11/24 – McKinley Goes SACPOP On PA, Strawberries 9 Points Short

Individual Results

Team Results

Last Sunday was a major day for the fleet-footed Canyonists throughout the Bay Area. Fortunately for our stalwart competitors, the weather gods were most gracious as the day dawned with a light fog that burned off to crystal clear skies and virtually ideal conditions.  On center stage for our club was the heralded arrival of the PA-USATF cross country championships in Golden Gate Park, which delivered an ample supply of drama full measure.

First on the docket was the women’s 4.12-mile race, and the course was in perfect condition, compared to most years when things get sloppy due to the rains.Due to some last-minute obligations and obstacles, just two women made it to the start line. (Relatively) new mother Anne Ruminsky ran a solid 27:21, and she was followed by Kimberly Sanchez, whose 28:15 had to represent the most disappointing 53-second improvement over September’s identical race on record. She has been on fire lately and we were hoping for a sub-28:00. Next time for sure!

The master’s 6.19-mile race featured Coach Carl Rose, who was content to get in his daily exercise while doubling with coaching duties. He ran 45:14. Bill Brusher ran 49:18 to place fairly well in the seniors division.

The showcase event for the Strawberry Canyon Track Club was the open men’s race and it was an epic barn burner which netted an overall bittersweet result. From what we can delineate from the very murky overall team scoring we ended up taking 5th overall, a scant few points behind the strong New Balance Silicon Valley and Sacramento Racing Association Elite clubs.

We gave it our very best effort to beat these sponsored clubs, and came up a tiny bit shy, a net result which dropped the club into a tie with the potent West Valley Track Club for a share of the PA-USATF Grand Prix championship on total points. That being said, everyone showed up with their heart and mettle, and we delivered as well as we could on race day.

Special mention must be made of Jonathan McKinley, whose race explosion shocked the entire Pacific Association. Throughout the race I could hear spectators muttering things like: “Who the (expletive) is THAT guy?” Or “He’s going to blow up soon.” “I dunno about that, he looks awfully good.” Indeed Jonathan held on for a blistering 30:48 mark and 5th-place finish, an astounding performance which destroyed our existing club record.

He was followed by Dan Chebot, who’s quietly delivered a monster season, regaining and exceeding his old form from college. He pulled off a very remarkable 32:28, which is over 75 seconds better than his former PR on that course. Sean McFarland was our steady Eddie for the season, balancing a rigorous academic schedule with training and racing duties, notching a solid 32:39 performance.  Kris Brown (33:32) and Dan Duett (33:39), who closed with a hard-charging kick, rounded out the club’s scoring five.

Also in the mix were George Torgun (34:18), Rory Runser (34:46, almost a 3:00 PR on that course!), and Richard LeDonne (36:26).

Here are some tidbits about Jonathan’s monstrous race, which is destined to go down as one of the most uniquely astonishing and highest rated performances in club (and maybe Pacific Association) history.

1.       No one in our club has ever broker 32:00 on that course, let alone 31:00.

2.       Jonathan ran 2:00 (800); 4:22 (Mile); 9:51 (2-mile) in high school (Duxbury, MA).

3.       Jonathan is a Cal undergraduate, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering. He is likely to walk on to the open arms of the Cal track team soon.

4.       Jonathan had not run any cross country races since high school until he opened up the season for us in November, and he’s never raced that far in his life.

5.       Jonathan’s favorite event is the 1500/Mile. He PR’d with a 3:58.45 last spring.

6.       Jonathan spent several weeks off of running earlier in the fall, pool running while recuperating from a bout of shin splints. He is effectively combining land running with pool running.

7.       Jonathan tangled with and convincingly defeated several notable US Olympic Trials qualifiers. If it was just one guy having an off day it is one thing, but this race was no fluke.

8.       The look of sheer shock and awe on the faces of people from other clubs (and spectators) coming over to check him out after the race was … priceless.

9.       This was only the beginning as many seem to believe a star was born on Sunday. This massive performance got everyone’s attention. My sentiment, congratulate the man who ran 6.19 miles.

10.   The pizza after the race was pretty darn good too!

Golden Gate Park  PA-USATF results:

WOMEN (4.12 miles)
Anne Ruminsky 27:21
Kimberly Sanchez-Dias 28:15

Carl Rose 45:14
Bill Brusher 49:18

OPEN MEN (6.19 miles)
5. Jonathan McKinley 30:48
24. Dan Chebot 32:28
28. Sean McFarland 32:39
35. Kris Brown 33:32
36. Dan Duett 33:39
40. George Torgun 34:18
45. Rory Runser 34:46
66. Richard Ledonne 36:26

Proliferation of ImPRessive PeRformaces at Marin

Blame Thom Trimble

If the Marin 10K was a dessert, it would be an ice cream sundae, albeit on Monday. This sundae would be loaded with Strawberry topping. Strawberries topping their personal best that is! Who could have PRedicted the PReponderance of PRs at this event? PeRhaps it could be PRedicated on the PRecipitous downhill nature of this flat course, or the PRoclivity of tailwind over the entire loop route? PRobably not. PRformance enhancing drugs? SPaRe me. Its talent baby!

