Gold Country Grand Prix kicks off 10th season with Daffodil 5K/10K |

Gold Country Grand Prix kicks off 10th season with Daffodil 5K/10K

In this April 13 file photo runners get going at the start of the 14th annual Joanie Bumpus Daffodil Run in Penn Valley last year.
John Hart/ | The Union

The Gold Country Grand Prix is set to kick off its 10th installment of the popular running series Sunday with the Joanie Bumpus Daffodil 5K/10K in Penn Valley.

Race organizer Gene Gilligan said the annual race that traverses the streets near Western Gateway Park is the perfect course for runners just now dusting off their running shoes.

“Normally it has been winter and for Nevada County (runners) they want to race,” he said. “People are ready to run, or get out and support their community. Support the cause and be part of the whole morning.”

Western Gateway Park in Penn Valley is the setting for the event as runners begin at the entrance of the park, run through the streets of Penn Valley and eventually finish inside the park.

“Western Gateway Park is gorgeous, it’s beautiful,” said Gilligan. “A great place to have a gathering.”

The Daffodil course, unlike most of the races in the Gold Country Grand Prix, is relatively flat.

“It’s the flattest course in the (Grand Prix),” Gilligan said. “The 5K is totally flat. The 10K runners get a series of pretty good climbs, but both runs are really flat and that’s the draw.”

Last year the 5K winner in the men’s division was David LaPlante with a time of 19 minutes, 11.8 seconds. The women’s 5K winner was Caroline Sekercan in 21:13.3. In the men’s 10K, Jim Pelton won in a time of 38.59. In the women’s 10K, Inka Mims took the top spot with a time of 44:50.

Michelle Falvey set the 10K course record in 2005 with a time of (40:22). Chris Badolato set the men’s 10K record in 2008 with a time of 34:40.

Badolato also has the men’s 5K record, setting it in 2011 with a time of 16:29. Sara Freitas owns the women’s 5K course record at 18:18.

Not only does the event kickoff the racing season locally, but it raises funds for several local causes, including Penn Valley schools, a scholarship for a graduating high school student, Western Gateway Park and to plant daffodils.

“It’s a great run for the racers and a great event for the community,” Gilligan said.

The event gets started at 7 a.m. with registration and the race gets going at 8:45 a.m. The event will include a kids fun run, refreshments before and after the race and awards for the top three finishers in each age group.

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email

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