I’m trying to decide how best to describe the Coach’s Handicap course, in words that are printable and postable…a challenging 10K? a scenic run? A wake-up call for the weekend?

However you describe it, over 30 club members and friends (well, they were friends before the run, at least) gathered in Malaga Cove on Saturday morning July 21 for the annual running of the Coach’s Handicap Race. On a course well-marked by Race Director Mark Silva, runners began leaving the starting line at 7:30am, based on their estimated current 10K time. All estimates were reviewed and “adjusted”, as necessary, by Race Official Jake Courtney, who was heard to say on more than one occasion – “That’s not your 10K time! That’s pure ^&$(#*! I don’t buy it. I’m giving you a new handicap start time…”

Unlike other races, the handicap race gives a headstart to those expecting to need a little more time to cover the course. Faster runners are intentionally held back, start last, and try to catch as many runners as possible. If the handicap estimates are accurate and everyone runs according as predicted, there should theoretically be one massive tie of all participants at the finish line….but that rarely happens.

Still, starting times varied by over 40 minutes…and the first finisher was only 8 minutes ahead of the last one. Afterwards, we enjoyed a potluck breakfast highlighted by lots of donuts, homemade entrees, and on-the-spot cooking by Mark Shalvarjian.

Emily Anderson (and son Owen) were first across the finish line, winning both the baby jogger division and the race. They were followed, not quite two minutes later, by Sean Ryan, pushing son Casey in their baby jogger (so maybe the course favors baby joggers?). Shortly thereafter, the street began to fill with runners stumbling in, one after the other.

In addition to overall race winners Anderson and Ryan, awards were presented for the finishing closest to predicted time (Diane Silva, within 1 second! Corrine Schratz, within 15 seconds; Chris DeWitt, within 11 seconds), getting lost or running off the course (Francis Calub, who attempted a right turn within 100m of the start though the course was straight ahead (a city sign was posted that said “Keep to the Right”, so he did!)), working hard (Karina Bird, who earned a bag of Jelly Bellies to get that sugar high), and making it look too easy (Jim Newman, who went home with a National Lampoon’s “Vacation” DVD). ..and we awarded Marcio a toy clock to learn how to more accurately read time (his prediction and estimation was way slower than his actual run).

All in all, a fun time was had by all, we got in a good workout, and nobody got lost (not even Sharon!). Congratulations to all, and see you next year for the 2013 ed-ition!
Coach's HCP 10K results 7/21/2012
Runner's Name Actual Finish Time Submitted 10K Estimate Assigned HCP Start Actual Run Time Awards
Emily Anderson 69:16:00 51:31 23.29 45:47:00 1st female
Sean Ryan 71:05:00 51:31 23.29 47:36:00 1st male
Marcio 71:33:00 27:30 44:03:00 (way off on hcp time - awarded a play clock)
Hermosa Chuck 71:40:00 46:00 29.00 42:40:00
Mike Kraemer 73:53:00 42:00 35.00 38:53:00
Alison Atkinson 74:06:00 29:30 44:24:00
Joe Robinson 74:37:00 43:00 35.00 39:37:00
Bryan Johnston 74:42:00 44:00 31.00 43:42:00
Diane Silva 75:00:00 45:30 29.30 45:30:00 closest predicted (1 sec)
Chris DeWitt 75:11:00 38:00 37.30 37:30:00 closest predicted (11 sec)
Corrine Schratz 75:15:00 75:00 0.00 75:00:00 closest predicted (15 sec)
Sharon Lotesto 75:15:00 53:00 25.00 50:15:00
Mark Townes 75:17:00 48:00 27.00 48:17:00
Sal Dimatteo 75:18:00 44:00 31.00 44:18:00
Tami Shalvarjian 75:41:00 45:45 31.30 44:11:00
Julia Fretschi 75:48:00 57:00 18.00 57:18:00
Humberto Sanchez 75:48:00 35:15 39.45 35:57:00
Rich Gust 76:04:00 37:45 37.15 38:49:00
Jim Newman 76:10:00 47:00 29.00 47:10:00 just cruisin' - Vacation DVD
Steve Notaro 76:10:00 44:00 31.00 45:10:00
Jason Zellen 76:15:00 46:00 29.00 47:15:00
Karina Bird 76:19:00 48:00 27.00 49:19:00 bonk relief (worked hard) - jelly bellies
Francis Calub 76:19:00 41:36 33.24 42:54:00 1st to get lost (went off-course in first 100m!) - trail mix
Pat Saraceno 76:33:00 47:00 28.00 48:33:00
Sam Dillman 76:34:00 38:40 36.20 40:05:00
Mihaela David 76:50:00 48:30 26.30 50:20:00
Jim Torii 76:52:00 43:00 32.00 44:52:00
Andy McKay 77:05:00 18.00 59:05:00
Tricia Ryan 77:15:00 53:40 21.20 55:55:00

Looking for any excuse to avoid the Coach's Handicap Race (not really), our own Jon Megeff travelled to Pasadena to compete in the regional Masters Track and Field Championship. Here's how it went, in Jon's own words:

"It was the USATF Masters West Region Championships, a two day event (Saturday and Sunday). The event wasn't on my radar or calendar, until Paul (Cooney) sent me an email about it several months ago. He mentioned that the meet record for the 10,000 meters in my AG was set back in 1977, and in his words, "it was time to be broken.". I went to the website and noticed the record was 34:38; reachable indeed considering I ran 34:11 at Super Bowl Sunday. And I don't count last year's 32:58 at Dana Point, because that course was short. So I went out there and toed the line on Saturday at 7:00 am with a sparse field of only five or so other runners, but my focus was really on the clock anyways. After the gun went off, I quickly opened with a 77 on my first quarter but then settled into my pace and ran even 5:30s for the first two miles. I fell off the pace on mile three and struggled over the next two miles, causing me to doubt if I would be able to get the record. With 800 to go, I took a look at the clock and realized I would need a sub 2:30 to get it. I'm not sure what my last 800 split was, but my last 400 was a 71 and I crossed the line in 34:34, beating the old record by 4 seconds. Before I left, I had a conversation with the Meet Director who told me about the previous record holder, Jerry Smartt, who had been an Olympian. A Google search confirmed Jerry Smartt was an alternate in the 10,000 at the 1956 Olympics in Australia. Jerry continued to run and race Masters well into his 80s, and until his death in June of this year."

Out of modesty, what Jon doesn't point out is that he ran virtually alone the whole way, lapping the rest of the field several times in the course of the race! Impressive to break a meet record that has stood for over 30 years, and even more impressive to do it on your own...Congratulations, Jon!

Coach Ed

Coach's Handicap 10K

11:28:00 AM

Head-To-Head Racing? Age-Adjusted Performance?

Announcing…the 2012 Edition of the Coach’s Handicap Run & Breakfast!

For those who remember (or still try to forget), this intra-club event pits you against your teammates, taking into account your current level of physical fitness…or lack thereof.

Give me your HONEST estimate of how fast you can run a 10K right now, and we will handicap your starting time, and run a “fitness-adjusted” 10K in Palos Verdes on Saturday morning July 21. In this race, slower runners start first with the biggest time adjustments, and we will hold back the faster runners…if we do this right, there should be a shoulder-to-shoulder tie (of everyone) at/near the finish line.

So come on out and be a part of a unique event…Run the race, then stay for breakfast!

WHEN: Sat July 21, First Runner starts at 7:30 AM
WHERE: Malaga Cove School playing fields (Paseo Del Mar side, at the end of the street, just above the Palos Verdes Beach Club in Malaga Cove)
WHAT: a hilly 10K course along Paseo Del Mar, out and back from Malaga Cove School
WHO: Open to all Club Ed runners
HOW: Race Director (and Head Handicapper) Mark Silva will “adjust” your start times, based on your current estimated 10K (NOTE - we reserve the right to adjust “your” adjust if we think you are messing with us…)
WHY: just because…

(What’s makes more sense than to run your guts out, then stuff yourself?)

Sign-up / Volunteer to bring all kinds of goodies (juice, water, sports drinks, fruit, breakfast burritos, bagels, cream cheese, lox, muffins, doughnuts, croissants, sandwiches,…feed your friends; fatten up your competitors!

Club Ed Runners Race and Kick Off the Fourth

On a cool, humid, and overcast morning, dozens of Club Ed runners, and 1000s of So Cal runners, joggers, and walkers, turned out to participate in the 19th Annual Village Runner Fourth of July 5K in Redondo Beach. It was another successful and well-organized run, with over 2400 finishers of all ages, speeds, and sizes in the 5K, and hundreds more in the kids’ races.

Favorable racing conditions brought fast times in the front of the race (although they must have been all used up by the time they got back to me…). Aaron Sharp, 32yrs old, of Port Hueneme set a torrid pace and won in 14:45, with Jacques Sallberg, 37yrs, of Pasadena tracking him in 15:01, and local sensation David Cardona of Torrance, 20 yrs, garnering third in 15:18.

The women’s section was also a competitive one, with willowy Tanya Zeferjahn, 28yrs, of San Clemente winning in 16:49, followed by a spritely Juliane Masciana, 27yrs, of Austin TX in 17:15, and our own amazing Nathalie Higley, 42yrs, third in 17:33.

More than 30 teammates raced in uniform (and others may have been out there incognito, so apologies if I missed them), and two-thirds of them finished in the top four in their age groups!

Eight Club Ed runners were age group winners -- Humberto Sanchez, Kaci Bathurst, Jon Megeff, Tami Shalvarjian, Rich Gust, Renee Williams-Smith, Ed Avol, and Monyean Acuna - - (nice work!), showing our strength in the Masters’ divisions. An impressive club racing debut was turned in by Tami Shalvarjian, who is quickly becoming one of the go-to team; she finished in 21:04, and won her age group (45-49yrs). The race was also witness to an inspiring show of resolve, as Andy McKay, who a relatively few months ago was seriously injured in a bike accident, showed he is determined to get back on the racing circuit, finishing in 25:54.

The 5K course, along the Redondo Esplanade from the Riviera Village to Torrance Boulevard and back, is a bit hillier and a little slower than first anticipated, but it was great to see all of you out and to see you racing. I think you can all still do better, so come on out to one (or more) of the next club runs, and let’s work on that turnover, strength, and speed.

Congratulations on all who ran, thanks to all our teammates who cheered us on from the sidelines (and reminded us to stay connected and pump our arms!),…and on to the next race!

Note: complete race results available at: 5K Results