The PRuning of PRevious bests was no doubt due to the PRudent and PeRsistent PReparation of our PRoud members. That, and maybe the fact it was held on a Monday; the day of speed and pain that is familiar to all those who endure the Coach Carl treatment at Edwards each week. You can’t just buy a fast race; you have to make many small installment efforts over many months to earrrrn one.

Enough of the annoying PR-isms. Wah happened? What happened was nearly two dozen Berries traveled to a race known for fast times, fast competition and a kick-ass track finish. Boo yah! It is also one of the few remaining Classic 10K events left in the Bay Area. Devil Mountain? Nah. Mercury News? Gone. Run for the Parks? AWOL. Run to the Far Side? We miss you Gary! All this talent from the East Bay and it’s not till now that many of the Berries are finally reaping the times so indicative of their hard work. The 10K PR was once the gold standard in determining the “wheels” a runner had. “What’s your sign?” Get out of here. In RunLandia, at least back in the 80s and 90s, we judged one’s worthiness with “What’s your 10K PR?” “Bob’s a mid-34” or “Wendy’s looking to crack 40” may seem like pant size estimation or a significant birthday to most sedentarians, but the real runners knew exactly what that meant.

The parade of PRs was led by Digger Lauter with his 32:10; a totally different zip code from his previous PR. Like a minute. Whoa! Right on his tail in 32:11 was ex-Prez Joe Binder. Joe, fresh off an amazing 100K Worlds effort, decided to take a zero off his race distance and sprint a 10K. Who says ultra guys can’t throw down a quality “middle-distance” effort. Not me. Do not look for Joe to be running the 110 HH any time soon, however, despite the extrapolated time prediction of low 14s.

Following those speedy guys on the “A” team was a somewhat-injured Tom Haxton gutting out a 32:54 and recent club transferee George Torgun (33:45) to claim the 3-4 spots. Completing the scoring team, and yet another PR to boot, was Jack Wallace. Jack whacked nearly a half a minute off his previous 6.2 mile best with a 34:28. This PR will not last long if Jack can find another friendly 10K soon. You betcha. As a team, the open guys placed about 3rd or 4th.

Other open notables from the Berry Patch, making up the “B” team, include Bernie Jones in 34:48, new-member Craig Wildman in 35:33 and Josh Seeherman in a PR 37:39. Long way for a two-lapper ya know.

On the more seasoned-runner side, a few Strawberries showed that their expiration date is still well down the road. Darin Banks hammered out an amazing 34:31 to place 5th in the masters div. Following politely close behind was Rob Elia with a 34:52. Neither were PRs, but when you have been so fast for so long, PRs don’t come knockin quite so often.

Tim Keenan continued his streak of 50-54 blue-ribbon efforts with a near-club-record time of 35:28. Finishing 3rd and 4th in that division were Barry Smith (36:22) and Jeff Teeters (36:27). Tim was dropped down to the masters team to earn us a 2nd place finish, while Barry and Jeff led the 4-man senior squad to yet another victory. The three-four hitters on that awesome senior foursome were Thom “back from Oz” Trimble and Eric Gulikson (PR effort of 39:15). Four in a row baby! Watch yer back Spurs! We now officially lead both the masters and seniors LDR Grand Prix. First time in like…ever.

Chris Dodge took up 4th-man duties on the 40’s squad with a masters-PR time of 37:05. Fifth man Bill Salacuse joined Josh on the “38 Train” , which arrived well ahead of schedule in a 37:34 PR. Next stop for Bill and Josh – a 10K pace that starts with a five! Finger-sizzle on that! The masters managed to grab 2nd place ahead of strong Pamakids and Excelsior teams but just behind a resurgent Aggie quintet. Winning is nothing with a weak field. This year’s masters teams are definitely a big step up from year’s past. Makes winning more worthinessy.

Holding down the 4 and 5 holes for the solid open “B” team were Mike Singleton in 38:20 and da coach Carl. Carl gave his all (and even some of his “some”) over that last 300m on the track, to just crack the 40 minute barrier – 39:59 gun (39:56 chip). Carl, who registered under the name of “C Rose” can now use his full name at the next race. Dassa nize.

On the women’s side of the Berry Basket, Anne Ruminsky charged in just under 39 min, with a chip time of 38:58 to claim 29th female, and 8th spot on the club 10K record list. High Schooler Julia Gulikson nearly reeled in her dad with a 39:25. Just 10 seconds down. No wonder dad ran a PR! Her time was good for numero uno in the under 20 division. The PA is hereby warned.

On to the MILE!! (July 15 in San Rafael) BE THERE!!!