Ed Avol Reporting

In a rare weekend-to-weekend scheduling, Club Ed racers visited Anaheim twice (two different venues) to compete in the USATF Club Road-Racing Grand Prix Series. June 11 had us running in atmospherically drizzly conditions in downtown Anaheim at the Northgate 5K (see previous story). On Father’s Day one week later, we were back rounding the Angels’ Stadium parking lot for the USATF Road Mile Championships in conditions of personal drizzle (namely, sweat) due to intense heat.

The race, the venue, the competition, and even the conditions were all singularly unique. A series of consecutive one-mile race heats was held, by age and sex, beginning at 0730 with a scheduled Wheelchair Division and culminating in an Elite Men’s Mile at 1045. Every 15 minutes, another race took off, orchestrated by an exuberant announcer and started by an obsessive USATF race official (you know, those people in the red coats with the starting guns).

This event had previously been held at the former El Toro Marine Base, on a one-mile straight-away course down one of the former runways, so there was some concern about the relocation, organization, and potential quality of the race. Happy to say, it all went pretty well (…aside from the 100+ degree temperature, which the race organizers didn’t have much control over).

The course was a “Lazy-J” configuration, with timed quarter-mile splits, and much of each race could easily be viewed from one or two vantage points. Delineated by concrete walls and bright orange rubber construction pylons, even Sharon Lotesto didn’t get lost!

There was the usual impressive (and ego-deflating) performances turned in by the speedy youth of the Equalizers Running Club – those 10 and 12-year olds are fast! Highlights of many of the kids’ races included the dads gamely trying to run alongside the final straightaway, cheering on their sons and daughters … and getting left behind by the flurry of fast feet.

It takes five USATF club members to score in most USATF Grand Prix road racing events (except for the marathon), and in a show of complete confidence in our runners, Club Ed entered just five runners (who competed in four different mile races). Aaron Munger impressively ran with the Elite Men, clocking in at 4:50 (the winning time was 4:17). Mike Cortez ran in one of the “kiddie” races (as Aaron likes to call them) and finished in 5:32. Sharon Lotesto crushed the opposition in the 60+ Women’s Division, rounding the course in 7:07. Rich Gust and Ed Avol gave chase in the 60+ Men’s, with Rich clocking a very respectable 5:24, and Ed demonstrating what marathon training does for leg lift and turnover, finishing in 6:10. There was awarded prize money for the top three finishers in each Division, so several Club Ed runners are now re-considering their professional career options…

About 165 runners made it to the Finish Line, and there was LOTS of space for each of YOU to be there next year! Congratulations to all our runners. The USATF July race (Semantica 15K) is in Santa Barbara on the 4th of July, and competes head-to-head with our club sponsor Village Runner’s 5K in Redondo Beach. Therefore, we will likely forego a team presence for the July edition of the club road racing series…BUT I HOPE TO SEE YOU ALL AT THE VILLAGE RUNNER 5K, RACING AND IN CLUB UNIFORMS!

(Ed Avol, Cub Reporter)

11Jun2016 – On a surprisingly damp morning in June, the 17th Annual Northgate Mall Anaheim 5K was held. Damp and overcast enough for thick mist (if not almost-drizzle), about 870 finishers did some slippin’ and slidin’ around a flat, fast, and competitive course in downtown Anaheim. Runners from the various Orange County clubs, especially Cal Coast, Snail’s Pace, Runners’ High, and Southern California Roadrunners, were out in force for this USATF Grand Prix club race…and Club Ed racers joined in the fun.

We all lined up on a misty morning, waved and shouted at the Go-Pro drone drifting over the race crowd, were impressed by the singer’s rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner, and were started by some of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Strike Force “cheerleader-like interactive squad” (sort of the Major League Baseball version of Laker Girls).

The race course is basically a big square, with long asphalt straightaways and a protected lane for running. A 1¼ mile straightaway down Anaheim Boulevard starts the run, which then turns right along Ball Road for several hundred yards, goes the mile back up Harbor Boulevard, then finishes with a (hopefully quick) quarter-mile push back along Broadway, followed by a few hundred yards of some quick lefts back to the finish line. 

Roosevelt Cook of Cal Coast Track Club was the overall male winner in 14:56, and Leilani Rios won the women’s race with an impressive 17:11. Both of these talented runners are 36yrs old, so “thirty-somethings” seem to have made a statement on Race Day. Not being thirty-something for almost thirty-something years, I was NOT in that part of the race… but our formerly-thirty-something star Aaron Munger WAS there, finishing 12th overall in 16:15, to lead the club runners in. Aaron was just getting over a bad cold the week of the race, ran the first two race-miles in just over 10 minutes, then had a bit-of-a-cold-relapse but hung on for a 5:25 last mile. Iron-man Rich Gust showed he is getting back into race shape, clocking in at 18:10. Brad Angle ran a smart, strategic, and quick 20:10, passing the coach (me) about half-way through the race and holding me off at the end – nice to see that Brad remembered we are “strangers to each other” late in the race, but sorry to see I was on the receiving/receding end!

Other Club Ed runners - and there were impressively several of them - finished as follows: Karina Bird (139th OA, 22:13); Jim Newman (160th OA, 22:51); Sharon Lotesto (189th OA, 24:02); Julie McKinney (233rd OA, 25:20); Patty Humphrey (465th OA, 33:11).

For some, these finishing times were recent PRs. For others, it was an indication that training is either helping or indicated. Thanks to all who helped us to be a presence at the race and earn us a place on the club road-racing results board…I don’t know what that place is yet, since it takes several days to work out the standings, verify the results, change the names to protect the innocent, and so on…but we will soon find out how we are doing!

Next inter-club race: The Halo Mile, Sunday June 19, at Angels Stadium…stay tuned!