3/17 – ATB12K + SJSU Twilight Mile

Here are a couple of race results from the previous week.

On Thursday we had two competitors at the San Jose State University’s Inaugural Twilight mile. Conditions were quite windy. Ryan Smith took 3rd in 4:36.7 in the first heat, and Megan Gentes ran 5:40, taking second in the second heat. She was third female overall.

At the Across the Bay 12K race, conditions were beautiful albeit slightly warmish for the annual 7.46-mile pilgrimage across the Golden Gate Bridge. This race featured a strong performace by our men’s seniors (50-59) team. We would win that division handily, and a strong masters effort would likely give us second overall in the masters race. Decisions, decisions when it comes to scoring this…

Our newest masters terror Chafik Azerki paced the graybeards with his head-turning time of 41 minutes, 54 seconds. This placed him as the second masters runner overall in the race. Rob Elia continued his reign of terror on a new age group, taking second in the 50-59 age category with a 43:02 mark. Third overall and fourth in his 50-59 age category was the durable Tim Keenan (43:45). Keenan was trailed by Jeff Teeters, who looks like he is starting to come back into his own (47:05). Erik Gullikson ran another good race (49:42), and took 5th in the 55-59 age group for the Canyoneros.

We also brought  a scoring team of five open men to the races’ starting line and they appear to have finished fourth as a team (tough to tell this early on). Richie LeDonne has obviously started finding his gear again as he turned in a smokin’ performance on a challenging, undulating course and came home in an impressive 39:55. Comeback Jack Wallace rolled through next in 42:16, pulling along a pressed-into-service Andrew (listed as “John”) Willis, who battled through for a strong time of 42:17. Christoph Wanner was our fourth finisher in 43:29, and Matt Weber rounded out the open team in 45:26.


3/3 – Can’t Touch This! Chafik Goes Hammer On Redding

Hello dwellers of the Canyon. We have a few race results to report:

Cal all-comers meet held on February 22nd


Shellin Chuong (women) 5:37.92


3. Rory Runser 9:51.67; 4. Ryan Smith 9:58.92 (men)

5. Megan Gentes 11:28.84; Shellin Chuong 12:27.73; Melissa Quintero 12:42.58 (women)

John Frank NorCal PA-USATF 10-mile Championships in Redding, CA held on March 1st

Chafik Azerki debuted his 2014 road season with a win in the masters (40-49 age group) with a great time of 57:04 on a hilly course. Other results included a strong showing from our senior stalwarts from near and fat. Bill Reed made the journey from Reno and finished as 2nd senior (50-59 AG) overall in 1 hour, 1 minute and 7 seconds (1:01.07). Tim Keenan was 3rd senior (1:02.18); Jeff Teeters was 4th senior (1:03.08) in his best race in awhile after overcoming some hamstring troubles that plagued his 2013 campaign; Bill Salacuse rounded out the team’s scoring with a time of 1:05.23 in his preparation for the Boston marathon. Alan Dehlinger also made the trek down from Reno and finished in 1:08.21.

12/19 – SCTC December Board Meeting Minutes + 2014 officer elections

Dear Strong Strawberries and Clever Canyons,

Here are the minutes from the recent club board meeting, attended by me, Sean, Digger, Tim, and Coach Carl. Of note, we had “elections”! Following the  mandates of the Binder Carta Libertatum, “the club leadership (‘Board’) puts forth an endorsed slate candidates based on member interest and discussion; the full membership (almost all of whom are represented on our wider Google Group) then have an opportunity to comment/challenge/object.”  The nominees for for officer positions in 2014 are:

President: David Yu

Vice President: Josh Seeherman

Secretary: Sean McFarland

Treasurer: Tim Keenan

The comments are welcome through the end of 2013 (email to any of the present board members); if there are no objections, the nominees will assume office in January.

Also, please note that there was no candidate for VP at the meeting, so, in order to satisfy the USATF’s requirement of four officers, we decided to keep Josh’s name in that spot until someone volunteers. So, if you’re interested in getting involved and would like Josh’s very pretty officer hat, let me know!

The other important discussion was, and please don’t panic, the possibility of a merger of SCTC with West Valley TC, raised by Mark McManus at the nationals after party. It’s a very vague idea at the moment, and you can find some of our talking points in the detailed minutes below. This is obviously a controversial idea, so give it some thought, and we’ll try to organize a forum for discussion amongst ourselves and with WVTC.

– David

• Elections

• David breaks Digger’s legs for real this time, throw his body into the Aquatic Park, and becomes president.

• Sean’s role as the puppetmaster behind the throne is formalized as “secretary”.

• Tim remains the best treasurer ever.

