All posts by Empire Runners

The Empire Runners Club is a welcoming community of runners that invite people of all ages and backgrounds to join us in camaraderie, training, races, and other club events.

Empire Women All-Stars: Lauren Wallace, by Alex Wolf-Root

(Lead photo courtesy of Zach Hetrick,

In the second edition of Empire Women All-Stars, we touch base with the Redwood Empire’s most recent National Champion, Lauren Wallace. Lauren captured a historic 1,000m indoor title earlier this year, despite beginning her T&F career as a sprinter while at Ukiah High School. We chat with Lauren about the move up in distance, her journey as a professional, and what lies ahead.

Despite being the Redwood Empire’s most recent middle-distance star, you took a different trajectory than many others. Can you tell us a little bit about your introduction to the sport?

I owe my beginnings of the sport to three people –  my mom and dad, Lisa Cortina and Scott Wallace, who both ran high school track and cross country, and my high school coach and mentor Dan Jurado. My mom and dad laid the foundation, and Dan helped develop me as a sprinter. My parents always knew that I would eventually gravitate towards the distances,  both being long distance runners. But I loved the sprints, and Coach Dan encouraged me to develop as much speed as I could in those early stages.

2015 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships Boston, Massachusetts  Feb 28 - Mar 1, 2015 Photo: Andrew McClanahan@PhotoRun 631-291-3409 www.photorun.NET
2015 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships
Boston, Massachusetts Feb 28 – Mar 1, 2015
Photo: Andrew McClanahan@PhotoRun

 Despite having success in the shorter distances, including being the 2008 NBL 100m/200m Champion, things changed when you went to UC Davis. How did that transition happen?

The transition happened at the end of my freshman year in college. My coach at the time, Deanne Vochatzer, pulled me aside and asked if I would be interested in running the 800m. I was a walk-on for the program and probably would have done anything they asked, so long as I stayed on the team. I obliged and my mother was thrilled (laughs).

 In 2013 you made the jump to the national level, competing at NCAA’s and the US Championships. What was it like performing at such a big stage in such a (relatively) new event?

Both of those events were such incredible opportunities for me. The NCAA championship didn’t end exactly how I wanted it to. I placed 8th but ran away with a personal best. The US Championships were on an entirely different level.  I had never raced against women that I had looked up to for so long. To toe the line against those incredible women solidified that I wanted to live this life for some time to come.

2015 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships Boston, Massachusetts  Feb 28 - Mar 1, 2015 Photo: Andrew McClanahan@PhotoRun 631-291-3409 www.photorun.NET
2015 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships
Boston, Massachusetts Feb 28 – Mar 1, 2015
Photo: Andrew McClanahan@PhotoRun

 What would “high school” Lauren say if you were told that one day you’d be a National Champion – in the 1,000m?

I wouldn’t have believed myself. High school Lauren didn’t envision herself running after college. I didn’t know what the NCAA regional meet was until I was a sophomore in college (the year that I qualified). High school Lauren wanted to join the Peace Corps.

 How has this breakout year changed things for you?

Earning the US National Indoor title did change some things for me both on and off the track. Oiselle re-signed me through 2016 and expanded my contract. They made it possible for me to no longer have to work my part time job and instead allocate my time to training and recovering full time.

Despite that 1,000m victory, you’re primarily an 800m runner. The United States is arguably the best country in the world at 800m. How has that depth helped you, and how is it a challenge?

It is an honor to be able to compete with the best in the world right here in the United States. Having this much depth in the 800m always keeps you hungry for more. It’s really easy to refocus during a tough track workout or long run when I think about all the other talented women I get to toe the line with. It definitely is challenging as well though. It’s going to be extremely tough making World and Olympic teams in the coming years when really anyone in the final could run away with a top three spot.

 You’ve dabbled in the 1,500m, including a nice PR just this week. Any thoughts on eventually moving up, or at least adding it as a more serious secondary event?

I don’t know if I’ll ever move up permanently, but I wouldn’t write it off by any means. I am already starting to consider it a more serious event for myself. I’d like to be nationally competitive in both the 800m and the 1500m. It’s always nice to have options.

