Saturday, January 31, 2009

SCA Announces 2009 Road Running Grand Prix

LOS ANGELES, CA—Southern California USATF Open and Masters Road Running Committee chairs Wayne Joness and Sissel Berntsen-Heber have announced a new SCA Road Running Grand Prix for 2009. The SCA Road Running Grand Prix will provide cash awards and championship medals to the top 10 overall men’s and women’s scorers. Gold, silver, and bronze USATF medals will also be awarded to the top-3 scorers in 26 men’s and women’s individual 5-year age-groups and championship plaques will be awarded to the top-10 scoring clubs. “We believe this Grand Prix Series will encourage more runners to participate in our SCA Road Championship races and other premier Southern California road race events, say Wayne and Sissel. “It will also recognize the clubs that are supporting and developing runners and provide important incentives for the creation of new clubs.”

The seven SCA Road Running Grand Prix Series races for 2009 are posted at Individual runners must finish at least four (4) of these races during the calendar year, including at least one SCA Road Championship race, and, afterwards, record their official, web-published finish time using the “Report Results” link of the Grand Prix home page at or forward it by email to the GP Scorer, Sissel Berntsen-Heber, to generate an age-graded score.

For USATF clubs to post a score in a SCA Road Running Grand Prix race, a minimum of 5 of its member runners must post a finish time. Club members can be of any gender, and any age. It is not necessary to have 5-runners of the same age group and gender. The total club score is determined by adding the 5 highest individual member age-graded scores from the race. The club’s 2009 year-end total score will be determined by adding its highest club scores from four (4) Grand Prix races.

All SCA Road Running Grand Prix participants must be current members of the Southern California Association of USATF. There is no additional fee for members to participate in the SCA Road Running Grand Prix or SCA Road Championship series. The SCA Road Running Grand Prix is conducted throughout the 2009 calendar year, during which individuals can enter the SCA Road Running Grand Prix series at any time. A runner’s age-group category will be based on their age in the first race they participate in.

For club scoring, only running clubs registered with the Southern California Association of USATF can participate. Individuals scoring with a club must have USATF affiliation with that club. All its scoring members must also be listed on the club’s on-line roster. More information on registering clubs with USATF is available at

Qualifying Races
SCA Road Running Grand Prix Series races are listed on the SCA website at and are subject to additions or cancellations at the discretion of the SCA Road Running Committee. The SCA Road Championship races for 5K, 10K, Half-Marathon and Marathon are among the designated 2009 Grand Prix races. Individual GP participants must finish a minimum of 4 races, at least one of which must be an SCA Road Championship race, to be eligible for Grand Prix awards. Clubs must compete in at least 4 GP races with 5 finishers, at least one race of which must be an SCA Road Championship race, to be eligible for SCA Road Running Grand Prix awards.

Individual Scoring
For individual runners, scoring is based on age-graded results. This score is computed by dividing the runner’s finishing time by the approximate age-group record and multiplying it by 1000. For example, the score for a 46-year old male who records 39:19 for 10K in which the age-group record is 29:44 would be computed as follows: 29:44 ÷ 39:19 = 0.7564
0.7564 x 1000 = 756 points

A runner’s year-end total score will be determined by adding together his or her highest age-graded scores from four (4) Grand Prix races. The age-graded scoring calculator used for the SCA Road Running Grand Prix scoring is posted on the SCA Road Running Grand Prix home page at

Individual SCA/USATF members who finish a SCA Road Championship Series race will automatically have their results added to the SCA Road Running Grand Prix series. However, results for additional races in the SCA Road Running Grand Prix must be self-reported.

Current SCA Road Running Grand Prix standings will be posted on the SCA Road Running Grand Prix home page within one week of each successive race in the GP Series (although results may be delayed pending official revisions). It is the responsibility of individual participants to submit their results from GP races that are not SCA Road Championship events. They can do so by using the “Report Results” link on the SCA Road Running Grand Prix home page, or by sending an email with their official published finish time and current 2009 USATF membership number to

All club results, including those from SCA Road Championship races, must be self-reported. It is the responsibility of participating clubs to report official web-published results for 5 or more of its individual members from a GP Series race. They can do so by using the “Report Results” link on the SCA Road Running Grand Prix page, or by sending an email to the GP scorer with each runner’s official web-published finish time and 2009 USATF membership number to

