RUNNING: Good weather, extra generosity, record times highlight Daffodil Run |

RUNNING: Good weather, extra generosity, record times highlight Daffodil Run

The 19th edition of the Joanie Bumpus Daffodil Run played host to more than 200 runners and walkers of all ages on Sunday.

The proceeds from the event go to supporting local Penn Valley schools, and this year the Daffodil Run will also provide hundreds of dollars of support to the Paradise schools affected by wildfires last year.

In addition to the standard entry fee, race director Gene Gilligan also requested that runners contribute an extra $5 to support those schools hurt by the fires. Although the final accounting has not been finalized, Gilligan fully expects that the race will be able to complete its goal of matching at least $500 in funds provided by entrants.

“It was really cool to see, and I’m just really happy with the generosity of everyone,” said Gilligan of what he described as a remarkable outpouring of support for Nevada County’s neighbors.

As for the race itself, the times were fast, the weather was good and some runners made themselves known. The Daffodil is well-known in the local running community both as one of the oldest running events in the series and also as one of the fastest courses on offer to Grand Prix runners. The relatively flat out and back style course is primarily run on pavement, and while that surface is a bit more punishing on the body than trails or grass, it is also much faster. The race also experienced some well-timed pleasant weather, as it so often has in its long history.

“It’s always nice to have good weather and we got lucky again this year,” said Gilligan.

Sergio Higareda, formerly of the local Sierra Gold team who recently moved away from the area and has primarily been racing in the Bay Area, came back to his old stomping grounds to claim the overall victory in the 5k in a time of 19 minutes, 2 seconds. Higareda is no stranger to winning Grand Prix events, and while this wasn’t his fastest time on the Daffodil course, it was one of his most decided, finishing more than a minute ahead of the second place runner. It’s also worth noting that second place runner was Brad Hoover, a Nevada Union English teacher, and he had an impressive run himself.

Jade Biittner, the 12 year-old phenom from Grass Valley, continued her run of remarkable results, winning the female 5k title and placing fourth overall in a time of 21:05. Meanwhile in the 10k, Regina Curry won overall in a 40-49 age group record 41:30, edging out the first place men’s finisher Bjorn Jones by 10 seconds, and securing her place in the history of the Daffodil Run.

“She did a really great job, you don’t see that very often,” said Gilligan of Curry’s special victory, adding that he felt the Daffodil Run was poised to continue its success well beyond its 20th running next year.

Before that momentous occasion, however, the Grand Prix moves to its oldest and most venerated event, the Spring Run April 27.

Kael Newton is a Nevada County native and freelance journalist. He can be reached at or @KaelNewton on Twitter.

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