Well, you’re unquestionably competitive at that 800m, and you’ll prove it yet again at the USATF Outdoor Championships coming up in Eugene on June 25th.  What should your fans expect to see there?

My preliminary goal is to earn a lane in the final.  As we talked about earlier, any woman in the final has the ability to contend for a spot on the team.

Lauren Wallace runs professionally for Oiselle and the NorCal Distance Project, and is the reigning USATF Indoor National 1,000m Champion. Personal bests include a 2:01.13 800m and a 4:13.47 1,500m.

You can follow Lauren on twitter @lmwallace800 and on instagram: lmwallace800

2015 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships Boston, Massachusetts  Feb 28 - Mar 1, 2015 Photo: Andrew McClanahan@PhotoRun 631-291-3409 www.photorun.NET
2015 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships
Boston, Massachusetts Feb 28 – Mar 1, 2015
Photo: Andrew McClanahan@PhotoRun

Can trail running help your road racing? By Mike Wortman

From time to time I’ll meet someone who is looking for a place to run in the area. Of course my first response is “you have to check out Annadel. It’s this great park with miles of trails and great scenery”. I am surprised when some of them look at me and respond that they are training for a road race, so they would never touch a trail because it is not what they are going to race on, and there’s no telling them different. Sometimes I just want to loudly silence their ignorance by proclaiming all of the benefits that they are missing out on by simply running on the roads. I admit that there is something to be said to doing workouts on the road or track if you’re training for a track race or road race, but there are so many reasons to jump on the trails from time to time.


Mental fatigue – Running day-in and day-out on the same roads, however convenient, may start to wear on you psychologically. It is good to get away to a new location from time to time, and you might as well mix it up somewhere with a view. Getting out somewhere new will help refresh the mind and help reduce the chance of mental staleness. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are delicious, but do you really want to eat them for lunch every day? Same thing with running, changing routes up once in a while can keep your favorites fresher and more enjoyable.

OCD – With the invention of GPS, people are becoming so obsessed with the speed and distance of every run. On the trails, you’re up in a rolling terrain, so you can start to psychologically get away from the grind of having to hit a specific pace all the time. On the trails you can relax and enjoy the run. If you normally do 7 miles in an hour on the roads, go for an hour run on the trails at a similar effort. This will help you in your recovery; sometimes we get so wrapped up in the numbers we forget to listen to our body. If you’re not feeling great running free of pace gives you the opportunity to back the pace off and actively recover before the next workout.

Muscle stability and imbalances – Running on the roads is very predictable which is good for workouts because you can approach each one with consistency and gradually watch yourself improve. When you run on the roads every day, your body begins to get very acquainted to firing very specific muscles in a very specific sequence to help with your running efficiency. However, with some muscles firing more than others, it will cause some muscles to become proportionately stronger than others. This disproportioned state of muscle activation and strength is called an imbalance. Usually, it is the stabilizer muscles that are the ones that get neglected the most in this situation. These are the ones that keep the joints strong and stable, when these are neglected and become weaker as does the joints they stabilize. By getting on the trails, where it’s uneven, your body has to react and change with each step. This can help get those stabilizer muscles firing more and help reduce those imbalances and in turn help reduce injuries.

I would also like to mention that I want this blog to be something that you all want to read. So please feel free to leave a comment below with what you thought about the blog as well as future topics that you would like to hear about.


Celebrate Olympic Day 2015 at Summer Series Track Meet #2 ‐ June 23rd

June 23rd is the anniversary date for the founding of the modern Olympic Games by Pierre de Frédy, Baron de Coubertin. To honor what has been the greatest global peace movement by engaging in sport by the World’s youth, the International Olympic Committee and the US Olympic Committee encourage the staging of Olympic Day celebrations on this date. Baron Pierre de Coubertin The Empire Runners Club of Sonoma County has as its central mission to encourage exercise and health through running and to provide support through volunteerism and sizable monetary donations to the running programs for Sonoma County’s youth. Primarily this has benefitted local schools and children, but not exclusively. One such set of events is our annual Summer Track Series – this year at Santa Rosa High School. Our second meet is set for June 23rd. As such, we have applied for and been granted by the USOC permission to designate our event an Official Olympic Day event. These open track meets draw several hundred participants, half of which are 18 or younger. It is our objective for the June 23rd meet to draw attention to the Olympic Movement, its high principles and to the Olympians amongst us as inspiration for all who attend. Our program ‐ 30 minutes long – will start immediately after the 1st event, the Mile Run (approx. 6:30 pm):

