Small Club Showing, But Big Results at Magic Shoe 5K 
(Ed Avol - Running Reporter)

Days of heat, fire, and smoke failed to deter our racers from travelling down to Corona Del Mar for the Magic Shoe 5K. This is a great road race well-organized by the Cal Coast Running Club, with collected used running shoes going to those less fortunate. Through this race, Cal Coast has provided over 60,000 pairs of running shoes to assorted running programs, homeless shelters, churches, and those needing a little help…so it’s a worthwhile cause AND a great 5K!

Still, Club Ed members were a little hesitant to go race, given that 15 of our racers were still recovering from the Boston Marathon, and the prior week had been filled with unseasonable heat from a weather event and unexpected smoke from nearby San Diego fires. Fortunately, the weather cooled a little, the winds relented, and the race ended up being just a bit warm but not too smoky. 

Race-wise, the first three 5K finishers crossed the Finish Line within 2 seconds of each other. Juan Paredes officially got the win in 14:34, with Roosevelt Cook (14:35) and Brandon Bethke (14:36) chasing him through the finish.  On the women’s side, newcomer Dann Mineo from Redondo Beach, just about to begin her medical residency at Harbor General, surprised the field to win in 17:08 (but rich and Ed had noticed her in the race warmup and predicted she would be fast). Club Ed newcomer Kate Myers showed just one of the many reasons we’re excited to have her in the group, nabbing second overall in 17:35.  Rachel Baker of Redondo Beach (and the Janes Racing Team) finished third in 17:42.

In the club racing category, several local racing groups were present, including literally hundreds of Cal Coast runners (the race hosts and organizers), seemingly hundreds of Equalizers (Coach Jerry’s incredibly talented kids from Placentia), and assorted Southern Cal Road Runners, Janes, Club Ed, Snail’s Pace, Jamul Toads, etc.

Aaron Munger and Humberto Sanchez led the way for Club Ed, pulling each other along until Aaron got the win in 16:14 (with Humberto close behind in 16:23). Both were recent PRs for these two rapidly-improving athletes. Bill Weber showed the strength of youth, running 17:28 just weeks after his 3:01 at Boston. Kate Myers was next, cruising along in the race with headphones, until she realized the race was about over, running 17:35 and serving notice that she will be rapidly moving to the front. Rich Gust finished in an impressive 17:45, demonstrating he is most definitely on the comeback trail while notching a friendly win over perennial co-competitor Tania Fischer of the Janes. Nathalie Higley made a gutsy showing for the club, despite being unable to breathe due to respiratory allergies (so who needs to breathe to run?). Though disappointed in her 18:10 showing, her presence helped the team and made a statement about her commitment to the group…and though not up to “Nathalie” standards, she was still fast enough to win her age group.

James Reinhardt made an unexpected showing, running 18:51 while in town to visit high school friends. Former club member Paul King (19:01) also ran the race, and asked Coach Ed-- halfway through the race-- how Cal Coast had managed to convinced us all to come down and run. Coach Ed was unable to answer, due to an increasingly pressing need for oxygen from about the one-mile mark to the finish line. Nevertheless, Coach Ed did show he is also on the comeback, finishing in 19:44 and winning his division (first-left-handed-old-bald-guy-with-a-bum-knee-and-a-long-list-of-excuses).

Sharon Lotesto was there to race, fighting through the back injury she suffered earlier in the week. In typical Sharon-esque fashion, she ran tough and finished in 23:20, good for 2nd in her age group. Rounding out our travelling team, Irene Mapua ran a respectable 25:19, just a prelude to future faster times as she gets back into racing form.

We had fun, generally ran fast, and re-confirmed that age, size, gender, and excuses don’t well-predict finish times… we look forward to the next starting line, and hope to see you there!