Running News – Spring racing

Pandemic? What pandemic?

In case you haven’t noticed, racing is back. Many of you diligently trained through winter and are ready to line up in your coral, so this month 3 members who have been making memories out there on the course are sharing their story with you.

Below is a brief and, I’m sure, incomplete list of members and the races they have run or will be running this spring. I apologize if I missed you. Please comment below with your spring race so we can all give you a cheer.

Las Vegas Half – there were a ton of SCRRs at this race (see featured image on this post), but the one I want to call out is…

  • Mike Bertram – Half Marathon #100

LA Marathon

  • Justin O’Brien – 1st Marathon – PR!
  • Sara Song – 1st Marathon – PR!
  • May Chih
  • Amy Dayao
  • Mike Connors

Mt. Charleston Full

  • Cathy Shargay

Ironman 70.3 Oceanside

  • Alanna Brown


  • Sarah Lee
  • May Chih
  • Amy Dayao
  • Michael Tang
  • Nesan Kistan
  • Joanna Pallo

Big Sur – 6 days after Boston!

  • Amy Dayao
  • Michael Tang
  • Nesan Kistan
  • Joanna Pallo


  • Scott LaRuffa
  • Mike Dietz
  • Mike Connors
  • David Paul
  • David Beall

Now on to the race reports!

When the Finish Line Matters by Sara Song

I never saw myself running a marathon, and I didn’t understand why other people even run tons of them. You pay big bucks, you get exhausted, and you may even get injured. I really respected and admired marathoners, but I didn’t fully understand the math until I became one of that crowd.

March 20, 2022, the day of my first marathon, became a day I will likely remember for the rest of my life.  I intentionally chose a local marathon, Los Angeles, to be my debut for two reasons. First, Los Angeles is the city where I first arrived in the United States in 1998. After adapting, exploring, understanding, and seeing this great country, I wanted to dedicate my first marathon to a city that welcomed me 24 years ago. Second, I needed my husband Frank to be at the finish line. For many years I considered myself to be a confident person who is independent and capable. That changed when my daughters became teenagers. The challenge of raising them made me begin to see myself as fragile and inadequate in many ways. Knowing that my husband is guaranteed to be there for me at a local race made me feel safe and secure, a gift he has given me every day ever since I’ve known him, and I wanted to have that during my first marathon.

SCRR includes many marathoners with countless race experiences, so I didn’t need to look any further for advice. They freely offered their marathon tricks, experiences, and stories, from which I benefited tremendously. There were times during the race when I was even smiling just thinking of everyone and how helpful they were. I felt like these friends were running the race with me and I was not alone.

Some of the advice that really helped was focused on the physical aspects of running, like to drink enough water before the race so that your liquid is colorless. My body somehow knew this and I was so thirsty on Saturday that I drank more than 2 gallons of water! Another trick which I followed successfully was to run slowly during the first half to reserve energy for the second half. That worked really well. I was not even tired at mile 13 which allowed me to start passing people. It definitely felt better than to be passed by many others. Someone else told me how many energy gels I would need, so I made sure to eat the number I calculated. I got advice about emotions, too. Someone told me her moment of crying during the marathon without understanding why. I was comforted to know that even I felt terrible it is OK. Someone told me her experience about the overwhelming feeling even during the expo. So I knew that my anxiety is perfectly normal.  Another told me that no matter what the result I can enjoy and reward myself for being able to claim I’m a marathoner. So much truth in it that we can simply reward ourselves by crossing the finish line. I enjoyed receiving even just a smile of understanding and best wishes from a distance…you ALL are part of the reason that I was able to cross the finish line.

At the start I even forgot to pray. I was taken in by all the people around me, so happy to see such a large crowd running the same race together. That alone is amazing and memorable. During the first four miles when my legs were still a bit sleepy, I just slowly jogged and enjoyed the moment by simply looking around. It gave me joy to hear the runners around me casually chatting and having a good time. The weather was nice and cool.

During the race there was a headwind for many miles. Eventually I was so tired that it was a struggle to put one foot in front of the other, but I found strength in the runners around me. There was an elder runner who carried a big American flag which was waving beautifully in the wind who I imagined must have a lot of pride in being American. Another runner was pushing a wheelchair with the woman who looked like his mom and I wondered whose dream it was to be running this race.  When I passed them, I silently gave them a salute in my heart. There were so many spectators that there was never an empty mile. I have never done anything in my life where there were so many people cheering for all the participants. They were generous and overflowing with good wishes for all runners that day. One banner read “My vacation is 26.2 miles”. I definitely felt lighter and happier when I passed that sign.

I’m still processing the fact that I actually ran a marathon.  My prayer turned to give thanks. My mind was filled with gratitude, forgiveness, peace and joy.  There are many ideas and plans still left to be completed in my life, but this specific finish line was in my sights to cross and it was my favorite part of the race when I did it.

