All posts by bradz54

Over 60 year old runner. Enjoy all sports, music, art, reading, writing, travel. Married with 3 children, twin girls and a boy.

Resolution Run 2022

                                        By Brad Zanetti

     It is New Year’s Eve 2021, a mixed cloudy and sunny day.  The weather report for tomorrow’s race is cold with fog in the morning becoming sunny and clear.  The ‘eve’ is my time to pre-setup the course for the Resolution Run.  Due to some poor planning is took much longer to set up than anticipated and the wind was ripping through my sweatshirt and it seemed like about 20 degrees colder.  I was expecting a very cold New Year’s morning for set up.

     I was bundled up nicely at 0730 as I got in the car for the ride over to Place to Play Park (PTPP).  The air temp was crisp, but the air was totally still, the sun just rising up in a clear blue sky.  Over the next hour as I marked and finalized the course it was obvious how perfect of a day it was turning out to be.  We have been pretty lucky over the last 15 years with very nice weather for the Januar 1 race, but this year the weather was near perfect.

     The Piner XC team and alumni were working hard and placed in their positions around the course along with the Dale Peterson led timing and finish line crew readying for the 1000 start.  Nearly 100 runners toed the line and listened to a quick review of the course, starting directions and showed their appreciation to our race day volunteers.  After a minute of silence remembering some of our fallen ER family:  Doc Isabeau, Mojo Royston (aka ‘Doc and Mojo’), Mike McGuire, Michelle Zanetti, Bob Shor and Ralph Harms a long blast from the marine horn punctuated the air and propelled the group forward.

     It seems like more than 2 years since hearing the sound of the start of a race at PTPP.  There is a woosh of accelerating movement, a variety of whoops and hollers and individual comments.  There was palpable excitement in the cold, clear air.  As the group circumnavigated the soccer fields and came back through the 1K mark, already the leaders were spread out with Noah Forrey leading MHS junior, Jude Devries by about 15 secs   A further 15-20 secs back SRHS senior Sebastian Bohn and Bryce Ward, a junior at Piner HS were locked in step in the 3rd and 4th spots then followed by the rest of the field including, MHS freshman, Hanne Thompsen, master runner, Brandon Bannister and Ezequiel Molina among the top 8 spots overall.

     For many minutes the rest of the crowd ran by us at the 1K mark and headed back out to run around the Lake and out the Western Gate to SR Creek Trail.

Out of our sight the race continues in an eastern direction on the Creek Trail passed the eastern reentry gate, passed the 2-mile mark and passed Malibu Circle to the turnaround at around the 2.3mile mark.  The runners than head back in a western fashion retracing the course until re-entering and following behind the baseball fields and transitioning back onto the parking lot and the last 150 yards finishing kick.

     As we awaited the finishing results there was general discussion of who would win.  Would anyone break 16 minutes?  How fast will Hanne run? And a slew of other thoughts about running, the weather and life. With 15:25 on the clock our first finisher was running alone toward the finish line.  After announcing his approach, the smallish crowd began cheering our leader in, exhorting him to “kick it in”, to try and break 16 minutes.  With a furious rush among the excited crowd

Noah Forrey was our winner finishing in 15:56, followed by MHS Junior Jude Devries in 16:21 in 2nd place and in 3rd a top master’s runner, Brandon Bannister in 16:57.  We didn’t have to wait long for the first female finisher in 5th Place Overall and an extremely fast time of 17:35, MHS Freshman, Hanne Thomsen.  This is now the All-time best female finish for the Resolution Run.  Following Hanne in 21:21 in 2nd Place and 23rd O/A was Danielle Steffen and in 3rd place for females and 25th Place O/A in a time of 21:25 was Gretchen Forrey.

     A nice group of nearly 100 runners finished the race.  This is about 40% of our “normal” entry size but in these times we don’t expect our race numbers to be “normal”.  Shortly after the last runner crossed the finish line the award ceremony commenced.  All children 13 and under received a finishers ribbon and a protein bar.  The top 3 overall received a Resolution Run long sleeve running shirt from Heart and Sole, a portrait mug and a bottle of champagne or beer.  The top 3 in the Under 13, 14-20 age groups received medals and a bottle of Martinelli’s.  The top 3 in all of the other age groups received choice of beverage and a portrait mug.  

     The portrait mugs were special bird photos selected from ER Hall of Famer, Brendan Hutchinson’s very impressive personal collection of nature photos taken over the last 40 years.  Besides their excellent quality, Brendan’s photos were all taken with a film camera (not digital) and only prime lenses which entailed that Brendan spend a prolonged time “sneaking up” on his subject(s) until he was close enough to get an excellent photo.  We are so proud to present his art to those lucky runners.

     The Resolution Run was a success on many levels; from the perfect weather to the fine racing to the awards and this couldn’t have happened without the many volunteers who gave up the morning to help me make it a success.  I would like to thank Luis Rosales and the Piner HS XC group whom I couldn’t direct the race without, Dale Peterson and his finish crew (Lon Wiley, Tori Meredith and Larry Meredith, Andrea Guzman (award hand out) and Mike Zanetti helping wherever he was needed and Kenny Brown from Heart and Sole.  Extra hands showed up to facilitate cleanup and we all left by 1145. Finally, I would like to thank everyone who showed up on race day to start the new year on the “good foot”

Phaby-Gray 44th Annual Resolution Run 2022 Results:

Overall Top 3


Noah Forrey                15:56

Jude Devries               16:21

Brandon Bannister      16:57


Hanne Thomsen         17:35

Danielle Steffen          21:21

Gretchen Forrey         21:25

Age Group Top 3


13 & Under

1. Cooper Cheney      20:57

2. Samuel Steinberg   21:24

3. Fletcher Crowell     21:30


1. Sebastian Bohn      17:23

2. Bryce Ward             18:28

3. Caden Devries        20:43


1.Dylan Moberly          23:08


1. Kelsey Cody            18:07

2. Brendan Powers      21:09

3. Brian Tuohy             22:50  


1. Ezequiel Molina        18:13

2. Juan Marquez           19:28

3. Cam Tully-Smith       19:52


1. Niels Thomsen          18:52

2. Kenny Brown             20:44

3. Andy Lieberman        20:45


1. Don Stewart              19:20

2. Troy Tuscher             20:59

3. Steve Enos                21:04


1. Phil Penna                 29:03


1. Darryl Beardall         1:06:26


13 & Under

1. Vivienne Finn              24:25

2. Jordan Cheney           24:46

3. Becklyn Devries         24:56     


1. Elena Marquez           23:10

2. Kylin Devries              24:28

3. Audrey Moberly          26:18


1. Samantha Moberly     28:18


1. Meredith Letso            25:40

2. Kim Barba                   30:31


1. Kerry Hanlon               21:44

2. Kerry Gesell                23:24

3. Rachel Mckenzie        28:08


1. Cathy Dubay               21:37

2. Cynthia Nakatani        24:33

3. Patricia Hurtado          24:35


1. Karen Kissick              26:32

2. Tatjana Omrcen          27:25

3. Lisa Titus Isabeau      28:13


1. Sherri Guinn             47:37

Virtual Resolution Run 2021 – Race report by Brad Zanetti

Much like the rest of 2020 (and it appears some of 2021), there is no normalcy for the running community and races.  We will continue to have virtual “runs” or “challenges”, but please don’t call them races.  There is none of the excitement of producing the event, setting it up, and the actual race for the virtual events.  This has been going on for 9 months and will continue for at least 3-6 more months (pray for less). Yet it seems that we have adjusted to the events and most of us look forward to them.  Those on Strava seemingly join new virtual events weekly and monthly.  So for the short term the virtual event is the norm, if that is the right term, and along with training helps keep the sanity.

Despite the fact no one was present, Brad announced the race, hoping his voice would still be heard on New Year’s Day.

     The virtual version of the revered Phaby-Gray Run spanned 4 days (12/29-1/1), and was to be run solo in a Covid safe manner on a 5K course of your choice which could include the PTP course, be timed by oneself and the results sent to the Empire Runner site. For all of that, 75 Grand Prix points were awarded to all GP recipients.  Yet with no chance to race for age group points, no winners shirts and no raffle gifts/giveaways, still more than 50 officially entered and a number of unofficial entrants completed the run. This a testament to the impact of running/training and racing on our lives. 

      I was more than happy to mark the course and with help of many set up and record the event. I would like to thank Tanya, Dale, Andrea, Margaret and Robert for all of their efforts. With help we were able to provide course maps, videos and written directions on the PTP and 2 close by options.  We thank you for your participation and hope you enjoyed the event.  Hopefully next year we will be back to a big Resolution race complete with donut holes, winners shirts and age group gifts and a cool raffle.

     RACE DAY (uh I mean run day):

     As is my norm I showed up at PTP at 07:45 under the shadow of tule fog and sub 35 degree temps. I began course marking at the turnaround when the first runners of the day showed up coming my way. By the time I finished course marking and my warmup, the Sun was breaking through the fog, the temp had increased to 39 and it was time to get in my run. The reality of virtual runs is they are difficult to do solo and maintain a high pace.  The rather cool weather is nice and the norm for the Phaby-Gray, as is the early morning tule fog. As I finished my run and warmdown another half a dozen runners completed their runs and all told about 15-20 runners ran on course on New Years Day.

Imagining a herd of Empire Runners poised to race, Brad sounds the horn with no one present, feeling nostalgic about races past.

     Before I left PTP I noted the beauty of the morning, the crisp clean air and the QUIET.  Yes, the quiet. As I realized I didn’t miss the anxiety of race day directing, making sure everything is progressing for setup with race time hanging over my head. I didn’t miss answering questions, course marking, setting up the raffle and working the PA system all at the same time (Did the city come and open the bathrooms?! NO? S#&T!). I was not missing clean up.

      That being said, what I was missing was the sounds of all of this going on, the excitement of the sound of the horn and the start, watching a myriad of runners prepare for the start, wishing I, too, would get to race. I was missing the “Happy New Years” well wishing, sharing a moment with many runners and the crew.  I was missing ‘people’ as is the new norm (again that word). I missed, “Runners, take your mark, SSEEETTT, (Horn Blast). I missed the opening sprint led by many children (including a few Skanderas) most to be passed in the first half mile as the race takes shape. I missed the 1K return where the race is usually set for the TOP 10.

And of course, I missed the finish line spitting out as many names, times and anecdotes as humanly possible. I missed those from our running community that are no longer with us.  And finally I missed the post race bowling tournament (Double Decker), a cold beer, college bowl games on the tele and pizza dinner.  Well we will just have to wait until next year.

The truth is, Brad did have to go to the bathroom, but it was locked, so he had to run home immediately after the photo was taken.

     It was great to see many of you running with Covid safety and the Empire Runners would like to thank you for that.  Continued Covid adherence by the running community will allow us to continue providing Virtual Runs on a monthly basis.

Stay healthy, run safe and hope to actually “see” you again.

Thank you,

Brad Zanetti

Race Director

Empire Runners of Sonoma County

41st Annual Phaby-Gray Resolution Run

January 1, 2020 10:00AM

The weather report promised a clear, sunny and warm day but at 7am, Wednesday, January 1st I was not prepared for the beauty of this particular sunrise. This was a sunrise that was as red-orange as a Hawaiian sunset and with it a warmth not common in the middle of winter. Ahead was simply a spectacular day for the 41st edition of the Resolution Run.

Prior to the 10am start much still had to be done: 1- course setup 2- timing tent/finish line presided by Jerry Lyman with Peter Kirk, Dale Peterson and Tori Meredith. 3- Registration, Food/Water and course Monitoring lead by Luis and Melanie Rosales and their Piner HS XC Team. As per usual, with setup complete, runners slowly made their way to Place to Play Park on 3rd Street in Santa Rosa.

