It has been several years since the Jimmy Stewart Relay Marathon organizers raised their entry fees, and in the meantime, plenty of other race directors have done the same. This is perhaps one reason why TCLA was back in force at the 2006 Silver Anniversary running of the Jimmy Stewart race.
Indeed, TCLA I, the club's fast men's team, improved by seven minutes over last year, finishing 5th out of 24 teams in the Running Club, Men's Division, and 6th out of 459 teams overall with a 2:32:30. Tom Gatyas showed that he is back in old form with a strong lead leg. The one veteran from last year's team, Nyron Bernard, held position well, and Noel Velasco picked up the pace again. Although he favors middle distance races, Chris DeWitt ran admirably, and honorary member Josh Garrett (ex-college teammate of Noel) turned in the club's fastest leg of the day.
The best race (in the "contest" sense) of the day occurred between TCLA II, the club's men's masters team, and the ultimate winners of that division. Jim Spear provided both the age and the speed to get the team off to a good start. Dean Goodman then improved over last year's time by two minutes. Ron Paquette, a Saturday morning TCLA member, blasted the third leg and Peter Glassman kept the baton moving well. The drama culminated during David Kent's leg, with several lead changes and a race to the finish line. In the end, the team was two seconds short of the gold, but should be quite happy with its 2:52:39, good for 25th overall.
TCLA III traditionally has TCLA assistant coach Ogie Espinosa and long-time member BaoKim Coleman. This year, Ogie was out of town, and newcomer Boaz McNabb got the team going with its fastest leg. Lawrence Spear ran a solid leg (but fortunately for the club was not too tired afterwards to grill up some fine shish kabob). Bao ran the third leg slightly faster than he did last year, and Ron Hecker ran his leg a whopping four minutes faster than last year. David Pullman, a Jimmy Stewart newcomer, finished things off for the team in 3:30:32 (15th in the Running Club, Men's Division).
Thank heaven for TCLA IV because these women prepared much of the post-race feast. Stephanie Cahn was excused from providing food to the club as she had to provide nourishment to her infant, but that did not stop her from an impressive postpartum, lead leg. Sharon Yamato, who had spent the prior days stuffing meat and vegetables onto skewers so the club could enjoy them, was frustrated with her race, but she actually ran two minutes faster than the last time she was on the course. Susan Rendell and Cindy Bernstein offered up plenty of fresh strawberries and homemade brownies in addition to handling the third and fourth legs, respectively. Flying in from New Orleans just in time to anchor, Anne-Marie Mowad closed things out in fine fashion for a 3:38:32 (6th in the Running Club, Women's Division).
TCLA V is the domain of DCLA (the club's Saturday morning runners). Todd Patterson showed that his workouts are paying off by running the lead leg a minute faster than he ran last year. Gary McArdle managed to run without first biking and swimming beforehand (though he may have biked to the race, who knows). Enjoying sea level after spending a few months in Vail, Nathan Shopay cruised a fast third leg (cheered on by his brother, Jonathan). Tim Petersen has not run much this year, but made his daughter Pauline proud as he came in and handed off to assistant coach Brian Panosian, who also made his daughter, Gracie, proud with a strong leg and a 2:50:27 finish (11th in the Running Club, Men's Division and 22nd overall) and seven minutes faster than last year.
TCLA VI is ruled by the women of the club, and they represented well. For the seventh time, Jacinda Raiche ran the first leg for a TCLA team. She has run faster in the past, but she still managed the team's fastest leg. Elizabeth Garfield did not let a brutal tax season affect her performance as the team's traditional second runner. Wenise Wong was happy to have improved over last year's time by thirty seconds, and the club was happy to have had her buy the ten-pound sirloin that ended up as 100 shish kabobs. Flying as the fourth runner, Lydia Salinas contributed her legs (and then her hands as she gave many post-race massages). Finally, Lily Zepeda-White suffered from severe side stitches, but did not give up and crossed the line in 3:09:11. This was good enough to earn the women third place in the Running Club, Women's Division, and considering that the first two teams were semi-pro, TCLA is quite proud of them.
The line-up for TCLA VII seemed to constantly change, even as the race progressed. Liz Grau was supposed to run, and though she was hurt, she came and cheered on the team. Staci Chiang was thrown into the lead spot at the last minute, and she held up to the pressure well. Angela Brunson was pulled off another team and ran the second leg here, and both she and Staci later ran legs for other teams (TCLA thanks the two of them for running with the club first). Jeff Bernstein and Mike Kukuchka filled the third and fourth spots, respectively. Finally, Nathan Shopay warmed down from his prior leg on TCLA V with a not too shabby anchor and a 3:12:11 for 7th in the Running Club, Co-Ed Division.
Rounding out the club's octet, TCLA VIII just cracked the top ten in its division. Albert Li was hampered by hamstring problems but got the baton to Mike Branch, who ran a nice second leg. Jesus Liberato, friend of Lily, ran an equally solid third leg. Eric Giovanola turned in the team's best leg, and Jimmy Freeman was a solid anchor, especially considering he ran this after running the Boston Marathon a week ago. In the end, they ran 2:50:15, good enough for 10th in the Running Club, Men's Division (21st overall).
The fun would not have been possible without organizational help from Wayne and Mie Joness, and they deserve a round of applause. Also, a huge thanks to Anthony Manniello for his massage work during the race.
TCLA I (2:32:30) TCLA II (2:52:39) TCLA III (3:30:32)
Tom 30:00 Jim 37:55 Boaz 37:05
Nyron 32:15 Dean 35:22 Lawrence 39:43
Noel 30:12 Ron P. 31:43 Bao 46:39
Chris 31:04 Peter 34:47 Ron H. 47:43
Josh 28:59 David K. 33:52 David P. 39:32
TCLA IV (3:38:32) TCLA V (2:50:27) TCLA VI (3:09:11)
Stephanie 39:00 Todd 33:00 Jacinda 36:08
Sharon 44:52 Gary 34:10 Elizabeth 38:09
Susan 46:12 Nathan 30:30 Wenise 38:41
Cindy 48:23 Tim 39:07 Lydia 36:29
Anne-Marie 40:05 Brian 33:40 Lily 39:44
TCLA VII (3:12:11) TCLA VIII (2:50:15)
Staci 41:31 Albert 39:05
Angela 37:40 Mike B. 33:07
Jeff 39:55 Jesus 32:57
Mike K. 41:07 Eric 32:20
Nathan 31:58 Jimmy 32:46
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