Sara Song & May Chih enjoying the LA Marathon

Half Marathon Musings by Kevin Pegg

Background: My wife (Jackie Chen) got me into running about 4 years ago and we have made many great friendships with folks in the club. I am a “casual runner” that is very content with having average runs of 3-6 miles at a time. I feel good about myself running at those lengths since I was one of those “I’m better at sprinting than running long distance!” all my life and never thought I’d run more than 3 miles outside of a treadmill. After finishing up my last Half Marathon (Jack and Jill), I felt like it was time to retire my jersey in the rafters of racing. Like I mentioned, I’m a casual runner, and I get a similar sense of enjoyment and satisfaction from running on the road on a Thursday night or Saturday morning as I do when competing in a race…just without the nerves like I’m about to take an exam. When it was decided (I forgot if I agreed or disagreed) that I was running in the Vegas Rock N’ Roll Half, I figuratively dusted off the non-existent dust from a pair of running shoes in a melodramatic fashion and came out of “retirement”.

Training Regiment: I did my longest run (7 miles) a week before this race. However, I was casually running maybe 10-15 miles/week; this was going to be a fun, no pressure kind of thing where my goal was to finish in under 2.5 hours and not walk any part of the half marathon.

Day/Night Before: Jackie and I drove into Vegas by the afternoon. In the evening, I had dinner with not too much fiber (you know why), hydrated every moment I had a glass, saw a great show with SCCR folks, played Wordle, and then went to bed.

Day Of: We met up with the folks in RunOC and I had a pre-race meal of pizza with more cheese than I was hoping for. I also hydrated like I was about to cross the Sahara (the real one, not Vegas one).

When we were lining up in our respective groups to race, Jackie was in the fastest coral (I think the color was blue) and I somehow/erroneously was in the next fastest coral to line up. She graciously stepped down into my coral and was going to run the race with me…a fantasy which I thought was going to happen at Jack and Jill, but did not.

When we were about to start, the energy of the people racing and the crowds was amazing. I had no idea they were going to shut the entire Strip down and have bands/music playing nearly every few miles; this was a really awesome and exciting event to be part of…certainly got the adrenaline flowing. As we got out of the gates, I kept telling myself to take it easy since I didn’t want to push it and potentially cramp up later because we had to drive home right after the event. I certainly did not follow that plan and went at a faster pace than I usually run (d’oh!). Around Mile 2 or so when we blew a little past Mandalay Bay, I felt like we were keeping a good pace, even with the fumes from the jet fuel exhaust blowing in our direction. When we were coming up to Mile 4, we passed by my parents on the sideline, who actually made a trip out there to see us briefly along the course (and vacation, as well). It was a wonderful moment to see the proud look in their eyes that their baby boy was able to run a pace of less than 12.5 minutes/mile (my fastest mile time in middle school). The next couple miles were relatively flat going through the main part of the Strip.

Fortunately, I felt I was able to keep it steady until Mile 6 or 7. Jackie also gave me great advice to walk through the water/Gatorade stations; this gave me a nice quick breather every couple of miles and make sure I actually hydrated instead of only consuming a few drops of water in the heat of the moment. It was likely a combination of: (1) still being early in the race, (2) live music and encouragement from the crowd, (3) excitement from literally running on the Strip, and (4) running with and having support from Jackie the whole race, that got me feeling pretty good in first half.

Here’s the part where I slow down.

Around Miles 8-10, we got off the main part of the Strip, past the Stratosphere, and started to venture toward downtown Las Vegas. There were still people cheering and live music playing, but it wasn’t to the same intensity as it was earlier in the race (not that I needed to have this, it certainly provided a positive mental boost). I started to feel a little sore in my right knee and took it pretty easy as we looped out of the downtown area and headed toward the finish line. Luckily, Jackie grabbed a gel from one of the volunteers and handed it off to me to consume…definitely helped me keep moving and prevented me from walking.

At Miles 11-13 I was definitely feeling it and slowed down significantly even though the course was overall pretty flat. I was awkwardly trying to use all my accessory muscles to keep running and probably looked like a flopping fish out of water. Jackie was innocently trying to encourage me to run faster, but I had a stone-cold look in my eyes that said it all.

When we were near the finish line, Jackie suggested we run it in/race to the finish. I told her I was giving it all I could give, but mischievously, I was going to turn it on to beat her at the final moment (I’ve tried to do this before and lost). When that opportunity came up (last 100 feet or so), I had nothing left in the tank and crossed the line a few seconds after her. Surprisingly, I wasn’t feeling too bad/sore yet and was glad I didn’t have any cramps right away like I did at Jack and Jill. We ended up finishing around 2 hours, 12 minutes, and my official end time put me finishing 3 respectful seconds ahead of Jackie 🙂 –  This is the only time in our lives where I would finish a race faster than her…only because she started out the gate earlier than me and slowed down at some parts of the course waiting for me to catch up. Overall, I had an amazing time at this race and would highly recommend it to anyone that has never tried it before. I was also grateful that we got to travel and do some fun activities with the club leading up to the start, which really made the trip memorable! Most importantly, I was very happy to be able to run this race with my wife while having her support and encouragement the whole way. 10/10 would run again and will likely participate in a future Rock N’ Roll race.

