All posts by Doug Murdoch

Backpack and luggage fanatic, obsessive runner, and world traveller. I take some photos now and then. In the afternoon I enjoy a double caffè macchiato with a small cookie.

Inspired by Belief, by Doug Murdoch

By 2012, I had been running for a couple of years but was suffering from a serious hip injury that kept me from running consistently.

At the time, I really looked up to Empire members Andy “Mr. Durable” Howard and Bryan “Zen Master” Porter because they were both running impressively, were just a bit older than I, and were more experienced. Andy, at age 50, had broken five minutes in the mile and had run the 400M in 58.09, setting the Empire record. And Bryan, also at age 50, ran 5:02 in the mile and 59.8 in the 400 meters at Empire track meets that year. I remember that 400 meter race very clearly because I called off 30 seconds to Bryan when he passed the 200 meter mark.

However, during this period I stopped showing up to ERC events because I was embarrassed about my injury. Being very competitive, I was really uncomfortable showing up for an event if I couldn’t run, or if I could not run my best effort.

Andy was and always has been known as rarely afflicted by injury, Mr. Durable so-to-speak. Except for when he got injured walking up Fountain Grove Drive, but that’s a different story.

However, shortly after this, Bryan started experiencing various injuries, and, much to my surprise, he kept showing up at the Empire races, racing the best he could. This was difficult for me to understand at first. How could someone show up for a race, dealing with aches and pains, and run slower than they normally would? I spoke to him numerous times about his experiences running while enduring his various physical problems and was impressed by his positive attitude and personal fortitude.

It’s easier to give up than to keep showing up.

But Bryan kept showing up, and he truly believed that if he had patience, his injuries would subside and he would return to normal again.

His viewpoint definitely had an impact on me. I started to attend Empire races, and even if I couldn’t run, I started to take photos for the club as a way of participating in the event.

In terms of my injuries, I started to strategize about how I could keep training while managing my various ailments. As it turns out, this has been one of the keys to my running success: not expecting the aches and pains will go away, but instead getting them treated and to keep on running continuously.

I talked to Bryan again at the first Tamalpa track meet this year, and he showed up to watch but did not run.

I sent him this Facebook message afterwards:

DM: I’ve been spending some time reflecting on being older and running. After I spoke to you at the Tamalpa track meet, I thought that you were inspired by belief, meaning that your inspired by the belief that you will get better if you remain positive and keep training. Do you think that’s right?

BP: Yes. I really do. It’s in me.






Question and Answer with Paul Berg, currently our club President, and beer aficionado.

Question: What is your theory about the connection between distance runners and beer drinking? Why do runners love beer?

Answer: In addition to the cold refreshment factor, we can imagine that the barley and hops are liquid carbs, somehow beneficial in replenishing our depleted energy stores. But bottom line, alcohol is the world’s most popular painkiller.

The most important thing Empire members want to know is what’s your favorite beer, and why? Please get specific with the details – the aroma, taste, after taste……Do you like specific beers after you run, as opposed to other times, like during dinner?

Lately I’ve been getting into the slight citrus-y thing in the Sculpin Grapefruit IPA, or the other night someone brought a Firestone “Easy Jack IPA” to our Thursday night run. That’s the best part of beer drinking for runners, it’s social. We used to have a Thursday night rule that whatever we tasted had to be from a can, but that sort of fell by the wayside. Not we at least try to pour it into those sneaky red cups. But bottom line I’m a hoppy IPA guy, so my desert island brand would have to be Lagunitas, so much great variety.


You’re currently the Empire Runners President.  What do you find is the most satisfying part of this experience?

I hadn’t really planned to be president, so was a bit surprised that evening in December when the new Board got together and I was selected.

There is a vast storehouse of institutional memory in this club, people who have been making it happen for a long time behind the scenes. I’ve only been around for 12 of the 40 years, so a lot has happened that takes some time to absorb. I think if the club was to be run like a business, which I am NOT advocating, things would be done differently for efficiency, but hey- we’re all volunteers here. There’s a certain quirkiness that has served us well, and we don’t need to take it too seriously if it’s working.

I am surprised at how much  junk email I get weekly from companies selling shirts, medals, timing systems and racing schwag.