• Josh is nominated to stay as VP (with no responsibilities assumed), until somebody (anybody!) expresses interest in the position.

• How about we don’t have elections during finals week next time?!

• Possible club merger with West Valley TC

• There is a ton of discussion to be had here.

• Pros:

• Filling out membership. We would be able to score a team in basically every division.

• Women’s team would be able to score at basically every race.

• We have the senior squad, and they have the masters squad; our seniors would be able actually to run as seniors.

• Flexibility to sit out races, no pressure to score all the time.

• Carl’s coaching base would vastly increase.

• Brooks  Adidas sponsorship

• We may have to have this discussion anyways in one year, depending on our club’s membership/leadership situation. Generally speaking, with a large fraction of somewhat transient students, is the club sustainable? Specifically, David and Sean are both likely leaving Berkeley in 12-18 months; other people should volunteer for officer roles!

• Is now the best time to act?

• Longer term: with such a large club, could we start thinking bigger, a la NYRR?

• Cons:

• Retaining our identity. In blunt terms, is this a merger or a takeover? Would we become West Valley, West Canyon, Strawberry Valley, …?

• It’s unlikely WV would change a name. They are rather larger and older than us (and even the Striders).

• Avoid marginalization. We would have many more members than scorers at any given race.

• Officer situation with such a large club. Tim objects to being a treasurer of a 500 person club.

• Details

• What the hell is the west valley?

• We would definitely keep an identity as “the running club in Berkeley,” with the same workout regime and Carl as coach.

• Action

• Obviously, lots of discussion needs to take place within the club. Once we have an idea of our position, we would WVTC over for a meeting, each of us bringing a proposal to the table. Afterwards, we can refine our outlook, and gauge final interest from the club membership.

• Recent Race Results

• Yeah, let’s just not mention USATF XCs…

• (Richie did good)

• (Bend is nice)

11/3 – Tamalpa + NYC Marathon

Hello Canyon dwellers!

We had four Strawberry Canyon TC runners head to the Big Apple for a 26.2 bite entree in the form of the New York City marathon (and I do not have any first-hand race reports). However, looking at the athlete trackers, it appears Brandon Brown negative-splitted his way to a really good performance of 2:58.38. He was just ahead of Dayu Tao, who seemed to have some trouble at the end based on his slowing mile splits. Dayu still broke the 3:00 barrier and finished in 2:59.08.

“Modesto Mike” aka Mike Singleton was our lone masters representative and he finished in 3:27.28. Dayu Tao’s better half, Mei Tung-Chen, finished strong in the women’s race and crossed the line in 3:28.17.

We also had ten Canyoneros at the competitive Tamalpa John Lawson Memorial Cross Country Challenge which was moved to an ankle-breaking, hilly 4.16 mile course at China Camp.

In the women’s race, we had two. Kimberly Sanchez was a little ‘off’ from her sterling 2-mile PR on Thursday and finished in 29:27. Sam Adams debuted for the club and took second in the 19 and under age group with her time of 32:43. Let’s try to rally a full team of women for the last two races! (Note from the editor: also, make sure to wake up early enough to do a warmup!)

The masters men’s race was represented by the token Strawberry (me) Coach Carl, who was just not very on and ran a 30:09 with a rather slow last 2K. Cool down was awesome though…and I was thinking we should take the club out there for a long run sometime.

The Strawberry Canyon TC fielded a solid team in the highly competitive open men’s race, which heralded the arrival of a stacked New Balance Silicon Valley men’s team. Amazing what the lure of sponsorship will drag into the fray. Alex Varner (and his West Valley TC mates) won the race outright in 21:03 but he had a string of great runners just behind him.

Jonathan McKinley really stole the show in his first cross country race since high school, as well as coming off of several weeks’ of injury and rehab. He placed fifth in 21:24, edging out 2:15 marathoner Malcolm Richards and hanging tough with some very experienced veterans who have many years and miles on him. For someone so “green” to running that is off-the-charts remarkable.

Dan Chebot delivered another very strong performance for the club in a speedy 22:14. He was just ahead of Sean McFarland (22:20), whose training has been somewhat impacted by academic requirements. Our ultra-runner extraordinaire, Joe Binder, came in just behind Sean in 22:33.

Ben Chebot, he of the impressive locks, closed out the scoring five for the Canyon in a time of 23:12. Jack Wallace ran his best XC race of the season and netted a mark of 23:20, Ryan Smith improved the most in the club from his first race, as the 18-year-old Cal freshman showed promise in the future with a solid 23:49, which took third in his age group.

In fact, it was a day for threes, as it was pretty clear that we took third overall in the open men’s team division. The post-race (beer, bagels) relaxation at Miwok Meadows closed out the morning.