GRAND PRIX Prize Money and Awards
The Top-5 men and Top-5 women with highest individual 2009 year-end total scores will be awarded the following cash prizes and SCA Grand Prix Championship medals:

1ST Place: $200, plus Gold Medal
2ND Place: $100, plus Silver Medal
3RD Place: $50, plus Bronze Medal
4TH Place: $30, plus Bronze Medal
5TH Place: $20, plus Bronze Medal
6TH-10TH Places: Bronze medals

Cash prizes will be awarded in the form of checks issue by Southern California USATF. 2009 Grand Prix checks and championship medals will be mailed to the recipients no later than January 15, 2010.

The Top-3 men & women scorers with highest individual 2009 year-end total scores in the following 13 individual 5-year age-groups will receive gold, silver, and bronze USATF medals:
13 & under, 14-18, 19-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70+

The Top-10 USATF Clubs with the highest 2009 year-end point totals will receive Grand Prix Championship plaques from the Southern California Association in recognition of their accomplishments.

FAQ's and More

Wayne Joness, Chair
SCA Open Athletics Road Running Committee
Res (310) 390-5357
Cell (310) 600-5332

Sissel Berntsen-Heber, Chair
SCA Masters Road Running Committee
Cell (415) 652-9221

Thursday, January 29, 2009

2008 SCA Mountain, Ultra, Trail Report

2008 Southern California Ultra Runners Grand Prix Series

Three races have taken place since my last report and the Series results have been tallied. Below is a recap of the three final races and the overall standings.

Rose Valley 33 Mile Run

Due to the Tea Fire and trail closures in the Santa Barbara Front Country, the 2008 Santa Barbara 9 Trails became the Rose Valley 33 Mile Endurance Run and was held in the forest east of Ojai.

According to RD Luis Escobar:
“The 2008 Rose Valley 33 Mile Endurance Run aka The Santa Barbara 9 Trails 35 Mile fire replacement run was a great success. We had about 100 starters and nearly 90 finishers. It was a day of pure ultra kookiness, the trails were gnarly but hospitable, dark blue skies, clean brisk California air, big views, long ass climbs, perfect single track, great aid stations, helpful, friendly and knowledgeable volunteers, generous sponsors. The finish line was ultra perfection - remote and funky location (abandoned county work station) with lots of happy people, cheese burgers prepared by chef Jurek, cold beer and shots of Jack. What could be better? We all had a great time.”

Mike Swan, 38, won the race in 5:08 and Krissy Moehl won the women’s division in 5:27. For complete results see

High Desert 50K Trail Run – SCA 50K Association Championship

RD Report: It almost never rains in Ridgecrest. But rain it did during the later hours of the 2008 edition of the High Desert 50k Ultra and 30k. Race day dawned with partly cloudy skies, but by noon more serious storm clouds became apparent over the mountains to our west. Soon a few sprinkles progressed to a steady drizzle. Hail was even reported by Gracies Mansion aid station.

Brian Krogman, of Van Nuys, was the 50k overall winner, in a time of 3:46:57. First 50k female was Angela Shartel of San Diego, in 4:10:45. Our military winner was Matthew Sandlin of Twentynine Palms, in 4:42:51.

In the 30k, Amy Grafius, Bishop, was first overall and broke the female overall course record, with an outstanding time of 2:08:16. The male winner was Ridgecrest local runner Robert Froehlich, in 2:19:57. Military category winner was Alex Luedke of Omaha, NE (2:37:11).

Course records in the 50k remained intact, but some 30k records were eclipsed. In addition to the overall female course record (as well as the F 30-39 record) set by Grafius, Matthew Johnson’s 2:36:25 finish bettered the male 19 and under record time, and Tylor Hill, of Santa Cruz, broke the men’s 20-29 record with a 2:20:46 finish. Finally, Ridgecrest OTHTC runner Dianne Rindt set a new best time for 60-69 females (3:13:44) in her first attempt on this course.