 How has your running “experience” changed over the decades, like when you turned, 40, 50, and 60? Has your mental experience of running stayed the same or changed?

I didn’t start running seriously until I was 48, so I have had a lot of catching up to do in terms of training and racing. On the positive side, I don’t have any college age PRs to lament never again achieving.  I just turned 60, so I’m excited about a new time slot for the XC season.

Of all of your “destination” races, what’s been your favorite race and why?

I have to say that the race I most look forward to (heresy for the ER president to say) is the Dipsea. The energy, grueling course and crazy finish make for an unbelievable experience. The fact that very few people win it consecutive years proves that it’s a wide-open race with good handicapped starts.


In the Empire club, we have had a massive increase in the number of kids participating in races and track meets – what’s your take on the club’s changing demographics?

Getting kids involved in running has always been the focus in my volunteer efforts with Empire Runners. As co-director of the Summer Track series, I’m heartened to see the number of kids, especially in the 8-18 range that we’re getting out. We’ve had some press coverage this year that gave us a big boost, and it’s really become a fun summer thing that families can do together. I’ve also been co-chair of the Student Grant fund for several years, and I’m encouraged by the member support for these high school kids going off to college. The teachers’ recommendations and personal statements from these students are truly heart-warming in how they explain the effect that running has on their lives. Most of them may never even settle in Sonoma county as adults or run another ER race, but I believe that running can set them on the right path for a healthy life. The support for the high school running programs in exchange for their helping out at our races has been going on long before my time, but I think it’s a real win-win arrangement.

2015 Loop de Loop, March 29, Empire Runners Club

We know that you’ve experienced some injuries, and have had some time off, but you have come back and continued to run. What advice to you have for older runners about working through injuries and continuing to run? (we are looking for some pearls of wisdom from our fearless leader here)

Core strength. In early 2014 I took a 3-week trip to Cuba and Mexico, during which time I made the serious blunder of sitting on busses and planes and not running or doing any other exercise. When I came back and tried to resume my normal routine, I found that my hips were seriously out of alignment. Several rounds of doctor visits weren’t helping, but at the suggestion of trainer extraordinaire Shelli Main I tried TRX. A patented system developed by the US military for soldiers to stay fit in remote outposts in Afghanistan, it employs a set of adjustable straps that work on body weight resistance for hundreds of exercises. After a year of group classes, instructor Nan Hall calls me her “miracle case” for the improvement I’ve made concentrating on core strength.

I’m back now running with new resolve, incorporating stretching and core training in my weekly routine.


“Representing” the Empire Runners at USATF Masters Nationals, by Doug Murdoch

If you’re an Empire Runners Club member, you may not realize how unique our club actually is.

Last year when I ran in the Pacific Association USATF track finals, I was wondering why there were so many people from other clubs at the event, and in comparison so few from Empire at the track meet. So I went online and checked out all the websites for the other bay area running clubs and found out the answer.

The Empire Runners puts on an astounding 17 races during the year! That’s including our five track meets. And we participate in up to 10 Cross Country meets by traveling  to a number of places including San Francisco, Hayward, Folsom, Martinez, San Rafael,  and Sacramento!!!

The vast majority of the other running clubs encourage their members to participate in races, but either they don’t put on their own running races, or only a couple. The only exception is the Tamalpa Runners, our southern neighbors, whom  I believe also put on approximately 17 events as well!

I’m proud of the club and I don’t take what we do for granted. And I’m proud of the increasing participation were getting in our Summer Track Series, boasting over three hundred participants at our Track Meet #2 which was also our Olympic Day celebration.

One of the greatest joys I receive from the club is simply running with kids, teenagers, college students, thirty somethings, and people of all ages. Experiencing this energy from other club members  is really remarkable.

And of course there is the incredible support that we all receive from other club members, who are amazingly positive and supportive, despite the litany of injuries and the trials and tribulations of life that we all go through.

So when I toed the line at the start of the Senior Men’s 50-54 division of the 1500 meters, it meant something to wear that Empire jersey. I was truly representing an exceptional club with a long-standing tradition now almost forty years old. A club that has amazing competency and experience putting on races for the whole extended running community to enjoy, and participating in the PA USATF Cross Country program.

