Run for Your Life column: Grand Prix a success |

Run for Your Life column: Grand Prix a success

This year’s Gold Country Grand Prix, put into place with the intention of creating more excitement and participation in the local races, achieved the goal with attendance up at almost every event.

There were a total of eight races, with one being the Kids’ Run, with no one over 12 allowed to compete.

So, the most points possible that could be scored by anyone over 12 was 77, requiring a first-place age group (AG) finish in seven races.

Going into last Sunday’s Run Through the Colors races, Reno’s Chris Badolato (19-29 AG) and Grass Valley’s Robert Marrer (50-59) were undefeated in their age groups.

Chris and Bob both won their age groups again to tie for first in the top male point scorer race for the year with 77.

Chris had the “perfect” score despite not running any workouts at all for the last three months or so due to injuries. He is going out on top as he has told me that he has now retired from running.

Bob dodged a couple of bullets to also remain perfect. Bobby Carpenter, a friend of mine and National Class 50s AG runner from Sacramento, was leading the Draft Horse 10K race, but was misdirected and ran short, disqualifying himself.

At the July 4th race, Bob got lost and actually ran longer than the 5 miles of the race, and STILL won his age group, showing he was most deserving. (I, of all people, ought to know, as I was second!)

In the women’s top point scorer competition, Grass Valley’s Lynne Hurrell won the 70 and over AG in all seven races, with no one close to her in any race.

On a sad note, Nevada City’s Carly Brush went into the last race undefeated in her 19-29 AG, but, two weeks before the race, injured her heel. She struggled her way through the race with a great deal of heart, unable to grab that last AG victory to hit the 77 points necessary to tie for first.

Carly still won her AG by a huge margin, probably with 70 points.

I must note here that my results are unofficial, as there a couple of discrepancies in the results, but are extremely likely to be accurate.

Nevada City’s Pamela Conavay was second 19-29 AG (48 points) and Grass Valley’s Erin Jensen third (43 points).

Nevada City’s V. Neelakantan deserves special mention as he ended up with 64 points, winning the 40-49 AG. But, if he hadn’t been misdirected at the Draft Horse Classic 10K, he would almost certainly have ended up with 74 points, with only Doug Reed’s victory over him in the Spring Run 10K keeping him from a perfect 77 points.

Not to be overlooked is Nevada City’s Larry Defeyter, who ended up winning his AG in all six races he ran (66 points), winning four races outright. He didn’t run the Salmon Run 10K, which three runners I know of did, that never ran another race the rest of the year. (More on that in a future column.)

Grass Valley’s Jill Vahidi was a force in the 30-39 AG, totaling 64 points for the win. Kirsten Koch and Heather Bullis, both from Grass Valley, were second and third with 47 and 25 points.

Penn Valley’s Mary McLean, who never ceased to amaze me by winning her AG by huge margins in all five races she ran, won the 60-69 AG with 55 points. Mary also usually had the best age-graded race of anyone when she ran. Grass Valley’s Elaine Sierra wasn’t far behind with 49 points.

Grass Valley’s Pam Coon ran away with the 50-59 AG with 67 points. Lori Wisniewski, also from GV, came on strong at the end of the year to take second with 55 points.

Penn Valley’s Jerily McCormick won the 40-49 AG with 51 points, with Nevada City’s Michelle Homan 2nd with 41.

Grass Valley’s Thomas McAtee dominated the 9-12 AG, scoring 74 points, with only one debatable second place keeping him from a perfect score. Personally, I think he should have had 77.

Rough & Ready’s Austin Violette was easily the winner in the 13-18 AG with 60 points.

Oregon House’s Rocky Lubbers won the 8-and-under AG by over 40 points, scoring 66 for the year. His grandfather, Herman, won the 70 and over AG with 56 points.

Yuba City’s Ken Gaal won the 60-69 AG with 66 points, the winner in all six races he ran. If he hadn’t missed the first race in the series, he likely would have had a perfect 77 to tie for best score.

Auburn’s Nichole Tintle, a Bear River runner, won the 13-18 AG with 55 points, with Grass Valley’s Laura Rodrigues, a Nevada Union runner, second with 44.

Grass Valley’s Kate Berreman won the 8-and-under AG by over 40 points, totaling 63. A hearty thumbs up to her parents for running many of the races with her, sacrificing their own races. I know because I barely finished ahead of Dave the one race he let loose.

Grass Valley’s Ashley Davies won the 9-12 AG with 58 points, while Nevada City’s Dori Anderson was second with 31.

There are other interesting stories to tell, but they’ll have to wait for another column as we are out of space.

Congratulations to all the winners and those who participated, and especially Gary Loucks and Joan Bumpus for being the driving forces behind a fun competition.

Full Grand Prix results will probably be available online some time next week at Results/GPpoints.PDF.


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

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