As the group of runners slowly grew and milled about awaiting the starters blast, the timers readied themselves. When the 5 minute to go was announced the group had swelled to over 200 and began to congregate behind the starting line for pre race directions and a course explanation.

With an ‘On your Mark’ and a blast from the marine horn the 41st Resolution Run had begun. As the leaders finished the first loop around the soccer fields and headed toward the second loop (pond loop), 3 runners had separated themselves from the group led by former Carrillo star, Scott Kruetzfeldt, Santa Rosa Junior Andrew Mckamey and former Sonoma Valley HS star Chris Tose. A second group of 4 followed: led by former Casa Grande runner Tyler Harwood and included Masters star Brandon Bannister. The first woman to pass the 0.6mile spot was Master star Cathy Dubay, followed by Carrie Peterson-Kirby and 14yo Rebekah Skandera. The remainder of runners passed by over the next 15 minutes.

After conquering the pond loop the runners proceeded out the NW exit onto the S.R. Creek Trail heading East past the 2 mile mark, past Malibu Circle another 150+ meters to the turnaround. The runners were sent back West again toward the NE entrance back into the park behind the baseball park. By this point about 300 meters from the finish Scott Kruetzfeldt had separated himself from the pack. He was followed by Andrew McKamey and a hard charging Tyler Harwood. At the finish the order stayed the same with 1st place timed in 16:09, 2nd Place in 16:25 and 3rd Place in 16:36. The first master, 44yo Brandon Bannister crossed the line at 16:40 (an age graded All American time). The first over 50 male was 56yo Guy Shott in 18:19 (another age graded All American time). The first over 60 male was 62yo Steve Lafler at 20:52 and the first over 70 male was 71yo Lon Wiley in 22:07. There were 2 over 80 males led by 84yo Dan Tuohy and followed by the running legend, Darryl Beardall with his new high speed walker.

The race for the women’s trophy followed a similar formula to the men’s race. From the view from the finish line, the first woman to cross behind the baseball field(about 0.3 mile from the finish) was still Cathy Dubay as she had further gapped the second woman, Carrie Peterson-Kirby and finally the third woman, Rebekah Skandera was just clear of the fast closing over 60 runner, Ann Thrupp.

At the finish the top women’s order remained the same with Cathy Dubay finishing 1st in 19:48 (an age graded 90.8% All American time), Carrie Peterson-Kirby 2nd in 20:44 and Rebekah Skandera held off Ann Thrupp in 21:25. 62yo Ann Thrupp finished 2 spots behind Skandera in 21:38 (in an overall #1 age graded 91.2% All American time).

There was definitely some great racing and times throughout the participants and all 200+ runners finishing shortly after the 1 hour mark. There were a lot of grimaces and smiles at the finish with one young participant literally leaving it ALL ON the race course. Post race there were a lot of high fives and happy conversations as the runners enjoyed fruit snacks and the infamous donut holes from Park View Café and waited for age group awards and the remaining raffle prizes. The combination of an uncommonly gorgeous day and a holiday spirit made for a near perfect race (unless you were stuck in the portapotty –sic).

After Darryl “The Legend” Beardall rolled through the finish line to a cavalcade of applause and attaboys the award ceremony commenced with raffle prizes sprinkled about. The overall winners were presented with Resolution Run Hoodies (provided by Heart and Sole) and a beverage provided by Lagunitas or Costco if underage. The age group top 3 also received beverages from our sponsors and/or power bars. Raffle prizes were provided by our sponsors: Lagunitas, Fleet Feet, Costco and Sports Basement(a new sponsor). Over a 100 items were given out in awards and raffle prizes.

No race goes well without a lot of pre race planning and an experienced and dedicated race day team. I would to take this moment to thank the finish line/registration coordinator, Jerry Lyman and his timing crew (Tori Meredith, Dale Peterson and Peter Kirk), the Piner HS XC crew led by Coaches Rosales who helped with registration/food prep and course monitoring. They all did a fabulous job and make my job much more efficient. Our prize sponsors include Heart and Sole (4th and Brookwood) and Fleet Feet (W 3rd St), our specialty running shoe stores in Santa Rosa and a new late edition, Sport Basement (Costco Shopping Center), a true all sport emporium and finally Lagunitas Brewing.

I ended last years race review with I don’t think we will ever have nicer weather for another RR event and that may be true but the weather this year was pretty phenomenal and the course was pretty fast and in great shape. I hope all who attended had a wonderful time and I look forward to seeing you all again next year on yes, January 1st (2021) for the 42nd edition of the Phaby-Gray Resolution Run. And Happy New Year!

Brad Zanetti
Resolution Run Race Director.

Race Results (partial)


1st – Scott Kreutzfeldt 16:09
2nd – Andrew McKamey 16:25
3rd – Tyler Harwood 16.36

1st – Cathy Dubay 19:48
2nd – Carrie Peterson 20:44
3rd – Rebekah Skandera 21:25

Age Group:


12 and under:

1- Ruth Skandera (10) 23:08
2- Carley Schubert(12) 24:21
3- Sienna Richards(8) 28:11

13 to 19:

1- Rebekah Skandera(14) 21:25
2- Vivien Mattice(16) 22:27
3- Sarah Skandera(15) 24:12

20 to 29:

1- Sarah Labberton(28) 24:05
2- Jennifer Mason(28) 28:19
3- Ashley Boggs(28) 47:34

30 to 39:

1- Josilynn Parker(30) 22:18
2- Trista Park(35) 22:52
3- Gretchen Forrey(31) 23:04

40 to 49:

1- Carrie Peterson-Kirby(46) 20:44
2- Kerry Gesell(46) 22:40
3- Kerry Hanlon(47) 22:55

50 to 59:

1- Cathy Dubay(55) 19:48
2- Carol Dubay(56) 23:09
3- Nuvit Salz(59) 23:18

60 to 69:

1- Ann Thrupp(62) 21:38
2- Dara Hill(67) 27:40
3- Lisa Titus Isabeau(61) 27:48

70 to 79:

1- Kathleen MacPherson(79) 48:36


12 and under:

1- Paul Skandera(9) 19:56(80.3% Age Grade AA)
2- Fletcher Crowell(7) 20:42(84.1% Age Grade AA)
3-Spencer Diaz(12) 22:36

13 to 19:

1. Scott Kruetzfeldt(19) 16:09
2. Andrew McKamey(17) 16:25
3. Paden Collard(18) 16:42

20 to 29:

1- Tyler Harwood(27) 16:36
2- Patrick Lynch(20) 16:46
3- Noah Forrey(24) 16:54

30 to 39:

1. Francisco Azevedo(38) 18:56
2. Greg Murphy(37) 19:24
3. Brian Tuohy(37) 19:51

40 to 49:

1. Brandon Bannister(44) 16:40
2. Vince Viloria(42) 19:53
3. Brandon Crowell(44) 20:42

50 to 59:

1. Guy Schott(55) 18:19
2. Kenny Brown(50) 19:12
3. John Lundy(56) 19:31

60 to 69:

1. Steve Lafler(62) 20:52
2. Bob Rogers(62) 21:18
3. Frank Cuneo(64) 21:51

70 to 79:

  1. Lon Wiley(71) 22:07
  2. Asher Nathan(72) 26:29
  3. Bill Browne(71) 26:53

80 to 89:

  1. Dan Touhy(84) 48:07
  2. Darryl Beardall(83) 58:04

**Full Results on the Empire Runner site –


The Empire Runners have a long-standing commitment to providing scholarships to deserving XC/T&F 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 3 recipients a total of $ 3000 in scholarship awards this year. All clubmembers should be proud of the part they play in this most wonderful of traditions

The ER SGF is substantially funded by the Kenwood Footrace as well and due to the Covid Status will not be receiving these monies for the 2021 scholarships. This year there is an Independence Day Weekend Challenge Virtual Race which is free if you sign up through the ER site and we are asking, if you choose, to give a donation which will be used for next years SGF Scholarships.

This group of 2020 recipients has had to deal with the most unique set of circumstances in generations- 2017 Tubbs Fire with entire sections of Santa Rosa burnt out impacting thousands, 2018 Camp Fire and being smoked out for weeks, Flood along the Russian River and this year Covid-19. They have missed more school, more training and more sports by far than any other class. And all 3 recipients were personally affected by these circumstances. Here is hoping their next 4+ years of University life and sports return to some sort of normalcy.

Our first recipient is a 4yr XC/Track & Field athlete. He was a 3 yr varsity performer, part of a league championship team and qualified for the California State XC Championships twice. His PR on the Spring Lake Course is 16:32 and his mile PR is 4:38. He has been an outstanding addition to his teams since freshman year with his upbeat personality initially and then developing excellent leadership and team building skills. He has been instrumental in bringing the new young runners into the team concept. Our first recipient’s coaches have thoroughly enjoyed their experience with him and will miss him as he leaves high school and begins his collegiate career.

Our first ER SGF scholarship recipient is looking forward to starting his collegiate career at Santa Rosa JC. As an athlete who has missed parts of 4 seasons he is still far from reaching his athletic and educational goals. While working extra hard due to a learning disorder he also made time for over 200 volunteer hours. His teachers and coaches will be following his progress closely, under the tutelage of Coach Wellman, as he embarks on his journey to be the best runner he can be and complete his prerequisites for transfer to a university and study Marine Biology.

Our first recipient is the former Piner Prospector and future Santa Rosa JC Bearcub, JEREMIAH CANO.

Our second ER SGF scholarship winner is also a 4yr athlete, in both Soccer and Track&Field. He has been accepted at the College of his choice and will be playing soccer primarily with the option of continuing in T&F if he can make it work. He has achieved at a very high level attaining All Empire in both Soccer and T&F, the highlight of qualifying for the NCS meet final in the 400 meters. He has been achieving at the highest level all 4 years as well with Alltime in Class Top 10s in the 400 meters- # 7 Freshman 51.84, #10 Sophmore 50.77 and #5 Junior 49.52. He also has PRs of 22.44 in the 200m and 1:57 in the 800m. Unfortunately our 2nd scholarship winner was unable to perform for his Senior season and continue up the Alltime Best Ladders.

Our 2nd recipient, too, has had to face many challenges during his high school career including the near total destruction of his school during the 2017 Tubbs Fire but that did not deter him. Even while playing Varsity Soccer all 4 years, T&F and performing significant community service(winning the Christian Gentleman Award) he has maintained an unweighted GPA of 3.9 in a College Prep course load with many AP classes. He also found time to participate in student council. Our 2nd recipient will take his talents, dedication and hard work to further his education in viticulture/agriculture. This scholarship winner will trade the cardinal & gold of Cardinal Newman for the blue & white of UC Davis in the Fall.

We are proud to announce our 2nd scholarship presented to the future Aggie from Cardinal Newman, JUSTIN PATTERSON.

Our final SGF scholarship winner began her high school career as an all star varsity volleyball and basketball player. She went out for the track team to put her in line for the Iron Lion Award(3 sports for all 4 years). To all who knew her it was a forgone conclusion she would go to college playing volleyball but she soon fell in love with the ‘throws’(Shotput and Discus) while scoring points in a variety of other events. Like the other recipients her education and athletic career was negatively impacted by fires, flooding and Covid but in addition she contracted a very severe case of Lyme’s disease and missed half a school year. She has worked very hard to get her physical level back and even improve it. This hard work was evident when after only 2 meets this year she improved her SP PR to 36’1.5”(50th AT RE) and her DT PR to 140’10”(#3 AT). Highlights besides many League championships, All Empire awards, multi event NCS qualifier peaked with a trip to the State T&F Championship for the discus last year. Our recipient was looking for a return trip this year with her 140+’ throw in March good for 5th in the state when the season was interrupted. She has been working fulltime improving her throws and adding the Javelin and the Hammer to her repertoire which she will be throwing in college.