The short story of the race is that I was in third place most of the race and with three hundred meters to go I surged and moved into second place, and then finished .9 seconds behind the leader for second place, in 4:23.12.

But this blog post is not about my race. It’s about “representing” the club by wearing the racing singlet in a track meet, a road race, or a cross country meet, and being proud of that.  And trying to expand our members perception about what we do as a club.

Speaking for myself, I totally took for granted all the races the club puts on,  and participates in, and in ignorance I thought all running clubs did the same. I’ve been an Empire Runners member now for five years, and it took me four years to realize that the core competency of our club is putting on races.

It’s so easy just to show up at a race and run, and not be aware of the organizational zeal it takes to put one on. But now having had some exposure to the behind the scenes organization of the races, it’s A LOT OF WORK. And the Empire Runners Club has a dedicated core group of people that put these races as well as organize our cross country program  that deserve recognition.

So I encourage our club members to wear the Empire Runners jersey proudly, to not only represent an extraordinary club with a long tradition of dedication to the running community, but also to appreciate what the club has done for you personally.

Here is the race video:

Member Profile: Kate Papadopoulos

Lately Empire Runner Kate Papadopoulos has been kicking ass on the trails,  winning the Annandel Half Marathon,  and most recently running an excellent first Dipsea. In this interview with Kate we try to understand why she gets so psyched about trail running. 

Question: Lately it seems that you have really found your stride in trail races, including winning the Annandel Half Marathon. What is it about trail races that you enjoy most?

The biggest attraction is being in nature! I also prefer small groups over large crowds. It is through Empire Runner races that I began loving and gaining confidence about racing on trails. I was hooked on running the Illsanjo classic after the first time I ran it.

About the Annadel Half this year…everything seemed to come together. Participating in Tuesday track workouts and joining a trail running group led by Kenny Brown really helped. With the trail group, not only did we travel to challenging and beautiful locations, but I also got to train with friends who were about my pace.

July15KateP_Ilsanjo 10M Female

When the majority of people run on trails, they slow down because of the obstacles – rocks, water, uneven terrain, etc. They give your mind an excuse to slow down. The best trail runners gain energy and increase speed when obstacles are encountered, which is a hallmark of great cross-country runners.  What do you mentally experience when you encounter challenges on the trail?

It took me awhile to get used to trail running but now I’m hooked. When jogging on easy days I like to relax, not think about my pace, and enjoy the scenery. During races, however, it is true that you have to stay focused on every step both to keep up the pace and to keep from tripping.

You also mentioned cross-country, which I started last season. The shorter distances are challenging for me and honestly I’m more comfortable in races between 10k and half marathons. But I loved the camaraderie and group energy and look forward to the next season.

USATF PA XC Finals at Golden Gate Park, Nov 16 2014. To see all the photos, go to the Empire Shutterfly page,
USATF PA XC Finals at Golden Gate Park, Nov 16 2014. To see all the photos, go to the Empire Shutterfly page,

What was the most challenging part of the Dipsea race that you ran recently?

The Dipsea’s successive stairs and hills were never-ending. I’ve rarely walked more than a few steps during a race but during the Dipsea I mixed walking with jogging on the multiple flights of stairs and the steepest inclines. It felt wrong to walk during a race! But there was a tipping point where If I took the hills too hard, I would not have had the energy to speed up on the descents. As it turned out, it was often difficult to gain speed going down as well due to sharp turns, steep but legal shortcuts, and shrubs laden with poison oak.

Kate Papadopoulos running to the finish line at the Dipsea race, 2015. Photo by Bev Zanetti
Kate Papadopoulos running to the finish line at the Dipsea race, 2015. Photo by Bev Zanetti

How did you do, and where on the trail do you think you can improve next year?

I felt good about the race. It was an accomplishment just getting in. I also reached my goal of getting in next year’s Invitational. Frank Cuneo, Paul Berg, Brad Zanetti, Stephen Agar and I did a practice run on the course prior to the race day which was helpful. Food and drinks after at Stinson beach helped us recover.

