As if running a race is not hard enough, CalTrans decided to make things a bit more interesting by shutting just about every highway interchange leading to Griffith Park, site of the 2001 Jimmy Stewart Relay Marathon. Runners are a resourceful lot, however, and by the time the race started under clear skies and pleasantly cool temperatures, most folks had found their way to their teams. The question is, for what team should one run. More than 700 teams run this race each year, but only one had its own, personal massage tables. Those runners that knew what was good for them ran for TCLA.
In fact, so many runners wanted to wear the red and white of TCLA, that the club entered a whopping eight teams. TCLA I saw the return of Jeff Sakamoto after last year's hiatus. Bravely stepping up to the lead runner spot after the above-mentioned highway detours delayed the runner slotted for that leg, Jeff is back on the racing scene. Next up, Wenise continued her strong year, improving on last year's time by a minute-and-a-half. Erica Nemmers, who after decent training had been sick in the previous two weeks, ran a strong middle leg. Resident miler, David Silver, ran the fourth leg, though it is unclear if after racing for five miles, he will want to repeat the experience. Finally, building off a training base of 80-hour work weeks and all the junk food you can eat, Rab Brown brought the team home in 2:47:50, good for third place in the Running Club, Mixed Division (25th overall). This is a fine achievement, especially as this team underwent more realignment than Major League Baseball has in the past few years.
TCLA II had the experience of the years on its side. Paul Scott repeated his leadoff leg from last year, and clipped ten seconds from that time. Jim Spear blazed the next the leg, schooling many a younger runner. Not one to let his son show him up, Andreas Kemkes knocked off almost three minutes from last year's time. Brad Lusk warmed up, and warmed up, and warmed up, and then ran, all in preparation for the Rock and Roll Marathon. And in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon, Paul Anderson took the anchor leg. Proving they were indeed Masters of the sport, these five guys, who average over 50 years of age, put together a 2:57:05, earning them second in the Masters Division (38th overall).
Ogie Espinosa, who likes the race so much that he ran for two teams, ran his fresh leg to open the day for TCLA III. The next two team members, Bao Coleman and Julie Kriger ran almost identical times. Jennifer Sample, in her final season as a Los Angelino (Los Angelite? Los Angelinian?) before she heads north to Oregon this fall, ran a good fourth leg. The growing heat provided strong incentive for Michael Berger to finish fast, and he did for a total team time of 3:32:24 and twenty-seventh place in the Running Club, Mixed Division (169th overall).
The first three runners for TCLA IV, Jeff Bernstein, Susan Rendell, and Cindy Bernstein were returning members from last year's team, and they functioned well together. The fourth runner, Doug Patterson, filled the honorary "Friend of Susan" spot, and he held up well, despite being thrown in with these unsavory characters. Rounding out the team, Jesus Rivera, a "Friend of Jeff" and now club member, crossed the line in 3:24:50, good for fifteenth in the Running Club, Mixed Division (169th overall). After seeing the picnic spread that Susan laid out at the end of the race, several TCLA members have already requested to be on her team next year.
Get together a bunch of competitive guys, and you have TCLA V (a.k.a., DCLA). The first two runners, Tim Petersen and Brian Panosian, ran similar times, though Brian was heard to say that he would have run faster had his war paint not run into his eyes once he started sweating hard. The next two runners, David Kent and Clarence Smith, also ran nearly equal times, which makes sense given that they train together. Rasmus Tamstorf, a Niketown import, ran an outstanding anchor leg, pulling the team ahead of TCLA I with a final 2:46:58, and landing them in eleventh place in the tough Running Club, Male Division (23rd overall).
TCLA's other all-male team, TCLA VI was led by Joe Lohmar. After a winter of discontent (thanks to a sore knee), Joe is back to racing. John Daly, no stranger to long relay races after his Hood-to-Coast experience, handled the second leg. Mike Molinyawe ran the middle leg, then disappeared as quickly as he ran. The four runner, John Mouser, had a decent day, handing off to Todd Carey, who came barreling down the finish chute at 3:03:39, which was twentieth place in the Running Club, Male Division (50th overall). Todd also contributed the sharp-looking TCLA sign that adorned one of the tents.
TCLA VII provided an opportunity for runners to get to know each other a little better. Indeed, days before the race, just about every team member said, "I don't know who most of my teammates are." This is understandable as many of them have been away from Tuesday nights for one reason or another. Soft- spoken Kendra Wood started things off and met up with Ellen Kukuchka (taking time off to run trails) just after the 38-minute mark. Deanna Sakamoto (taking time off to raise a child) ran the third leg, and handed off to Todd Patterson, who ran a strong race. Jerry Himmelberg (taking time off to travel through Australia) returned from Down Under just in time to grab the baton and end up with a 3:11:02 and an eleventh place finish in the Running Club, Mixed Division (86th overall).
Last, but not least, the women got TCLA VIII got off to a wonderful start. Jacinda Raiche, running her traditional leadoff leg, improved upon her mark from last year by almost forty seconds. Tania Fischer, graciously squeezing in her own race between watching track meets all weekend long, then turned in an even faster leg. The men, Tom Wheeler, Tyrone Black, and some guy that acted like he was coaching the whole club, just hoped to hold their own with the women. Running the anchor leg after running a 10K the day before (no comment), Tyrone finished strong to set a club record of 2:36:22, and a first-time first place victory for TCLA in the Running Club, Mixed Division (12th overall)
Two TCLA'ers who did not run were nevertheless key to the club's success. Peggy Sauve-Enriquez and Amy Aukstikalnis made sure that things ran smoothly in the transition area, and still managed to record times. Plenty of other TCLA'ers were also seen at the race, many running for other teams. They will, of course, make it into this write-up next year when they run for TCLA. Thanks to all those who brought chairs, tables, coolers, and food (contrary to popular rumor, we were not holding a brownie bake-off) for everyone's indulgence. Finally, extra special mention and thanks to Anthony Maniello and Lisa Paschall for providing those massages.
The times below represent the time the runner held the baton (approximately 5.2 miles for the first leg, 5.3 miles for the middle three legs, and 5.1 miles for the last leg).
TCLA I TCLA II TCLA III
Jeff S. 32:33 Paul S. 35:23 Ogie 40:03
Wenise 35:25 Jim 34:21 Bao 44:25
Erica 33:22 Andreas 34:14 Julie 44:44
David S. 33:57 Brad 35:59 Jennifer 41:56
Rab 32:33 Paul A. 36:37 Michael 41:16
TCLA IV TCLA V TCLA VI
Jeff B. 37:09 Tim 35:07 Joe 37:38
Susan 44:18 Brian 35:30 John D. 35:30
Cindy 44:17 David K. 33:15 Mike 37:36
Doug 43:34 Clarence 33:00 John M. 36:14
Jesus 35:32 Rasmus 30:06 Todd C. 36:20
TCLA VII TCLA VIII
Kendra 38:08 Jacinda 31:31
Deanna 41:26 Tania 31:04
Ellen 42:01 Eric 30:37
Todd P. 33:24 Tom 31:41
Jerry 36:03 Tyrone 31:29
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