3/28 – ATB 12K – Another Title for the Berries


You Can’t Spell “Strawberry” Without a “W”

By Thom Trimble

Strawberries, which are known for reproduction by way of “runners”, reproduced yet another stunning victory in the PA Long circuit. Despite notching our sixth (count ‘em – 6!) race victory in a row, there was little time for victory dances or chest bumps in the chute; it was not until days later that we learned, by the skin of our stems, we had nipped three other strong teams by less than a minute. Fate was on our side, but she did not score (no PA card).

A masterful time by Darrin Banks made up for the lack of two of our top four guys from the last race. His mid-42 was good enough for 6th in the over-40 dudes and 2nd 45-49. Behind him on the scorecard were the event’s top two seniors – Tim Keenan, winning his first PA title ever, and Ironman Barry Smith. Barry’s efforts were all the more amazing as he had just run a trail half marathon the DAY before! Does this man know the meaning of “tired”? Don’t he know he be 52 …and a half! Two marathons of life!

Darrin, Tim (1st Senior!), Barry, and Bill

The club’s second-of-three 52-year olds came in for the next spot on the team. Jeff Teeters, who had an uncharacteristically off day, struggled to a 46 minute effort. That was over a minute slower than last year, despite a nice tailwind through most of the course. Our last scoring old guy was a bit of an surprise. Bill Salacuse, last man at the previous PA event, had no excuse to complain about this effort. After throwing down (and stomping in anger) a slothlike 70+ minute 10 miler at NorCal, Bill got his legs and lungs together big time. Thom Trimble’s “48-or-bust” pre-race prediction for Bill was dead on for the 44 year old. Bill snuck in at 47:57, which was not only a high-fiver of a time, but was also ahead of both guys who hammered him two weeks ago, by over 3 minutes. Nice.

Sixth and seventh guys for the team were Mike Singleton and Thom Trimble (the slowest of the cincuenta-y-dosers) who both came in with times in the 48s. Two other Berries also competed for the club – Christoph Wanner (30) who had the fastest time of the day for the club with his 42 flat, and Milton Lorig (59) who earned the “I ran under my age” award, with a time of 57:27. Unlike NorCal we were unable patch together the “remnants” to score another squad.

Early estimates of our team finish had us placing either 2nd or 3rd. Wrong. River City had a strong 5-man contingent, but that contingent was contingent on all five having valid PA cards. One little piggy did not, and we know what happened to that 5th piggy! No score for YOU! The evil Converse-Reebok-Asics-ShoeTBD Aggies also had a fab-five at the starting line, looking like the clear #1 seed. But, that seed did not sprout; the Ags pulled a “Missouri” (NCAA hoops reference) and did not pull through. This was mostly due to Jose Aispuro’s pulled hammy from NorCal. So, the Ags, sans Jose, piled up a few too many ticks of the clock to surpass the efforts of the Berries and had to settle for #2.

New Balance Excelsior was back from the dead with their strongest team since the Cretaceous period. Led by Usain’s older and slower brother – Richard Bolt – along with new-master Dan Rhodes, the New Bs threw a scare into the field of old uns’. But again the quality dropped off before their last man hit the chip mat and they settled for third, only 32 seconds down on us. The Pamakids were not kidding around either, as they threw down a AAA effort with Andy, Anthony and Adam all under 45 minutes. Their 4-5 guys were no slouches either, as they tallied only 52 seconds more than SCTC for fourth. Four teams within one minute! A reminder to lean at the tape and not leave anything on the course (unless you’re the 5th piggy). Yaaay us!

Results can be found here.

3/24 – SF State Johnny Mathis Results

A grim, wet day greeted the 11 rough and ready Canyoneros who descended upon the vaunted San Francisco State University’s track facility like a giant blue tsunami. For the most part, it was a very, very good day for us indeed, despite the steady, bone-chilling precipitation.

Matt Bogdanowicz lined up in the masters Mile against the formidable Rene Sepulveda of the ASICs Aggies as his main competition. A trio of runners ran the first lap in mid-74 and then Matt threw in a 34-second 200-meter surge and never looked back. Bogdanowicz powered his way through the rest of the mile relatively unchallenged in 4:53.06, winning by roughly 30 meters and thereby keeping Jeff Mann’s Johnny Mathis Masters Mile title within its rightful place in the Strawberry Canyon family.

We entered one open woman in the 1500-meter event, Mariel Gray, who had a tough day at the office. She succumbed to an untimely asthma attack and had to live to fight another day after two laps, jogging the rest of the way and finishing in 6:19.59.

Later in the morning, there were several open men’s 1500 heats. Ethan Mark ran his first 1500 of the season and threw down a decent time in the rain (4:06.76), and will improve upon that as the season wears on. Gene Burinsky sliced another second off of his fresh PR set recently at UC-Davis and came home with an impressive 4:10.44. Kai Proschan missed his PR by two seconds in his first 1500 of the year and rode home in 4:20.96.

After a hiatus for the Strawberries (much) later in the day was the open men’s 5000-meter event. The rain did not let up even a tiny bit and in fact it intensified. Most runners conceded that it would be a tough day to set a personal-best on such a wet and sloppy track. NOT SO said the almighty Strawberries!!