6/17 – Strawberries slay the Woodmonster

From Josh Seeherman –

A few Strawberries ran the Woodminster 9 mile XC craziness . . . . it wasn’t terrible in that the climbs were confined to two big ones, and the first was almost right of the gate.  Then again, that 850′ special (the “Woodmonster”) was pretty gross; apparently one section is 650′ in 3/4 of a mile.  I walked a little, maybe 5 steps or so a few times, used the mental agony of The Connector to my advantage as I passed 20-30 people.  Felt pretty good through the last few miles though in Redwood on the Sequoia trail.

Results “straight up” i.e. no handicapping

1 Varner 53:32 (5:57 pace !)

4 George Torgun 59:15.7

7 Jack Wallace 1:04.00.7

25 Dan Sivolella 1:12.11.2

26 Josh Seeherman 1:12.19.6

170 finishers

Due to the handicapping, I didn’t see Dan Sivolella the entire race as he had an 8 minute start and I made up a lot of theoretical ground after the Woodmonster hill.  However, considering he ran 37:30 at Marin, which was faster than I ran in 2012, that leaves me slightly happier about my current fitness.

Varner actually won the race outright, beating the top female (who had a 12 minute head start and ran 65 min) in the final 100 meters.



3/18 – Weekend Update

Across the Bay 12K
Hornet Invitational


Hey Canyoneros-

At the Across the Bay 12K it looks like the masters team took 5th overall with a few of the hitters missing. We’ll be facing an uphill battle for the rest of the year to defend our title as we are being outgunned by the other clubs who seem to be out for blood this year.

For the Canyon, we had the following masters results.

  • Rob Elia 43:13 (1st 45-59)
  • Tim Keenan 43:56 (2nd 50-54)
  • Bill Salacuse 44:55 (great first sub 45 for him and he is in 45-49 AG too)
  • Daniel Sivolella 47:32
  • Thom Trimble 50:00+
  • Eric Gullikson, Jeff Teeters and Rick Massey also ran in the masters race, nursing various aches and pains.

In the women’s race, three Canyoneras competed very well for us.

  • Katy Hollbacher overcame a week with Norovirus and pulled a 47:32 (3rd 35-39)
  • Margot Hutchins debuted for the Canyon with a really nice time of 48:54 (5th 30-34)
  • Julia Gullikson snuck under the 51:00 barrier with a 50:58 (1st 16-19 AG)

The men’s open race had two competitors.

  • Karl Walczak ran 41:13 (5th 30-34), which was on two days / week of actual run training and a year of being injured. Oh, and he didn’t push the effort too hard either. Watch out for this cat.
  • Jack Wallace ran 43:18 for us too.

On Saturday at the Hornet Invitational at Sacramento State, William Chen ran the 800. The race was supposed to be a strong field, but everyone went out slowly and tapered off (relatively speaking). The leader went out in 57.3, William was about 57.8, and finished in second in 1:55.79. Though this time is second on our all-time list, it was a second off of William’s PR so he’ll be looking to drop that next time. It is very hard to run even splits in an 800-meter race, which has a unique physiological component and requires a runner to go out hard and hang on. If William had been pulled through in high 54, he would have PR’d by 1-2 seconds. Onward and upward, next time!

I’ll hope to see many of you giving it a go at next Saturday’s Johnny Mathis meet in San Francisco. Let Niko Conner nwconner91@gmail.com know of your interest! I’ll assist him with registration as best I can.

PS: Off-topic but if you should happen to peruse to this month’s Men’s Journal magazine at most bookstores and turn to pages 88-89, you will see a familiar name associated with the running gear review.


3/10 – Tough Day at Davis

Aggie Open 5KResults

Hola Canyoneros

Nine Berries went to run at the UC Davis Aggies Invite and it ended up being a wind-blown affair which threw times and races off-kilter.

Mei-tung Chen opened up most optimistically, running a 19:52.32 5000 in the wind, wisely tucking in behind a De Anza runner for the majority of the race and somehow managing a 26-second PR, and this was the race of the day for the Canyon.

The breeze kicked up a notch for the men’s 5000, which was a bit disappointing for the athletes who put themselves out there on the line. Perhaps it was a combination of the wind, some poor coaching on my part, feeling under-the-weather, some were not in shape yet, not enough sleep or hydration, etc., whatever it was, some little things added up and four runners ran a good 40-60 seconds slower than their projected ability. (Rory Runser 16:20, Dayu Tao 16:40, Gene Burinsky 16:47, and Jonathan Nolasco 17:25).

