Catching Up on RsOTM

It’s time to catch up on our Runners of the Month. Margot Johnson reached out to our July and August winners. See what they both had to say. Next month you can read all about our most recent ROTM, Sue Rudolph.

ROTM – Joel Whitson

How and when did you start running, and how long have you been with SCRR?

I started running casually sometime around 2012, but it was very limited. My first 5k was in 2012. I started running and competing more seriously in 2016 when I joined the Woodbridge High school cross country team. I have been with SCRR since November of 2017.

You had a fantastic year with SCRR – most improved, 3rd in the Grand Prix, and July ROTM. What have you been doing to improve your running?

There are a few factors that I think contributed to my improvement. One is doing track workouts and tempo workouts with Cal Coast which helped me get faster. Another thing is that this year I was the distance track coach for Woodbridge High and I did a lot of research on speed workouts to give to the high school runners. I tried these workouts on myself and they really worked. Expanding my knowledge on training really helped me be able to do effective workouts and to figure out how to peak properly for a race. The last factor is consistency and moderation. I run consistently (about 45 miles a week on average) and make sure that I am keeping in good shape for my races, but I also make sure to increase mileage gradually, go through higher mileage training cycles and easier training periods, and take my easy days to avoid overtraining and injury. When in a hard training cycle with a race coming up, I think keeping good mileage while doing one interval workout and one tempo workout per week with the remaining days moderate to easy is usually a formula that works.

You probably have a lot of options – but any favorite brand of running shoes?

My go-to brands for running shoes are New Balance and Saucony.

Do you have a favorite distance to run?

I enjoy running relatively long distances, but not too long. I guess you could call it medium long. I like running anywhere from 8 miles and 14 miles. I am willing to race anything between a mile and a half marathon, but I think the distance I am best at is somewhere between 5k and 10 miles. I’m not entirely sure yet. 

What are your future running goals or plans?

My goals would be to run a 5k under 16:30 (my current PR is 16:50), to run a half marathon under 1:18 (my current PR is 1:19:32), and to run a 10k under 35:00. I do have the Surf City 10 Mile race coming up on September 25th and my goal is to break 1 hour. I hope to be somewhere around 59 minutes or slightly under that if possible. If I end up achieving these goals I can just adjust and make them more challenging, but I think it will take me a while to reach these goals.

Just for fun, a few running “would you rather” questions…

Would you rather…run the same outdoor route every single day or run on a treadmill every single day?

I would rather run the same outdoor route every single day because I would find the treadmill very boring.

Would you rather…run on a trail or the road?

I would rather run on the trail because I mostly run on the road and the trail is a nice change. It’s also lower impact which is a benefit. 

Would you rather…run in the rain or snow?

I would rather run in the snow because I have never ran in the snow before and it may be fun to try.

Joel on his way to breaking the tape at Laguna Hills this year
Proud moment being announced as 1st overall

ROTM – Brion Talley

How and when did you start running, and how long have you been with SCRR?

I started running at an East Coast prep school as every student was required to participate in a sport each trimester.  Though I had never run before, my fall sport was Cross Country followed by Winter Track. I can still vividly recall the first week of cross country the coach telling us we were going to run 10 miles without stopping!  For some reason, that long run was so much fun and relatively easy for me. I soon came to realize I liked running long distances regardless of the weather – clear skies, raining or snowy.  The other aspect of those long runs was the conversation that ensued with your fellow runners.  The dialogue, the sense of comradery and the chatter of runners was priceless.  I learned you really get to know so much about someone by running with them.

I joined SCRR in 2015 at the urging of former SCRR member Derek Godfrey.

Do you have a favorite running memory (maybe a standout race, great training run, funny running story, etc.)

I think running NYC Marathon in 1990 is among my favorite running memories.  It was my first-time running NYC Marathon. The crowds, the excitement and the energy, particularly running through Central Park, were like nothing I had ever experienced up until that time.  I also enjoyed staying at the iconic Plaza Hotel during that marathon which only added to my experience.

You’re currently training for the London Marathon. How has that been going and what are you most looking forward to?

I have run 7 marathons previously (LA – 3, NYC – 2, Chicago – 1 and Marine Corp 1).  However, the last marathon I ran was 17 years ago (NYC 2005) so the challenge to ramp up training volume and running frequency has been both daunting and rewarding.  I had forgotten the mental and physical commitment of training, but I love the organization required to see the training through.  As they say the “journey is more rewarding than the destination” and marathon training holds all of that for me!

I have been to London for personal and business travel more than a dozen times, but to return to London this fall to run will be a new experience.  London Marathon is also my first international marathon which is both fitting and exciting as London is my favorite global city.  London’s theaters are amazing; food and dining combined with great architecture, beautiful urban parks and history make it world class in every way.

What is your favorite way to relax after a long run?

I won’t deny that one of my favorite rituals following a long run is a phenomenally rewarding nap. That post run nap for some reason feels better than any other one?  I would recommend it to everyone!

What other hobbies or interests do you have? (Other than running!)

I am a political science major undergrad and though the politics of our day are troublesome I still follow what is going on and remain fascinated by the people that make up our political institutions’ locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.  I also love to travel and, in that respect, I am fortunate my job allows me to travel here around North America and all over the world.  The cultures and lifestyles of people are quite intriguing, I love food both cooking it and eating it.  My latest gadget obsession is my pizza oven and my desire to perfect pizza dough.