  • Presentation of the USA and Olympic colors
  • Honor the USA with the National Anthem
  • Pronouncement as Olympic Day in Santa Rosa by Santa Rosa Mayor, John Sawyer
  • Introduction of Olympic athletes to meet and sign autographs for the younger kids
  • Recitation of the Olympic Oath for athletes encouraging fair play and sportsmanship
  • Have in attendance two Olympic torches and their bearers – both Empire Runners.

Please feel free to contact me for info. We encourage a large turnout. If you plan to run in the track series, please pre‐register online.‐1862604. First event is at 6 pm. Please plan to join us and introduce your children to the Olympic Movement. John Harmon Olympic Day Coordinator Empire Runners Club of Sonoma County mobile 707 547 7412


Empire Runners Club 30th annual Summer Track Series

click to  Register once for the whole season!

Santa Rosa High School Track


Events begin promptly at 6:00 PM

Registration/Check in begins at 5:00 PM

Throwing events–9th grade & older only

Meet 1: Tuesday, June 9, 6:00 PM

Track events: mile, 100m, 800m, 200m, 400m, 3000m, & 4x400m relay

Field Events: long jump, triple jump, shot put, discus

All ages and levels of ability are welcome. Heats are separated by ability level and/or by age groups. All finishers (except kids 9 & under in the 100m and 200m) are timed and results posted on the Empire Runners Club website (

Past Results & Records

May15Murdoch2  May15Murdoch3jpg

click to  Register once for the whole season!

Click the blue link to the right – “Register once for the whole season!” – to sign up for the Summer Track Series. Registration is free for Empire Runners Club members and $10 for non-members. You must register online no later than the Saturday prior to your first meet or you will have to pay the $10 entry fee for that meet. (The un-timed 100m and 200m races for children 9 & under are free. Parents must register children for these events at the meet only.)

Why I love the Kenwood Footrace, By Val Sell

(To go directly to the Kenwood Footrace website and to register, click here)  I have dozens of reasons why I like to get involved with the Empire Runner events but I have always had a special attachment to the Kenwood Footrace. Being a veteran runner of the 10K for many years, I never paid much attention to the 3K. Kenwood 3K July 4th, 2014 After all real runners didn’t wimp out and run the short one, right? In 2008 after becoming race director I started paying more attention to the shorter less famed event. While many great local talents have and continue to dominate the 10K, there is no shortage of fast times for the 3K. Kenwood 3K July 4th, 2014 Spectators line the streets for both events, cheering and showing their support. Flags waving and costumes abound during a big race that has managed to hold on to the small town charm, followed by a hometown parade and pancake breakfast. This is truly a special event that should be on everyone’s bucket list at least once. May15Sell7 But beware, once you get involved its addictive! Come join us this year for another fun, family event. Race, walk, or volunteer, young or less young, we want you all. Kenwood 10K July 4th, 2014 New this year for those of you veterans who remember the days of the pint glasses to the top 100. We are giving out stainless steel pint glasses to the top 100 10K finishers so don’t delay, sign up and start your training!


Empire Women All Stars: Julia Stamps, by Alex Wolf-Root

In this first installment of Empire Women All Stars, we chat with Julia Stamps of Santa Rosa HS, arguably one of the greatest HS XC runners in U.S. history. While there are many applicable titles for her – CA XC Champion, National Champion, Spring Lake course record holder, etc – the most fitting may be simply “Trail Lover”.

Hey Julia, thanks for taking the time to chat! There’s no question that Sonoma County has a great history of fast females, and many wonder why. Any thoughts?

