Runner of the Month: Robert Donald

By Sarah Lee

One minute he’s zipping around town in his Jaguar with his sunglasses and movie star hair; the next he’s rolling around on the ground laughing and playing with kids.  He sings the national anthem at his own races.  He has TWO first names.  Ice unmelts in his presence.  He is THE MOST interesting man in the world… or at least the SCRR version.

Truthfully, our ROTM Robert Donald is quite humble about himself.  He was born and raised in Orange County to Scottish immigrant parents who lived through the Great Depression and World War II.  They emigrated to California in the 1950’s; Robert and his younger brother came along a decade later.  His father taught at the local high school and also coached cross country and track.  Needless to say, Robert and his brother were active in sports all year-round from a young age.  He excelled at Basketball, Soccer, Track, Cross Country and Swimming.  He is quick to note, however, he also had “brief and less successful forays into Baseball, Gymnastics, Tennis and Volleyball.”  Like most kids who don’t want to be bossed around by their parents ALL the time, Robert admits he would have never joined Cross Country or Track had his father not retired the year before.  

Robert running in the Lake Tahoe Relay

He ran all throughout high school and his favorite distance was the mile preferring the “strategy” and “more intense pain” over the longer distances.  He didn’t run much in his 20’s, opting for ball sports but eventually got back into it.  He officially joined SCRR in 2008 but he was running, biking and swimming with club members prior to that. 

When asked about a meaningful race memory, he fondly recalls a race in Jackson Hole, Wyoming while on family vacation the summer before his senior year.   During one of his runs, he found out about a local half marathon.  “In California I was a distinctly average runner, but here in Jackson Hole… I might be really good,” he remembers.  He felt really strong after having been running at elevation for nearly 2 weeks.  He thought he could win.  On race day, his bubble burst a little when he found out that the best high school cross country runner in the Midwest was also racing.  It completely shattered when at 5 miles into the (extremely hilly) race he found himself 14th out of about 60 runners.  He was passed by the first female and a man with a dog.  This was the turning point.  “It became my mission over the next eight miles to beat both the girl and the dog.”  Thankfully, he was able to overcome both his human and canine rival. 

Robert racing the Santa Run

By day, he is a mild-mannered economic consultant who validates the existence of math teachers everywhere who have ever been asked, “When are we ever going to use this?”   He muses, “I now sit in an office doing simple math… And they pay me for it.”  He has been plagued with injuries lately and states that his goal for 2020 is to “get in good enough shape to have a goal.”  Understandably, his ideal superpower would be to heal like Wolverine does.  Here’s hoping for a happy and healthy 2020. 

Congratulations Robert Donald!   

Destination Race: Philadelphia Marathon

By Cathy Shargay

If you google “racecation”, you will get lots of links to recent articles, and the trend seems to be growing in popularity. Greg Hanssen, Sarah Lee, Ken Atterholt and I are pros at it. We have had great trips in the last few years, such as to Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati and Burlington Marathon in Vermont. Our latest racecation was to Philadelphia Marathon which was Nov. 24th, and Kirsten Hirneisen was also part of the Philly-bound SCRR contingent. 

Cathy and Sarah at the Philadelphia Marathon Expo

The marathon course is great – mainly flat and broken up into two loops. In the first half, you run through the downtown, passing some of the famous historical sites, along the Delaware River and through “trendy” sections of the city, and then out through a park that includes a Japanese garden and the zoo. At the halfway point, the course goes very close to the start/finish area. Even though it was rainy, Meb Keflezighi and Bart Yasso were giving runners high fives there right in front of the Art Museum steps which are famous from the Rocky movie. For the second half, the course heads out of town for 6 1/2 miles along the Schuylkill River, and then turns around and comes back along the same route. This river is very scenic with parks along most of this section.

The weather was cold and rainy before the race started, but it only drizzled while we were running. Ken was spectating, so we pre-planned a spot he would be at 6 miles into the race, so we could shed some clothes and have him bring them back. By dressing in multiple layers, hats and gloves, we were warm enough. Walking back to the hotel after the finish, it starting pouring and at times, sleeting! We were glad to have already finished.

Ken, Cathy, Kirsten, and Greg after the marathon

The marathon medals have little Liberty Bells on them, and after the marathon, we went out for Philly Cheese Steaks and then decided to go to the actual Liberty Bell. We were bummed we did not have our medals for a picture, but then some other runners came by and were getting pictures with their medals. Problem solved – they lent us their medals and we got the cool photo!

So, this a marathon we would all recommend, but be prepared for possible cold weather. Next year’s racecations so far – Palm Springs, Jack and Jill in WA state and Berlin!