Always an excellent student our final SGF Scholarship persevered through fires, floods, Covid and Lymes disease to maintain an unweighted 3.83 GPA in an AP College Prep track. She also made time to be a teachers aide in Math through high school, be a member of multiple clubs including Leadership and civic volunteering. This scholarship winner had multiple excellent Universities to pick from and decided on UC Irvine where she felt she had the best chance to meet her goals of being a D1 NCAA Champion and hopefully qualifying for the 2028 Olympic Trials. Considering what she has had to overcome so far I wouldn’t bet against it. This scholar athlete will be trading her Lion mascot to become an Anteater in the fall.

We are proud to give the ER SGF Scholarship to El Molino’s very own, KASSIDY SANI.

Brad’s Corner, by Brad Zanetti

“The Boys in the Boat”, by, Daniel James Brown, Penguin Books, New York, New York, 2013, pp 370.



In the past I have reviewed mostly books about runners and running, for runners and running, written by a runner or had running in the title(how slick?!). So on a great recommendation from a friend(and the Sonoma Gals Book Club) I began reading a book about rowing, specifically the nine-man crew that went to the 1936 Berlin Olympics with a quest for the Gold Medal. Now I straight up don’t know a lot about rowing and although I watch it during the Olympics I don’t follow the sport regularly. Still, I felt this book was a great choice for two main reasons:  1) It’s an Olympic year and June is Olympic month and 2) I am fascinated with the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin and the politics of the era.

Upon starting the book I kind of read over the quote that begins each chapter. As it turns out each quote or thought is by a man named George Yeoman Pocock. In chapter three his character is formulated and it turns out that Mr. Pocock is a former rower from England who is a (the) master builder of the 8 man cedar shell (boat). In fact the Pocock shell is still considered the premiere shell. Well I went back and restarted reading the quotes prior to each paragraph and found that they added much to the storyline.

In lieu of giving a detailed telling of the story (’cause why would you read it then?) let me just say this is one of the finest sport stories I have ever read. Character development was excellent and complete. You really feel like you know what makes each character tick. Each chapter covers a number of storylines and character developments and repeats them in a way that makes you part of a story, part of the character’s life – a part of history.

The historical time frame covered extends from the late 1800’s through 1943 with excellent historical perspectives throughout the storieline. The epilogue chapter covers the lives of the characters through the 21st century. The reader will get an interesting feel for the times of the early 1900’s, the development of Seattle, the depression era, the politics surrounding the Olympics (and Avery Brundage) and the politics of Hitler, a rebuilding Germany post WWI and the way Hitler snuck up on the world prior to trying to rule it.

This will happen by following the life story of Joe Rantz, one of the nine rowers on the 1936 Olympic Rowing team from the University of Washington. You will learn about his rather sad early life and how it developed his resolve. You meet his teammates, how they relate to one another as the team is formed from over a hundred young men over four years under the watchful eye and tutelage of Coach Al Ulbrickson and Master shell builder George Y. (Yoda?) Pocock.

The Boys in the Boat is incredibly well written in all ways. I was especially impressed with the historical perspective and the development of an understanding of this new sport to me, Crew. The individual and team aspect of crew parallels in many ways running and cross-country although even more linked due to the synchronous nature of rowing. The story telling of the actual races was very good and I found myself immersed in the crew racing experience much as if I was in a race myself. I don’t often give an unequivocal thumbs up but with this book I am prepared to do so. If the story alone was not enough I was definitely enamored with the G. Y. Pocock quotes that begin each chapter.

Two examples of George Pocock’s insight circa the 1930’s are prescient of the type of things I shared with my high school runners and have shared with other Empire Runners:

“ Men as fit as you, when your everyday strength is gone, can draw on a mysterious reservoir of power far greater. Then it is that you can reach for the stars. That is the way champions are made.”


“Where is the spiritual value of rowing?…The losing of self entirely to the cooperative effort of the crew as a whole.”

And in an homage to the “Runner’s High”:

“When you get the rhythm in an eight, it’s pure pleasure to be in it. It’s not hard work when the rhythm comes… that “swing” as they call it. I’ve heard men shriek out with delight when that swing came in an eight;  it’s a thing they’ll never forget as long as they live.”

My recommendation is to read this book as soon as you can. It is a wonderful read full of depth and detail, characters and history, sport and its impact. Read it NOW, before it becomes a movie.

Rating:   Excellent                     5/5 *****

Who Was Peter Norman Part 2, by Brad Zanetti

March2015Zanetti06Peter Norman was born June 15, 1942 near Melbourne, Australia. He was raised in a strong Christian family by parents that were Salvation Army missionaries. His parents were poor and growing up there wasn’t enough money to afford the gear necessary to play his favorite sport, Australian Rules Football. As a teenager Peter’s father was able to find used track spikes. Peter was elated and began his track career.

Peter’s Christian upbringing was essential in the development of the man he became. A little background on the doctrine of the Salvation Army is essential. In 1865 William Booth took his version of Christianity to the streets, the poor, the destitute. By 1878 his East London Christian Mission was noted as a volunteer army. Not liking the sound of that he penned salvation in place of volunteer and the Salvation Army was borne. The mission statement of the Salvation Army is 3 fold:

1- message is the Bible

2- ministry is motivated by the love of God

3- mission is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and meet human needs without discrimination.