We have Annadel State Park. How can you not get in shape running the trails of Annadel?! Also, we have a phenomenally supportive community. We’re not telling people not to run hard. Lots of others say don’t run hard, don’t over-train – they focus on over-training while forgetting that you need to train! I think the bar is set higher in our community in terms of what is good and what is not. Eventually the females just realized “oh wait; that’s totally attainable. So and so did it. I know her. She did that run. I did that run. I should be able to do it!”

You’ve clearly accomplished a ton during your prep career. In your mind, what are some highlights?

One is probably my freshman year when I qualified for the Junior World Cross Country Championships after I ruptured my appendix. I was facing adversity, going through not being able to run for several months, and then getting myself to qualify for the World Championships. Such an injury becomes a real pivotal point in anyone’s career, whether you’re going to give up or whether you’re going to focus on getting in shape and give it everything. And that was my first World’s experience, which was really quite entertaining Another would be Footlocker National Champs when I won my sophomore year. It was probably the strongest I’ve ever felt in my life. It just felt easy to click off the pace. Obviously it was a big moment. It was just an easy race, and really, really fun.


What would your competitors think if they heard winning a national title was easy?!

They weren’t all easy! I passed out the next 2 years in a row! Of course I gotta brag about the one that was easy. I don’t remember if I even finished or not the next two years. The tough ones make you appreciate the easy ones. My third highlight would be coming in 9th in the Junior World Championships in the 3,000m my junior year. I PR’d in the trials and then again in the finals. That was pretty exciting because at the time the U.S. wasn’t as competitive as it is now, so making finals was a big deal.

Well those are certainly some impressive highlights! To what would you attribute such success?

I love the park. I love Ananadel. It makes it easy to go out there for a 10 mile run; all those trails and beauty makes time go by fast. You have a connection between nature and yourself. I lived in Annadel growing up. If I wasn’t running I was hiking, if not hiking I was playing in streams, and if doing none of those I was bike riding. Weekends I would only come home to shower and sleep; the rest of my time was in the park. The park was my home. It’s easy when it’s fun and the park to me is fun. Also, I had phenomenal support having Danny (Aldridge) and Doug (Courtemache) as my coaches. They have a well-rounded perspective of the overall health of the athlete. Having coaches who see you as an individual and want the best for you as a person is key. That’s truly what we have in Sonoma County.

What advice would you give to all the current young runners who may be reading this?

Just love it. Love the sport. It’s a sport that if you love it then it’ll love you and you’ll have it for a lifetime. All you need is a pair of running shoes and you have the sport for the rest of your life. Love the sport and it will love you.


Julia Stamps at Santa Rosa High School: Spring Lake course record holder, former Woodward Park (state) course record holder (2nd all time as of this writing), Footlocker National champion,  Three-Time State D1 champion, 3rd all time 800m, 1st all time 1,600m, 2nd all time 3,200m,  Three time 3,200m state champion (2nd one), One time 1600m champion.

BEST BY DATE, By Cathy Dubay

I have been a competitive runner for over 30 years. That in itself should signal that perhaps it is time to throw in the towel, retire, learn to cook, start a book club, anything other than race. It’s kind of like a gambling problem.

I run, it hurts and it’s slow(er). I try again: It still hurts and it’s still slow(er). Then one day I get a payoff. I have a great workout. I hit the times I used to hit and I actually feel good! So I continue and then the pattern repeats itself.

These payoffs get fewer and further between. I am almost broke (back to my gambling analogy) and ready to walk away, but then boom — payoff! Maybe not as fast as back when, but it sure feels good and I continue running with aches and pains and slower and slower; waiting and waiting for the next big payday.

I tell you this not for sympathy by any stretch, as none is deserved or needed. I tell you this because despite the clear fact that at 50 years old, I have reached and surpassed my running “Best By Date” and am learning to be OK with this fact. I am fairly new at learning to be OK with slowing down so forgive me if I act like a whiner.

2015 Loop de Loop, March 29, Empire Runners Club

I don’t want to be one of the people who talk about the “good old days” because I am still not convinced those days are 1) behind me, and 2) that they were any better than these days. The hour I spent running 10 years ago may have felt better and I could cover more ground in that hour than I can today. But that was only one hour of my day and I hope that one hour doesn’t define my entire day or represent me as a person. Sometimes I can’t help that it does, and so, as I become more accustomed to slower times, I need to work on making certain I become detached from the outcome of my runs.

