Ancil Hoffman XC Challenge – 10/27/12
The women and open men traveled up to Carmichael for the Ancil Hoffman XC Challenge Saturday. This makes eight races for the women with two to go, nine for the men–these have got to be club records. Great job everyone! Details . . .
Byline Chikara Omine
Although almost every member of the open menâ€™s team seemed to have an off day at the Ancil Hoffman XC challenge, they still successfully fielded a team for the 9th time this XC season and some members even managed to set PRs at this rare race distance of 6K (at least rare for men).
After a combination of staying up late to finish up homework and getting a morning wakeup call from a frantic teammate who considers tardiness unacceptable except when it comes to himself and Muni, Will Chen may not have been the most rested among his teammates. But he was the fastest as he led the way in 19:18 (19th place). Following Will in 19:29 (23rd place) was Chikara Omine, who felt a bit off due to allergy issues during the week.
Not feeling too fresh after his PR effort at Humboldt, Jason Lee ran to see what he has left and came in next for the team in 20:05 (28th place). Not far behind was Patrick Marjolet in 20:20 (32nd place). Patrick may have been the only one on the open menâ€™s team who was satisfied with his performance at this race thanks to successful negotiations for a later race departure time in order to maximize the amount of sleep he gets (smart call).
Battling stomach issues, Andy Crawford did not feel his best for the race and finished in what he considered a disappointing 20:39 (37thplace). To Andyâ€™s surprise, he later found out that he actually ran a few 6Ks in the past and that the time he ran at this race turned out to be his PR.
Earlier in this year Evan Sparling mentioned that he will run XC races as long as he is around even if he is out of shape from his summer/fall business trips that don’t allow for much time to train. Evan made good on his word as he made the trip to Carmichael with the team and finished in 21:05 (41st place).
Unfazed by the thought of racing again after running the longest race of his life just one week prior, Dan Nishiyama returned to XC action and closed out the team in 25:37 (46th place).
Overall it seemed like a rough day for most of the open menâ€™s team. But those who raced still probably had a much better day than Jason Reed who missed the race due to car issues on his drive up.
Byline Donna Chan
It was a cool morning when we arrive but quickly warmed up. Only 5 women are able to make the trek to Carmichael in the darkness of morning as I start my drive at 6 am. With the damp grass start and finish to this 6K run and a few hills in between proved to be a challenging course even without the hay bales. Thank goodness they decided not to put them in. First to cross the finish line is Melissa Haahr with a 44th overall place and 16th AG place for 24:09. Suffering from major fatigue from the Humboldt 1/2 the week before sisters Maile and Tehani Thompson with a 59th and 60th overall place and 20th and 21th AG in the time of 25:44 and 25:45 respectively. Great effort considering the week before was their first 1/2 marathon race ever. Next across the line is Donna Chan not much liking the damp grass at the beginning and end with a 74th overall place and 3rd place AG with a time of 27:22. Lee D’Alessandro rounds out the team, still coming back from very little training, but being a good sport to run so we have a scoring team in 75th overall and 12th place AG with a time of 28:07.
3×3@Humboldt half-marathon – 10/21/12
Three teams made the annual trek up to Humboldt for the half, and we came away with three third place finishes. Details . . .
Byline Jason Lee mostly
During the weekend of October 20-21, the Excelsior Open Men traveled up to the beautiful North Coast to race 13.1 miles along the Avenue of the Giants in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Following a Saturday night pasta feed at the Weott Volunteer Fire Department, the team awoke early Sunday morning (Chikara’s Note: emphasis on EARLY) to the refreshing crisp autumn air of Humboldt County. Temperatures had reached the low-40s by start time which, combined with the redwood canopy and the optical illusion of a course that seemed downhill in both directions, proved to be ideal running conditions for speed.
The Open Men achieved some incredible times with some performances ranking among the top of their running careers. After a slow 5:40 first mile, Chikara Omine quickly broke away from the second pack along with West Valley’s Jason Karbelk and River City Rebel’s Chris Knorzer. The three duked it out for the next twelve miles, throwing in a couple of miles around 5:20. Although Chikara feared petering near the end, he ran strong on the last couple of miles to finish in 1:11:21 (9th place). With this incredible time, Chikara smashed his previous half marathon best by over 2:15 and achieved his main goal of beating Tyler Abbott’s PR. [Ed.: Doh! Oh. What’s your Dipsea PR? Do I still have that one?]
After being encouraged by Chikara to run Humboldt for eight months, Jason Lee overcame several weeks of inconsistent training and two late nights at work just days before the race with a performance that surprised Chikara (and himself). Attempting to stick with the third pack of runners, Jason mostly ran alone after mile 5 but still averaged 5:40 miles or below for much of the race. Slowing only slightly after the turnaround, he ran one of the best races in his running career in 1:14:07 (16th place) – lopping 43 seconds off last year’s time and 19 seconds off his personal best (Chikara’s Note: I still say this time seems suspicious considering his reported training).
Having run some quick shorter distance races this year, Jonathan Kimura demonstrated his speed at a much longer distance with a personal best of 1:14:25 (17th place). After starting off relatively slowly, he passed runner after runner with a devastating negative split after the 6.5-mile turnaround. Aiming to break 1:17, Maninder Sohal began conservatively on the first half along with Jon. With 5K to go, he turned on the boosters to cover the remaining distance in approximately 16:45. Passing 10 runners with this sprint, he finished more than a minute ahead of schedule in 1:15:59 (21st place) and almost three minutes better than at the San Francisco Giant Race a month ago. Maninder also gapped West Valley superstar Todd Rose by 40 seconds.
With a 5-month streak averaging 15 miles per week, Jason Reed was very pleased with his 6:20 pace. His best performance in three years, Jason finished with a 1:22:58 (51st place). Finally, Dan Nishiyama, who joined the team earlier this year, ran his longest race ever. He broke the 8-minute per mile barrier with a respectable time of 1:42:26 (159th
Chikara Omine, Jason Lee, Jon Kimura and Maninder Sohal also received medals for placing 3rd, 4th, 4th and 2nd in their respective age categories. With everyone’s great running, the Open Men finished third among stiff competition from other PA teams.
Byline Diann Leo
Denise Barchas, Erika Kikuchi, Tehani Thompson, Maile Thompson, and Diann Leo represented the highlighter yellow ladies at the beautiful Humboldt Redwoods Half Marathon. The night prior to the event, most members of the women’s team gathered to fuel up with the men’s team at the all-you-can-eat pasta feed (plus optional dessert). On race morning, the temperature was brisk Ã± slightly cold in the shade, but warm in the sun.
The course being an out-and-back, a memorable part of the run was cheering on fellow team members on their return trips. Just prior to the turn around, Erika and Diann were leading the team and pacing together. Maile, Tehani, and Denise were not far behind. Between the two different groups, there was an echo of “Go ________! Go Excelsior!” every time an Excelsior runner passed on the other side of the road.
