Thursday, May 3, 2012

Oh, What A Day!

Oh, what a day! It was perfect
And, if I may here interject,
Ideal for this ultra race
Which has Lake Merced as its base:
A lake pine and cypress bedecked.

Three distances: one to select.
Pick ere the mind starts to object.
Goal? The will and courage to showcase!
Oh, what a day!

Pain, heat, long miles to deflect;
The body, the mind to direct 
To keep going, to keep the pace.
Goal? Yesterday's Self to outrace!
Don't we from us a lot expect?
Oh, what a day!

I doubt if a recent race I have run or directed even came close to how perfect the day was for running in the Ruth Anderson Ultra races. The South Bay sweltered in the high 90s while Lake Merced topped out at a cooler 79 degrees.

A record number of entrants, 92, signed up for the race although only 80 started. There were 78 finishers making for the second highest Finishing Rate, 98 percent, in the last 11 RA races.

The awesome soups you enjoyed were made by Darshan Thaker who has become (and I now lapse into French)  le Chef de Cuisine pour Ruth Anderson et Run-de-Vous. Merci beaucoup, mon ami!


The first one to start the Ruth Anderson festivities was Tracy Crane. A 5K run with her daughter later in the day in Manteca necessitated an early start. Her Facebook status message at 3:45 a.m. read "I'm here! Bright and early! Starting in T-15 minutes. Gulp! 31.08 miles I got u!".

Victor Ballesteros and Jean Pommier set the pace early with Toshikazu Hosaka not far behind. Suzanna Bon and Wendy Georges were at the head of the women's race.

The beautiful day wended its way past the face of the clock as the runners went around the lake round after round. Dave Comb's newly minted Webcast software worked like a charm and friends and family members who had been notified of the live updates were now able to cheer on their runners via phone calls or text messages knowing exactly where they were in the race.

John Burton, the former RD of Ruth Anderson, was the first one in the race and from the Quicksilver Team to cross a Finish line. He won going away in 3:47. Tommy Konwinski finished 19 minutes behind him in 4:06. The 50K finishes started rolling in. Laura Alvarado won the Women's race in 5:07. Tracey Crane finished her first 50K in 7:58 and left immediately to drive to Manteca for the race she was to run with her daughter. She did well there too!

The youngest and the oldest competitors finished within minutes of each other. 77-year old Bill Dodson finished in 5:29 while 14-year old Elijah Helfman finished 3 minutes behind him. I doff my hat to you, gentlemen!

51 runners finished the 50K.

21 of them crossed the finish line before the next race distance, the 50-mile race, saw its first finisher.

Jean Pommier, 3rd. in last year's 100K (read about his eventful 2011 race day on, crossed the Finish line in 5:49.

Wendy Georges won the women's race in 8:17, 9 minutes slower than her winning time in the same distance in 2010. I know that she ran a better race this year for, at one point after 30 miles, she cramped up so badly that she could not even move. A few salt tablets gulped down in one go and determination saw her start moving again and finish the race with sheer grit writ large on her face. Way to go, Wendy!

There were 16 others who strode to the 80K Finish line.

Victor Ballesteros, in the meantime, had been going around the lake like a metronome. Half the race was done in 31 minutes per lap while the second half was between 32 and 34 minutes. That pretty darn good if I may say so, Victor! He was the 3rd person to cross the 50 mile distance, just ahead of the 3rd 50-mile finisher Nattu (7:48), on his way to a 7:32 100K finish.

The first 4, of the 9, 100K finishers incidentally qualified to run the Spartathlon in 2013 (and 2014 if they want to) by finishing in under 10:30.

65-year old Jim Magill crossed the 100K Finish line at the same time that 69-year old Lynnard Phipps completed his 13th lap. The amazing Magill then accompanied Lynnard on his last lap! Friendship indeed!

Congratulations to all of you. You inspire me by running with a smile on your face and joy in your hearts.

NORTH AS: Steve Jaber, Dave Combs, Stan Jensen, Anu Singh, Samanvitha Rao, Lily Patil, Madhulika Goel, Mark Nassi, Georganna Quarles, Steve Holman, Jason Reed, Kashyap Jammalamadaka, Murali Murugesan, Diane Forrest, Sandy Baker, Shishir Ramam, Joe Swenson, Keith Blom, Shradha Tibrewal; Neeraj Bhatia, Ashwini Kaushik, Anjana Gorur, Kripa Venkatachalam

SOUTH AS: Murli Thirumale, Anil Vaidya, Chandramouli Balasubramanian, Pavan Goklani, Balu Vellanki, Anand Aravindan, Manjula Jonnalagada, Sumanth Rajpal, Ganesh Pattabiraman, Anu Mayuran, Vikram Chandran

Gratitude to Don and Gillian and Zombierunner for supporting the race year after year.


Joe Swenson

Keith Blom

Anil Vaidya (South AS)!i=1828744827&k=KnT3TNq

Gururaj Singh

Rajeev Patel!i=1814096625&k=FhpZRTb

Leanne McCulloch

Jean Pommier

Jean Pommier

John Burton

Victor Ballesteros

Wayne Plymale