Kevin Pegg & Jackie Chen at the Rock ‘N Roll Las Vegas Half

March Madness by May Chih

My original ultra March Madness was supposed to take place in 2020 as a comeback after my ankle injury. I had picked Zion Ultra 100K to be my goal race. Since I didn’t think I could find people willing to train long distances with, and I didn’t think I would be disciplined to do the long runs solo, I lined up a few races to get in the longer miles. Due to the pandemic, all of those plans were deferred until this year. I was fortunate to not have any of the races stack up on the same weekend.

January and February was spent doing normal marathon training runs with other runners training for LA marathon. When March rolled around, the madness kicked off with SoCal River Marathon which ran from Yorba Linda to Huntington Beach via SART. The next weekend, I had Antelope Canyon 50M. I was nervous about this race because it was my first trail ultra. I was really conservative with my pace. My goal was to just finish within the race cutoff, which I barely succeeded in doing with 6 minutes remaining. The following weekend was LA Marathon which I ran at a comfortable pace. My March Madness wrapped up with Valencia Trail 50K. This was my final training run for Zion 100K. As with my previous races, my pace was conservative. I was mindful to not linger longer than necessary at each aid station and just kept moving forward.

Since the priority each week was the race that weekend, I tried not to overdo it with midweek runs. I also got a massage each week, in addition to foam rolling and stretching. This has worked so far to get me through March. Zion Ultra is just around the corner and I’m feeling cautiously optimistic. Now having two 52 milers under my belt, I tell myself “It’s just 10 more miles.” 🙂 My racing season was supposed to end with Zion, but now it will be wrapping up with the Boston Marathon. I work for Abbott and they have an employee-only lottery for the Abbott World Marathon Majors. After years of throwing my name into the hat, I was finally selected this year for an entry to Boston 2022. I did not want to pass on this opportunity, so I will be running Boston at a comfortable recovery pace. Then, I will FINALLY take a much-needed break. 🙂

May Chih celebrating at the Valencia 50K


  • Alanna Brown – 4/1
  • Jeff Carter – 4/3
  • Faith Morris – 4/3
  • Michelle Ren – 4/6
  • Bridget O’Callaghan-Hay – 4/10
  • Judy Sweet – 4/19
  • Karine Parry – 4/21
  • Jessica Kawalchuk – 4/22
  • Kevin Pegg – 4/23
  • Robert Wilson – 4/23
  • Tinashe Chandauka – 4/25
  • Alexia Martinez – 4/25

April 2022 Grand Prix Race

What: Rabbit Run 5k and OC Challenge Wild Hare 5k
When: 4/16/22 @ 8 am (OC Challenge 5K), 9:00 am (Rabbit Run 5K – for kids, w/ Easter egg hunt along the course)
Where: Jeffrey Trails Middle School 155 Visions, Irvine, CA US 92618
Price: $40 fee – 15% Discount with code: WeFit2022
Why: Easy access. Free Parking. There’s a pancake breakfast afterwards (separate $5 fee supporting the Kiwanis & Kid’s Read).

May 2022 Grand Prix Race

What: Laguna Hills Memorial Day 5K/10K/Half Marathon
When: 5/30/22 @ 7:00 am
Where: Start @ Laguna Hills Mall/Finish @ Laguna Hills Community Center (Virtual options, too)
Price: $45 5K, $50 10K, $115 Half Marathon (price increase for all distances after 4/4/22)- 10% Discount with code: RG10
Why: Another hometown favorite

June 2022 Grand Prix Race

What: Corona del Mar Scenic 5K
When: 6/4/22 @ 7:55 am (men’s 5K race) & 8:20 am (women’s 5K race)
Where: Start @ 3001 Ocean Blvd, Corona Del Mar, CA 92625
Price: $50 Sign-up under the “Team Registration” category via the Active online registration form. Select Join A Team -> Search “South Coast Roadrunners”. Password is SCRR2022
Why: The post-race feast is worth the sweat

Grand Prix Standings

We’re 9 races in now and the Top 10 keep shuffling. Things are going to get interesting next month once the hard-core racers start to drop their lowest scores. See the full list of participants here.

  1. Steve Ireland
  2. Barbara Eckes
  3. Luke Friedl
  4. Ken Atterholt
  5. Joel Whitson
  6. Cathy Shargay
  7. Mike Dietz
  8. Greg Hanssen
  9. Jeanie Leitner
  10. David Schiller

SCRR 2021/2022 Board Members

David Schiller – President
Scott LaRuffa – Vice President
Margot Johnson – Secretary
Victor Gambone – Treasurer
Joanna Pallo – Member At Large
Barbara Eckes – Member At Large
Jade Berniard – Member At Large
Michelle Ren & Jackie Chen – Co-Social Chairs

Treasurer’s Report By Victor Gambone

Total Cash Balance, Beginning March 1, 2022 5,423.56
Cash Inflows
* Membership $390.00
* Party Attendees $1040.00
Cash Outflows
* Club Meeting/Pizza $219.55
* RunSignUp fee $112.56
* Party – BJs Restaurant $1280.81
* Other Fees $27.50
Net Change in Cash   (210.52)
Total Cash Balance, Ending March 31, 20225,213.04
Monthly Finances
10% Discount at A Snail's Pace Running Shop
Snail’s Pace discount
Zealios Discount