Runners were greeted by the sound of bagpipes as they crossed the Dyerville Bridge to a sunny finish. Returning from a backpacking trip and recovering from illness, Maile finished first in 1:39:28 (126th overall, 5th age group). Following not far behind, sister Tehani finished second in 1:39:48 (129th overall, 6th age group). Preparing to run CIM in December, Denise got some great training in with a time of 1:39:56 (132nd overall, 6th age group). With minimal long run training, Erika finished in 1:40:07 (134th overall, 9th age group). In training for CIM like Denise, but also rehabbing from some unexpected cross country injuries, Diann rounded the team out in 1:42:12 (151st overall, 10th age group). From gun times alone, there was roughly only an impressive three minute gap between the first and final Excelsior women finishers.
Additionally, Excelsior womenÃs team member Denise Leo finished third in her age group for the non-PA 5K race.
Cliff Lentz led the masters in a strong 1:15:57, good enough for 3rd master and 20th overall. Da Dans, Rhodes and Shore, came in next in 1:20:19 and 1:20:57, respectively, good enough for 5th and 6th ag. We failed to provide any more forty-somethings, but thankfully Kenny the Savior and Big Al Stanbridge filled in for the team in 1:52:29 (8th 60-64) and 1:59:15 (4th 65-69). Great job all, and special thanks to Kenny & Alan.
Shoreline XC open – 10/14/12
At Sunday’s Shoreline Open, we put forth the regular three full teams, along with a bonus women’s masters team. Details . . .
Byline Evan Sparling
With contributions by Patrick Marjolet
After several road trips to Redding and Sacramento for XC races, and with the prospect of a long drive to next week’s Humboldt Half Marathon, the men’s open team was looking forward to catching up on sleep before the short drive south to Mountain View for this year’s Shoreline Invitational. Unfortunately this was not to be, as team drama mama Jason Randall Lee refused to go unless the team departed at 7:30 AM, giving him a solid two hours to complete his standard half-mile warm up and five pre-race bathroom trips. However, after the entire team woke up before 7 AM to prepare for departure, Mr. Lee decided that he didn’t really feel like running that morning anyway. With a solid two hours to kill until the team really needed to head south, Patrick contacted Evan Sparling, who had just returned to SF the night before from Kzrgzgstan. Facing the prospect of a long morning catching up on email, Evan immediately agreed to go.
The team was chagrined to discover perfect Jason (Randall) Lee running weather in Mountain View, with cool temperatures, cloudy skies, and top competition providing perfect conditions for PRs on this fast course. Team stud William Chen continued to show that the Berkeley coach will be crazy not to take him on as a walk-on this year, powering to the finish line with an amazing kick to finish in an unbelievable 20:32 (17th place). Not far behind was Chikara Omine, hitting a four mile race PR of 20:55 (20th place). Chikara is now one of only five (or six?) runners to complete every PA XC race this year (on top of being one of the few to run every PA Road race this year).
Next for the team was Andy Crawford in 27th place. Andy started out conservatively and dropped the hammer sometime after mile two, gapping several runners and hitting a solid 22:05. Following Andy was Patrick Marjolet in 22:15 for 29th place. Struggling with a nagging cold, not to mention the psychological and physical trauma from the Presidio race two weeks ago, Patrick faded a bit in the 3rd mile (probably also due to the lack of sleep, courtesy of Jason Randall Lee), but still unleashed a devastating kick over the last 200 to burn Strawberry Canyon Grand Prix winner from last year, Greg Timblin.
Once again fresh off an airplane and with no running at all since the Redding race in September, Evan Sparling rounded out the scoring five in Xth place. Evan, who has been pushing these last few months to earn the team’s Greatest In-Season Weight Gain award, surprised even himself with his finishing time of 22:30 (31st place). Jason Reed took sixth for the team and 37th overall, with a time of 24:58. Unconfirmed rumors claim that Jason, Evan, and several West Valley and Strawberry Canyon runners may have been joking with each other about the “fast guys” up front well into the race.
Next week the team plans to compete at the Humboldt Half Marathon. If Jason (Randall) Lee chooses not to compete at Humboldt, he will find a green singlet waiting for him on his doorstep …
Byline Donna Chan
To my surprise I woke up to wet fog Sunday morning which was unexpected since Saturday was so warm and sunny. But it is nice to run XC in Mountain View in cool overcast weather. We have 9 women to toe the line for this race and scored 2 teams one in the open division and one in the masters division. First to cross the line for the open team is Michelle Noeth in 19th place overall and 9th AG with a time of 18:49. Next up is Heather Leutwyler in 29th place overall and 11th place AG with a time of 19:32followed closely by Melissa Haahr in 31st place overall and 10th place AG with a time of 19:37. Tina Le was able to join us for her first XC this year in 45th place overall and 15th place AG with a time of 20:34. Liz Louie finding her stride in 47th place overall and 13th place AG with a time of 20:55. Jessica Stone rounds out the open team in 67th place overall and 19th AG with a time of 23:03.
Kim Fanady surprised herself with limited training is the first to score for our masters team in 51th place overall and 5th place AG with a great time of 21:15 followed by Donna Chan in 59th place overall and 2nd place AG with a time of 21:46 plus winning a pair of socks for her efforts. Alice Shikina rounds out the team in 70th place overall and 19th place AG with a time of 23:31.
There are 3 more XC races one in Carmichael on October 27th Saturday, Marin Headlands on November 4th and PA XC Championships in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco November 18th Sunday. Please let me know if you can run any of the above. Since PA Champs. is the last of the series it would be great to get a team photo of all of us. Even if you are not able to run this race come out to cheer us on and be part of the team photo.
Next Sunday is Humboldt 1/2 marathon and so far there are 4 women who are running Denise Barchas, Maile Thompson, Tehani Thompson and Erika Kikuchi. I am not going to this race so please email Erika Kikuchi to let her know if you are able to join in the fun.
In a replay of some race from 1999, Dan Shore edged out Chris Phipps, 23:03 to 23:09 (14th/15th places). Andy Apfelbaum followed closely in 23:27 (21st), with Matt Patout (24:22, 29th), Ian Hersey (24:56, 39th), and Brian Schultz (26:25, 50th) rounding out the team. [A big thanks to Ian and Brian for running so I didn’t have to. -Ed.]
Marathon Update – From Hansi
From ageless marathon phenom Hansi Rigney . . .
Just got home after running both Berlin and Chicago.
The Berlin marathon is probably my favorite as I know the city well
having lived there for 19 years and it is very lively with spectators
and music. The historical landmarks are impressive as is the
post-unification architecture. From the start, towards the “Victory
Angel”, newly given a coat of resplendent gold, to the finish through
the Branderburg Gate it is a memorable experience. For me it is even
more memorable as on the night of Sept. 9th, 1989, my husband and I
stood on top of the WALL, in front of the Brandenburg Gate
celebrating the “fall of the wall” and eventual unification of the
EAST and WEST Germany on Oct 3rd, 1990.
The marathon was very well run as usual, weather cool and sunny, from
mid 40s to up to 60 degrees. One nice addition to the usual water and
gatorade at watering areas was availability of warm sweet tea! For me
the run was slower than I would have liked. 4:33 got me a 5th place in
the 70+ div.