March2015Zanetti05Peter had developed into a fine runner, the finest in Australia prior to the 1968 Olympics. He was the top 100/200 runner in Australia but felt his best event was the 200m with a time of 20.6 at the Australian Olympic trials. However, he was not well known on the world stage and not even in the discussion for a medal. But when he arrived in Mexico City at the Estadio Olimpico Universitario, Peter ran consistently good times through to the finals. He exploded in the first heat winning with a 20.17(setting a national and short lived Olympic record). He won his quarterfinal heat in 20.44 and was second to John Carlos in the semis in 20.22. In typical Norman fashion he yelled across to Carlos, “You can have that one!” Carlos just waved him off indignantly. The final was a phenomenal race with a late surge by Peter, squeaking by Carlos at the tape in 20.06 for the Silver medal(and a national record that still stands today). Tommie Smith ‘jetted’ down the backstretch to the Gold in a new Olympic, National and World record in 19.86. John Carlos content with what he thought was a Silver shut it down a hair early and accepted the Bronze.

Prior to the Olympics there was much rhetoric and public fighting over a possible boycott of the Olympics by the black athletes. A combination of the deaths of Rev Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy and a lack of solidarity of all of the Black athletes led to them not boycotting the Olympics. This allowed each athlete to express themselves individually. The significance of Carlos and Smith display goes as follows: the gloves were for Power(Black) and Unity. The shoeless entry(stocking feet) was for poverty. The beads they wore represented lynchings(‘Strange Fruit’). Carlos entered with an unzipped jacket(against Olympic protocol) as a tribute to blue collar workers.

March2015Zanetti02Just prior to the walk up to the Olympic podium, John Carlos and Tommie Smith made Peter Norman aware of their plan. They asked him if he believed in human rights. Peter answered that he did and that he believed strongly in God. Peter said, “I will stand with you, how can I participate?” They asked him to wear the Olympic Project for Human Rights(OPHR) badge. Remembers Carlos, “ I expected to see fear in Peter’s eyes, but instead we saw love.” Norman reached for Carlos’ badge but he said, “this is mine but we will get you one.” Paul Hoffman a Harvard and Olympic crew team member offered his to Norman. Just prior to the walk in to the dais, Carlos realized he had forgotten his gloves. It was Peter who suggested that Tommie and Carlos each wear one, which they both agreed. The three men, united, walked to the dais…and history was soon to be made.

“I couldn’t see what was happening, Norman said, but I knew they had gone through with the plan when a voice sang the American anthem but then faded to nothing. The stadium went quiet; what followed was a shower of boos”. As the threesome walked off the crescendo of boos turned to vicious racial slurs; their lives forever changed and forever linked.

As you are probably aware Tommie Smith and John Carlos were stripped of their medals, kicked off of the team and sent back to the US. Their lives were ruined as they were not allowed to race again, received numerous death threats, fired from their jobs and found it difficult to get substantial jobs for decades. What you may not know is that after the Olympic medal ceremony, when asked about the Americans demonstration by reporters, Peter Norman responds, “I believe that every man is born equal and should be treated that way.” He was then reprimanded by the Australian Olympic committee, banned from racing for 2 years and finally not sent to the 1972 Olympics in Munich even though he was the 5th rated sprinter in the world in the 200m and qualified in the 100 and 200m. He was torn to shreds by the Australian press and returned to apartheid Australia not a star or hero but rather a pariah. He, too, faced a daily challenge of acceptance and any opportunity at all. Even after Australia renounced their apartheid philosophy and long after Carlos and Smith had been forgiven in the U.S. Peter Norman was still persona non grata at home and was not invited in any capacity to be part of the 2000 Olympics in Sidney. At that late date they still wanted Peter to renounce his part in the 1968 demonstration. He of course would not. In fact, Peter was invited to be part of the US Olympic group reuniting with Smith and Carlos, whereupon Michael Johnson introduced himself to Peter and said, “Peter you are my hero”. Peter said, “I didn’t know you even knew who I was. Michael responded, “Of course I know who you are”.

Over time the disruption of the status quo by the 1968 Olympic demonstration has been seen in a different light(change is slow). Nearly 4 decades later in 2005 a heroic 23’ tall sculpture of the medalist podium moment was erected at San Jose St University. Curiously, Peter Norman’s place is vacant so that visitors can stand in accord with Smith and Carlos. It was Norman’s choice to leave his spot vacant since the sculpture is in America, on the duo’s college campus. Per Peter, “ It wasn’t about me. All I did was wear a button of support. That platform is for anybody across this world to stand up for justice and equality.”

The trio have remained close throughout the years. In fact, Peter was at the unveiling of the statue and presented and introduced John Carlos. Tragically, Peter had a variety of medical and chemical issues and died of a heart attack on Oct 3, 2006. Both John and Tommie were pallbearers at his funeral and eulogized him and consider Peter’s mother their “Australian mom”. They often tell Peter’s story, their story at their speaking engagements. Peter remains a friend, a brother, a hero to them and to all who know his story. Carlos about Peter Norman) unveiling with Peter Norman introduction) was pete norman by the young turks-TYT)–lzACn0aZ8(200m final race)


Movie Review: “RACE,” Brad’s Corner

April16BradsCorner02MOVIE REVIEW:   “RACE” (2015) 134minutes.  ‘A biopic of Jesse Owens and the 1936 Berlin Olympics’

By Brad Zanetti

Where to start. Would I recommend this movie? And would I want to see it again? By the nature of its one word ‘double edged’ title the movie promises both a sport story about a specific race(s) and a more important story about worldwide race relations in the 1930’s. Does the movie deliver on both accounts?

The basic storyline is a couple of years in Jesse Owens career based around 2 specific events:

1- The Big Ten Meet in May 1935 where won 4 events with 4 world records(100y, 220y, 220y hurdles, Long Jump) over a 45 minute period(considered the greatest day in the history of track)

2- The1936 Berlin Olympics in August, where he got 4 gold medals(100m, 200m, LJ and 4 x100 relay) and singlehandedly refuted Hitler’s Aryan concept. There is an oblivious timeline and a number of side stories that either confuse or confound the known storyline.

