Run for Your Life column: Record turnout for eighth Salmon Run |

Run for Your Life column: Record turnout for eighth Salmon Run

The Eighth Annual Spring Salmon Run 10K Trail Run & Walk, held on Mother’s Day in Nevada City, had a record 124 participants (114 runners, 10 walkers), smashing last year’s record-setting attendance of 102 (82 runners, 20 walkers).

Reno’s Chris Badolato won in a very fast 49 minutes, 44 seconds on a very rocky and brutally hilly course which left the majority of the runners walking at least some segments. As a comparison, most runners are more than two minutes per mile faster on a same length flat course. Even the race organizers admit this course is “challenging!”

With his win, Badolato jumps back into first place in the 20-29 age group (AG) Grand Prix (GP) competition with 20 points. Grass Valley’s Brian Kelly, who finished 46th and sixth in that AG in 68:03, hangs onto second place in the 20-29 GP with at least 17 points. Alton Dunnigan, second in the 20-29 AG in this race in 53:09, was sixth overall, but is not part of the GP.

Some GP point totals are unofficial given incomplete information at this time as to who is in the GP and who is not.

Peter Lubbers, from Oregon House, who won the Penn Valley Daffodil Run and Nevada City Spring Run 10K races in April, continued to show dramatic improvement, running roughly 15 minutes faster than last year on the Salmon Run course and finishing second in 50:42.

Lubbers was again the front-runner in the very competitive 30-39 AG and leads that GP with 30 points. Nevada City’s Larry Defeyter is second with 20.

There were five other 30-39 runners in the top 12 in the race. They were Nevada City’s Kevin Baker (third overall, 51:52) and Dean Garcia (seventh, 53:28); Dixon’s Greg Ngo (eighth, 54:17, third in the GP with 17 points); Nevada City’s Sid Heaton (11th, 55:00) and Grass Valley’s Troy Vahidi (12th, 56:10). Nevada City’s Michael Newsom, also in that AG, ran the Race for the Cure 5K in Sacramento the day before, and still finished 17th in 59:00.

Nevada City’s Sara Freitas, who coaches the girls cross country team at Nevada Union and is probably the best age/gender graded over 40 runner in our area, won the women’s race by over eight minutes in 51:57 and was fourth overall.

The top four women’s finishers were all in the tough 40-49 AG. After Freitas were Smartville’s Inka Mims in 60:08, Grass Valley’s Jill Vahidi in 61:05 and Kirstin Koch, from Colfax, in 61:44.

The fifth female finisher and winner of the 20-29 AG was Truckee’s Rebecca Duffy in 64:00.

With Freitas not participating in the GP, Mims is first in the 40-49 GP with 30 points, followed by Koch with 21 and Grass Valley’s Judy Alberts with 20.

Vahidi, who recently turned 40, is competing in the 30-39 AG for the GP this year and is way out in front with 27 points.

Nevada City’s V. Neelakantan finished fourth overall in 52:28 and won the 40-49 AG, which boosted him into first in the GP with 20 points. He won the 40-49 GP last year so it’s no surprise to see him back in first, doing well again this year.

Other top finishers in the 40-49 AG were Grass Valley’s Robert Warner in 56:31 (14th overall); Nevada City’s Paul Keating, also in 56:31 (15th); Rick Browning, from Olivehurst, in 60:12 (21st); and Auburn’s Troy Adamson in 61:56 (25th). Grass Valley’s Shawn Ryley, despite battling bronchitis, ran 66:05 to finish 39th and hold onto second place in the GP with at least 18 points.

Rough & Ready’s Austin Violette, who has been running very well this year, won the 13-15 AG by almost nine minutes, running 54:28 to finish ninth overall. Violette, undefeated in his AG, has a huge lead in that GP with 30 points.

Yuba City’s Mike Buzbee won the 50-59 AG in 54:34, finishing tenth overall. Other top runners in that AG were Jim Flanigan, of Davis, in 58:04 (16th); Grass Valley’s Ted White in 60:03 (19th); and myself in 61:51 (24th). I moved into sole possession of first place in the 50-59 GP with 20 points. Grass Valley’s Larry Mason, who was fifth 50-59 in 63:15 (29th overall) holds second in that GP with 19 points. White is tied for third with Penn Valley’s Jon Root with 15 points.

Nevada City’s Teir Hofvendahl won the 16-19 AG in 56:22 (13th overall).

Yuba City’s Ken Gaal remained undefeated in the 60-69 AG, winning it by more than 11 minutes in 59:41 (18th overall) and taking over sole possession of first with 30 points. Nevada City’s John Darlington is in second with 20 points. Nevada City’s Ron Gross, with an AG third place in 72:03, behind Grass Valley’s Frank Ribeiro’s 71:18 second place, took over third place in the 60-69 GP with 17 points.

Auburn’s Nichole Tintle won the 16-19 AG in 64:05 (34th) to take over first place in her GP with 20 points. Nevada City’s Mallory Meier, with a second place 16-19 AG finish (43rd) in 67:48 is in second in that GP with 19 points.

Truckee’s Kim Williams won the 50-59 AG in 65:37 (36th), while Nevada City’s Lotus Hallenbeck won the 30-39 AG in 66:52 (40th).

Penn Valley’s Mary McLean won the 60-69 AG by over 22 minutes (and that’s not a typo!) in 70:11 to move into second in that GP with 20 points behind Nevada City’s Marion Linden, who was third in that AG in 95:34 and has at least 22 points.

Santa Rosa’s Darryl Beardall ran 70:18 (54th) to remain undefeated in the 70 and over AG and maintain a commanding lead in that GP with 30 points.

Grass Valley’s Lynne Hurrell won the 70 and over AG in 75:50 (70th). She is also undefeated with 30 points in the GP with no one else remotely close to her.

Rocky Lubbers, son of 30s winner Pete, won the 12 and under age group by eight seconds over his older brother Sean, running 93:37. Sean holds second in the GP with 28 points, just two behind leader Zach Stoll.

Full results, along with updated (and official) Grand Prix point totals and standings, can be found at once they’ve been updated.


The prior weekend, May 5-6, four local runners competed in the 2007 California Senior Games at Rosemont High School in Sacramento.

Grass Valley’s Elaine Sierra took first place in the 800 meter run in the 60-64 age group (AG), second at 100 meters and third at 50 meters, to take a complete set of medals home (Gold, Silver and Bronze).

Frank Ribeiro, also of Grass Valley, won the long jump in the 60-64 AG and was third at 50 meters, earning Gold and Bronze medals. He was leading the 100 meter race when he pulled up with a strained muscle.

Nevada City’s John Darlington ran a 2:39 800 meter race, good for the Silver medal (second) in the 60-64 AG. His time was a National Class age-graded effort (over 80 percent of the world record at his age) despite extremely strong wind gusts that definitely slowed him down.

I ran the 1,500 meter race (the longest this year as the 5K and 10K were canceled) in 5:43 to earn the Bronze medal (third) in the 50-54 AG. Despite the wind’s negative effect, I was still able to run a Regional Class age-graded time (over 70 percent of the world record at my age).


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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