LONG BEACH, CA—The 2009 Southern California Road Running Grand Prix recharged on Sunday, October 11, with the Run Forrest Run 5K, part of the massive running spectacle that was the 25th annual International City Bank Long Beach Marathon. The festive atmosphere on Shoreline Drive energized Southern California Association members, and with a nearly flat course, many runners set new personal records at the 5K race.
For the first time ever, both the full and half marathon events sold out, with the Run Forrest Run 5K also bringing in one of its largest fields of runners. The starting line for the 5K resembled a class reunion for many USATF runners who participated in earlier Grand Prix events. It had been several months since the last Grand Prix race, the Semana Nautica 15K on July 4th, and SCA runners showed the results of their summer training.
Crossing the finish line first was USATF member Luis Guevara, with a time of 15:09. Luis ran as a member of the International City Racing Track Club. This recently formed group, coached by Jason Bruton, has proven itself to be a dominant force, and Sunday was no exception. Luis’s ICR teammate Eli Rodriguez won the marathon event on Sunday. In May, Rodriguez also won the OC Marathon, taking the title of the 2009 Southern California Association Marathon Champion. And fellow ICR runner Jimmy Grabow won the half marathon, making a perfect sweep for International City Racing in all three events. In addition to his victory Sunday, Grabow was also the first SCA runner to cross the finish line in the elite Coaster 5K race this March!
In the women’s division, Cambria D’Amico handily won with a time of 17:20. D’Amico runs as a member of the Janes Elite Racing Team, a USATF elite development club. While the 5K was D’Amico’s first Grand Prix event, the Janes turned in an outstanding team performance in the 2009 Grand Prix, posting the highest single score by a team at the Brentwood 10K in June. D’Amico has been strong all year, also winning the Conquer the Bridge 5 mile Road Race held in San Pedro on Labor Day.
In the team competition, Track Club LA edged out Elite Health Track Club. This was a rematch for the two teams, who also traveled to Goleta in July to run in the Semana Nautica 15K. While Track Club LA is a large group of Westside Los Angeles runners, Elite Health Track Club is a smaller, close-knit group of determined runners coached by Wayne Douglas. Douglas has really encouraged his runners to participate in the Road Running Grand Prix, and as a result Elite Health Track Club is the only group to claim one hundred percent participation, with every one of Wayne’s runners showing up in at least one Grand Prix race!
With the age-graded scores calculated and posted online at www.scagrandprix.org, one thing is very clear: the race for the first place overall finisher in the women’s division is going to be very close. Rosalva Bonilla has consistently placed high in every race this year, scoring in the 800s except when fighting a cold at the Semana Nautica 15K. But close behind Bonilla has been Lydia Salinas. After her 798 score at the Semana Nautica 15K, Salinas was determined to break 800, and she easily did at the Run Forrest Run 5K, posting a score of 877! For the first time ever, Salinas has taken the lead in Grand Prix scoring by the narrow margin of 22 points, 3269 (Salinas) to 3247 (Bonilla). Bonilla did not post a time for the Run Forrest Run 5K, since she was on the marathon course, running the Long Beach Marathon in 3:06:56, and finishing first in her age group!
A Snail’s Pace Running Club also had a strong showing at the Run Forrest Run 5K, with Dale Campbell (M-56) turning in a spectacular 16:29 time, for an age-graded score of 941. Dale’s score is the highest of the 113 runners participating in the 2009 Grand Prix. Sue Zihlmann (F-45) ran 18:35, only one week after her 2:53:22 finish at the St. George Marathon. Club liaison Bob Morris indicated there would be more participation by ASPRC at 2010 USATF events, so Southern California runners are officially on notice to watch out for great performances by this motivated running club!
With the 5K race behind them, runners relaxed and enjoyed the best finishing line feast ever, with lunch provided by Bubba Gump Shrimp, the title sponsor of the Run Forrest Run 5K. Runners were offered a selection of box lunches, including smoked salmon and shrimp! While the half and full marathon runners dined on traditional bagels and orange slices, every 5K runner felt like an elite athlete on Sunday morning, with the first class treatment offered by race organizers International City Racing. And in celebration of the silver anniversary of the International City Bank Long Beach Marathon, more than 25,000 cupcakes were distributed on Sunday!
The next race on the schedule is the Santa Barbara Half Marathon, on November 7. This race is also the 2009 Southern California Association Half Marathon Championship event, and turnout should be strong. The Grand Prix Series concludes with the Dana Point Turkey Trot 10K, the 2009 Southern California USATF 10K Road Championship race, on Thanksgiving Day, November 26.
For more information, please visit:
Road Championship Series: www.scaroadchampionship.org
For current Grand Prix Point Standings, please visit:
Chair, Open Athletics Long Distance Running Committee
Southern California Association/ USA Track & Field
Cell (310) 600-5332 Email: email@example.com