On June 5th, a square dozen (12) Strawberry Canyoneros showed up to do battle at the wild and wooly San Rafael Mile, and it was a perfect day to run fast. The race was divided into agre groups, enabling runners to cheer on their teammates rather than run behind them. The first race that saw a Strawberry entrant was the men’s 50-59 age group division where Bill Brusher gets the short end of the stick at 59-and-a-half. Wild Bill crossed the line in 6:20 as he continues to make his comeback from chemotherapy, and expects to be at full strength when he hits 60.
The men’s masters race featured a stacked field and the Strawberries were up to the challenge. All of the masters Canyoneros had excellent performances. First across the line for the Strawberries was 48 years young Jeff Mann, who shaved time off of last years performance in 4:43 as his back did not give out on him. My only pre-race advice was “ummm…take the turns wide?” as it may have helped minimize the whirlpool-like torque of hugging the turns which was aggravating the tenuous lower back. Hot on Jeff’s heels was master blaster Darrin Banks, who knocked six seconds off of last year’s strong performance and screamed to a 4:44. This was arguably his best race performance as a Strawberry and netted him third overall and second to Jeff Mann in the 45-49 age group. Not to be denied, Tim Keenan served notice that the 50-59 age groupers had better watch out as he sliced seven seconds off of last year’s time and knocked out a 4:58 mile at 49 years and 10 months and placed 8th overall. Daniel Sivolella may have had the most impressive breakthrough race of the day (along with Darrin Banks) in recording a 5:03 mile, smoking a lot of the top masters guys in the PA. His finish was a strong 10th overall. The last Strawberry across the line was Coach (Hey we needed the points!) Carl Rose, who ran 5:47 for 26th place. Normally that would be an unequivocally disastrous race performance, but he has been laid up since winter with an evil achilles tendon problem and has not run a single interval workout since November. All considered, after five months of light jogging only and having gained some weight, this was not that horrendous of an “off-the-couch” performance (although it was in direct violation of his contract with his achilles). When the dust had settles the Strawberry masters men settled for second to the Aggies, but we will surely be happy to have the nine points at the end of the year.
The men’s open race was next and the field was loaded. Whipping around the first turn Sean McFarland came flying but was about 15 meters off the curb, being forced about seven bodies wide. Such was the nature of the race which featured a giant cluster of runners between 4:14 and 4:40s. Despite not being overly enthusiastic about equalling last year’s time, Sean threw down a 4:23 which was good for 11th place overall. Behind Sean was our secret mile weapon, Paul Coover, who sizzled to a 4:26 road mile and mixed it up with some big names. Only three seconds behind Sean, Paul was five places back in 4:26 (16th), further illustrating the clustered nature of the race. Next up for the Strawberries was Tom Haxton in 4:31, which put him in the top 20 at 19th place overall. Jack Wallace continued his very impressive spring season with a 4:37 PR of nine seconds, which scored him 28th place for the Strawberries. Debuting in the race for the Strawberries was 38-year-old Devon Walton, who was seen licking his chops when he watched the masters race being won in 4:40. Devon’s 4:41 mile represented a strong scoring effort for the team and snared 34th place overall in the stacked field. Not to be denied was a very good run by Keith Gilmore, a converted sprinter, who threw down a 4:48 mile PR. In the team scoring the open men were 16 seconds combined out of first place and seven ticks out of second place, but edged out the 4th place West Valley TC team by 12 seconds, and settled for the third open men’s team overall. Thus endeth the spring racing season.