With such a challenging course and numerous headstarts based on gender and age, I finished without any sense of how I did other then I was exhausted. In the open runner section (which is like the second large heat of the race) I ended up 17th overall and the 4th female, which was a huge surprise. I will be back next year and I think more hill work and faster runners around me in the invitational section will hopefully help me improve my time.

In any of your trail races, any wipeouts? Bloody knees? Poison oak? Rattlesnake scares?

No big falls yet, thankfully. When not racing I run pretty conservatively. Poison Oak? Of course. I got my worst case after taking “shortcuts” during the Dipsea training run. After the actual race, scattered bumps came back as a reminder. I’m now armed with strong steroid cream for the next exposure. Rattlesnakes? I’ve seen small ones in Annadel, but never felt threatened. Aggressive mountain bikers are probably a larger risk!

Kate Papadopoulos running to the finish line at the Dipsea race, 2015.


In comparison, what are your thoughts about road races? Equally enjoyable?  What’s your most memorable road race?

I enjoy trails more than the road but I’m looking for a flat half marathon to do to see what my time would be like. I’m signed up for the CloCow half marathon in September but it is full of hills. I have not run too many road races but one that sticks in my mind is the Kaiser Half marathon 2014. It was my 3rd half marathon after Annadel and CloCow. It was cold and pouring rain. I carpooled with Steve Cryer, you may know him—he is one of our shyest Empire Runners :). It was such a gigantic race that I lost him at the start and it took awhile to find him at the finish. In the final race results,however, we had serendipitously finished 2 seconds apart. It was a lesson in chip timing that our places were 430th and 431st but I only saw him at the turn around.


Have you always been good racing on trails, or is this a recent awareness? Did you run cross country at your high school in Lincoln City, Oregon? Way back then, did you think you would still be running now?

A recent awareness for sure. It took a few people pointing it out to me to realize that this was a strength. I ran some track and half a season of cross country in high school. I loved running enough to the point that I would happily run during Oregon Coast rainstorms but I was a bit more competitive in other sports, mainly basketball and volleyball. I was also plagued with knee pain that kept me out of sports part of my Junior and Senior year.

Did you run in college? If so, how did you do?

Unless running late to class counts, I did not run in college. I tried to start running again a few times for the exercise but had recurrent knee pain that for some reason or another, has not come back since I have started running again over the past 3-4 years. I feel so fortunate.

2015 Loop de Loop, March 29, Empire Runners Club
2015 Loop de Loop, March 29, Empire Runners Club

You’re working as an EHS nurse practitioner at Sutter. Are there any connections between work and running? Does running reduce stress, or give you more energy at work?

I take care of Sutter employees with work related injuries and manage other healthcare setting required vaccine and testing needs. The majority of work related injuries in this population are musculoskeletal and I love learning about human anatomy, physiology, and rehabilitation which is one connection to sports and running. The biggest connection between my work and running is geographical. I work on Summerfield Road…just a few strides from Parktrail! After work I can easily get in runs in the park or Tuesday/Thursday workouts. Running definitely helps me manage stress and has become a part of my social life.

What’s your next race?

I’m signed up for the Clo-Cow Half in September and will sign up for some local cross country races.



You have a reputation as a very “durable” runner, getting very few injuries and running consistently. But rumor has it you got injured walking to work. How is that possible? 

>I normally commute to work by bicycle, and have done so for nearly 30 years. But my bicycle frame broke in October 2014. So while waiting for my new bike from the Trek factory, I started taking the bus to work. But this included walking up Fountaingrove Parkway to Keysight. Plus, when I took the bus to work, I nearly always walked home, which is 5 miles. Also, I started standing at work instead of sitting (I definitely recommend this if you have a desk job.) So suddenly I was spending a lot more time on my feet than I had been, and plantar fasciitis showed up in one foot. After the Pacific Association championship race in November, I could barely walk. Even five months later, it isn’t completely gone.  May15Howard4

What is the ratio between riding your bike and running? Do you think biking up Fountain Grove Parkway to Keysight improves your running? 