Just for fun, a few running “would you rather” questions:

Would you rather…run in the morning or the evening?

Morning hands down.  Early morning particularly as is so quiet and you have the entire world to yourself.  You can’t beat it!   Also, morning time your time is your own, you can control it and make it your own experience.  The rest of my day I never know what will happen with so many competing obligations to work, family and other.

Would you rather…run a hilly 5K or a flat marathon?

Humm, hilly 5k for sure!  I ran Hot Chocolate 15k in San Diego in March of this year.  I believe 6 of those 9 miles were uphill and I really liked it!  I live in a hilly area so I think I have become accustomed to running hills?  I also know what goes up must come down which is my reward.

Would you rather…eat a slice of pizza mid-race or drink a milkshake?

I have always told my children if everyone drank a milkshake together there would be no wars.  (After a milkshake you can’t help but feel happy, better and positive).  I have (never considered a milk shake mid race), but yes, a milkshake…chocolate of course from the Shake Shack in Crystal Cove!!

Brion was the rabbit for his age group during the April race.
Brion busting his behind at the Corona del Mar 5K


Plan your next running vacation. There is a group signing up for the Avenue of the Giants on May 7th. There is a full, half, and 10K. Registration is open now. The half is $80 until the 1/7/23.

May 7, 2023


  • John Nguyen – 9/4
  • Melody Tegtmeyer – 9/9
  • Greg Hanssen – 9/14
  • David Beall – 9/15
  • Andre Bullock – 9/16
  • Justin Tolentino – 9/17
  • John Gardiner – 9/19
  • Jing Sun – 9/22
  • Mike Dietz – 9/25


Summer Potluck

When: 9/19/22 after the Monday night run (6:15 run start), but come any time after 6:00 if you can help us set-up
Where: Hicks Canyon Park – 3864 Viewpark Ave, Irvine, CA 92602 – Gazebo outside the baseball field on the corner of Central Park Ave and Viewpark Ave.
NOTE: The Monday night run moves to Hicks Canyon Park in September, so we’re having the party there.
Price: Bring a dish to share
Why: Food, fun, and friends on a random Monday night.

September 2022 Grand Prix Race

What: Surf City 10
When: 9/25/22 (6:30 am 10 Mile, 7:00 am 10K, 7:30 am 5K)
Where: Huntington Beach
Price: $45 5K, $55 10K, $65 10 Mile
Why: PCH all the way, baby.

October 2022 Grand Prix Race

What: Los Olivos 5K
When: 10/15/22 @ 7:30 am
Where: Los Olivos Community Park
Price: Free!
Why: No cost race on our local trail

Hike w/ a View

When: 10/16/22
Where: TBD
Price: Free!
Why: Let’s slow it down and enjoy the view and maybe have a great breakfast afterwards.

November 2022 Grand Prix Race

What: Dino Dash
When: 11/6/22 (10K @ 7:00 am; 5K @ 8:00 am)
Where: Tustin
Price: $35 5K, $35 10K – 20% off with RaceGrader20
Why: It’s all about the Dinos

Wine & Cheese Party

When: 11/12/22
Where: Victor & Barbara’s home, Laguna Beach
Price: Bring a bottle of wine and a dish to share.
Why: Let’s slow it down and enjoy the view and maybe have a great breakfast afterwards.

December 2022 Grand Prix Race

What: Peters Canyon Trail 5K & 10K
When: 12/17/22 (meet @ 7:15 am; race starts @ 7:30 am)
Where: Hicks Canyon Elementary School – 3817 Viewpark Ave, Irvine, CA 92602
Price: Free!
Why: Another SCRR exclusive no cost race on our local trail, this time Peters Canyon Trail

Grand Prix Standings

Our Metrolink Mile was blazing fast. Justin came in just under 5 minutes and Jeanie was only 8 seconds behind the national record! Just goes to show that our members are amazing no matter what age.

10. Micah Whitson
9. Brion Talley
8. Cathy Shargay
7. Ryan Vieau
6. Cathy Blakesley
5. Karine Parry
4. Mike Friedl
3. Justin Tolentino
2. Ken Atterholt
1. Jeanie Leitner

SCRR 2022/2023 Board Members

Due to a vacancy, we have made 2 changes to the board. Steven Castaneda has taken on the role of Secretary and Lainie Johnson joined as a Member At Large.

Nicole Herold – President
Steve Whitson – Vice President/Co-membership Coordinator
Steven Castaneda – Secretary
Victor Gambone – Treasurer
Steve Ireland – Member At Large/Grand Prix Race Coordinator
Lainie Johnson – Member At Large
Valerie Freeman – Member At Large/Co-membership Coordinator
Barbara Eckes & Sara Song – Co-Social Chairs
Jackie Chen – Saturday Run Coordinator

Treasurer’s Report By Victor Gambone

Total Cash Balance, Beginning August 1, 20223,589.15
Cash Inflows
* Membership $610.00
* Other Income $550.00
Cash Outflows
* Club Meeting/Pizza $258.16
* RunSignUp fee $45.38
Net Change in Cash   856.46
Total Cash Balance, Ending August 31, 20224,445.61
Monthly Finances
10% Discount at A Snail's Pace Running Shop
Snail’s Pace discount
Zealios Discount