It was a beautiful sunny day with pleasantly cool temperatures when hundreds toed the line at a Zuma Beach parking lot waiting for the start of the Dolphin 10K. The course was the same as last year, an out and back affair along a beach access road with one little loop in a parking lot. Unlike last year, the small dip in the road around 2 1/2 miles into the race was "full" of water. For whatever reason, upon seeing ankle-deep water, some runners chose to act like shy horses approaching a tall jump, and came to a standstill. Coming to their senses, they soon joined the others and took the plunge. The only other peculiarity of the course concerned the organizers' curious decision to place the sole water station just after mile 1. Perhaps they considered the water in the road to be a sufficient second water stop.
Oblivious to these trying conditions, Steve Lopez set a PR by 2:45, finishing in 39:20. Nor did these conditions distract Mike Whitemiller, who several months ago managed to deal with 100 miles of snow, ice, rock and heat at the Western States 100, and he finished about a minute back of Steve. Helping Mike run over thirty miles of the Western States also helped prepare John Daly for this course, and he ran 42:03. Lacking such experience, Laurence Lavelle, competing in his first race ever, braved the obstacles and managed a 46:08, a new PR (that's the great thing about racing a new distance). Rounding out the men, Tim Petersen squeezed between Mike and John in 41:30, Lawrence Kong ran in the 47:50 ballpark, and Wayne Poon fought off a cold while finishing around 52:00.
It took the women, as is usual for TCLA, to bring home the booty. Peggy Sauve Enriquez won her age division (along with a medal and a pair of running shoes) with a 45:38 (and just think what she would have run had she not, um, paused at the water puddle). Wenise "Pre" Wong (see the movie "Without Limits" for reference), went out at a blistering pace, and likely would have had an overall faster time had she paced herself, but hung on for a 46:00, a third place in her age division, a medal, and a sweatshirt. Lydia Salinas made a fine showing for women overall finishing as about the ninth female overall with a 43:41, and Melinda Balbirnie was not far behind with a 43:59. Finally, Silvia Ariniello brought it home in 1:04:41.
One disclaimer, the above report is based entirely on hearsay. For all I know, the organizers cancelled the race and everyone spent the morning tanning on the beach.
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