>I don’t know what the ratio is, but probably pretty close to 1:1 in terms of time. My round trip commute is probably 45-50 minutes, and I usually run less than this each day. I think biking does improve my running. It is a good source of background fitness, and there is 0 pounding stress. I think the biking helps your running more for longer races. For shorter races (a mile or less), the intensity from bicycling may be a little too low to provide as much benefit. Of course there is nothing preventing me from trying to ride up Fountaingrove as fast as I can, to get my heart rate up closer to what it is during a race. I think the bicycling improves my up-hill running. Also, Chris Cole, a very talented runner, whom I really respect, thinks that as you get older bicycle training transfers over better to your running. This is because you run slower as you age, so the lower-intensity bicycle training transfers over better to your lower-intensity running.

I didn’t start out intentionally bicycling to train for running. I just knew that bicycling would be (and is) a great way to commute – I can still fit into the same suit I bought in 1984, I save maybe $3000 a year by not owning a car for commuting, it’s great for the environment, and it relieves stress and is fun.

In 2011 you were part of the Senior Men’s XC team that went to the National Championships in Seattle, Washington. Given the fact that it was such an exceptional team, what was the energy of the team members before the race? Tell us about the trip. 

>We had a great time. Don Stewart, Ty Strange, and I had just turned 50, and we had Jonathan Hayden, 54, and Brad Zanetti, 57, as our top 5. Paul Berg, John Harmon, and Larry Meredith also came and competed well. It was great travelling as a group. We knew we were facing the best runners in the country, and I think we were just thinking, “We have nothing to lose. Let’s go out and give it our best shot.” We finished 7th of 17 teams, if I remember correctly. Not bad for the relatively small population that the Empire Runners draw from. I really enjoyed the race, because there were lots of people in it and watching, all along the course. It was very high energy, and I would definitely do it again. Throughout the race, I had people right in front of me or right behind me, so it was easy to maintain a faster pace than I would in a more typical cross country race. The only bad thing about it was that it was 10k, which is a little long for me.

Sometimes they have the national championship race in some cold location like Spokane. Being a wimpy Californian who grew up in Novato, I’m spoiled. I’m always thinking: why go to Kentucky or Pennsylvania in December when we have such mild weather here in California?

Kenwood 10K July 4th, 2014

 I believe you are a Senior Applications Engineer at Keysight Technologies in Santa Rosa. Do you experience much stress at work and does running help you deal with the challenges of working?

>Yes, I am an applications engineer at Keysight. I have worked at Fountaingrove since 1985, except for a year in Japan. I would not say that my job is very stressful. Occasionally I have deadlines I have to meet, but my boss pretty much lets me decide what to work on and how much time to spend on each task. However, running, bicycling, lifting weights, the elliptical, walking, hiking, all forms of exercise reduce stress and get your mind off things. Plus it makes it easier to sleep at night. Exercise is without a doubt the best medicine.

 You’re known as a “middle distance” man and a cross country runner, which seems entirely different. What is it about the 800 meters that you actually like? What did you run in high school / college, and what have you run as a master? 

>I started out in high school as a 440 runner (50.0 as a junior) and moved to the 880 as a senior (1:55.9). I ran cross country in high school just as training for track season. I was pretty fast in the shorter distances, but there were plenty of people faster, which is why I ended up running the 880/800. I like the 880/800 because I was relatively good at it. I continued running the 800 (1:53.6) at UC Berkeley, but was never good enough to make their travelling team. But certainly the training did and does require a lot of speedwork, which is more stressful than going out and running 5 miles, for example.

In 2011, when the Master’s World Championships were in Sacramento, and I had just turned 50, I entered the 800. I made the semi-finals, but finished 16th in 2:12.22. I needed to run about 2:10 to make the final. I think if I had run more races (I only ran 2 before the meet), I might have done better. I think it is somewhat harder to train as a master athlete than as a college or high school runner, because you are probably working full time, may have a family, and may have very little time to train. Plus you frequently have to run on your own without a coach.

It is well known and accepted that people have different body types meaning they will be better suited to certain distances or types of races than others. However, I’m convinced that you can train for specific races or distances, and that if you know your ability and pace yourself correctly, you can tolerate most races.


How do you compare the “mentality” of a track race versus cross country? How do you adjust your approach? 