In all, 217 runners and walkers completed the 50k course, and 102 finished the 30k. For complete results see

Twin Peaks 50K and 50 Mile Trail Runs

RD Report: The mountains of Southern California on race day were plagued with a nasty storm that sent temps down to 30 degrees and saw snow coming down horizontally. Friends Michelle Barton and Keira Henninger, who finished hand in hand, dropped down from the 50 Mile to the 50KM (and were the female winners at that distance) told me they could not see each other while they ran the race together. Fourth place 50K finisher, Dean Dobberteen, had missed a key turn for the 50 mile course and ended up with the 50K finish. Runners began dropping like flies out there. If they weren't dropping from the 50 mile race altogether, they were dropping down to the 50K. Many 50 milers opted to skip the second trip to Santiago Peak but refused rides back down to the finish. They "unofficially" finished the 45 mile race and deserve much respect for toughing it out to the finish line despite not getting finisher awards.

Tracy Moore, a talented and fast runner, won the overall 50 mile race in 9 hours 30 minutes with his nearest competition almost a full hour behind him. Only 4 of the 22 finishers (Tracy Moore, Patrick Sweeny, Greg Hardesty & Cris Francisco) even managed to come in under 12 hours. First place female (and 5th overall) Gina Natera-Armenta in the 50 mile race finished in an impressive 12 hours flat.

Jonathan Mitchell took home top honors in the 50K race despite taking a rough fall at the top of West Horsethief Trail. He finished, covered in mud, in 5:35:30. Andy Salinger and Robert Rust rounded out the top 3 with first places females Michelle & Keira finishing 6th overall.

This course is arguably one of the toughest races in the Santa Ana Mountains. The 50K boasted 11,000' of gain with 17,000' in the 50 miler. Just two days after Twin Peaks the Santa Ana Mountains, including the Indian Truck Trail where the race began and ended, saw snow! For complete results see

2008 Southern California Ultra Runners Grand Prix Final Standings

The 2008 Southern California Ultra Series was a great success with XX members participating in XX series races: GP Leaderboard (PDF)

A huge thank you must go out to Gary Hilliard for coordinating this very successful series and for promoting USATF membership among the participants. Even with the infusion of prize money, many participants still do not join USATF even though two of the series races host SCA Association Championships - The Mt. Disappointment 50 Mile Trail Run and the High Desert 50 km Trail Run. We will continue in our efforts to promote USATF in the ultra community and also in the sub-ultra trail athletes in 2009. (See “Year in Review” below for more details.)

Thanks should also be sent to all the race directors who participated in the 2008 series as well as to Fred Pollard, Series Statistician, and Joe Magruder, Series Treasurer, who have assisted Gary throughout the year. Fred has compiled some statistics from the series participant’s efforts this year. This year seventy-nine athletes entered the Series and ran a total of 14,039 miles in 344 races. The average Series races distance was 40.8 and the average number of races per runner was 4.5. Twenty-six runners ran 6 or more races and three runners ran 12 races.

On January 31 the Series Awards/Run/Pot-Luck Lunch will be held at Chantry Flat in the San Gabriel Mountains. A mountain run will be followed by good food and camaraderie. Gary and MUT Chair Lorraine Gersitz will actively recruit USATF members at this time by speaking about the benefits of joining USTAF and especially the support MUT events receives from SCA. Overall and age-group awards and high mileage plaques will be awarded as will prize money to USATF members. Patrick Sweeney is the 2008 Overall Male Winner and Gina Natera-Armenta is the 2008 Overall Female Winner. The 2008 Men’s Mileage Champion is Ted Liao and the 2008 Women’s Mileage Champion is Gina Natera-Armenta. For complete results see the series website at

Read the Full Report (PDF)

Lorraine Gersitz
Mountain/Ultra/Trail Committee
Southern California Association
USA Track & Field

Sunday, January 25, 2009

SCA-USATF Announces New Sport Committee Chairs

LOS ANGELES, CA—Following its bi-annual elections, the Southern California Association of USA Track & Field is pleased to announce the election of the following Open Athletics Sport Committee Chairs for a 2009-2010 term of office.

WAYNE JONESS: Chair, SCA Open Athletics Road Running Subcommittee

A native of Appalachian Virginia, Wayne Joness received a B.A. degree in English from the University of Virginia in where he also studied music—the field in which he now works since moving to Los Angeles in 1990. He became a distance runner in high school and, after that, was a recreational runner until relocating to the Los Angeles running mecca.