Six hardy Canyoneros lined up in the 40-person 5000-meter heat, combined due to the miserable weather as volunteer officials were literally leaving the track before the end of the meet. But neither rain nor sleet nor snow nor hypothermia would daunt the mighty Berries. Joseph Binder showed a little of the Barry Smith gene, blasting a solid tempo on Thursday with Tom haxton and coming back 46 hours later to race in the 5000. King Joe delivered a fantastic race and powered through lap after lap, moving and threading steadily up the field. Using his He-Man ultra-marathon strength he ended up clocking a VERY impressive time of 15:20.50, a four-second PR and took an amazing fifth place here! Next up in the PR department was the first of four PR’ing freshmen Rory Runser, the lanky one who raced yet again in training shoes aka “clunkers.” He too, went out like a seasoned veteran, threaded his way up through the field and smoked a fantastic 12-second PR in 15:44.34. Next across the line was a tiring Digger Lauter in 15:47.75. He felt “off” the whole race, and despite missing his PR by four seconds, he had expected to significantly eclipse that mark in this race.

And the Berries were not done PR’ing in the driving rain, not by a long shot, as Cameron Bronstein rumbled home in 16:08.72, which represented a nifty 11-second PR for the freshman. Mr. Consistency Jack Wallace came across next, and delivered a modest 2-second PR although he is just rounding back into fighting shape. Still, in this game, we have all learned to take any PRs, whether large or small, with utmost gratitude. Coming across next was an elated frosh in Irtaza Haider, who had all but given up on the season after a tough race at UC-Davis two weeks ago. But he stuck with it and dropped 32 seconds off of his Davis time and walloped his PR by 18 seconds, and sailed home with a very respectable mark of 16:25.65.

So in all there were five out of six PRs in the 5000, and another strong PR in the 1500. Great job everyone, for running in conditions rivaling the 2011 PA-USATF cross country championships. frankly I think we can’t wait to see what everyone does on a dry day.

.Here is a link to the 2011 SF State Johnny Mathis results: http://www.sfstategators.com/documents/2012/3/24/Mathis_Results_032412.htm?path=wtrack

3/9 – Romp at the River! Berries Bury Field at NorCal10

They resumed where they left off; the Berry Masters increased their road win streak to five with an decisive win at the NorCal 10 Miler.  The first race of 2012 was in Redding, and unlike most winter events this riverside jaunt was done in overly warm conditions.  With temperatures in the 70s and a nice breeze the times were comparatively modest when lined up against previous results.   SCTC fielded an 8-man squad, hoping to piece together a respectable masters and seniors team.  Approximately 300 runners toed the line for the 10 mile event, but not a huge contingent of PA runners.  Despite a pre-reg roster which listed several of the top age-groupers, many did not show.  This made the club’s task a bit easier.

Short-distance specialist Jeff Mann took the lead early for the Berries, with Tim Keenan and Jeff Teeters not far behind.  Next came Alan Dehlinger and Mike Singleton (who drove up that morning from Modesto!).  Thom Trimble and Bill Salacuse, both running their first PA race in nearly a year, tagged along behind at about 6:30 pace.  Oh yeah, then came Bill Reed, testing out his newly-50 legs.  Newly-50 is the new 40!

Mile 1-ish Bridge and Path

Mile 1-ish Bridge and Path

The first three miles are rolling to flat and included a very scenic view of Mt. Lassen (the only kind there is, if you think about it), along with a trip across the Ribbon Bridge.  The warm weather made the cool tumbling waters of the Sacramento River below look quite enticing.   By 4 miles the fun and sightseeing was over as the course shot up a sizable hill.  Mann continued to lead with Keenan and Teeters in tow.  Reed was moving up quickly, yet politely.  All four were under 6 minute pace at halfway.  Mike, Alan, Thom and Bill S. followed in that order as they traversed the 1.5 mile residential loop.  Mann, the short-distance specialist was reminded of why it was his specialty when his calves began to complain.  Tim took the lead for the club, briefly, before he realized he might have gone out a smidge too fast for such semi-sweltering conditions.   And then alonnnng came Jeff T.  Much like the Republican Primary, with it’s a whack-a-mole leader of the moment, there was yet another front man.  Teeters’ term as club top gun was also brief, as smart-starter Bill Reed took the wheel of the victory express on the return leg.

Bill held the #1 spot to the finish, just missing the 1 hour mark (60 minutes is the new 55!).  Teeters was less than a minute back with a sub-61 while Tim and Jeff M finished shortly thereafter to give the team four men under 63 minutes.

Ribbon Bridge

Ribbon Bridge - 3.5 and 7 miles

Thom eventually caught and passed Alan, but Mike held him off to garner the 5th and last scoring spot on the masters team.  The winning masters team as it turned out.  Mike finished in the mid 66s while Thom just missed skating in under 67 (stupid clock!).  Alan was another minute back followed by Bill with a 70 minute effort.

Since there were no strong contenders in the masters field (or even weeny contenders to be honest), SCTC was able to drop Tim down to the 3-man senior team and allow Bill to score on the first place 40+ squad.  The 1.5x points race gave the masters a 15 point tally, while the 3-man senior squad scrounged 5th(behind all 4-amn teams) good for 9 points.  Both teams faired much better than the 2011 team, which saw the masters in 3rd and no senior team (No Points for YOU!).   More betterly, the arch-rival masters teams (Ags, WVJS, River City) were not able to scare up enough old farts to make a team, giving the Berries an excellent head start to another season title.   Knock on wood  (it’s the new steel!)

It’s legit…uh huh!

NorCal 10 Course Map