With that out of the way the 1500 came next. Jonathan McKinley showed flashes of speed and ran a 4:11.18, his fastest time of the year. I think he will be sub-4:00 before the season is said and done. Irtaza Haider ran a 4:21.15, almost five full seconds off his PR, but probably a stronger performance than his actual PR given the wind.

The 800s came later in the day and both Niko Conner and Brandon Reyes were buffeted by the wind, pulling 2:06 marks. It was Niko’s first track race in many seasons, so he was blowing off the rust, but Brandon got boxed in by a pesky orange-singleted runner and was thrown off his game somewhat. It was a learning experience to be sure as middle-distance races can be characterized by some annoying pushing and shoving tactics.

Anyhow, thank you all for going to that meet and giving it the old college try. We may reconsider this venue next year, as both Davis and Sacramento have proven to be risky in terms of the windy weather for us. And if that many of us were flat, I will certainly need to consider backing some of you off on the workouts a bit between now and the end of the season.




3/3 – NorCal 10 Mile Results


At the Nor Cal 10-mile in Redding our masters team sent seven competitors and came away with a solid second place team finish. It would seem that our team scorers all ran strong races.

Bill Reed edged out Tim Keenan for the third seniors spot. Bill ran 59:50 and Tim ran 59:55 in warm conditions, over a minute faster than Tim ran in 2012.

Bill Salacuse ran arguably his best race as a masters runner with a great 62:16 mark. Thom Trimble is marching along on the comeback trail, claiming the 9th senior spot with a time of 63:37. Alan Dehlinger rounded out the scoring. Jeff Teeters jogged in with a sore hamstring and Rick Massey also finished.

– Carl

12/8 – Secretary Leefer Scores Noble Victory

It is proper and indeed healthy for the spirit of any nobleman or noblewoman to engage the peasantry on rare occasions. However, one must always maintain such boundaries as befit one’s standing in society. So demonstrated Nathan Leefer on this sunny Saturday at the “Hark the Herald Angels 12K,” gamely pacing with the peasantry for 11.8 kilometers before distancing the fittest of his companions by forty seconds in the final two hundred meters. A fine victory, earned true and straight!

1. Nathan Leefer    46:18.9

2. Everyone else    Slower


10/21 – Humboldt Half Marathon

The Humboldt Half Marathon was a journey unto itself as a small band of warriors made the trek to the pristine redwood forests of Weott to test their mettle against the PA-USATF’s best distance runners. Alan Dehlinger and Mike Singleton get special mention for making the long journey from Reno and Modesto (respectively) all by their lonesome, incurring both significant expense and driver’s fatigue. Way to represent, gentlemen! I would also like to thank Irene Graham for making the trip over to cheer on the Canyoneros as she had gone up north to visit her boyfriend.

Most of us went to Sicilito’s for pasta the evening before, and it must be pointed out that it took 75 minutes to get food on the table despite the fact the place was not that full. Of course, growing and processing the wheat into flour for the pasta orders does take some time. Disgruntled but enjoying one-anothers’ company, the Canyoneros persevered in the wake of this hardship and readied themselves for the next morning’s ambulation through the towering redwoods.

The Gullikson clan, Papa Eric, and his two daughters opted to camp out. Apparently they slept in a little late and had to rush to the starting line. In the 5K, Julia Gullikson cruised to a 19:41 (chip time) for second in her age group. Her younger sister, Leanne Gullikson ran 23 minutes and she is only 14, so it looks like the Gullikson pipeline might be alive and well for a few more years.

The half-marathon dawned crisp and clear in the 40s. Tim Keenan had a very strong run but went out a few seconds too quickly and may have missed out on a sub 1:18, instead rolling in with a 1:18.20 mark, good for second seniors runner (50-54) overall. New women’s team member Katy Hollbacher looked to be running well, about 1:23 pace, when she had to pull off to the side of the road with a strained hamstring. Her day went from relative joy to stark disappointment in an instant, and we hope it wasn’t too serious as hamstrings have been a recent club nemesis of sorts.

Following Tim K. on the masters team was speedy masters blaster Mike Singleton, who ran his best race of the year, charging across the line in a smokin’ time of 1:21.25.

Third across the line for the men in blue was Barry Smith, who was testing out a gimpy hamstring, and he ran right around 1:26. Alan Dehlinger was next in 1:27.low with a good run for him. Eric Gullikson came in after that with a time of 1:32.low to round out the masters scoring team. Carl Rose (1:33.00-flat) and Steve Trutane (1:35.23) also finished the race for the Canyon masters team.

It appears the masters men took second behind NB Excelsior, or possibly third if the River City Rebels fielded a complete team. There was only one Aggie and the Pamakids appeared to field a “B” team.