Category Archives: NEWS

Miscellaneous Empire Runners news!

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.




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!


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!

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.


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.


Big-Time Club Changes Coming Soon to You by Paul Berg

That’s the lead story of the Empire Runners newsletter for May 2005 (no typo), so I thought I could just recycle the headline exactly 10 years later. The big news of 2005 was the newsletter going online, emailed in PDF format, with a $5 discount for those members who chose to not receive a printed, mailed copy. For the first time, we were able to join the club online, instead of using a paper form and snail mail, although electronic race registration was still a few years off. Other tidbits include: our bank balance was $5500, a proposal for chip timing at Kenwood, and the first Empire run at Lake Sonoma by yours truly and my middle school daughter. (For the full May 2005 newsletter, click the “Back in the day” tab on the left.)

While that issue of the newsletter provides a perspective of how far we’ve come as a successful, vibrant organization, this month marks another momentous leap forward. In an effort to improve communication and participation, we’re entering the 21st century by launching the new Empire Runners blog. A talented gang of four, Doug Murdoch, Dale Petersen, Chris Mason and Dave Abbott, have been working tirelessly since January on the look and feel of the user experience, and the results are impressive. I encourage you to just wander around the site, clicking on what interests you, and I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it quickly. The logical links, bold photos and interesting content is sure to make us look back in 2025 and say “what took so long?”.