The time is near for you harriers to get  in your closets, find those dusty X-C shoes and go out and get dirty.

If you haven’t registered with the Pacific Association of USA Track and Field, it’s time now; go online to pausatf.org

The Spartans Running Club is registered with PAUSAT&F for 2012, club number 38-0154.


Date Race Location
**08/18/12 12th Annual UC Santa Cruz XC Challenge Santa Cruz
**08/25/12 20th Annual Phil Widener Empire Open Santa Rosa
**09/01/12 2nd Annual Rebels XC Challenge Sacramento
   09/09/12 8th Annual Garin Park XC Challenge (note Sunday race date) Hayward
**09/15/12 NorCal XC Challenge Redding
   09/23/12 27th Annual Golden Gate Park Open (note Sunday race date) San Francisco
**09/29/12 14th Annual Presidio Challenge San Francisco
**10/06/12 4th Annual Willow Hills XC Open Folsom
**10/13/12 15th Annual Shoreline Open Mountain View
**10/27/12        3rd Annual Ancil Hoffman Challenge Sacramento
    11/04/12     17th Annual John Lawson Tamalpa Challenge (note Sunday race date) Marin Headlands
**11/18/12 27th Annual PA Cross Country Championships (note Sunday race date) San Francisco
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Rebels Cross Country Challenge Recap

The Rebels tried to usher us into the 21st century with the recordkeeping and scoring of the race. It was a partial success at best. Chip timing, which is almost ubiquitous at marathons and road races, made its first appearance at a PA cross country event. Also, same day registrants used a computer to complete their entry instead of pen and paper. The first hint that something was amiss came during the Men’s Open race when they announced some of the masters race runners, including our own Steve Radigan as finishing the Open race. I found a number of disparities in the posted results and I am sure there are more. For example:

· I finished just slightly ahead of another runner, probably less than a half a second, yet the next runner is listed eleven seconds behind me.

· Carlos Siquieros Sr. is not listed in the results even though he ran and finished.

· Julius Ratti is shown as finishing two minutes ahead of me.

· Evidently, in the last week since the Empire Open, Nick celebrated three birthdays because his age was listed as 57. Although, maybe Nick is luckier than a Tamalpa runner who had ten years subtracted from his age and is now a Masters runner instead of a Senior competitor.

The results did not list team affiliations for any of the runners, so trying to figure out our team placing was more challenging than usual. I’m fairly certain that our Super Seniors got third, just 3 points behind Buffalo Chips. It looks like Tamalpa was able to scrape together three runners to take first. The Seniors probably finished sixth (but who can be sure), behind Empire, Rebels, Golden Valley Harriers, WVJS and Pamakids. It turns out that we took fifth last week at Empire (better than my initial estimate of sixth) because Pamakids only had three PA registered runners instead of four. Let’s see if they clear that up this week.

Otherwise, the Rebels put on a good race. The course was well marked and there were lots of volunteers to make sure that no one strayed off of the course. The start was not terribly wide, but it was not congested either. The course was more dusty than advertised and footing was a bit dicey and rocky during the first mile. However, the only shade was in the first mile. The course was relatively flat except for the hill at the beginning (and also at the end, since we came back the same way) and a hill at about the 1-1/2 mile mark. They even had a water stop (staffed by the Wheezer) and a Port-a-Potty at the 2-1/2 mile mark. Overall, it is a fast course.

The women’s race was only 5k (instead of the 7k for the men’s races). Their course was the same, except for the out and back portion (in the fourth mile of our race) was deleted from theirs. As I am writing this and trying to recap the women’s race, I just noticed that they have recalled the results from the PA website.

It was a good day for Spartan harriers. Everyone got PR’s for the course. The weather was warm, but not brutally hot. Sal Marquez was our only Masters entrant and first runner to cross the line. The Seniors team was comprised of Nick, Sal Martinez, Art and myself. Super Seniors team was Steve, Kurt, Lino and Cisco. It was good to see Lino out for his inaugural race. It was also good to see Leroy out there cheering for us. He had a medical emergency last Wednesday (the doctors still don’t know exactly what happened) and was not able to run. I know it lifted my spirits before the three mile mark to have Leroy cheering me on.

