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!