>In track races, my goal is almost always to run faster than a particular time. So I want my splits and I want accurate timing results. In cross country races, I’m looking at which competitors are near me, and I’m thinking about how I’ve done against them in previous races. “Tom beat me last race. I’m going to see if I can stay closer to him today and beat him (or at least close the gap.)” My cross country strategy is to be a little conservative in the first half of the race, and then try to be more reckless and aggressive as I get closer to the finish line. I like that they are longer than track races. You have to think a little more and focus longer. I’m an assistant referee for high school soccer. This requires intense concentration, which I think transfers over to my racing. “You can do this. Stay focused. Stay relaxed. You can catch this guy. Let’s push this hill. Just a mile to go. Now just half a mile… OK, someone has caught me, but I’m going to be back, with a vengeance in the final sprint…”

I now find cross country races way more appealing than track races. This is because no matter what you do, past about 35, you are going to keep getting slower. I really enjoy the competition of cross country, the series of races the Pacific Association puts on. Everyone I’m racing against is getting slower from year to year, so I’m sure we’re mostly thinking about competing against each other. Also, I think that longer, slower races (relative to track ones) are easier on your body as you get older.

 Now some important questions. What is your favorite pre cross country race food? What do you consume and how far in advance? What do you recommend? 

>I used to think that racing on an empty stomach was a good thing. Now I’m convinced that eating something 2- 2.5 hours before the race leads to much better results. I try to eat a bowl of oatmeal and half a banana about 2-2.5 hours before a race. It isn’t too much, but I don’t start the race feeling hungry, which would be bad. I think people need to experiment and figure out what works for them. Taking energy gels even closer to the start would probably be good, too.

 And what’s your post race reward? A rueben sandwich? Chocolate ice cream with Oreo crumbles? Be honest. 

>Well, I don’t eat meat anymore, except for fish, and I don’t eat any dairy, either. A Cliff bar or a bowl of granola, or some fruit would be ideal.

I’m curious to hear what other runners do to prepare for races. I think there is a lot of “tribal knowledge” in our club.

XC Finals – A Photographer’s Photo

It was the end of the race, and the last two runners of the men’s open were racing to the finish line. I was standing near the finish line to photograph runners as they came in. What I love about this photo is the story it tells about adult cross country. Even though they were the last two runners in the race, the crowd is enthusiastic, cheering them on, happy, and fully engaged in the race – they showed just as much enthusiasm for those that came in last as they did for those that came in first. And the crowd had a very strong reaction when both runners sprinted to the finish line, cheering them on, simply for the love of running and competition and for not giving up, even if you’re last. Just as this photo was taken, the runner on the left gave up and Empire runner Daniel Karbousky came through the finish line chute and collapsed onto the grass outside of the chute. I helped pick him up and got him walking again. I believe this is the best photograph I’ve ever taken of a cross country race because it shows the supportive community of adult cross country and the spirit of competition. And of course…..the Empire runner came in first!


Running…visually impaired.

(Interviewer’s note: Branden Walton has run some respectable times as a Jr. at Windsor High School……..even though he is visually impaired (and legally blind). His goal is to attend the 2016 Paralympics in Rio, but he needs to qualify at the 2015 US Paralympic National Championships in St. Paul, MN this June. Please go to his fund-raising page here:

Question: Hi Branden, nice starting leg of the 4 x 400 meter race at the Redwood Empire Track finals at Santa Rosa High School! How was your season this year and what are your PR’s?

Answer: I have improved over the season. My PR’s are: 4:48 for the 1600, 2:07 for the 800 and 55.07 for the 400. I hope to set new PR’s next year.

Photos from the 2015 Redwood Empire Track Finals at Santa Rosa High School, May 23.
Photos from the 2015 Redwood Empire Track Finals at Santa Rosa High School, May 23.

When you gave your presentation at Fleet Feet, you had some goggles that people could put on to see what you see since you’re visually impaired. When I put them on, I could understand how you could run track. What I couldn’t understand is how you can run Cross Country! The Spring Lake course is pretty rocky by XC standards – how do you navigate the rocky terrain? What’s your PR?

I agree that the Spring Lake XC Course is very difficult, and even more so being visually impaired. I can’t see rocks so I preview the course multiple times so I know where to be careful and where there are spots where I can pick up my pace. My course PR is 17:20.

