Top 20 2020-2021 Grand Prix Winners

Recognition Party Write-Up

by David Schiller

Thanks again to our Social Chairs past and present (Joanna Pallo, Jackie Chen and Michelle Ren) for putting on a fun 2020-2021 recognition banquet!  Much thanks to the many people who helped by donating raffle prizes (and wine for the Sangria), running the raffle, handing out vouchers for the food truck, setting up, cleaning up, and so much more.  We had 75 people at the event, which is a great showing for the first party we’ve had in a very long time!  Also as always thank you to Mike Friedl for being our Grand Prix Master of Ceremonies (look at those smiling faces from our Grand Prix top 20, including our winner, Steve Ireland!).

2020-2021 was obviously an extraordinary and difficult year for the club, and without any “real” races – but fortunately a lot of races that the Grand Prix Committee put on for the club – the Board decided to do something different with some of our recognition awards.  Rather than awarding the usual “Most Improved Runner” and “Ideal Runner” awards, we decided to recognize some of the people whose efforts and spirit helped move the club forward at a time when the pandemic was making it difficult to move at all.  We still had the Volunteer of the Year Award and President’s Award, but the aforementioned awards were replaced by “Ideal Member” awards.  Congratulations to the following people who received one of these Ideal Member Awards!

Mike Bertram

Although Mike continues to be an outstanding runner, he was not given an Ideal Member Award for his speed or for traveling far to pace races.  Mike was recognized for his many years of service to the club, including 2019-2020 President, two years as Treasurer, and as the Saturday run coordinator.  Mike has put a lot of his heart and soul into the club!

Mike Friedl

Like Mike Bertram, Mike Friedl’s longevity in the club and love for the club is matched by very few people.  I’m sure he has stats for that 😊.  Mike’s enthusiasm for the Grand Prix is contagious, and many of us fought off the temptation to use the pandemic as an excuse to not race and instead followed the Pied Piper to “show up and not get zero!”

Gary Hefner

I don’t know about you, but if I were injured or not feeling the urge to race, I’d sleep in on race day.  Not Gary.  Gary shows up at every race and takes pictures of club members.  Every year he also leads a very popular Hollywood Hills sign hike.  Gary told me that he was completely surprised that he was recognized as an Ideal Member.  I told him that it took the Board about two seconds to unanimously select him.

Joanna Pallo

In 2020-2021 Joanna came up with several ideas to have a social event that was safe to have during the pandemic.  Although we couldn’t pull something off until our recognition banquet, we all certainly appreciated her trying!  Joanna has served as Social Chair for multiple years before the pandemic as well as Newsletter Editor.  Joanna is also being recognized for using her graphic artist skills on numerous occasions for the club, including most recently creating awesome new business cards.

Ryan Vieau

Ryan was recognized as an Ideal Member for his work as a Saturday run coordinator and as an “editor” of our group’s Facebook page (e.g., Events).  This is not an easy job and is often one that goes unappreciated.  Not this time!


The SCRR membership voted for Greg as Volunteer of the Year for his leadership and enthusiasm for organizing custom Grand Prix races during a Grand Prix season that offered no other choices.  Greg worked with the other members of the Grand Prix commission (Mike Friedl and Molly Donnellan) as well as Steve Ireland (race course design) to offer free and safe Grand Prix races for the club.  In most of these races, each runner started 30 seconds apart, which created a truly socially distanced race!


Amy and I have both in the club a long time, and over those many years Amy has had many personal running accomplishments (I used to call her “Amy PR Katz-woman”) and has contributed so much to the club (including as Social Chair).  Over the past two years Amy took our newsletter and turned it into a true online publication.  As someone who used to be the newsletter editor when we cut and pasted articles, photocopied them, and mailed them out to our membership, I know not only how difficult it is to solicit and edit newsletter contributions, but how wonderful it is that we’ve migrated to online publications.  I realize that many of you share my appreciation for Amy because she missed tying Greg for Volunteer of the Year by only one vote. Thanks again to everyone who helped with this year’s recognition award party and CONGRATULATIONS again to all the winners!