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Empire Open Recap

The results are now posted on the PAUASTF website http://www.pausatf.org/data/2011/XCEMP2011.html. The preliminary indications are that our Seniors team took sixth behind Empire A, WVJS, Pamakids, Tamalpa and Empire B.

It was overcast and cool as the Spartan chariot headed up towards the Redwood Empire. We arrived about an hour early for the 9:00 am Masters race, which was the first race of the day. The sun didn’t really come out until after our race, so it was somewhat cool, although humid. The course was more beautiful than I remembered but much rockier then I remembered. The scree fall at doublecross dam was not angled towards the bottom as before, so it was much steeper and more treacherous. The blackberry bushes along the dirt path next to the lake have grown larger and narrowed the path in some places to single track. (Note to berry pickers – don’t pick any blackberries in the area adjacent to the start line, Art and I pissed there).

Five intrepid Spartans toed the starting line, Art, Nick, Sal, myself and Sal’s nephew, also named Sal. Sal’s nephew, who is 42, was the first Spartan to cross the finish in 22:19. He would be a fine addition to our team, if we had four other teammates to run with him. Ex-Spartan, Jose Pina, running for WVTC, won the masters race for the second week in a row. WVTC only had four masters runners, not enough for a full team. If we could get a few other masters (maybe Tom Gardin), maybe we could entice Jose to come back and run for us.

The newly minted 50 year old duo from Empire, Don Stewart and Ty Strange were the first two seniors in. They finished a second apart. Arturo Rodriguez led the Super Seniors and Carl Petersen triumphed in a tight Veterans race in which the first three finishers were 8 seconds apart.

Nick continued to improve over his 2010 performances, as he finished almost two minutes ahead of last year’s time. Sal is holding the line as he finished in approximately the same time as last year. Art is coming back from an injury and doesn’t have the necessary endurance yet, but it was good for him to get a race under his belt and start to get ready for the upcoming races. The last time I ran Empire was five years ago and I was about 1-1/2 minutes slower, but I was encouraged that I beat a couple runners who had beaten me at Santa Cruz and finished closer to others.

The nice thing about being the first race, is that you watch the other races and not have to worry about your race or warming up for it. The Open Men’s race was next and it was over before you knew it. Jonathan Charleworth (WVTC) won the race in 17:24. Aggies runners swept the next three places and looked to be well on their way for a team victory, until their 4th runner came in 17th. It was up to Jeff Hongo to complete the Aggies Open team and he finished 30th. We’ll see if that holds up.

The women’s race was last. Julie Nacouzi was the runaway winner. Nacouzi, who is only 17 years old, was the western regional champion and third in the National Footlocker Cross Country championship for high school girls. She matriculated at nearby Montgomery High School (less than a mile from Spring Lake Park), but somehow was representing Buffalo Chips (go figure). Chris Lundy, from Impala was second and Valerie Young was third overall and first master. Sarah Tabbutt was the first senior women and newly minted Super Senior Sharlet Gilbert (there’s a blast from the past) was first in her division.

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Santa Cruz Cross Country Challenge Recap

The results are already posted on the PA website. http://www.pausatf.org/data/2011/XCSCRUZ2011.html The preliminary indications are that the Super Seniors finished in a tie for second with Buffalo Chips and the Seniors team took sixth.

The day started ominously enough. It was overcast and drizzly as we headed up the hill on highway 17 to Santa Cruz. Traffic slowed to a crawl near Santa Cruz as we encountered an overturned vehicle. It was hard to tell what happened, but it appears that multiple vehicles were involved and that ex-Spartan Jeff Hongo’s vehicle was one of those disabled by the accident. Thankfully, Jeff was unhurt. However, he didn’t make it to the race.

It’s a good thing they separated the Men’s Open and Master’s race, because it was a really big turnout. So big, that all the parking lots were full. The women’s race got started while we were still looking for parking space. Newly minted 50 years Linda Somers Smith won the four mile race in a time of 23:04. Her central coast colleague, Nicole Hagobian finished 2nd in 23:18. Most of the top finishers were youngsters from Impala and New Balance Silicon Valley teams. However, it was impressive to see some of older women runners taking the youngsters to school. Christine Kennedy (age 56) ran 25:40 and Sara Freitas (age 53) ran 26:10. That’s how fast you had to run to finish in the top 3 for women’s seniors. Former Spartan, Clare Saxton ran 25:44 to finish 13th overall.

