Record turnout at Daffodil Run |

Record turnout at Daffodil Run

How well do you think a non-running bike racer, former chain-smoker, a runner who had a heart attack last year and one with exercise-induced asthma would do in a race?

Well, they took the top four places at this year’s Daffodil Run 5K race held on Sunday at Western Gateway Park in Penn Valley in perfect racing weather.

There was a record 350 finishers (up from 280 last year) in the three races with 243 in the 5-kilometer race, 71 in the 10K and 36 in the kids’ race.

Nevada City’s Jason Moeschler, who competes in the Pro category in bike races, stayed with last year’s third place finisher, Larry DeFeyter for most of the race before pulling away to win in 17:33, also taking first in the 19-29 age group.

Nevada City’s DeFeyter, a former chain smoker, finished a strong second in 17:42, an impressive 1:21 faster than he ran last year, winning the 30-39 age group.

There was laughter and amazement as word spread after the race that Moeschler doesn’t run in workouts at all. He won the race on aerobic conditioning strictly from his bike training. This certainly gives a strong vote of confidence to biking as a good cross training alternative for runners.

The second pack had five runners within striking distance of each other.

Scott Macintosh was with that pack, but stopped with about a half mile or so to go. Turns out he arrived too late to register and was running unofficially. Too bad, as that last half mile would have been even more interesting with him in it.

The course is an out and back, and at the halfway point of the race I was in seventh place. I worked hard the latter half of the race and one runner at a time moved up until I was third with less than a quarter of a mile to go, then kicked early and hung on up the final hill to finish in 19:10.8, winning the 40-49 age group. (And yes, I’m the one with the exercise-induced asthma.)

Hot on my heels was Penn Valley’s Jon Root, in fourth place in 19:13.5, which won the 50-59 age group. Root’s performance was especially amazing as he is still on medication for a heart attack he had last year. Still, he doesn’t let that stop him as he is currently training 60 miles per week.

Rick Turner, from Chico, was 5th in 19:13.9 to close out the second pack.

Interestingly, my rough age-graded calculations for this race have Root and Grass Valley’s Frank Ribeiro, who won the 60-69 age group in 21:22.8, having the best races in the 5K – followed by me in third and Penn Valley’s Gene Gilligan, who ran 21:54.7 to take second in the 60-69 age group, in fourth.

Grass Valley’s Danny Rodriques continues to do well in the 13-18 age group in local road races, winning it in 19:42.9, while taking sixth overall. Penn Valley’s Chris Thibodeau finished seventh in 20:06.6, good for second in the 19-29 age group.

He was followed in eighth by Grass Valley’s George Raynsford, 2nd in the 50-59 age group in 20:15.6, who had a fantastic improvement, running over two minutes faster than in last year’s race. Seems the long distance training he and Frank Ribeiro have been doing together in preparation for the Boston Marathon later this month has paid off handsomely for both of them.

Grass Valley’s Paul Falvey came in ninth in 20:28.2, taking home the third place medal for the 40-49 age group.

Nevada City’s neophyte runner Matt Burns was close behind in 20:29.1 in 10th overall, winning the third place award for the 19-29 age group.

Gretchen Horstman, of Nevada City, was the women’s 5K race winner in 13th overall with a time of 21:10.3, winning once again (as predicted in my pre-race column two weeks ago).

Penn Valley’s Jerily McCormick was the second woman finisher, in 21st overall in 22:46.4, winning the 40-49 age group. Amber Tierney, of Nevada City, was third in the women’s race in 22:53.6, good for second in the 19-29 age group and 23rd overall.

Other noteworthy 5K performances include Nevada City’s Drue Mathies, who ran over two minutes faster than last year in this race to finish in 21:37.6, good for 15th overall and 3rd in the competitive 50-59 age group.

Grass Valley’s Shawn Riley, running with painful shin splints, still did well enough to finish 18th overall and third in the 30-39 age group in 22:03.4.

And Angie Maxson, fifth in the 30-39 age group, 52nd overall and wife of second place finisher Larry DeFeyter, proudly informed me that her 27:50.9 finish time was a whopping seven minutes faster than last year.

Over in the 10K, Nevada City’s Dan King lived up to my pre-race prediction by running the competition into the ground by pushing hard early and winning by more than a minute and a half in 38:39.6 on a tough course. His time would have won last year’s race by over two and a half minutes. He also won the 40-49 age group.

Penn Valley’s Brian Dell was a strong second place in 40:12.8, winning the 13-18 age group.

Women’s 10K winner Michelle Falvey, from Grass Valley, won by about eight minutes, running a very strong race and finishing third overall in 40:22.1 and winning the 30-39 age group.

Fourth through seventh places in the 10K were separated by less than three seconds!

Grass Valley’s Brian Kelly finished at the front of this tight pack in 43:23.4, good for fourth overall and first in the 19-29 age group. Penn Valley’s Corey Conklin was fifth in 43:24.7, and second in the 13-18 age group.

Nevada City’s “Neel” Neelakantan, coming back from a bad Achilles injury which left him unable to run for more than a year, marked his racing comeback with a very respectable sixth place finish in 43:25.1, which also garnered him second place in the 40-49 age group.

Grass Valley’s Shawn Vandervont took 7th in 43:26.3, as he also won the 30-39 age group.

Marysville’s Jim Picard was 8th in 44:00.7 while winning the 50-59 age group. Grass Valley’s Harry Shields took ninth in 44:40.9, good for third in the 40-49 age group.

The top 10 was rounded out by Grass Valley’s Paul Gross, who took second in the 19-29 age group in 44:47.2.

The second female finisher was listed as Alexa Lua, but there is some doubt that she completed the 10K course, as she had intended to run the 5K and missed the turnaround. Regardless, she was the first and only 1-12 year old female finisher.

Grass Valley’s Tammy Marich-Tiller was probably the second female finisher, taking second in the 30-39 age group in 48:15. Maeve Burke, from Mill Valley, was the next female finisher, winning the 50-59 age group in 49:25.

Another notable performance was Grass Valley’s Lynne Hurrell, who won the 70 and over age group in 57:17.5, which was almost a full minute faster than she ran in this race last year at age 69.



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

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