During the 2 plus hour film the pace and rhythm waxed and waned. At times it moved very slowly and left one wondering where the story was going. Since the movie covered a very short specific time in Owens life I expected some great track scenes and the impact of race issues in is life. Some of the side stories were of questionable authenticity and perhaps not necessary. A fair amount of time was spent on a short term love interest of Jesse and the impact on his relationship with his future wife of 45 years. This added nothing to the story as the remainder of the movie even his relationship with his wife wasn’t very well developed. Speaking of the track scenes, I thought there were well done (thankfully no slow motion) and the athletes did look like athletes. As a runner that was appreciated. There were many scenes demonstrating racism in America from fellow student/athletes, other coaches, Avery Brundage and the Olympic coaches. These scenes were strong and impactful. I think the story of his post Olympic struggle would have made this movie more complete. A terse scene with Jesse and his wife having to use the waiter entrance to a party in his honor seemed a weak portrayal.

The section about Owen’s experiences in Berlin was pretty well done but there were still some inconsistencies. The high point was the representation of Jesse’s relationship with the German long jumper, Carl ‘Luc’ Long, which began as an athletic relationship but developed into a strong friendship. There was some questionable poetic license taken with the Leni Riefenstahl character that I find bothersome and inauthentic (hence unnecessary). And her relationship with Goebbels was questionable. Finally I think the time spent on the background of Avery Brundage and Goebbels relationship might have been better spent on Owen’s post Olympic life.

I think editing some of these mentioned problem areas could have improved the pace of the movie and by utilizing that time to clarify his post Olympic tribulations would have strengthened the racial impact of the movie. To answer my original questions; would I recommend seeing this movie. I can unequivocably say, probably. I think the running scenes are good enough to interest the hardcore runners as is the basic storyline. I would recommend this movie to the running fanatics in the group most definitely and to the rest of the readers with the caveat that some of the storyline and characters may not be accurate. That being said, after watching the movie and enjoying much of it I didn’t feel like I gained any new insight into the life of Jesse Owens so to answer the second question; would I watch it a second time? I would have to answer probably not.

Rating:       3.75 out of 5

Who Was Peter Norman? By Brad Zanetti

March2015Zanetti021968 was a very special year—an Olympic Year. By the time the Olympic Games started, I was 14 years old and ready to begin high school. Steve Prefontaine was entering the University of Oregon, although the nation’s #1-ranked high school runner had yet to captivate the attention of the running world. Pre’s coach, Bill Bowerman, had a nickname for him—“the Rube.” In many ways that was me. I did not have a world-wide view or much real life experience. I was raised by first generation Italian-American immigrants who had fully immersed themselves in American culture. My naiveté was further enhanced by the fact that I lived in the lily-white town of San Carlos, midway between San Francisco and San Jose.

To this 14-year-old boy, the Olympics epitomized the purity of sport. I knew nothing of how politics could enter the world of athletics. Certainly I was aware of the free speech movement across the Bay in Berkeley, the atrocities of the war in Vietnam, Communism and the Cold War, apartheid in South Africa, and the Watts riots, but there was no connection between politics and the Olympics, or so I thought. Maybe I just wanted life to remain simple. The Fundamental Principles of Olympism themselves state that “Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example, social responsibility, and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles. The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.”



And Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter states that “No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.” You could understand my confusion. The Olympic ideal didn’t match reality. In 1968 my simplified world view had been rocked; but it wouldn’t be until 1972, my first month of college, that I finally started to piece together the politics of our nation and our place in the world.

Sports have always been my way of separating myself from the realities of life. It was sports and the excitement of the Olympics that I hoped would give me a respite in 1968. All that was going on that year—student protests in Europe and Mexico, USSR invasion of Czechoslovakia, war in Vietnam, the assassinations of Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King—left me needing an escape. I dreamed about how the US team would perform. I was confident in their talent—especially in the sprints, jumps, and middle distances. Many of our best came from San Jose State University (“Speed City”) just down Highway 101 from my home. I was fortunate to have seen these runners during the indoor season. By the early summer, the outdoor season was in full swing and excitement was building thanks to some excellent early season times. In June 1968, the US Olympic Committee staged a pre-Olympic Trial meet in Los Angeles, the results of which confused athletes and fans alike. They served not to give the winners a spot on the Olympic team, but rather to exclude certain runners. After this meet, the possibility of a boycott by black athletes was becoming more likely, most notably by sprinter John Carlos, who was not allowed to run the 100 m by the Olympic Committee.

The real Olympic Trials were run in September on a specially built track up on Echo Summit off Highway 50, above South Lake Tahoe. The track was built at altitude to mimic the conditions found in Mexico City (sans the poor air quality). The track was literally cut into the forest and was the Disneyesque backdrop to one of the greatest meets attended by arguably the best Track & Field team of all time. This Olympic training camp galvanized the team amid the swirling tensions of political unrest. The Olympic Project for Human Rights (OPHR), led by Dr. Harry Edwards, was formed in order to protest the reinstatement of South Africa to the Olympics by IOC president Avery Brundage (the man who also delivered the 1936 Olympics to Hitler’s Germany in Berlin) as well as the conditions in the United States for black Americans. Despite all of this, the results of the Trials were unprecedented, with four pending world records produced. Unfortunately, they were not all ratified due to some question about the spikes being worn (specifically Puma’s “brush spike” technology). Even as a 14-year old, I began to smell a rat—how could shoes alone make you so fast? Still, I couldn’t wait for the Olympics to finally begin to see how well we would run.


Meanwhile, over in Australia, another young man was preparing for the Olympics. By his own account, Peter Norman came to track quite by accident, but then continued to improve through juniors and then up to the national level. By the time of the 1968 Australian Games (their Olympic Trials), Norman was his country’s top 100 m – 200 m runner. In the 200 m especially, Peter had improved to near-world-class status with a time of 20.6 seconds, and was known for a very strong finish. World- wide, though, he remained a virtual unknown and wasn’t on anyone’s list as a possible winner.