We had seven Spartans toeing the line when the verbal command (which took some of us by surprise) came to start the race. It was the usual narrow start, but not as congested as usual, since the open and master’s races were divided. Ex-Spartan Jose Pina, who may have been the unlikely beneficiary of Jeff Hongo’s accident, won the masters race in 22:35. Rebel Rousers followed closely behind in second and third. Don Stewart, another newly minted 50 year old won the senior’s division in 23:21. Don Porteous, was the first super senior in 27:30 and the ageless Hans Schmid was first in the Veteran’s with a 28:22. The race went well for most of the Spartans. We’re not as fast as we once were or now want to be. In most cases, being able to toe the line is victory. Steve Radigan, who has trouble running faster than nine minute miles in training, ran sub 7:40 pace and was nearly two minutes faster than last year. Nick Butterfield, whose been dabbling in myofascial release to combat injuries, was also nearly two minutes faster than last year. Sal Martinez, was there to defend his home course and he also ran faster than last year. I didn’t run Santa Cruz last year, but was only five seconds slower than my time from two years ago. Toeing the line was definitely a victory for Kurt considering that he missed all of 2010 with knee problems. Hopefully, there are no ill effects for Kurt’s knee afterwards. Our last two finishers made important contributions for both our teams. Cisco, was our fourth super-senior. Although he didn’t score for our team, he beat the third runner from Buffalo Chips. That bumped the Chips score up by one more point and allowed us to tie them for second place. As the fifth Super Senior, Leroy as available to backfill our seniors team. If we had not had him, we would finished 8th, behind two other teams (Pamakids and Golden Valley Harriers) who had three person teams that placed higher than our first three runners.

Thanks to Carol George (Kurt’s girlfriend) for snapping pictures of us in the homestretch. It was great to look at ourselves running in full stride towards the finish line (as opposed to our tortured strides in the middle of the race). Finally, a fond farewell to Sam Hirybayashi. Most of you probably know that he succumbed to cancer (at the age of 84) during the offseason. It just wasn’t the same, not being able to see his smiling face at the end of the masters race. What an inspiration he was.

The day of racing concluded with the open men’s race. Strawberry Canyon Track and Adidas Transport appeared to dominate the team competition. There was scintillating stretch sprint between Kevin Pool of the Rebels and Daniel Tapia of Transports for the individual title. It was awesome to watch how fast they were running. Pool prevailed in a time slightly over 20 minutes. Lenin Zapata (son of former West Valley great Darryl Zapata) finished third. The festivities concluded with the award’s presentation. Thanks to Santa Cruz Track Club for putting on a first class race. They do a good job year in and year out.

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It’s almost that time again. The 2011 cross country schedule for the Western Association of USA Track and Field is out:
08/20 Santa Cruz
08/27 Santa Rosa
09/03 Sacramento
09/10 San Francisco
09/24 Hayward
10/01 San Francisco
10/08 Folsom
10/22 Mountain View
10/29 Marin Headlands
11/05 Sacramento
11/20 San Francisco
Contact Jerome for more information.
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Cross county Schedule 2010

Hi Spartans!

This month I have to send in the Spartans team registration. If any of you want to chip in for the $75 fee, I wouldn’t mind. I would mind if some of you who were hit by the 15% unemployment rate chip in. Save it for your PA membership and race fees.

Anyone want to be an officer? As I recall, the positions are President, VP, Secretary and Treasure. Each position takes as much work as you are doing now.

Go Spartans!


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Spartans cross-country championships recap from Sunday Nov 22nd

Hello Spartan cross-country runners, enthusiasts, supporters, wanna-be’s, et. al.

The season’s final cross-country meet was held yesterday under typical cross-country conditions at Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. Friday’s rain soaking made the course more xc challenging and muddy. The attendance was larger than in past years for all three races (women’s race, men’s masters race, and men’s open race). The day’s race schedule started with a light misty rain with cool temperatures and a soggy course.