Over the past 18-years, Wayne has been actively competing in road racing throughout Southern California. He’s run more than 200 So Cal races in total, including 111 10K’s, 26 marathons, and 14 half-marathons. In 2008, Wayne ran the Tokyo Marathon and historic Boston Marathon. He has been a member of Track Club LA since 2004 and participated with the club in numerous masters-level cross country events.

Since being appointed Wayne as Open Road Running Committee chair last February, Wayne has done a terrific job of creating a Southern California Road Championship Series. In 2008, the series featured the SCA 5K Road Championship held in conjunction with the Buena Park Coaster Run, the SCA Half-Marathon Championship held in conjunction with the Long Beach Half-Marathon, and the SCA 10K Road Championship held in conjunction with the Dana Point Turkey Trot. These are the first local USATF Road Championships that have been held in Southern California in more than 20-years. In 2009, the Avia Orange County Marathon on May 3 will be the first-ever SCA Marathon Championship. In just 8-months, Wayne has created a program that offers opportunities for runners in 13 different men’s and women’s 5-year age-groups to be Southern California champions at 4 different road distances and greatly expanded awareness of USA Track & Field development initiatives within the Southern California Road Running Community.

LILY ZEPEDA: Vice Chair, SCA Open Athletics Road Running Subcommittee

A native of the mile-high, runner friendly town of Albuquerque, NM, Lily Zepeda received a B.A. degree in Journalism from the University of New Mexico. She became a recreational runner in high school and, after college, began racing at distances from 1500 meters to the marathon. Lily came to Los Angeles in 2005 in pursuit of the warm weather and a career in marketing. In addition to being our Road Running Committee vice chair, Lily is the Director for a South Bay marketing firm which maintains top accounts in the healthcare, real estate. and retail industries.

Since relocating to Southern California, Lily has competed in more than fifty (50) Southland races, including the Santa Clarita Half-Marathon where she was the 2nd woman finisher in 2006 and in 2008. After posting a 3:20:52 time at the 2008 Phoenix Rock ‘N Roll Marathon, she qualified for, and ran, the 2008 Boston Marathon. Lily is a member of Track Club LA and the Santa Monica Trail Runners Club. She hopes to continue to become more involved in the Southern California running community by helping plan and conduct USATF events.

MIKE MAHURIN: Chair, SCA Open Cross Country Subcommittee

A native of Seattle, Washington, Mike Mahurin’s running career began after he had become a practicing attorney, not when he was in high school or college.

After becoming active in the Southern California road running scene, he took a brief break from running-only to compete in triathlons, including the 2003 Hawaii Ironman World Championship. In 2005, Mike joined Track Club L.A. and returned to competing in long distance races throughout Southern California.

His primary focus has been on the marathon, where his best time to date has been 2:38:00 at the Tucson Marathon in 2006. It was while training for that race that Mike had his first real exposure to cross-country, competing in several races that fall as part of his marathon training. In December, Mike went back to the Tucson Marathon and returned with the men’s individual title. Mike is 38 years old and a Los Angeles-based real estate attorney. He received B.A. degrees in Philosophy and Political Science from the University of Washington in 1992 and a J.D. degree from Pepperdine University Law School in 1995. Since I appointed Mike as Open Cross Country Chair last May, he has used his newfound excitement for cross-country running to help revitalize the Southern California cross-country scene in a way that will create more open level meets, attract more of the great distance runners in our area to the sport, and see us bidding to bring the USA National Cross Country Championships back to Southern California again soon.

ERIC BARRON: Chair, SCA Open Track & Field Country Subcommittee

Eric Barron is a graduate of Harvard University, where he competed in collegiate track and cross country, and the University of Michigan Law School. In 1996, he created Track Club LA–a team of some 90 men and women competitive and recreational long distance runners. Since 1999, he has been the distance coach and Head Women’s Cross Country Coach at Santa Monica College, where he has also been active in the California Community College Track Coaches Association. Eric holds USATF Level-I and Level-II coaching certifications. In 2006, he became the Head Coach for Nike Team Run LA, a USATF Elite Development Club of Los Angeles-based men and women distance runners. Last month, its men’s team placed 10th at the 2008 USA National Club Cross Country Championships in Seattle.

