Local runners excel | TheUnion.com

Local runners excel

You might be surprised how well our area runners stack up against the competition in the big races.

For example, our local runners made a fine showing in the highly competitive 5K and 10K Run to Feed the Hungry races in Sacramento on Thanksgiving six weeks ago.

Former Bear River standout runner, and Grass Valley resident (when he’s not away at college) Matt Tyrrell, after finishing a very impressive fifth overall in the 5K at Run to Feed the Hungry in 2003, moved up to the 10K and took fourth place overall (out of 1,765 timed finishers) with a blazing 31:25 (5:04 average pace per mile!).

Matt told me he had a very good cross country season this year, his first without an injury, which made a huge difference. He finished second out of 25 in the 19-24 age group to a runner from Oregon.

Penn Valley’s Brian Dell, a former top runner at Nevada Union, despite, as he told me, having a sub-par race, still ran 41:29 (6:41 per mile pace) which was good for seventh out of 25 in the boys 16-18 age group and broke him into the top 100 at 99th place overall.

Over in the 5K, which had 1,967 timed finishers, Grass Valley’s Philippe Mickelson, another former Bear River star runner, was the top local runner, finishing 42nd overall in 17:55, averaging 5:47 per mile while finishing 11th out of 104 in the very tough 19-24 age group.

Hot on Philippe’s heels was Nevada City’s Dan King, who took the third place award in the 40-44 age group (out of 92 in a very competitive age group!) with a stellar 17:56, good for 45th overall.

I managed to stay in the top 100 for the 4th consecutive year, finishing 90th in 19:46 (6:22 pace), which was the best time I’ve run in the last two years, despite coming down with a sinus infection the day before the race. I was sixth out of 87 in the 45-49 age group.

Grass Valley’s George Raynesford, coming off a year with some physical setbacks, ran very well to finish sixth out of 69 in the 50-54 age group and 157th overall in 21:51 (7:03 pace).

Don Shaw, of Penn Valley, took fifth place (out of 41) in the 55-59 age group and 206th overall, running 23:33 (7:36 pace).

Fred and Gayle Lossman, of Nevada City, continued their age group excellence, with Fred running 33:49 and taking the third place award in the 70-74 age group, while Gayle ran 35:29 to take second in the 60-64 age group, only 23 seconds behind the winner (and over one and a half minutes ahead of third place!).

Madison Sheffield, from Nevada City, ran well to take 12th (out of 89) in the girls 16-18 age group and 340th overall, running 25:23. Her mom, Kathy, ran 27:36 to take a very respectable 10th place (out of 98) in the women’s 45-49 age group.

Back in the 10K, Grass Valley’s Lee Janeway ran 50:39 to take the third place award in the women’s 50-54 age group, while Karen Kroeger ran 54:00 to finish seventh in the same age group.

Mick Janeway, running in the tough men’s 50-54 age group, finished at 46:26 (7:29 pace), good for 254th place overall.

Meanwhile, in the fall cross country Pacific Association USA Track & Field races, Nevada Union women’s head cross country coach, Sara Freitas has been outstanding, finishing in the top three in her age group (45-49) in every race, including the championship 4-mile event, making her once again one of the top cross country runners in northern California in her age group.

And there are plenty of other top age group runners in our area who have been relatively quiet lately, due to injuries or life:

John Darlington, Al Shook, Kit Flynn, “Neel” Neelakantan, Gene Gilligan, Doug Reed, Larry Defeyter, Chris Stecko, Drue Mathies, Sue Madigan, B.J. Lindholm, Gretchen Horstman, Michelle Falvey, Scott McIntosh, Ken Soenen, Frank Ribeiro … and the list goes on.

We have a great group of runners here, who represent our area well in regional competitions, both as athletes and people.


Steve Bond is a competitive runner who lives in Grass Valley and regularly writes columns and feature stories about running for The Union. He may be reached via e-mail at stillrunning5@sbcglobal.net.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User