At the 1968 Olympics, the sprinters and jumpers were benefitting from Mexico City’s relatively thin air (witness Bob Beamon, long jump) and Norman was ripping through the preliminary heats, winning the first heat in 20.16, a new Olympic record (though short-lived). He won his quarterfinal and scorched out a 20.06 to place second to American John Carlos. (He yelled across to Carlos, “You can have this one,” whereupon John waved him off. “The gall of this guy…” per JC). This was the fastest time he would ever run—a new Australian national record and one that still stands today.

Coming into the finals on October 16th, just four days into the Games, the US was building up their medal count and Peter Norman recalls that he was already tired of hearing our National Anthem. He was driven to try and change that. Prior to the start of the 200 m race, he had tried to get into the heads of Tommie Smith and John Carlos, but at the gun, it was Norman who got out slowly. Tommie Smith had been nursing a sore groin and also (by his own admission) got out poorly. It was John Carlos who answered the gun, blazing out of the blocks and around the corner to the lead for the stretch drive. At this point, Smith extended down the backstretch, catching and passing Carlos about halfway down the stretch and finishing in 19.83—a gold medal, a new National, Olympic, and a World Record. Carlos, looking to his left as Smith flew by, eased up in the final 40 meters. Suddenly, out of the bottom of the TV screen, came Norman. He flew past Carlos, who was unable to respond after shutting it down. Final result: Peter Norman, the silver medal in 20.06; John Carlos, the bronze medal in 20.10. I remember being totally upset at Carlos for letting that Australian guy get the silver. I was like a starving lion in front of a 10-lb T-bone for medals. I wanted total dominance and “we” gave one away only four days into it. I couldn’t possibly know what was to come.


I don’t think I need to go into great detail about the award ceremony. The picture of Tommie Smith, Peter Norman, and John Carlos on the podium—Smith and Carlos shoeless, with their black-gloved fists raised in a black power salute—remains perhaps the most celebrated photo in Olympic history. It came at a time when a gesture for Human Rights in front of the world was necessary. I was stunned and didn’t understand it. I was swayed by the commentators’ explanation. But most importantly, what would the officials do to them?

Unbeknownst to me and most of the world, Peter Norman was part of the demonstration. He was wearing the OPHR patch on his chest in solidarity with Smith and Carlos. (He remained in solidarity with them until his death in 2006.) The Australian Olympic Committee and IOC asked—no demanded—that he rescind his solidarity, but he would not. The three athletes’ lives were forever entwined. Tommie Smith and John Carlos were kicked off the team, removed from the Olympic Village, and barely survived death threats as they were flown back to the US. Once home, their lives were not much better. Neither man could find gainful employment at a time when a gold medal was the only realistic way to get a windfall during the “amateur” days of track and field. (See Wheaties Box). Money and glory were not theirs, nor was the adulation of the sporting community for simply being the best in the world. They traded this reward for a more important message.

For my part, I was mad that they were not available for any relay duties. It didn’t matter; the US got gold in both relays. It was at this point I was beginning to understand that there might be something bigger than the Olympics as I struggled with THEIR explanation of the shoeless entry, the black gloves, and raised fists.

There will be a Part II to this article, but until April, here is a list of videos/articles of interest:


Peter Norman 1968 Olympics


  • Peter Norman Australian for Human Rights
  • The story behind the white guy in this historic photo


  • The forgotten story of Australian Olympian Peter Norman


The John Carlos Story: The Sports Moment that Changed the World by John Carlos and Dave Zirin (book)




“QUICK STRENGTH FOR RUNNERS, 8 Weeks to a Better Runner’s Body”, by Jeff Horowitz, Velopress, Boulder, Colorado, 2013. Pp 198

Speaking from a pure runner’s perspective, I ask you, would you rather go on a nice run in Annadel or spend 45-60 minutes in a (smelly) gym pounding the weights, running on a treadmill or busting the exercycle? I don’t know about you but I would pick the run seven days out of seven, no question. The problem with doing so much running and so  very little pre and post-run training is that it often will result in injuries (especially as we increase mileage, intensity and as we just age).  And usually the injuries are not quickly healed. So for those of you (us) that think you don’t have time or don’t want to make time for pre and post run training think about how many injuries you have had over the last couple of years. Now think about how much time you were unable to run due to those injuries. If you are like me and have had multiple injuries and been off running for up to 2-3 months at a time (sometimes even longer) an extra 60 minutes a week In the gym might be time well spent. As well, I feel a regular strength training program will not only minimize your injuries but will also improve your training and racing times/consistency.

198 pages may seem like a lot of reading for a training guide.  It could just as easily have been in formatted simply a guide and would still have been very good. The first 45 pages are background and simple running physiology. If you have a background in physiology or have read any of the previously reviewed running physiology books you could easily bypass the first 45 pages or read it later (in lieu of watching the final season of ‘American Idol).

The next 85 pages are a well written explanation of 40 exercises and the minimal amount of equipment needed to perform them. Each exercise is also differentiated into easy and advanced styles. There is also a TIP which will clarify proper technique and a COACHES NOTE which explains the why and/or an ‘attaboy’(‘-girl’).

The next 50 pages are dedicated to the training sessions delineated by the week (weeks 1 through 8). Depending on your physical strength you can choose easy or advanced but the guide is setup to start easy on week 1 and get progressively more advanced and more intense with each week. If that seems like just too much there is no reason not to go at a slower, less advanced rate and with 40 exercises to choose from you could develop your own ever changing program.

The training is 2-3 20 min sessions per week so everyone should be able to make that time available to improve overall fitness and your running with a minimum of equipment (dumbbell, balance ball, medicine ball and a balance/bosu board) as your strength improves and you want to try the advanced exercises. The book finishes with a small chapter on continuing the program while travelling.

This is a great book and guide that if followed 2-3 times per week will definitely improve your strength, running and overall health.

Rating:   4.8/5             Usefullness:   5/5