Favorite Things…Water Stops

by Nicole Herold

Water is the essence of life. It can also be the difference between a great run and a suffer fest. Thankfully we live in an area where parks have more than just swings and a slide. So, for this month’s poll, I asked people about their favorite water stop.

Out of the 12 people who replied, 6 voted for the clean, chilled fountain/ water bottle filler at the Muth Interpretive Center (aka Back Bay nature center). You can thank the OC Parks rangers for opening up the doors to the fountain and bathroom area of the building at 6am for all the early birds. In my decade + of running, I have lost count how many times I’ve made use of those amenities. The refrigerated water feels like a gift on super-hot days like we experience at the end of summer.

Other notable water stops were any/all bathrooms along the Jeffrey Open Space Trail (Irvine), Hicks Canyon Park (Irvine), Camino Real Park (Tustin), Nix Nature Center (Laguna Beach), and Top of the World (Laguna Beach).

Runner-up votes included Los Olivos Community Park (Irvine), Bommer Canyon (Irvine), Bonita Canyon Sports Park (Newport Beach), and Whiting Ranch 4 Corners (Lake Forest).

I suggest waiting until AFTER your run to wet your whistle at Baja Sharkeez (Newport Beach), the final vote submitted by one of our members.

Thanks everyone who commented. Stay hydrated and stay tuned to Facebook for the next poll.

Runners of the Month

by Nicole Herold

I wanted to highlight our recent Runners of the Month with a fun trivia game. Ever ever played 2 Truths & a Lie? No? Well, wait no longer.

Our 2 July RsOTM were Michelle Ren and Jaclyn Chen. Find out how well you know them and pick out their lie. Answers are at the bottom of the newsletter.


  • Has never been to a wedding
  • Got a perfect score on the SAT math section
  • Can play 3 instruments


  • Had 7 cats in her home at once
  • Ran an ultramarathon with fellow ROTM, Michelle
  • During Covid got really into crocheting and made a blanket and hat

Our August ROTH, Steve Ireland, is highlighted below for his running accomplishments, but here we find out a little bit about the man behind the speed.

  • In the late 70’s he was on an episode of the TV game show “Joker, Joker, Joker”.  It was a children’s version of the TV game show “The Joker’s Wild”.
  • His employment history includes a job at San Quentin Prison in Northern California.
  • He has a collection of approximately 300 neckties.

Grand Prix – 27th season Results

by Mike Friedl

The results of our 2020-2021 Grand Prix season, our 27th, were announced at the Recognition party. As always, Mike Friedl, master of the Grand Prix scoring system and keeper of the stats, regaled us with amazing tales of each Top 20 finisher.

The 27th season of the South Coast Grand Prix added just the tenth name to the list of champions. Steve Ireland bested all comers in a COVID-altered year. With nearly all ‘regular’ races canceled due to the pandemic, the GP committee, led by Greg Hanssen, put on club-only socially-distanced events over various distances in that were well-attended. In all, the season amounted to a best-seven-of-nine races.

In the first 26 GP seasons only two athletes under the age of 25 placed in the top 20. This year, no fewer than FOUR sub-25 runners sprinkled the top 20, led by runner-up Joel Whitson. Barbara Eckes rounded out the podium with her best finish yet, a mere 32 points adrift of Joel.

Mike Dietz had his best finish in fourth. Luke Friedl matched last year’s fifth place finish and Greg Hanssen didn’t just direct the races – he ran them well enough to earn his top finish (sixth) of the 18 seasons in which he has competed. Victor Gambone and perennial top-10 finisher Cathy Shargay were seventh and eighth, respectively. Dave Bauers earned his first ever Top 10 finish in ninth and Nicole Herold earned her second, placing tenth.

