Category Archives: NEWS

Miscellaneous Empire Runners news!

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

(Lead photo courtesy of Zach Hetrick, http://www.zachhetrick.com)

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 Victah1111@aol.com 631-291-3409 www.photorun.NET
2015 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships
Boston, Massachusetts Feb 28 – Mar 1, 2015
Photo: Andrew McClanahan@PhotoRun
Victah1111@aol.com
631-291-3409
http://www.photorun.NET

 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 Victah1111@aol.com 631-291-3409 www.photorun.NET
2015 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships
Boston, Massachusetts Feb 28 – Mar 1, 2015
Photo: Andrew McClanahan@PhotoRun
Victah1111@aol.com
631-291-3409
http://www.photorun.NET

 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 Victah1111@aol.com 631-291-3409 www.photorun.NET
2015 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships
Boston, Massachusetts Feb 28 – Mar 1, 2015
Photo: Andrew McClanahan@PhotoRun
Victah1111@aol.com
631-291-3409
http://www.photorun.NET

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. http://www.empirerunners.org/event‐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 xcteams@empirerunners.org mobile 707 547 7412

The 2015 Jackrabbit Derby X-Country in May!

By Race Director Dale Peterson

106 people (23 kids in the Bunny Hop) showed up at Spring Lake Park in Santa Rosa on may 3rd to participate in the 23rd running of the Jackrabbit Derby.

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The skies were gray and temps were slightly cool on what would prove to be another great day for racing on the fabled high school cross-country course.

John Staroba (36) won for the men in a time of 17:38 holding off Brad O’Brien (53) 17:48 and Job Skandera (13) 17:59.

June15PetersonJR4

Candy Owens (33) was the first female in 19:54 followed closely by Sarah Skandera (10) 20:03 and Carrie Peterson-Kirby (41) in 20:08.

Top Masters for the men were Brad O’Brien (53) 17:48, Guy Schott (52) 18:21 and Bill Cusworth (47) 18:28.

Top Masters women were Carrie Peterson-Kirby (41) 20:08, Sandra Frost (43) 21:48 and Kerry Hanlon (43) 22:07.

June15PetersonJR5

Sarah Skandera (10) improved her 1st All Time place for girls 12 and under to 20:03 and her sister Rebekah Skandera (9) moved up to 2nd All Time for girls 12 and under with her time of 20:56.

Brendan Hutchinson (72) improved his 2nd All Time place for men 70-79 with his time of 24:20.

Kathleen McPherson (75) became only the second woman over 70 to ever complete the Jackrabbit Derby.

June15PetersonJR3

There was a record turnout for the “1K” Bunny Hop – the kids showing their usual boundless energy and good cheer.

It was another great day at Spring Lake thanks to all of the volunteers. A special thanks to Carl Triola and the Casa Grande HS cross-country team and parents for all their help!

 

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: https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/0y631)

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.

 

 

EMPIRE TRACK MEETS START JUNE 9TH !!

Empire Runners Club 30th annual Summer Track Series

click to  Register once for the whole season!

Santa Rosa High School Track

NEW START TIME!

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 (www.empirerunners.org).

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!

May15Kenwood

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.

May15Dubay

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!

Portuguese Sweet Bread, by Daniel Karbousky

It was 8:00 a.m. on Easter Sunday morning near the corner of Parktrail Drive and Summerfield Road. Only when familiar faces abandoned their car heaters to join the growing huddle of runners and greet each other was I reminded of why I pulled myself out of bed on a weekend morning. Not long after we were off running, onto the fire road, over the bridge by the owls’ trees, up Canyon and then off into the Annadel Hills near Lake Ilsanjo. Tony Passantino, Brad Zanetti, Frank Cuneo and I found ourselves running with each other for much of the time and let our conversation gravitate towards the exciting adventures we’ve had – or plan on having in far off places like Spain or the remote wilderness of the Sierra Nevada – specifically the Camino de Santiago and the John Muir Trail. Maybe it was the sense of possibility that comes along with sharing hopes and dreams with others or maybe because it was Easter, but that morning reinvigorated my zest for life. I think my running mates would have agreed. After eight miles we found ourselves back at our cars well-excercised but with smiles on our faces. Before parting ways, however, Frank produced a loaf of Portuguese Sweet Bread from his car for us to share, a childhood treat of mine. It was the perfect way to sweeten an already wonderful morning and remind us of the joys of breaking bread with companions.

May15Karbousky2

2014 USATF-PA LDR AWARDS – By John Harmon

Three of our own drew recognition from the Pacific Association of the USATF at its annual Long Distance Running (LDR) banquet – the LDR committee governs the cross country rules, races and awards

Cathy Dubay was named the Outstanding Female Runner of the Year for the 2014 Cross-country Season. In all six races in which she ran, Cathy came first in the Senior Women’s Division – a perfect score which garnered the most individual points possible. As if her racing talents aren’t enough, her enthusiasm and support helped build a roster of 16 Senior Women.

Dale Peterson is a bedrock member of the Empire Runners. He had been an active XC team member until injuries got in the way. He has retaken the trails doing more marathons and long distance races. Along the way, he became a certified USATF official. As such, he has helped at many Pacific Association XC and Road Races joining Bob Shor (whom I’ll get to in a moment). “Dale doesn’t realize it, but he’s good at being an official. Very good.” – Bob’s words. Accordingly, the LDR voted Dale the Volunteer of the Year for the 2014 XC Season.

As for Bob Shor, he is a fixture at any running event. He thoroughly loves officiating. His dedication is unparalleled. And anyone who has experienced Bob’s mastery in person knows “We run on time.” Bob works tirelessly for any event he participates in. For this service, the LDR voted Bob a Lifetime Achievement Award. It doesn’t mean he’s going anywhere soon. He still loves what he does. Except now everyone knows what we have always known – we have a legend in our midst.

Congratulations, Cathy, Dale and Bob!

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.

UNDER CONSTRUCTION