Eric has been active in growing our Jim Bush Southern California USATF Championships and supporting us hosting 3 meets in 2008 that produced 94 qualifiers for the U.S. Olympic Trials.

This summer, he will be conducting a new series of open-level track meets at Santa Monica College that will greatly exceed any summer program we have previously attempted to offer in support open-level track & field in Southern California.

CHRIS RAEL: Chair, SCA Open Race Walking Subcommittee

Chris Rael resides in Laguna Niguel and is a graduate of Magnolia H.S. and Cal State Fullerton. He is a high school biology teacher at Santa Ana High School and, over the past 17-years, has also taught history, English, math, and Spanish. Chris began race walking at age-15 and after 30-years continues to compete at an elite level, be a member of the USA National Race Walk Team, and compete internationally.

He was a finalist in the 1992 U.S. Olympic 50K Walk Trials, raced as a member of the 2005 USA 50K National Team, won a U.S. Masters indoor walk title, and earned a bronze medal in the 20K Walk at the 2005 World Masters Championships. As a race walking coach, Chris has stayed abreast of the scientific-based training techniques that have advanced both his sport and long distance running.

Since being appointed Chris our Open Race Walk Committee Chair, he has been the architect of an incredibly successful elite race walk development initiative in Southern California that has become a model for other USATF Associations across the country. In its first year, Chris’ initiative focused on the six NAIA schools in Southern California, recruiting their second-tier men and women distance runners to try competitive race walking (an NAIA championship event), and conducting coaching clinics to provide the technical instruction, training methods, and encouragement necessary for them to experience success at the national level. In only 4-months of intensive training walkers from Concordia University in Irvine and Westmont College qualified for the men’s and women’s NAIA National Track & Field Championships, then won Southern California USATF Race Walk titles.

Since then, Chris’ next step has been to these promising walkers in the sport after their collegiate careers, keep them improving, and keep them competing at the next level in open, national-class events…with the ultimate goal of vying for a spot on our USA Race Walk National Teams.

GARY HILLIARD: Chair, SCA Open M.U.T. Subcommittee

New SCA Open Athletics M.U.T. Committee chair Gary Hilliard lives in Sierra Madre, CA with his wife of seventeen years, Pamela Hilliard. Now 54, he was born near Pittsburgh, PA and is a registered/licensed civil engineer for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works.

Although he says he has always enjoyed running, he didn’t start running in organized events until the 1980’s. His running resume lists some of the better known ultra marathons such as the Western States 100-Mile, Angeles Crest 100-Mile, nearly all the events in the Southern California Ultra Distance Running Series, and now includes more than 150 marathons and ultra-marathons.

Gary’s running slowed down a little this past year and a half after a near fatal motorcycle accident in which he broke his back, neck, both arms, lost a kidney, punctured a lung, and severed his liver and spleen. While this slowed him down, he is also a four time cancer survivor and says he just doesn’t have it in him to quit.

Some of Gary’s other M.U.T. activities include being Logistics Director of the Mt. Wilson Trail Race and Assistant Race Director for the Angeles Crest 100-mile Endurance Race. He is also Director of the Southern California Grand Prix Ultra Series and the Race Director for the Mt Disappointment 50K and 50-Mile Endurance Race. The 50-mile distance, he is proud to say, has served as the USATF Southern California Association 50-mile Trail Championship for 2007 and 2008. He is also the Director of the Mt Disappointment United States Forest Service Trail Maintenance and Work Projects program—approved to work to preserve trails and stations for all users in the National Forest.

Working with the Southern California Association and Lorraine Gersitz (who has now moved on to become SCA Masters Committee M.U.T. chair), Gary says he looks forward to this new endeavor representing Southern California USATF as its Open Athletics MUT Committee chair.


Skip Stolley
Vice President, Southern California Association/ USA Track & Field
825 16th Street /suite B
Santa Monica, CA 90403
Tel (310) 453-7655 Cell (310) 200-5527 Fax (310) 829-6926
Email Website

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

AVIA OC Marathon Tabbed for 2009 SCA Marathon Championships

NEWPORT BEACH, CA—The Southern California Association of USA Track & Field has announced that the 5th annual 2009 Avia Orange County Marathon to be held on Sunday, May 3 in Newport Beach, will be its first Marathon championship in more than 20-years. Produced by International City Racing (ICR), this year’s race features a later date and a course redesigned to be as scenic and fast as possible—ideal for both novice and elite runners.

