 minutes before thanking a volunteer and walking out much more vertical than coming in. By then, general stiffness had begun to take over and Frankenstein’s monster-like I set off to find Sandi.

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After several phone calls, we reconnected at the merchandise booth and headed to the drop bag corral. The fenced-in enclosure had thousands of bags lined out in number order. Volunteers would meet runners at a six foot cyclone fence, get our bib number and speedily return with our bag – no runners wandering inside the enclosure bothering those who knew what they were doing. I could replace my silver shawl with dry clothes.

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Then we walked among other celebrants with Sandi striding ahead only to look back and see she had left me several steps behind. Everyone seemed in good spirits as the weather conditions stayed pretty moderate for an early December day.

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One of the enjoyable parts of CIM is the community support. In many places along the route, live bands and recorded music encourage us along the way. There are also many places where throngs of spectators gather to wish us well. “Go (Dad!, Mom!, Larry!, Linda and Beth!)” “I came to hold a sign” “You Rock!” “Keep going. You paid for it” The support for individual runners was terrific. The sense of celebration and accomplishment was really noticeable and inspiring.

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My shoes displayed a remarkable wear pattern. Scuffing at both ends and a near clean slate across the mid-sole. The toe scuffing, I think, was from my shuffle over the last six miles. Traffic buttons on the road had to be avoided as too tall and some painted lines were thicker than others.

Heading home meant a stop in Davis at DeVera’s Tavern for corned beef, potatoes, eggs over easy and a tall glass of pilsner. Very tasty and a needed stop to unkink my legs. Then on to Santa Rosa. The “welcome home” clouds brought a wonderful 24 hours to a close. A few chores taxed my mobility and reinforced for me why I like marathons – you can’t do the event half trained or without realizing that reminders of the effort will follow you for days. Which one will be next? Any suggestions? By the way, my very expensive GPS watch measured CIM as 26.36 miles. I am sure the course has been accurately measured at 26.2. My watch got me to each new mile further and further ahead of the official mark. I can’t get credit in my running log for the extra tenth of a mile!

Spirit of the Club

An award to honor Empire Runners’ members who have given exemplary service and dedication to our club and to the running community in general.

At the club meeting on September 22, a proposal was made and approved by the board to create to annual award to honor members whose efforts have enabled the ideals of Empire Runners to grow and prosper over the forty or so years of its existence.   Called The Spirit of the Club it will be earned by members whose volunteer work with the club and beyond has significantly benefited the running community through ongoing encouragement, motivation and demonstration of skills and behavior.

Purpose: To honor Empire Runners Club members for significant contributions to Empire Runners of Sonoma County

and acknowledge long-time service to sports and athletics in Sonoma County.

Eligibility;

  • active membership in Empire Runners for 10 years or more. Years of membership need not be consecutive.
  • significant contributions to the successes of the Empire Runners Club
  • significant contributions to the furtherance of youth or adult athletics through coaching or other activities that engage others in positive physical activities

There is no age limit to selection for the Spirit of the Club Award

All club members are potentially eligible for the selection of the award. Any club member may nominate any other club member.

Awards will be made annually at the club party

Prospective recipients must be nominated by another club member

Nominators are responsible for collecting information relevant to the prospective inductees’ consideration for the Award and forwarding it to the selection committee

Photos and news articles featuring the nominee will be appreciated

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Nominations must be received by November 1 for consideration for the next year’s selections

Recipients will receive a commemorative plaque and a book containing the biographies and contributions of all Spirit of the Club Award members

A maximum of three Spirit of the Club Awards will be given each year

A Spirit of the Club committee will review all applications and will select the honorees

Suggested questions for Spirit of the Club nominators can ask of nominee: (Don’t forget to write the responses. They will be used in the selection process for Spirit of the Club.)

  • What motivated you to join Empire Runners and about when did you join?
  • What are some things you have done over the years to benefit Empire Runners? Include dates if possible. Include volunteer opportunities and club leadership roles.
  • What are some things you have done over the years to benefit youth and/or adult sports and fitness awareness? Include organizations with which you have been or continue to be affiliated with (formally or informally). Include volunteer opportunities and organization leadership roles. Include dates if possible.
  • What has inspired you over the years to continue providing help or guidance to others in the areas of youth and/or adult fitness and wellness?
  • In what ways do you believe the needs of youth or adults to participate in sports and/or fitness and wellness activities have changed over the years of your involvement?
  • What suggestions can you offer to encourage others to become involved in volunteer and/or leadership roles in activities that benefit youth and/or adults?

 

Located in beautiful Sonoma County, California.