A team member, Carol Shea, did much better and finished with a 4:04.
Unfortunately we did not connect as we had hoped. I was very busy with
friends and family and as a consequence we missed meeting.
Chicago was another “friends & family” marathon as my husband is from
Chicago. The weather was equally favorable for running, from low 40s
to low 50s….a bit chilly at the start but fine once you start
running. Well run marathon, flat, with lots of spectators cheering and
encouraging runners. This one went a little better for me, 4:25 for
1st in 70+ Am now recovering from these back to back runs and from a
cold and hope to run faster once my hamstring heals completely.
Presidio XC Challenge – 09/29/12: Double Silver!
Yet another great turnout Saturday, at our own Presidio XC Challenge. The open men and women EACH took second place in their respective divisions, and the masters men, after a devastating Wednesday where we lost four of our expected top five, still pulled out third. And the masters women scored for the second week in a row, finishing fifth. The open men and women are now both sitting in second place on the season. Details . . .
Byline Chikara Omine
Presidio: our home meet! Although injuries and work schedule conflicts took out about half of the open men we initially planned to have for the race, the team still managed to put up another solid performance.
After a week of inconsistent training due to a combination of foot pains and last minute race organization effort, Chikara Omine was more than pleased to survive his own rough course and lead the team in 17:53 (11th place). Will Chen, who also had to take some time off training due to foot pains, planned to show up and spectate that was until his competitive drive eventually took over and he made the decision to race. Despite his set back from the foot issues, Will finished right on Chikara’s heels in 17:56(12th place).
Showing that taking the prior weekend off from racing helps, Andy Crawford ran a strong race to finish next for the team in 18:29 (16th place). Not far behind Andy was Maninder Sohal who cruised in at 18:37 (18th place) and then mentioned something unexpected to the RD. He said that the course was not so bad and that Garin was worse. Hearing this, along with Phipps request for more hills and more sand, the RD was a bit shocked that Presidio might be losing its reputation as the toughest course of the PA XC series. This prompted the RD to consider unveiling an alternate course he had in mind which incorporates what Phipps wanted. Just remember to thank Maninder and Phipps if the course is adjusted next year. 🙂
Back to the race.After giving a last minute scare, Jack Badavas made it to the race on time to make a successful XC debut for the team in 18:52 (20th place). Placing right behind Jack was Sloane Cook, who decided to work on his weakness against hills, and came in 19:03 (21st place).
Feeling a bit under the weather, Patrick Marjolet hung further back than usual and decided to offer words of um, encouragement to his teammate before kicking it in to finish in 19:54 (26th place). Jason Reed never heard Patrick’s encouraging words (and hopefully the kids on the field didn’t either) as he was too focused on finishing the race and rounding out the team in 20:03 (27th place).
With everyone’s efforts, the open men’s team was able to place 2nd! Great job everyone!
Byline Donna Chan
Our biggest turn out in a very long time. There are 13 women running the Presidio XC for our very own Excelsior race. Heather Leutwyler wass first across the end line for 22nd overall and 10th AG with a time of 22:41 followed close behind by Melissa Haahr 27th overall and 7th AG with a time of 22:51. Liz Louie is next for 35th overall and 8th AG with a time of 23:41 followed by Denise Barchas 38th overall with 15th AG with a time of 24:02 with a close finish by Erika Kikuchi for 39th overall and 16th AG with a time of 24:08. Next across the finish line is Tehani Thompson for 43rd overall and 9th AG with a time of 24:35 followed by Diann Leo for 51st overall and 11th AG with a time of 25:21. Not looking forward to running this particular race with all the sand and hills is Donna Chan for 61st overall and 3rd AG with a time of 26:17 followed close behind by new member Jennifer Norman 62nd overall and 21st AG with a time of 26:17. Alice Shikina coming off an injury 65st overall and 18th AG with a time of 26:51 and hot on her heels is Vicky Cotter 66th overall for 19th AG with a time of 26:53. Also another new member Jessica Stone 68th overall and 22nd AG with a time of 27:06 and Michelle Smith with 74th overall and 12th AG for a time of 28:07. Thank you everyone who ran and volunteered at the race. Jessica and Jennifer thanks for being such a trooper to run this very challenging course.
Our next race is Saturday in Folsom outside of Sacramento. We have 5 women signed up to run but more the merrier. Hope you can join me. I plan to drive to Folsom the morning of the race and drive back to the Excelsior get together at Heather’s and Matt’s. Let me know if you need a ride from San Francisco. The open men are also fielding a team.
Chris Phipps–yes, THE Chris Phipps–led the old’uns Saturday in a fine 19:36 (15th), which may be a Presidio PR. Andy Apfelbaum finished just behind Phipps in 19:41 (17th), with Dan Rhodes (19:56, 20th) also breaking 20. Pete Vicencio finished just a few seconds back in 20:04 (23rd), also a possible Presidio PR, and Randy Conner closed out the scoring team in 20:31 (29th). Matt Patout (20:51) and Jake Niebaum (20:54) displaced in 32nd and 33rd places, with Peter Hsia (21:21, 38th/6th senior/2nd CAIS) and Brian Schultz (22:54, 51st) rounding out the team.
Golden Gate Park Open – 09/23/12
We had another great turnout at Sunday’s GGP XC Open. The open men made a strategic call to take a bye, but the women fielded not just the one (open) team they’ve been turning out, but THREE teams, including the first senior women’s team we’ve had in what must be years. The masters men also had a strong showing. Details . . .
To come …
Byline Donna Chan
What a wonderful turnout for the most number of women running for Excelsior in a long time. A big welcome to 3 new members Vicky Cotter, Alice Lewis and Michelle Smith for their very first XC race plus returning member Kim Fanady who has not been racing for the last 2 years. We were able to field not one, not two but THREE teams!! A total of 12 women debuted our new neon yellow shirts and we were able to score all who ran. Below are the times and places that each person did. Too many to put in a paragraph to read. So below are the overall places, age group placing AG and times for this 4 mile course.
Open overall place Age-graded place result time
1. Michelle Noeth 57th 17th for 30-39 age 30 27:46
2. Heather Leutwyler 61st 19th for 30-39 age 34 28:06
3. Denise Barchas 78th 23rd for 30-39 age 35 29:32
4. Liz Louie 82nd 30th for 20-29 age 26 29:47
5. Erika Kikuchi 88th 26th for 30-39 age 34 30:27
6. Diann Leo 90th 32nd for 20-29 age 25 30:32
Masters overall place Age-graded place
1. Lee D’Alessandro 117th 30th for 40-49 age 43 32:22
2. Vicky Cotter 122nd 31th for 40-49 age 47 33:33
3. Alice Lewis 126th 33rd for 40-49 age 49 35:16
Seniors overall place Age-graded place
1. Kim Fanady 99th 5th for 50-59 age 51 30:48
2. Donna Chan 105th 3rd for 60-69 age 61 31:39
3. Michelle Smith 121st 13th for 50-59 age 53 33:31
Thank you to all who made this a fun filled day. Your participation is very much appreciated. Next Saturday September 29th is our very own club Presidio XC run. Open men at 8:30, master men 9:15 and all women at 10:00.