Destination Race: Catalina Island Half Marathon

By Alya Makarem

Matt and I signed up for the Catalina Island races this past November. I did the half marathon and Matt did the 10k. We took the ferry out the day before the race but a lot of the runners came out the morning of on the Long Beach ferry.

This was my favorite race in comparison to the few I have participated in. The first 5 miles are a gradual uphill, turning into a trail run at about mile 2 and reaching a 1600 feet peak elevation by mile 6.  After that initial very long uphill we reached a bit of a downhill break only to start the uphill again. I wouldn’t say it was rolling hills after the initial climb but more uphill with occasional down hill breaks. There is an out and back extension that is another uphill stretch to reach mile 9. The course steadies out till mile 10 at which point the downhill really begins.

Catalina Island

As happy as I was to finally be done with the hills, I didn’t realize in my novice running experience how brutal downhills can be. My legs were getting shredded and the terrain was tricky and rocky so I was doing my best to avoid a spill. At one point I lost control and I seemed to fly down the hill, scary but exhilarating. I could see that the more experienced runners were taking advantage of the hills and running by me at amazing speeds. The uphill was brutal and I had to make use of running and walking as I found that some hills were so steep that at a fast walk I would have had the a similar pace even if I was running.

This is my favorite race for two reasons, one the challenge of the hills was amazing since I love hills and my goal would attempt to run the whole half next time. The second reason is simply the beauty of it. The trail offers a panoramic view of the island and ocean below and it was breathtaking. Runners were enjoying themselves stopping to take pictures. There is a chance to see bison although I didn’t see any this time and don’t know how I would feel running by a herd. It’s quite a sunny run, the temp was in the cool 70s but definitely no shade to be had. The catch line for the race was “the hardest race you will ever love” and it definitely was that for me. Lastly it was an eco friendly race so you had to carry your own water holder/reusable cup which you can fill at aid stations in order to minimize waste. I hope more races implement this, every little bit helps. The volunteers at aid stations were super nice and other runners were very encouraging as well.  

2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials

By Amy Katz

Looking for a destination race? Join fellow SCRR members traveling to Atlanta to watch the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials. Then run the Publix Atlanta Marathon, Half Marathon, or 5K the very next day starting from historic Centennial Olympic Park.

On Saturday, February 29 you’ll get to see the top three women and top three men will be selected to the team that will compete in Olympic Marathon in Tokyo next August. The race will be easy to watch as a spectator since the athletes will run an eight-mile-loop almost three times.

The runners will complete this loop nearly three times before heading on a three mile final loop that runs under the Rings and Torch structure from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, goes by the Georgia Capitol building and passes by the sports stadiums that house the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta United FC. They will then reach the welcome sight of the finish line inside Centennial Olympic Park.

–Atlanta Track Club
U.S. Olympic Team Trials Marathon Atlanta

On Sunday, March 1, the Publix Atlanta Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K will take runners past Atlanta’s most important monuments, stadiums and neighborhoods. And speaking from past experience, the Atlanta Track Club does an excellent job putting on races.

Special room rates are available at the host hotel, the beautiful Hyatt Regency Atlanta, which is a short walk to the start/finish at Centennial Olympic Park and other downtown attractions and restaurants.

This is a weekend not to be missed!

Monthly Club Race: Santa Run 5K & 10K

By Amy Katz

December’s club race, Renegade Racing’s Santa Run 5K and 10K, was festive and fun! There was “snow” at the start and finish plus a great photo opp with Santa Claus himself after the races.

SCRR had a strong turn out with lots of age group wins and PRs. In the 5K, Luke Friedl got a PR and beat his dad Mike Friedl for the first time in a race. And Sherri Ellerby was 3rd female overall and 1st in her age group. Also of note, Joanna Pallo continued her streak of PRs and earned her first age group win. Fresh off her first marathon at Cal International, Jackie Chen also got 1st in her age group.

In the 10K, Sue Zihlmann matched Sherri’s performance by also placing 3rd female overall and 1st in her age group. Keep an eye on these ladies as they battle it out in the Grand Prix. While Sue is still in the lead after 6 races, they have both been averaging over 900 points a race.

Congratulations to everyone who participated!

Runners and Santa Claus after the Santa Run 5K/10K

Treasurer’s Report

By David Paul

Total Cash Balance, Beginning  3936.41
Cash Inflows 1161.34
Cash Outflows-First Thursday 304.85
Cash Outflows-RRCA Insurance
Cash Outflows-Banquet
Cash Outflows-Uniforms
Cash Outflows-Social Gatherings 13.46
Cash Outflows-Other 44.00
Net Change in Cash   799.03
Total Cash Balance, Ending 4735.44

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