In all, 67 Club members competed in this edition of the Grand Prix. That level of participation during the lock downs and closures is a testament to the resiliency of runners in general, and our membership in particular. We took great care to keep everyone safe while still providing a competitive outlet. As things start to open back up and racing resumes, it’s likely that we will continue to do our own races from time to time.

The Top 20:

PlaceNameAge GroupSexTotal PointsRacesPoints DroppedNet
1Steve Ireland55-59M5,741705,741
2Joel Whitson16-19M6,24886845,564
3Barbara Eckes65-69F7,03091,4985,532
4Mike Dietz55-59M6,25687695,487
5Luke Friedl13-15M5,84686935,153
6Greg Hanssen50-54M6,19991,2164,983
7Victor Gambone70-74M5,61986634,956
8Cathy Shargay60-64F4,832704,832
9David Bauers60-64M5,35686134,743
10Nicole Herold50-54 F4,685604,685
11Derek Godfrey55-59M5,21685544,662
12Ryan Vieau40-44M5,91291,2684,644
13Michael Tang50-54 M4,596704,596
14Micah Whitson20-24M4,401704,401
15Brion Talley55-59M4,337704,337
16Sara Song45-49F4,251704,251
17Armando Moran45-49 M3,801603,801
18Jaclyn Chen30-34F3,084503,084
19Sherri Ellerby55-59F2,656302,656
20Kevin Steinman13-15M2,258302,258

We’re now 2 races into the 2021-2022 season. Keep up with the competition here.


  • 9/4 – John Nguyen
  • 9/9 – Melody Tegtmeyer
  • 9/14 – Greg Hansson
  • 9/15 – David Beall
  • 9/16 – Andre Bullock
  • 9/17 – Justin Tolentino
  • 9/19 – John Gardiner
  • 9/25 – Mike Dietz
  • 9/30 – Steve Kan
  • 9/30 – Stephanie Shimada



What: Los Olivos 5K
When: 9/18/21 @ 7 am sharp!
Where: Los Olivos Community Park – 101 Alfonso, Irvine CA
Price: Free!
Why: Run a Steve Ireland designed course with you closest peeps


What: Dino Dash 5K or 10K
When:10/31/21 – 10 @ 6:15 am sharp! and 5K @ 8:30 am
Where: Tustin Marketplace – 2915 El Camino Real, Tustin, CA US 92782
Price: $35, but get a 15% discount: DDRaceGrader15
Why: Yearly tradition to fight for the honor to take home a coveted Dino


What: OC 5K
When: 11/6/21 @ 5 pm – Nighttime race
Where: OC Fair & Event Center – 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Price: $40, but get a 10% discount: RG10
Why: Another hometown favorite

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 August 1, 2021 5619.42
Cash Inflows
$790.00 Membership
$20.00 Merchandise
$1193.00 Recognition Banquet
Cash Outflows – Club Meeting/Pizza337.50
Cash Outflows – RRCA Membership Dues & Insurance
Cash Outflows – Banquet1219.11
Cash Outflows – Uniforms
Cash Outflows – Social Gatherings
Cash Outflows – Other
$196.50 City of Irvine
$112.34 RunSignUp fee
Net Change in Cash   137.55
Total Cash Balance, Ending August 31, 20215756.97

Answers to the ROTM 2 Truths & a Lie

Michelle – Got a perfect score on the SAT math section. She said she did well but not that well!

Jackie – During Covid got really into crocheting and made a blanket and hat. She tried it in high school and was terrible at it, so she hasn’t attempted since.

Steve – In the late 70’s he was on an episode of the TV game show “Joker, Joker, Joker”. Steve is not a child TV star, sorry.

Just some of Steve Ireland’s extensive tie collection
10% Discount at A Snail's Pace Running Shop
Zealios discount code

This is your newsletter. Let me know what you’d like to read. -Nicole @