If you are able to volunteer to help out please email Chikara Omine our race director email@example.com I plan to be at the registration table at 7:00 join me if you can. Remember to email all your entry information to Chikara no fee needed.
Byline Yurik Riegel
Last Sunday at Golden Gate park marked the deepest field in
recent memory. The Masters league now has 7-8 teams that might have
finished top 3 in previous years, and almost all of them brought their
top team to the park. Our hardy band of Masters toed the line with
hopes of a top 3 finish, but lacking our top runner, fending off
fatigue and injuries–it was not to happen. However there were many
In first for the team was the Mighty Mayor, Cliff Lentz in 23:44.
Right behind him and fending off a back injury was Brian Richter in
23:52. Dan Rhodes beat his last year’s time by 25 sec with a 24:24. Then
came a 1-2-3 punch with Dan Shore, Chris Phipps, and Andy Apfelbaum
in 24:41, 24:41 and 24:42 consecutively. Chris actually looked like he was out
to finish top – ten in the beginning of the race, but then the reality
of his current shape set in. Next up was new team member Jake Niebaum who
ran a 25:34 and Matt Patout in 26:02 in a rare non-stroller
performance. Anchoring the team was Brian Schultz in 28:24 (good to
see you racing again). To put things into perspective, this team would
have taken 3rd at GGP last year.
NorCal XC Challenge – 09/15/12
A full open men’s team traveled all the way to Redding for a strong second
place finish–by one point nonetheless!–while three women also made the
trip. The masters took a bye. Details . . .
Byline Jason Lee
On Saturday, September 15, the Open Men ran the 8K NorCal XC Challenge in
Redding, the first time this race has been offered on the PA cross country
circuit.Taking place at Simpson University, the race also included the
Simpson and Butte college teams as well as two other PA teams, Chico Track
Club and SRA Elite.The course began on a well-watered soccer field,
wound through the campus of the Christian college, and transitioned onto a
dusty trail.The Open Men had to repeat a meandering loop with some short
but steep hills before returning to the start.
Purportedly the city with the hottest average annual temperature on the
planet at its latitude and the second sunniest city in the United States,
Redding lived up to expectations during the race. At the 9:45 am start
time, the temperature in the shade had already reached 75 degrees before
rising to 80 degrees by the end of the race. While there were some trees
along the loop, the sun baked much of the course, sapping runners’ energy
and causing them to slow substantially from their usual paces.
(Adding to the challenges, four team members were a bit short on
sleep. Unfortunately, the Motel 6 receptionist had roused them with a
post-midnight phone call demanding payment for a non-existent fifth person
in the room.)
Chikara Omine started off aggressively with a 5:15 pace as he chased a
group of Chico runners. Although he slowed down considerably on the second
half as the heat and hills caught up with him (just like it did with
almost everyone else in the field), he still finished with a great 28:34
(7th place). Concerned about the rapidly rising temperatures, Jason Lee
successfully avoided a DNS and was grateful to Evan Sparling for dousing
him with water at the starting line! Running 11:00 for the first two
miles, he settled into a more sustainable pace as the sun bore down but
still managed to pass several runners on the final 2/3 mile for a 29:22
Continuing to be a valuable team scorer after moving from western New York
earlier this year, Andy Crawford cruised in with a 30:10 (16th place)
after finding himself in no-mans land. Following a convention in Los
Angeles on Friday, Evan Sparling traveled nearly the length of the state
to support the team (this time, however, it was not quite as epic as
flying in from Asia). Evan finished in 30:27 (20th place) as he
continues to get into shape between his sojourns to Russia and Kyrgyzstan.
Jason Reed finished in 34:24 (34th place) following a night of little
sleep and his usual last-minute race arrival. Finally, in his second race
with the Open Men, Dan Nishiyama continued to make improvements and posted
a 38:49 (47th place).Afterwards, Andy joked that Dan was the only one on
our team to set a PR at the race (This was the first time Dan raced the 8K
Thanks to a great effort in challenging conditions, the Excelsior Open Men
finished second out of three teams, placing behind Chico Track Club but
edging out SRA Elite by one point. Great running, guys!
Byline Donna Chan
You know it is going to be really warm when you load your car at 7
am and you don’t need a jacket. Makes me feel really lucky that the
women are running first, but an hour earlier would have been even
better. This race is the first time in this XC series we are not
able to field a women’s team, but there are 3 of us to toe the
line. The Thompson sisters with team member Dan started their 4
hour drive to Redding at 3 am to join in the fun. And with very
little sleep, Maile crosses the line first with 11th place overall
with a time of 21:27 for 4th place AG. Not far behind is Tehani for
15th place overall with a time of 22:07 for 7th place AG. Not
liking the heat and starting out way too fast, is Donna Chan for
33rd place overall with a time of 24:10 and a surprising 2nd place
for AG. It is also great to watch the men on our team run their
even more challenging race during our cool down run.
Next on the series is the Golden Gate Park Open on SUNDAY Sept. 23
starting time at 9 am. Please let me know if you are able to run
this race. Before this race our open women are 3rd place in the
overall standings. Let’s keep the momentum up!
Garin Park XC Challenge – 09/09/12
We had a huge turnout at Sunday’s Garin Park XC Challenge, with no fewer
than 11 women, 10 open men, and 8 masters men, and some excellent
performances, especially Will Chen’s 6th place open and Richard Bolt’s 3rd
place master finishes. Details …
Byline Jason Lee
With the cross country season in full swing, teams from around Northern
California descended upon Garin Park in the rolling Hayward Hills on
Sunday, September 9. The Excelsior Open Men faced Transports, West Valley,
Chico, Wolfpack, Strawberry Canyon and Pamakids in the largest team
competition so far this season. While the course is just 5 kilometers
long, runners face a long hill at a 5% grade a half mile into the race as
well as shorter but very steep climbs and descents interspersed with sharp
turns. The cloudless skies and the barren terrain added to the course’s
difficulties but mercifully the temperature stayed below 65 degrees.
After winning the 800, 1600, 3200 and 4 x 400 relay at this year’s San
Francisco City High School Track Championships, Will Chen burst onto the
cross country scene in his debut on the Excelsior Open Men’s team.
Challenging some of the PA’s top runners, he belied his rookie status by
placing an incredible 6th place with a stellar time of 16:29.
Although he had to pull back a bit at the end, Chikara Omine achieved a
quick 17:06 (16th place) thanks to a fast start and another 80-mile week.
Despite a tight hamstring and a slow start, Jason Lee ran the hills on the
second mile aggressively. Building upprecious seconds on the rolling
hillsproved invaluable on the final sprint ashe managed tofinish in
17:30 (19th place).
