A gray Saturday morning welcomed runners to Malaga Cove for the return of the Coach’s Handicap Run, an intra-club run that began in Ed’s Manhattan Beach Track Club coaching days decades ago (though I am pretty sure that all the runners who started those races are all accounted for and not still on the course somewhere).

Over 30 Club Ed runners went to the starting line (according to their designated handicapped time) and dutifully followed the baby powder puffs along the street over the challenging six-mile course. “Well, there may be one or two hills on the course,” Coach Ed admitted, when asked about the degree of challenge ahead.”Just keep on chasing,” he advised.

And chase they did. Most were gung-ho about the run…Race Director Mark Silva was so enthusiastic about the course that he organized the race, marked the course at 5:30am, then jumped into the race at his handicap time and tried to catch all those ahead of him. Sharon Lotesto, back after a long absence, arrived late, slammed on the car brakes, jumped out of her car, and sprinted down the road to join in the fun. (For her inspiring sprint, Sharon was awarded the “Fastest Start of the Day”).

The running loop began down in Malaga Cove by the Palos Verdes Beach and Athletic Club, headed up Paseo del Mar to PV Drive, out along the bluffs, around PV High School, back along PV Drive, and down the hill to the start/finish line. Mark Kerper (“Nice Mark”) and Laura Guzman (ok, “Nice Laura”…although she is our only Laura) were the first two starters (largest handicaps) and the first two finishers (so you can bet those handicaps are going to be adjusted). Overall, Emily Anderson was the fastest female, in 39:45, and Humberto Sanchez was the fastest male, in 37:25 (note the 10K times and believe the coach when he says there are a few hills).

Metronome Factory Model Jake Courtney took home honors for knowing his capabilities by coming within a few hundredths of a second of his predicted run time (…and no, he didn’t stand near the finish line waiting for the clock to strike). Speedster Jon Megeff took home a flashy set of coconuts for his laid-back vacation cruise of the course (he is just coming back from a week-long case of the flu). Renee Williams Smith earned the Biggest Liar Award for declaring a really slow handicap time and then running a whole lot faster. Other award winners included Rick Dodson (who won a container of assorted nuts for his wild and crazy attempt to run 36 minutes on this course), Sabina Helton was our Warrior Runner (for her gutsy run just back from the flu), Sean Ryan ran away with the Baby Jogger Division (thanks to Casey Ryan, who slept most of the way), Pat Wickens grabbed the Old Guy Award (we can only hope to be running like Pat when we grow up!) , and Steve Notaro was awarded the Wiliest Veteran Runner, for bringing his knowledge of the original Coach’s handicap races on this course (circa 1988) to the current group of club runners.

When the race was over, the dust settled, the shouting done, and the excuses in full swing, we all enjoyed an overwhelming assortment of breakfast/brunch goodies and drinks. Thanks to Mark Silva for organizing the race, Dian Silva for taking care of awards, Renee Smith for providing timing support services, and all the runners who participated and brought an awesome table-full of fruits, cakes, drinks, and nourishment to share.

Club Ed Coach's Handicap 10K
Club Ed is announcing a race to run, a chance to equally compete, and a breakfast to eat (and just for the record, the Coach’s Handicap is the name of the race, not a comment about my physical or mental health…but that’s not important right now)…

Race Start: On Saturday morning, June 25, at 07;30am, the Race Director – the even-tempered, always supportive Mark Silva (okay, you know who) – will send the first Club Ed runner off onto the Coach’s Handicap Race. This is a 10K fun event, individually adjusted (based on your current 10K performance, or lack thereof!) to hold a race that you all can win…no literally, if we do this right, there should be one massive tie for first place!

How Our Handicapped Race Works: we identify a course to all race over (Done, courtesy of Mark and Ed, and the use of a course we set up 20 years ago when we did this as part of the Manhattan Beach Track Club), we collect everybody’s current 10K estimated finish time (each of you need to honestly report what you can run), we handicap the start of the race, giving the slowest runner a chance by giving them the biggest head start, adjusting everyone else’s start based on their predicted finish time,…and then we see who gets to the finish line – hopefully, everybody all at once (or close to each other).

Then, we have a big pot-luck breakfast and explain to each other why we didn’t run what we coulda/shoulda/woulda…so expect lots of discussion afterwards!

Five Awards:
Actual Overall Winner (first one to cover the course and get to the finish line)
First Male Finisher
First Female Finisher
Closest Predicted-to-Actual Finish Time
Best Excuse for Finish Performance

Register by sending your predicted current 10K time: (which will be used to handicap your start) to Mark Silva (silva4surf@verizon.net), or sign up at the track, or sign up at Club Ed Running on Facebook.

Pot-Luck Breakfast will be held immediately following the race:
Everybody bring something to drink (juice, water, sports drinks, etc)

Sign-up / Volunteer: to bring all kinds of goodies (fruit, breakfast burritos, bagels, cream cheese, lox, jam, margarine, butters (peanut, almond, mango, apple,…), muffins, doughnuts, croissants, sandwiches,…feed your friends; fatten up your competitors!

See you there!

Sat June 25, 2011 First Runner Starts at 07:30 AM
Malaga Cove School playing fields, Paseo Del Mar side (at the end of the street; right above the Palos Verdes Beach Club in Malaga Cove)
Questions – ask at a workout, or contact Mark or Ed

Several hundred runners turned out for the June 18 edition of the Manhattan Beach (MB) 5K, This twice-a-year event, run from the MB Pier to El Porto and back at low tide on the hard-packed sand, has become a local beach-racing institution (or maybe it’s just that anyone who wakes up early Saturday morning to race along the beach is ready for an institution?).  Whatever – we came, we saw, we ran and tried to kick sand, and when the sprinting was done, another fun race was in the books.

This year’s June version was a tough one – just the first 5 finishers broke 19 minutes, and jus the first 14 broke 20, Ezekial Glass (17yrs old) of Victorville got the victory in 18:11, followed closely by our own Humberto Sanchez (18:20), on his way back from the Boston Marathon. Humberto led the Club Ed charge, with Rich Gust (4th in 18:46), Jake Courtney (6th in 18:58), Nathalie Higley (9th in 19:11), Will Longyear (13th in 19:50) rounding out the top five club racers. It was Nathalie’s second race back from a basketball back injury, but showed she is quickly returning to form, as she was the First Woman to finish.

The race was notable for several reasons, among which was a local appearance of Masters running legend Shaheed Nolan, who at age 63, is still faster than most mortals; he finished in 18:51, good for 5th overall.

Working his way through the pack was Coach Ed, making his return to racing after almost a year of assorted injuries. The coach finished 25th overall, in 20:58, and was happy to win a first place age group Becker’s Bakery Cookie.

Over a dozen club members ran in the race (complete race results at resultsbyprimetime.com). The Coach had this perspective on the race: “Two things showed me I have more training to do…At first, I thought I was moving well from the start, but I realized I was running with a bunch of kids half my size and a fraction of my age. After several more minutes of running and breathing, I looked up and saw I was just getting to the Marine Station (only a half-mile into the race)… so I still have some training to do.”

Do YOU have some training to do? Come on out to the next club run, and let’s get going!

Saturday, June 18th
Race starts at 7:30AM
Kids Races start at 8:30AM
Register Online Before June 14 Sign-up here.

The 10th annual Manhattan BEACH 5k will be held the Saturday before Father's Day. Start your summer on the right foot by running, walking or baby-jogging the coolest course on the planet. Bring the family, watch the kids run in their own separate races, and spend the day at the beach.