It was a beautifully foggy and cold morning when the Empire Runner volunteer staff began filing into Place to Play Park in Santa Rosa off of W. 3rd Street for the set up of the 35th Annual Phaby-Gray Resolution Run. Visibility was so poor you couldn’t see much more than 100 yards ahead but that didn’t impede course marking, start/finish line and ER tent setup much by the energetic staff.
7:30 AM seems devilishly early on the first day of the new year to be out picking up last minute food items, unloading food and prizes, setup and prepping a race course for a 10AM race start, but that is what is necessary for this very special event. Course monitoring, registration, finish chute and food prep was provided by Luis Rosales’ Piner HS XC/Track squad. For this the 35th running of the Phaby-Gray NEW was the word of the day: New race director, new timing crew, new starter. The new race director taking over from longtime RD, Val Sell was Brad Zanetti. Yes, for the first time in forever our beloved starter and finish line setup star Bob Shor was unavailable. Even while Bob was rehabbing at home he called to make sure I was aware of the “specifics” of the finish line setup. Our timing czar, Chris Mason has moved on to greener pastures so timing was taken over by Jerry Lyman with his hardworking group: Larry Meredith, Kate Papadopoulos, Solomon Leung and Steve Agar. Tag retrieval was in the always capable hands of Tori Meredith and Scott Ames.
In an effort to add a bit of a facelift but still maintain the excellent race it has been, I was fortunate to have our local running stores presence at the race this year. As well, Saucony came to town with a choice of 2 shoes to be tested and/or raced in. So our tent encampment at the start/finish area included: Saucony, Heart &
Sole, Healdsburg Running Company, Fleet Feet and Empire Runners. They provided prizes, coffee, hot chocolate, OJ and sparkling apple juice and injury prevention tools to consume or use. So a special thank you to Alex Wolf-Root(H&S), Skip Brand (HRC), Melody Karpinsky (FF) and Gil Moreno(ER)is in order. They brought a wonderful energy to the race.
At 10AM, with the fog lifting just a touch yet still thick as pea soup, an ‘On Your Mark’ preceeded the blare of a marine air horn and the 35th Annual Resolution Run was on the way. As the leaders returned from the first loop around the soccer fields, UC Santa Cruz Dante Capone was setting the pace followed by high schoolers Lucas Chung and Paden Collard. Just off the leaders ran Patrick Lynch, Vojta Ripa and Nick Spector. The first woman was UC Davis and El Molino’s Nicole Lane followed by Patricia Bender and Rebekah Skandera. The group then disappeared west back into the fog and around the holding ponds past the 1 mile mark and then presumably out onto the Santa Rosa Creek Trail heading east past the 2 mile mark to the turn around just past Malibu Circle. While the leaders were flying around the course the fog lifted and the sun shone brightly. First back into the park was Nick Spector(Sonoma HS and Chico State) about 30 yards up on Dante Capone(Analy HS). Another 60 yards back was a Daniel Pride siting(Santa Rosa HS). In 13th place overall was Nicole Lane.
There were a lot of spirited finishes with the Top Three men being: Nick Spector (15:45), Dante Capone (15:49) and Daniel Pride(16:21). The Top Three women finishers were: Nicole Lane (18:19), Eva Stuart of Santa Rosa HS and Cal Berkeley (20:02) and Patricia Bender (20:27). Nearly 250 runners of all ages and abilities finished this years race.
The Top Three Men and Women received beautiful, screen printed Saucony long sleeved and zippered winter shirts provided by Heart and Sole. The top person in each age group and a random/handout received prizes from H&S, HRC and FF as well as bottles of beer from another sponsor, Lagunitas and champagne from Korbel. In total well over 100 items were given out. The plan for next year is a better designed raffle, so make you sure you wait around for your chance at a nice prize.
By noon on the first day of the new year the last remnants of runners, sponsors and clean up volunteers were getting into their cars and heading out of the park to recover, nap or continue their new years celebration. Four and a half hours to put on a race that lasted under 16 minutes for the fastest runners. And that could not be done without a significant amount of volunteer help. I would like to thank all of the volunteers who helped break down the event and those that participated in any fashion. To those that have run many of our races and have yet to help out consider volunteering for a future event(our next one is Feb. 19, Valley Ford Relays (VFR).