After suffering a knee injury that sidelined him for 9 months and a
motorcycle spill only a few days before, Jin Daikoku’s training paid off
in a remarkable comeback. Building off Tuesday’s impressive Strawberry
Hill workout in which he broke 2:50 on all five repeats, Jin started
quickly and took advantage of the downhills to finish in 17:33 (21st
place). Patrick Marjolet, who continues to make tremendous strides this
year, followed closely at 17:46 (24th place). With more even pacing than
the previous week, Maninder Sohal also ran a strong 17:51 (25th place).
Andy Crawford, who has been an asset to the team so far this year,
finished just seconds behind with a 17:55 (29th place).
Evan Sparling broke the Open Men’s all-time record for having traveled the
farthest to reach a cross country race. Returning from the Kamchatka
Peninsula via Hong Kong, he was shuttled from SFO to the race by Jason
Reed and arrived with less than 30 minutes to spare. Despite inconsistent
training back in Russia, he nonetheless managed to run a respectable 18:23
(37th place). Jason Reed himself was pleased that his 19:12 time (43rd
place) demonstrates that he is getting into shape. Finally, team newcomer
John Wang finished in 21:26 (52nd place).
Thanks to some outstanding performances and a great overall team effort,
the Excelsior Open Men placed3rd among some highly competitive teams.
Byline Donna Chan
For the 4th consecutive XC race we not only fielded a complete team, but
had the most runners in a long time doing XC with a total of 11 women.
Considering this is one of the hardest hilly 5K courses in the series, we
had some outstanding times. Starting in the grass and trying to avoid the
gopher holes and not to picking up too much mud is very challenging. But,
first across is Heather Leutwyler with a PR of 10 seconds with a time of
21:38.25 in (15th AG 30-39 ) and overall 32nd place. Followed closely
behind by Michelle Noeth with a time of 21:47.51 in (16th AG 30-39) and
overall 34th place. Next is Tehani Thompson with a time of 21:59.12 in
(12th AG 20-29) 39th place overall. Close behind her is sister Maile
Thompson with a time of 22:11.65 for (13th AG 20-29) 41st overall and
Melissa Haahr neck and neck with a time of 22:11.65 (14th AG 20-29) 42nd
overall. Next to cross the line is Denise Barchas with a time of 23:08.78
in (18th AG 30-39) 55th overall. Joining us for the first time is new
member Liz Louie who has not done XC in a while with a great time of
23:32.17 for (17th AG 20-29) and 59th overall. Coming back from a bad
case of poison oak that side lined her from running is Diann Leo with a
time of 24:12.62 for (18th AG 20-29) 67th overall. Next is Erika Kikuchi
who has not done anything shorter than her Pike’s Peak marathon and
Headland 50 and no speed work finished with a time of 24:21.97 for (23rd
AG 30-39) and 70th overall. Next is Donna Chan never running 4 XC races
consecutively survived with a time of 25:12.4 for (4th AG 60-69) and 86th
overall. Next is Lee D’Alessandro vacationing for 6 weeks and only
running 5 miles this week is a good sport by joining us for this hard race
for a time of 26:00.86 23rd (AG 40-49) for 88th place.
Thank-you all for fielding such a big team. Next is the NorCal XC
Challenge in Redding 5K at 9:00 am on Saturday. Let me know if you are
able to run next weekend. If we have a team I will drive if anyone needs
a ride. There is an option to find a motel close to the race or leave
early the morning for the race. Let me know what you prefer and if you
are available. At the conclusion of the last weeks race our open women
are in 3rd place in the overall standings. Let’s keep the momentum going.
Richard Bolt once again led the masters in a fine time of 17:33, good
enough for third place in a very competitive field. Cliff Lentz won the
45-49 age division next in 18:12, good enough for 8th place overall. Next
Dan Rhodes and Andy Apfelbaum cam in together in 18:50 and 18:52 (21st,
23rd), with Jonathan Reid rounding out the scoring five in 19:47 (36th).
Jake Niebaum and Matt Patout displaced in 19:54 and 20:11 (37th, 42nd),
with Brian Schultz rounding out the team in 22:07 (72nd). Great job all!
Rebel Rebellion XC Challenge – 09/01/12
At the Rebel Rebellion Saturday, once again the open men and the women kept up their momentum with a set of strong performances. And once again the masters men fell a couple runners short, not without some fine performances. Details . . .
Byline Jason Lee
On Saturday, September 1, the Excelsior Open Men’s team traveled to
Sacramento’s Granite Regional Park to race at the Rebels Rebellion 7K
(4.35 miles). This dusty, unshaded course twists and turns and features
several short but steep inclines. Thanks to fog that had penetrated far
into the Sacramento Valley overnight, the thermometer topped off at 65
degrees during the race under sunny skies, significantly cooler than last
year by at least 10 degrees.
Just a few days after a disappointing 15:50 track 5K, Chikara Omine ran
aggressively with some of the top PA runners. Averaging an incredible 5:09
pace, he edged out several guys in red singlets to finish in 22:27 (8th
place). Last year, Jason Lee had a breakthrough performance marking one of
his best cross country races in his career up until that point. Aided by
much cooler temperatures this year and a conservative 5:15 first mile,
Jason Lee sliced 4 seconds off his previous time to finish in 23:23 (17th
In just his third PA cross country race, Andy Crawford continued to be a
strong team contributor with a quick 24:05 (21st place), averaging 5:32
overall. Despite easing up a bit at the end, Patrick Marjolet cut over
half a minute off last year’s time with a 24:08 (22nd place). Maninder
Sohal, fresh off summer training in the blistering Antelope Valley,
challenged some of the top runners on the first mile but quickly settled
into a more comfortable pace to finish in 24:43 (24th place). In his first
cross country race for the team, Paul Broyer finished in 25:38 (29th
place) on his home turf. Finally, on his first cross country race with the
team, Ryan Ahern broke 28 minutes by a second (33rd place).
Due to very strong competition, the Excelsior Open Men placed fourth
overall. Nevertheless, many team members ran very well with quick paces
and/or personal bests for the course. Great job, guys!
Byline Donna Chan
On a sunny but cooler than expected morning at Granite Regional Park in Sacramento we had 5 women to toe the line for this 5K XC race. Through the twists, turns, ups and downs of this very dusty race Melissa Haahr is first across the end line with a time of 20:24.0 for 16th AG. Next to cross the line is Tehani Thompson with a time of 20:37.6 for 19th AG with sister Maile Thompson very close behind with a time of 20:47.3 for 23rd place AG. Right behind her is Michelle Noeth with a time of 20.58.4 for 24th place AG. To round out the 5 is Donna Chan who is happy to be running her 3rd XC race on consecutive weekends with a time of 22:59.4 for 3rd AG. Congratulations all!
Brian On the Anniversary of ’98 Richter led the old’uns with a 6th place finish (24:21). Dan Rhodes followed a minute back in 25:16 (15th), with Andy Apfelbaum on his tail in 25:27 (18th). Great job . . . and with a little luck we’ll get five out at Garin!
Phil Widener (Empire) XC Challenge – 08/25/12
At the Phil Widener Empire Open Saturday, the open men and the women kept up their momentum with another set of strong performances. The masters men fell a couple runners short, but still had some fine performances. Details . .