Start to finish, the course elevation is actually a net loss (i.e. downhill). This, and an early 6:30 am start to guarantee cool running conditions, will give USATF members a great opportunity to achieve personal bests for the sport’s most historic and challenging racing distance. As the course traverses Pacific Coast Highway, Corona Del Mar, Newport Bay and Back Bay, the South Coast Performing Arts Center, South Coast Plaza and Orange County Fair and Events Center, runners will also enjoy some of the most breath-taking coastal scenery in Orange County.

To help runners train for the 26.2 mile challenge, a new Beach Runners Marathon and Half Marathon Training Program is also available from ICR. The Beach Runners program is 21-weeks of training specifically tailored for the Avia Orange County Marathon. The program is led by head coach and USATF member, Jason Bruton. Jason is also the coach for the USATF-affiliated ICR Running Club.

Registration for the 2009 Avia Orange County Marathon is $80 until January 16—after which the fee increases to $90. Free commemorative technical training jackets are still available for the first 1,000 registrants.


The deadline for personalizing your bib number with a name (11 character maximum) is January 15. The first 1000 Marathon registrants will receive free commemorative custom technical jackets!

You must enter by this deadline (3/31/09) to be guaranteed a technical shirt (marathon and 1/2 marathon only) and to be guaranteed a t-shirt size.

USATF Contact:
Wayne Joness
Chair, Open Athletics Long Distance Running Committee
Southern California Association/ USA Track & Field
Cell (310) 600-5332 Email:

2008 Open Athletics Year in Review

Check out the highlights for Open Athletics in 2008 - it was a great year for SCA open cross country, MUT, race walking, road running, and track & field!
2008 Open Athletics Year in Review (PDF)

Visit the SCA Open page:

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Coaster Run 5K Launches 2009 SCA Road Running Championship Series

BUENA PARK, CA—Southern California USATF is pleased to announce its 2009 Road Running Championship Series will kick-off with The Coaster Run 5K on Sunday, March 15, in Buena Park.

The popular 5K also hosted the first Southern California USATF Road Championship in more than 20-years last April, which attracted some of the area’s top runners. The 2008 winner of the Elite Women's 5K race was Midori Sperandeo, who also ran in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Boston, MA. The 2008 Elite Men's 5K winner was Christian Hesch, a versatile runner who also took top honors at the 2008 Southern California Half-Marathon Championships held in conjunction with the Long Beach International City Bank Half Marathon in October.

For 2009, the Coaster 5K race date has been moved one month earlier to Sunday, March 15, promising ideal, cool racing conditions. The flat USATF-certified 5K course is perfect for runners striving to run personal bests. Produced by Renegade Racing, the race is a fund-raiser for the Speech & Language Development Center and also includes a 10K (which is not a USATF Championship) and a 1K Kids Walk/Run.

Race day registration, the start & finish, and post-race Expo are all located at Buena Park’s famous Knott's Berry Farm at 8039 Beach Boulevard. Entry standards are 17:00 for men and 20:00 for women for the Elite 5K Race, which features cash prizes for the top-5 male and female finishers.

PRIZE MONEY: 2009 coaster run elite 5K: (Men and Women)
1st Place $400, 2nd $250, 3rd $150, 4th $100, 5th $50, USATF Championship Medals to places 1-10

In the Open 5K race, the top-3 USATF member finishers in the traditional men’s and women’s 5-year age groups will receive gold-silver-bronze USATF Championship Medals. What’s more, all 5K/10K participants will receive 1/2 price entry to Knotts Berry Farm. Those raising $100 or more in donations for the Speech & Language Development Center will earn free entry to the park.

7:30 am Elite 5K Race
7:45 am Open 5K Run/Charity Walk
8:00 am Open 10K Race
9:00 am Camp Snoopy Kids Run/Walk
9:30 am Awards Ceremony

The Coaster Run 5K Information and Registration:

5K Elite Race Contact:
Wayne Joness
Chair, Open Athletics Long Distance Running Committee
Southern California Association/ USA Track & Field
Cell (310) 600-5332 Email:
SCA Road Running Championships