That was until I turned 50. And then I was catapulted into caring again about the outcome of my runs and races. I had a whole new set of records and races to conquer. That is the beauty of cross country. I could race with my people — other old broads who can’t break the habit — and have a fighting chance of placing high.

I tell you it’s an addiction! So it was with great delight that last fall the Empire Runners put together a very strong senior women’s team to compete in the cross country season.


My training had new meaning and intensity. I was motivated to place high individually in the season and even more motivated to help our team place high. I became disciplined with my workouts and diet and for 12 weeks last summer and fall, I followed a training program featured in a running publication which was ironically designed by our biggest cross country rival, The Impalas!

The hard work paid off and I had a very successful season as did our team. I went undefeated in the cross country season, won the old gal division at the San Jose Rock n Roll half marathon, which qualified me for this year’s New York City Marathon.

I helped break the 50-plus mixed male and female record at The Valley Ford Relays and my advanced age allowed me a nice head-start on the Loop de Loop, which resulted in an overall win.

This 50 thing ain’t so bad. Sure, the Best by Date has come and gone. But that doesn’t mean you can throw me out just yet!

Hope to see you on the roads, trails and starting lines!

MEMBER PROFILE: Karen Frindell Teuscher

I notice on your staff page on the Santa Rosa Junior College website it says your position is Chemistry Instructor & Department Chair, but your description is “Runner, singer and banjo player for The Orchid Killers.” Based on your statement it seems that your balancing your life. How does running contribute to this balance?

Running keeps me sane.   It gets me outside and allows me to clear my head.  When I am running a lot, it makes me feel more like myself, so I can get through all of the other things I want to do.

Does running free your mind, or do you end up thinking about your classes and chemistry problems during your runs? 

I would say first, running allows me to zone out. Eventually I do come around to problem solving, but only after I’ve been out for a while.  Every once in a while, I write a song while running.


What are your other reflections on running and work?

In teaching chemistry, running makes for some good analogies and examples.  I teach a little bit of biochemistry, and I can offer first hand examples of glycogen depletion and hydrolysis of ATP. Running also helps teach the metric system.  I would say runners (and swimmers) have an easier time converting between yards and meters.

Is the concentration required to solve chemistry problems similar to the concentration to playing the banjo? Similar or different?

At first I wanted to say it’s different, but then I realized the two have something in common.  Chemistry is all about patterns.  The better someone is at pattern recognition, the better they are at solving chemistry problems.  Music is full of patterns, and playing the banjo (or any instrument really)  is all about combining different figures together to make a pattern.  Just like combining chemical substances to make something new.


You’re also a swimmer for the Santa Rosa Masters – how do you manage your time between school, the band, running, and swimming? And also being the Assistant XC coach at Montgomery High? 

Work-life balance is very important to me, and I do enjoy a lot of extra-curricular activities. To answer your question – I just fit things in where I can. Running, swimming, and playing the banjo are my favorite things to do (in addition to teaching), and so I just fill up the spaces in my days with those activities.  Coaching is a great way to run and teach at the same time, and there’s nothing like getting outside on a crisp afternoon in Fall, even if I have to go back to work afterwards.

The majority of Empire Runners do not swim competitively. Do you get the same sense of accomplishment from swimming as you do from running in races? 

I love swimming and being in water. Truthfully, though, I am better at running, so I tend to gravitate toward running a little more.  But I have been swimming with the Santa Rosa Masters and Coach Hermine Terhorst for 12 years, and I wouldn’t want to give it up.  It’s great cross training, and Hermine’s philosophy involves a lot of core strength and alignment, which both make a huge difference in swimming and running.

What is your running philosophy?

I’m not sure if I have ever written down or explicitly thought about my running philosophy.  I would say it’s something like “run with a smile on your face;” although, after looking at pictures of myself running, I realize that smile might sometimes be in my mind. Also, for me, running is a great way to see the world.  Compared to walking and hiking you can see more in a shorter amount of time, and feel like you’re flying while you do it.

