RUNNING: Spring Run adds to history with 33rd race |

RUNNING: Spring Run adds to history with 33rd race

Runners get going after church bells ring at the 33rd annual Spring Run in Nevada City on Saturday.
Submitted photo by Bob Zuelsdorf

Runners and walkers of all ages and abilities weaved through Nevada City on Saturday, marking the 33rd chapter in the Spring Run’s ever growing story.

The Spring Run holds a special place in the history of running in Nevada County, and that history was highlighted and added to in this most recent iteration of the venerated run.

Darryl Beardall completed the tough course at the age of 82, adding to his already substantial legend in the local running lore.

Fellow participant Andy Harris came up from Sacramento and finished seventh overall in the 5K, but perhaps his greatest distinction of the day is being the only finisher to have run in all 33 Spring Runs to date. 

Brannon Forrester of Nevada City was the overall winner in the 5K, completing the famously difficult course in 19 minutes, 8 seconds, while 16 year-old Grace McDaniel won the women’s race in 24:09. 

In the 10K, Doug Dreher from Grass Valley won in 47:34 from a slightly diminished field, as most runners opted for the 5K distance on the day. Inka Mims, a standout on the local Sierra Gold track team, won the women’s 10K in 55:30. 

Overall winners in the men’s and women’s races for both the 5K and 10K received a $25 gift card to the Trkac Running store.Everyone in attendance received a tomato plant, courtesy of Weiss Brothers Nursery in Grass Valley, the trademark participation award of the Spring Run.

Proceeds from annual 5K/10K supports the Nevada City United Methodist Church. The church in turn uses the funds to support various charitable events and causes in the community. 

Race organizer Terry Boyer, who was among those participating in the run on Saturday, noted one of his favorite moments of the event was the start. One of the many things that distinguish the Spring Run from its contemporaries is rather than a gun to start the race off, the church bells signal the runners to get going.

“There’s this little gap of time after I give the signal before the bells ring. Everyone is absolutely focused, they’ve got their watches ready to go, and it is totally silent,” said Boyer. This proverbial silence before the storm that is the race has always been a part of the Spring Run, but this year the silence carried another silent meaning. George Hagel, one of the original organizers of the race and one of the original architects of the famous course, passed away just two days before this year’s event. 

“His spirit was alive and well,” said Boyer of Hagel, “he was pushing everyone up that hill, I know he was pushing me.”

The Spring Run marks the fourth stop on the Gold Country Grand Prix, which now moves to the Read, Write, Run event May 18th at Deer Creek School. To sign up and learn more, visit

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

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