Byline Chikara Omine
Summer fog is not an unusual sight in San Francisco, but it was unusual to still see fog past Sausalito on the drive up to Santa Rosa for the Empire XC race. While there was a certain open men’s team member who prayed that it will remain foggy/cloudy, another hoped that the sun will burn through the fog and impair runners intolerant to temperatures above 65 degrees.Well, it turned out to be cloudy and cool for the race so heat intolerant runners were spared the misery.
Chikara Omine figured part of the fun of the race is to chase after a top 10 shirt and decided to go for it with an aggressive start. Although he lost a couple of places after fading over the last mile, Chikara ended up taking the last shirt by placing 10th in 18:11. Despite claims of being plagued by hamstring issues and being out of shape from not training, Jason Lee surprised himself by shaving 5 seconds off his time from the prior year by finishing next for the team in 18:47 (17th place). Jason credited the improvement to the cool weather and then started complaining and talking about retiring from running for some odd reason.
With his Achilles cooperating enough for this race, Patrick Marjolet had a stronger performance than the prior week and finished next for the team in 19:03 (19th place). Andy Crawford, already establishing himself as a core member of our XC team, finished after Patrick in 19:23 (24th place).
After setting a several PRs this year, it was no surprise that Sina Aboutalebi ran his course best time by over a minute and a half by finishing in 21:11 (34thplace). Not to be outdone, new member Dan Nishiyama also set a course best–this was Dan’s first cross country race of his life (and one of his first races) but he toughed out the hills to set his mark at 25:13 (48th place). Welcome to the club, Dan!
For their effort, the team managed to capture 3rd place. With a 2nd place finish the previous week, it seems that the open men are off to a great start for this year’s XC season. Good job team!
To come ….
Byline Donna Chan
It is a much cooler day for some great running. For the second week in a row we have 7 women to toe the line for the Phil Widener Empire 3.43 race. New member Michele Noeth is first to cross the finish line with a time of 23:07 placing 17th AG and following close behind is Heather Leutwyler with a time of 23:18 placing 22nd AG. Heather is so happy to have new member Michele to run with and it gave her extra energy for a faster time with a PR of 44 seconds. Maile Thompson is next with a time of 24:05 placing 26th AG with Melissa Haahr hot on her heels with a time of 24:16 placing 29th AG. Tehani Thompson charged across the line with a time of 24:52 placing 33rd in AG. Slowly picking off women running ahead, Donna Chan finishes with a time 26:21 placing 2nd AG. And last but not least is Denise Leo, doubting she is feeling well enough to run, surprised herself with a time of 27:38 besting her last weeks time by a minute per mile faster pace.
Great fun and great times were had by all. We also have the luxury of watching the open men run after our race before the masters men ran.
Let’s keep the momentum going with next week’s XC in Sacramento. We are already making plans to carpool up to the race. I am going to be in Tahoe so I will be driving from there. Please email me if you plan to run. Would love to have you!!!!
Thanks for your support.
Santa Cruz XC Challenge – 08/18/12
At the UC Santa Cruz Cross Country Challenge Saturday, Richard Bolt built on his string of victories on the roads with a win in the first cross country race of the season. Richard ran 23:03, to win the race by some six seconds. On the women’s side, Donna Chan continued her winning ways with a strong 31:28 to take the super senior title by almost a minute. Women, open men, and masters men all had teams–a great start to the cross season! Details . . .
Byline Jason Lee
On Sunday, August 18, the Excelsior Open Men’s team ran its first cross country race of the season in the hills surrounding UC Santa Cruz. This beautiful 4-mile course in the coastal redwoods features a steady climb for the first couple miles, some of which is on rocky terrain, with a corresponding downhill leading up to the finish. Unfortunately, unlike last year’s fog, warm temperatures in the upper 60s slowed times considerably for many of the runners, especially along the unshaded portions of the run.
Chikara Omine, who has been running extremely well throughout the summer, ran aggressively, challenging not only West Valley but also Transports top runners on the first mile. Although he faded towards the end, he posted an outstanding time of 21:56 (8th place). Despite his aversion to the heat, Jason Lee finished only a few seconds off last year’s time with a 22:41 (15th place) a surprise since he had recently returned from a holiday to Southern California and had run a grand total of 8 miles during the previous week. Patrick Marjolet ran a decent 23:31 (20th place), fresh off a quick San Rafael mile and some fast times at Lake Merced. In his debut as an Excelsior team member, Andy Crawford followed closely behind with a 23:38 (22nd place).
Only 12 hours before the race, it appeared that the Excelsior team might only have three runners and would not be able to score a team. Due to Chikara Omine’s last-minute scheming, the team not only secured a fourth runner on Friday night but also had a Plan B for a fifth runner: The most inspired performance went to Jon Reid who ran in the open division less than 20 minutes after his Masters race. His 27:35 (35th place) was just 2:16 off his earlier time despite fatigue and hotter temperatures.
Thanks to everyone’s commitment, the Open Men placed 2nd overall, one of the best performances over the past several years. Great job!
To come ….
Byline Donna Chan
While the fog is hanging over San Francisco, it is warm and sunny in Santa Cruz . We had 7 women who toed the line for this first XC race of the season. The start was crowded on a narrow road plus it took forever to see the first mile mark especially with all the uphill. But the rest of this 4 mile course is relatively level with the last mile being a nice downhill. First to cross the finish line is Heather Leutwyler with exact same as last year at 28:59 AG 32nd place, the model of consistency. Next is Maile Thompson (one of our new member) with a great time of 29:32 AG 35th place. Hot on Maile’s heels is another new member Melissa Haahr with a speedy time of 29:37 AG 37th place. Tehani Thompson (Maile’s sister) finished with a time of 30:14 AG 40th place. Denise Rummelhart who says she is not in race shape did a fantastic time of 30:35 AG 41th . To round out our open women is Denise Leo who is more comfortable coaching XC high school students than running one. Even with not running XC for many years did a strong time of 35:48 AG 59th place. As for myself, I felt happy to be running with no hamstring pain. To my surprise I placed AG 1st 60 and over with a time of 31:28.
Thank you all for running especially all the new open women. This is a strong start for the XC season.
Downtown San Rafael Mile – 07/15/12
It looks like the open men may have raced to a second place finish in Sunday’s Downtown San Rafael Mile. The women kept their scoring streak alive to keep their momentum going, and the old’uns fielded a strong team plus contributed a couple to allow the open men toscore a B team. Details . . .
Byline Chikara Omine
The mile is an event welcomed by those with speed while feared by longer distance runners. Although many of the open men’s usual scoring members are those longer distance runners, the team was challenged with the goal of beating last year’s team time. A goal which initially seemed unattainable back in June considering that the top 3 runners from last year’s team (including Jin Daikoku who ran a 4:20) were not returning. However, with the addition of a new speedy recruit and several weeks of speed work, the team came into the race with a legitimate shot at improving on last year’s performance.