The Spartans men’s senior team was tied for 6th place heading into this race. Unofficially, it appears that the Spartans broke the 6th place tie and will finish 6th after besting a Pacific Striders team. This was the best we could hope for as the Rebels from Sacramento have too much cushion for us to catch them. The other four clubs are Tamalpa, WVJS, Empire, Aggies which are much stronger than we are. These are actually considered super-clubs in terms of numbers and participants. We will wait for the final results however. Continue reading

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Shoreline xc recap

Hello Spartan runners and supporters,

The event at Shoreline was a little greener this past Saturday due to some of the recent rains. The course was in great shape and the weather was wonderful. Thanks to the Aggies for also broadcasting some good music, the day was a fine day for some cross-country action. Some memorable tunes were “War, what is it good for ?”, and “Love Shack” among others.

This year cross-country attendance is up….a significant increase in fact. On Saturday, the women’s race featured over 125+ finishers, the men’s combined race over 200+ finishers. These are large races for a cross-country course.

The course traverses the “garbage pile hill or landfill dump” next to the Shoreline amphitheatre. …..and circles a small portion of the golf course and environs. I think one of the worst parts of the course is a spiral out-and-back along the asphalt ….this makes it seem much more like a road race. I think the worst part of the race however has got to be the start. Even though it surpasses the Garin Park start, it is very crowded and narrows quickly after negotiating some obstacles directly in the path. I did not even pass the WHEEZER until like the first mile…..Don’ t know if anyone went down but I would not be surprised if someone did. The good news is that the course is longer so that you have more time to reclaim your lost time.

One of the interesting things for this event is that most of us did not pre-register. The race-day registration ran out of BIBS ….so we all got little strips of paper for our registration. ……I don’t remember this ever happening. It was hard keeping the “paper” attached until the race was over….. it caused as few interesting situations at the finish…so for $20, we got even less…..not even a momento! Continue reading

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Willow Hills xc recap

Hello Spartan runners and supporters,

Saturday we had a strong contingent travel to Folsom to run the first Willow Hills open. Over the past few years, a few of us had run a similar course but not the same course. The new course is the high school course and is a very good cross-country course. It is beginning to solidify much like a seasoned ski run. The most noticeable thing to me was they have a nice grass starting line…when I last ran here, the grass area was a barren hillside. The course may not be so friendly if it had been raining or if it was muddy. However, we got the course on a beautiful day…a wonderful day for some cross-country action. Sunny, mild temperature with a cooling breeze, and a dry course..

The course is tough but in a different way than the Presidio course. This course gets your attention up front like going on a roller coaster ride. I think roller coaster best describes it.

So, we had Art, Sal, Kurt, Nick, Paul, and I take on the challenge.

The day started out fine as everyone basically showed up on time…..however, we lost a little time in route to picking up Paul and taking a rest room break at a nearby doughnut shop. The short story is that this put us to the race with little or no time to spare….we arrived at like 20 minutes before race time. We did not know the course, we had to register, and of course after a long ride, we needed another rest room break. The start came up very quickly. I think all of us paid a price for this. The lesson is that when traveling a long distance to a race, it is better to allow for more time than thought. It is probably safe to say that you also need more lead time before the race…like having a warmup, being able to use the rest room, and getting familiar with the course…..and not feeling so rushed or anxious. Continue reading

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Presidio cross-country recap

Hello Spartan harriers and supporters,

What a beautiful day it was in San Francisco this past Saturday for the 5th of 9 cross-country races for this season. This race was held at the Presidio and the weather was perfect and brisk for some fine xc action. With four races to go, the Spartans are holding their own…at least they appear on the leader board. They won’t be competing for the cadillac which will go to the first spot….I think 2nd gets a set of steak knives. Currently the Spartan seniors team is in 7th place knocking on the door for 6th place. The best we can hope for this year would be 5th place and that may take a miracle over the next four races.

The Presidio course is probably pound-for-pound the best course in the entire series. It is only 3.5 miles but you get to do the same tough loop (with two hills) twice…so, if you don’t get it right the first time, you get another shot at it…and one of the hills is soft sand.

I think the best performance of the day had to be Linda (formerly Somers) Smith. She’s 48 and devastated the woman’s field. The runner up is only 24….looks like “mom” took it to the kids big-time!

NOTE: Her time of 21:43 would have placed her 3rd in the men’s master’s race (ahead of many outstanding runners mind you) and 35th in the men’s open. She didn’t look pretty but she certainly got the job done. Continue reading

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