Backyard chickens – really?

I love having chickens!  They make great pets, they eat all of your weeds and garden pests, and they turn them into delicious eggs.  Chickens are also very entertaining.  Sometimes we just go outside in the late afternoon and watch them scratch around.

What’s your favorite Bikram Yoga pose?

Triangle, I think.  It’s one of the hard ones, but it is great for stretching out tight hips.


THE LOOP DE LOOP By Lyman and Tagliaferri

March 29, 2015

In 1993, fifteen self-proclaimed idiots doubled the trouble of the Annadel Loop course to complete the first annual Loop de Loop – you’ve got to be kidding trail race. This was originally intended to be a one-and-done mental health stress test, but so much fun was had not having fun that the event has gone on and on, over and over, year after year, ad nauseam. Famous people ran that first Loop de Loop, among them Doc, Mojo, Coach, Mad Dog, Iguanadon, Legendary Darryl, 409, and Dale the Last Man Standing Peterson (21 Loop de Loops and going strong). Rumor has it the first Loop de Loop was timed with a sun dial. For years the event was orchestrated by Doc’n’Mojo Productions. Despite a decline in the quality of management, the race continues to thrive.

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

The Loop de Loop offers handicap head starts based on a complex algorithm factoring age, gender, and contributions to the race directors’ retirement funds. Older people deserve every break they can get, including discounts at IHOP and movie theaters and powerful lobbyists persuading Congress not to waste money investing in the future. We get tired of younger, faster runners showing us up, so we concoct events such as the Loop de Loop to put youth in its place.

2015 Loop de Loop, March 29, Empire Runners Club

Cathy DuBay was smart enough in 1993 to steer clear of the Loop de Loop, but with age comes dementia tinged with desperation. Cathy, now age 50, showed up for this year’s 23rd annual Loop de Loop and absolutely kicked butt, running negative splits, finishing well over 2 minutes ahead of second-place Kate Papdopoulus (36), and leaving Downtown Kenny Brown (45, third, first male), Deanna Rossini (49, fourth), Adam Wolf (37, fifth), and everybody else…in the dust.

2015 Loop de Loop, March 29, Empire Runners Club  May15Lyman

Without handicap starts, the results would have been different, but who cares? Well, some people might, so here are some stats: Fastest actual running time, Adam Wolf, 37, 1:40:35. Fastest female: Kate Papadopoulos, 36, 1:53:13. Youngest male: Julian Heaps, 18. Youngest female: Addie Salomon, 24. Oldest female: Diana Teeter, 61. Oldest male: Hans Schmid, 75. For times, check the 2 x 7-Mile Relay Results, and the 14-miler Results. 

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

The 2 x 7 Relay

Last year, Bradford Bryon’s teammate naively assumed the course would be well-marked, missed a turn, and spoiled what might have been a team victory. This year, Bryon’s new teammate, Don Lindsey, inexplicably stayed on course and helped provide team “Starsky & Hutch” a well-deserved victory. Second place, weighing in collectively at 168 pounds with a combined age of 23, was team “168 Pounds,” starring Sarah and Job Skandera. Third was “StarBobas,” Ashlee and John Staroba.

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

Factoring out handicaps, the fastest team was “Smooth and Relaxed,” featuring Hugo Yescas, 36, and Andy Howard, 54. Sarah Skandera, age 11, was the youngest relay runner overall. Her brother, Nehemiah, running on team “Big Bear, Little Bear” with yet another brother, Abraham, was the youngest male runner. Nehemiah is 12. The oldest team, comprised of the oldest male and oldest female relay runners, was team “Notorious Grey Wolf” (Tori Meredith and Kevin Teuscher, 120 years).

The weather this year was miserably dry and sunny. Peter Tapia, the EMT, was delighted to have something to do, administering to at least 3 banged up bodies.

Co-directors Al Tagliaferri and Jerry Lyman threaten major changes next year.

Many thanks to our numerous club volunteers, the JC XC team, and Camelbak and Heart & Sole Sports for assorted swag.

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

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

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