New member and 2012 San Francisco Section High School 800m/1600m/3200m Champion William Chen mixed it up with the big dogs in his first PA race to crack the top 10 in an impressive time of 4:24 (10th place). Welcome to the club, Will!
After a while, the rest of the Excelsior runners started to trickle in. Although Chikara Omine faced some set backs earlier in the week, he rebounded to finish next for the team in 4:38 (18th place). After looking over his shoulder on the final stretch to see the one person he absolutely did not want to get beaten by right on his heels, Patrick Marjolet kicked it in to finish next for the team in 4:42 (23rd place); 16 seconds faster than the previous year. Finishing right on Patrick’s heel was Jason “Most Inspirational Runner” Lee :), who started to notice that he was reaping the benefits of the speed work and ended up running 4:43 (24th place). Evan Sparling, on a semi-break from training, came into the race with low expectation but was slightly motivated to catch a few people and close out the scoring team in 4:54 (29th place) after hearing Jin Daikoku yell some comments at him on the sidelines. With Evan’s finish the scoring team achieved its goal with 26 seconds to spare.
But the open men were not done yet. After focusing on the marathon over the last year or so, Lee Koffler made a surprise appearance and still showed that he had sub 5 minute mile speed by finishing in 4:58 (31st place). In prep for his upcoming first 100 mile race, Paul Broyer tested his ability to run while tired by trying to break 5 minutes after participating in the Moon light run the night before and getting only a couple hours of sleep. Paul managed squeeze under 5:00 to hit his goal, but with the standard round up of fractions of a second per USATF rules, the official results lists him as 5:00 (33rd place). Jason Reed aided in forming an “ultra runners attempting to go sub 5 pack” right at the finish but missed the mark by a measly 0.6 seconds, with the results listing him at 5:01 (34th place).
With a total of 8 open men finishing and a couple of extra masters, we had just enough to score a B team. And with many of the top PA clubs having incomplete teams, it appears that our open men’s A team may have taken 2nd for this race (assuming the posted results didn’t miss anyone). Great job team! Now we get a short break from PA racing before XC season starts up on 8/18.
Old’uns: Masters Bench saves it
Byline Yurik Riegel
Sometimes a team’s successful race effort for is pretty, sometimes it’s just not . . . and sometimes its just about showin’ up.
The Masters road circuit this year has been an incredibly tight race between 4 equally matched teams: Strawberry Canyon, the Aggies, Pamakids, and Excelsior.
With most of our top runners gone it fell upon the masters bench to keep hopes alive. When it was all over, It appears that we took third behind Pamakids and Strawberry.
In first for the team was Cliff Lentz, surviving a blistering 68 first quarter to finish in 4:53! Next was prodigal son, Dan Shore running 5:08 in his first race back since running several years for another team. He was followed by prodigal son #2- cyclist, Craig Steinmaus running his first mile as a senior in 5:15. Next up was Yurik Riegel. After starting a blazing too early kick at 500m out, he was seen looking like Daffy Duck trying to run with a coat of hardening cement on him with 150m to go. He somehow crossed the line in 5:17 without getting repassed by too many runners. In hot pursuit was fifth man, Andy Apfelbaum in 5:19. Next for Excelsior, was senior runner Peter Hsia in 5:28. A big Welcome Aboard! for new team member and soon to be speedy senior, 49 1/2-year-old (though he doesn’t look a day over 40) Geoff Mohun, in 5:42. Great job, gentlemen!
Byline Donna Chan
What a beautiful morning to run a mile in San Rafael. There were 6 women who toed the line for this fast short race. First to cross the line is Heather Leutwyler with a speedy time of 5:46.4 (surpassing her wanting just to break 6:00 mark), giving her a 19th place finish in the open division.
Next to finish is Lee D’Alessandro placing 14th in the masters division with a time of 6:28.2. And following close behind in 15th place is Alice Shikina with a time of 6:33.2. Stepping up last minute is Kara Downey placing 20th in the open division with a time of 6:38.7. Hot on her heels is Erika Kikuchi coming back from an injury with a great time of 6:41.9 in 21st place in the open division. For this race the open division included all 19 to 39 year olds, truly a tough group. For myself I ran to support the team knowing my time would not be my best because of healing from a hamstring and sciatic nerve injury which occurred at the Marin Day 10K. But was grateful I finished 12th place with no pain in the time of 6:49.3 in the senior division which included age 50 and older. Graduations to all
and thanks for your support.
Cliff Lentz ran yet another strong Double Dipsea Saturday, finishing 3rd (handicapped) in a time of 1:51:06 (less 9 minute handicap). The only runners who ran faster than Cliff were our own Brian Gilliss (1:46:38, 0 handicap, 7th place) and race winner and new race record holder Alex Varner (1:36:31). Chikara Omine finished just outside the top 10, 12th place, just six seconds slower than Cliff (1:51:12).
Double Dipsea from a Novice’s Perspective
Byline Diann Leo
From relatively new member Diann Leo . . .
This last running of Double Dipsea marked my first attempt at the event. My goal for the race was merely to finish, especially with my recurring hamstring issues. I heeded warnings from trusted course veterans and started as slowly as I could; this tactic was consistent with the DSE motto “Start slowly and taper off.” It was a welcome relief from all of the need-for-speed races. Double Dipsea, I already knew, was not an event and course I’d want to start fast and burn out hard. Not far into the race, the trails and staircases grew quite narrow and passing became nearly impossible, anyway.
When the scratch runners came blazing from behind me and I could hear their breath on my neck, I made it a point to hop out of the way as best as I could (without tripping on branches and falling into a ditch). Unfortunately, many of the participants that I had passed were still tuned deep into their headphones. I thought to myself that this trail would be one of worst places to wear headphones, not only to the ignorance of one’s surroundings, but to the immense beauty of the trail itself.
As a follower, I inadvertently utilized the course’s legal shortcuts. Being the runner who always finds things out the hard way, I discovered first-hand the caveats of taking trails marked “area closed by renovation”: poison oak and thorn bushes. I wasn’t focused on the names of specific points of the trail (though I did demand an insult at Insult Hill). Being a member of DSE, I saw a lot of familiar faces on the trail’s aid stations, and it was almost as good as walking into a bar called Cheers. A notable, clever aid station this year was at Muir Woodstock, and I was so disoriented I traveled back to a psychedelic era that predated my birth. With the handicap, I finished in 2:37:01 (actual time 2:49:01). In the future, I’d like to improve on my time, better learn the shortcuts, and somehow become smarter about encountering poison oak.
We had a good turnout at Sunday’s Dipsea, highlighted by black shirt performances by Cliff Lentz (13th, 55:33 with 4 minute handicap) and Brian Gilliss (22nd, 53:38, 1 minute), with top 100 performances by Chikara Omine (45th, 55:10, scratch) and Dan Shore (88th, 58:43, 3 minutes).
Marin Memorial Day 10K – 05/28/12
Another great turnout, with some 20 club members running. Details . . .
Byline Jason Lee
On May 28, the Excelsior Open Men ran many strong times at the Marin Memorial Day 10K in Kentfield. Partly cloudy skies, relatively cool temperatures in the mid-50s and shade helped make for pleasant running conditions considering that that part of Marin County can be very warm during late May.