Because you’re visually impaired, are your other senses heightened compared to other people? How does that help you when you’re racing?

I don’t feel as if any of my other senses are heightened.

During your Fleet Feet presentation, you mentioned that before the Desert Challenge in Tempe, Arizona, you had to have your eyesight tested to qualify for the race. And then with a deadpan delivery, you told everyone you failed the test and therefore qualified for the race (laughter from the group). Do you often use humor to explain your situation?

I don’t always use humor to explain my situation but I sometimes do because I am very comfortable with my self and my vision. I also think I use humor to make people around me feel more comfortable.

Tell us about the 2015 US Paralympic National Championships in St. Paul, MN this June. What times in your events do you need to run to earn a birth on the US delegation to the 2016 Paralympics in Rio?

The National Championships in St. Paul MN will help me get a birth on the US National team. Making this team will help bring me to some other events, those being the Parapan American games in Toronto and World Championships in Doha. This will help get me noticed but I will still have to run in the Paralympic trials to make the 2016 Paralympic Rio team. To make the U.S. National team I have to run times that are 90 percent or better of the National A standard. The National A standard is 4:00 for the 1500, 1:53 for the 800, and 0:49 for the 400. The times I run in Minnesota will be calculated to a percentage and then they will decide whether or not I make the team.

Nice story on your FundRazr page! But I want to know something else…what is motivating you to try to go to Rio? I mean, you could be sitting at home eating jelly filled donuts and goofing around on the computer…but instead you’re training. Why?

There are a few things that motivate me, one is being able to compete and be as good or better than people with normal vision. This has motivated me throughout my life; it started with soccer and then basketball. When I started running in 6th grade I wanted to be as good as others and this pushed me to continue to get better. That want could only bring me so far. After my 7th grade season of track when I won every race but one I got the chance to go to World Youth Championships in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This was an initiation track meet for visually impaired athletes.  This opened my eyes up to the possibility of track – seeing seventeen countries with 1500 visually impaired athletes was amazing. Coming back to middle school and finishing up the 8th grade track season with only one defeat I got the opportunity to go to London to watch the 2012 Paralympics. I got to spend ten days in London and I watched track events for six of those days. I think going and seeing the respect the people had for the athletes competing was amazing, and that experience pushes me every day to get better and eventually make it to the Paralympics.

And now a very important question…what’s your favorite cuisine, in general? Do you have a favorite pre-race food? What about after race celebrations – anything special?

Nights before races I try to eat carbs and protein; sometimes I don’t get the carbs because I’ll eat a chicken salad. The morning of race day I always eat sourdough bread, lunch is the same lunch I get for school everyday, nothing special for celebration.

Photos from the 2015 Redwood Empire Track Finals at Santa Rosa High School, May 23.
Photos from the 2015 Redwood Empire Track Finals at Santa Rosa High School, May 23.



THE NEW BLOG IS HERE !!!!! By Peterson and Murdoch

With great fanfare the Empire Runners Club announces their new blog!   Take a good look and if you have suggestions or want to participate, please let us know!
There are many advantages to the blog format, both creative and practical. On the creative side, the blog really highlights photography and photos of our members, and allows for posting articles and text into  multiple categories. On a practical side, it allows for online workflow allowing club members to participate in the creation, editing, and publishing of Empire news articles.

That being said, there were mixed emotions in the club about no longer creating a printed newsletter. The number of members who contributed to or served as editor for the Empire Runner Newsletter over the last 35 + years has been nothing short of incredible, and all of those people need to be sincerely appreciated for their contribution and dedication. But the reality is that the number of people that requested a printed newsletter dropped to less than five, and the number of people  actually looking at the PDF version were few.  As we know,  newspapers and magazines have declined dramatically in circulation. The current thinking now by most people is that if they want the most current information or news, they check the internet.

FYI, the blog will still be archived on a monthly basis and will be available for people to download. In addition, on the blog itself it allows you to choose a month, so that you can see everything posted, similar to how you would view the newsletter.

RIP Empire Runners Newsletter  – may those that participated over the decades be sincerely acknowledged, as we move into the future enthusiastic as ever about running, racing and the promotion of a healthy life-style.