With the top two women (Clara Peterson and Malika Mejdoub, a professional runner from Morocco) just steps behind him for the entire race, Chikara Omine fended off a strong challenge from them on the last half mile to finish in 33:30 (33rd place) for a one second personal best on a certified road 10K. Eight days after one of his best races ever at the Bay to Breakers, Jason Lee blasted a 5:25 pace while chasing the top two women to clock a 33:41 (36th place). This was a personal best on a certified 10K race by 1:23, which coincidentally was at the Marin Memorial 10K two years ago during a photo finish with Chikara. This year, Chikara and Jason became extra motivated when they found out a few minutes before the start that a former teammate now living in the East Bay was also running. They edged him out with only seconds to spare.
Patrick Marjolet sprinted a devastating 5:15 last mile to achieve a personal best of 34:19 (48th place), an improvement of 3:02, to finish right behind Masters teammate Richard Bolt. Tres bien couru, Patrick! Evan Sparling ran a respectable 34:48 (52nd place), especially considering his lack of training since helping the DSE team finish first at the Calistoga-to-Santa Cruz Relay earlier in May. Apparently, though, Evan was dissatisfied because the first thing he mentioned following the race was that his winning streak against Jason Lee was over.
After competing in a grueling ultra in the heat the previous week, Jason Reed overcame tired legs with a solid time of 36:32 (96th place). Sina Aboutaleibi delivered one of the biggest surprises of the day with a 36:35 (97th place). This was about a 6 minute personal best for Sina. With his qualifying performance on Memorial Day, he can now officially enter next year’s Bay to Breakers race in the sub-seeded division. Great job, Sina!
Although the Open Men’s team finished in 7th place, this was an accomplishment given the strong individual performances and excellent efforts of team members. Awesome running!
Byline Dan Rhodes
The Masters men pulled out a strong 10 man team for the MMD 10K race. The 10K used to be a staple of road racing with three 10Ks on the PA road series just a few years back now we just get one shot at that benchmark distance in the PA this year. To lead us in Richard Bolt ran a 34:19 in what was a nice eventful weekend double with the Mt. Hamilton Hill climb bike race Sunday and the 10K the next morning. Richard wrote up a great race report to recap his weekend on his blog http://richardbolt.blogspot.com/2012/05/two-races-in-two-days-excellence-in.html next in for the the NBEX Masters was Cliff Lentz 34:56 who has been getting faster every week and looks to be in good form going into the Dipsea! Dan Rhodes hobbled in next in 36:56 after having a calf strain bite him around the 2 mile mark, with Andy Apfelbaum right on his heals in 36:57. Next across was Dan Shore 37:15 (who we are unfortunately still waiting to clear wavers so can’t score for us until July) but it is nice to be back to at least a 2 Dan minimum = we had 5 Dan’s on the team at one point! Pete Vicencio ran in next with a 38:06 and Peter Hsia was close behind in 38:16. Martin Smith was not having his best day out there while recovering from a cold and a few days of Sudafed still pulled off a 41:18. Brian Schultz 41:42, and Tyler Abbott 44:10 rounded out the team.
Byline Donna Chan
Our newest members enabled Excelsior women to field another full team. On a warm but slightly breezy morning 5
women toed the line for this race. First across the finish line was Heather Leutwyler with a time of 42:49 placing 10th in AG. Next across the line was Diann Leo with a time of 46:25 placing 30th AG. Dealing with lack of training, jet lag, glute & hamstring injury plus calf cramps was Donna Chan with a “trying to hang on to the end” dragged in with a time of 49:58 7th AG. Not far behind was Kara Downey with a time of 50:06 32th AG. And to round out the team was Denise Leo with a time of 53:14 placing 19th AG. Thank-you all for running this not so easy 10k. Now we have some time off to prepare for the next race the San Rafael mile on July 15th.
Bay to Breakers
Congratulations to all Excelsior runners who participated in the 101st Bay to Breakers on Sunday, May 20. Featuring plenty of costumes and drinking, thousands of serious runners and a bunch of world-class elite runners from as far away as Africa, the Bay to Breakers is a fun but challenging 12K (7.46 mile) course across San Francisco. The biggest obstacle is the infamous Hayes Street Hill – a steep 215-foot five-block climb that leaves runners wishing that there were not another 4.8 miles to go.
Although the temperatures started out at around 55 degrees in the Financial District, by 7:45 a.m they had warmed to an unusually balmy 60 degrees at Ocean Beach under a cloudless sky and light breezes. Just 24 hours later, the course would be covered in dense fog.
In one of the best performances of his running career, Jason Lee raced aggressively but cautiously given the unrelenting sun and surprised himself with a 41:35 time (30th place individual, 56th including centipedes). His 5:35 mile pace was less than two seconds off his all-time best in 2006, a year with ideal overcast and light drizzle conditions. A couple of weeks ago, some West Valley Track Club runners warned several Excelsior members that they would be fielding a centipede for the first time, threatening to place 13 men ahead of Jason. West Valley’s centipede, which included speedsters Jonah Backstrom, Jonathan Charlesworth, Gus Gibbs, Jamey Gifford, Jason Karbelk, Konrad Knutsen, Malcolm Richards, Todd Rose, Alex Varner and other friendly competitors, finished in a fast 42:11 for third place in the centipede division but fell short of their goal.
Many club members also ran solid races. Team newcomer Caio Soares ran his first Bay to Breakers in a quick 42:33 (45th place individual, 84th including centipedes). Parabens, Caio! Feeling a bit winded, Chikara Omine was the next Excelsior finisher in 42:42 (50th place individual, 89th including centipedes). Perhaps hitting the wall on the Hayes Street Hill slowed him more than his Krispy Kreme cape or the fact that he did not bother to actually wolf down any high fructose corn syrup donuts this year. Blazing his first mile in 5:20, Sloane Cook recovered to finish with a slightly faster gun time than Chikara but the same 42:42 chip time (51st place individual, 90th including centipedes). Jamie Timbrell, who did not feel like he put in the mileage required to run well at the 12K distance, held off his urge to puke over the final 100 meters to finish right behind Sloane and Chikara in 42:46 (54th place, 93rd including centipedes). Like Caio, Maninder Sohal entered his first Bay to Breakers as a seeded runner and finished in 45:47 (105th place individual, 144th including centipedes), not bad considering that final exams at SF State kept him from running during the past two weeks.
Other Excelsior finishers included Ky Faubion 48:15 (190th place individual), Dave Moulton 48:51 (213th place individual and 40th Masters), Marlin Gilbert 49:36 (266th place individual and 52nd Masters), Alice Shikina 1:01:28 (1,633rd individual and 73rd Female Masters), and Paul Broyer who came all the way from Sacramento for a fun run in 1:23:04 (8,352nd place). Finally, Brian Cooke’s 51:08 time (361st place individual) was actually an impressive feat considering that he was encumbered by his furry gorilla costume and could barely see out of his mask