Run for your life: Local records a National Class time |

Run for your life: Local records a National Class time

Nevada City’s John Darlington grabs the honor of being the first local runner to clock a National Class time in 2007.

John has had a good winter of training, both in base mileage and faster interval and speed workouts on the track. (I can personally vouch for those statements as I’ve done a number of them with him.)

And the results speak for themselves.

On Sunday, John ran the 1,500 meter race in the Bay Area Senior Games on the track at Stanford University.

John won the 60-64 age group, finishing in 5 minutes, 32.1 seconds, which is into the National Class ranking at 80.5 percent of the world record at his age (62).

(As a reminder, or for those who are new to the concept, any distance and time can be plugged into a formula, which compares that time for that distance to the world record for the same time and distance by age and gender. The easy-to-use formula can be found online at:

Those of you who have been reading my columns for the last few years may remember that John had a great racing year in 2005 as a member of the 60-69 age group indoor track world record-breaking 4×400-meter relay team.

He was also a member of the indoor track American record-breaking 4×800 relay team, as well as the gold medal winner at 800 meters in the 60-64 age group in the California Senior Games.

John’s race times ranked him as National Class in his age group (80-90 percent of the world record at his age) at 400 meters, 800 meters and the mile in 2005.

The year 2006 started well for John as he ran 2:33.69 to take the silver medal at 800 meters (his favorite race distance) in the 60-64 age group at the 2006 USA Masters Indoor Track & Field Championships in Boston in March. John’s time was 84 percent age graded in that race.

Then, John ran into some physical problems that sidelined him for part of the year, derailing his stellar race performances for the rest of 2006.

Judging from his race last weekend, and his training so far this year, 2007 looks like it may be another great year for John, as was 2005.


The question about what age group a runner would be in for the Grand Prix for the year when they change age groups during the year has been decided.

There were a number of options being considered, including whatever age group a runner was in when they ran their first race in the Grand Prix (which is the way it was in 2006), or their age at the end of the year, or at the middle.

The decision was made that whatever age a runner is on April 15, which is the date of the Daffodil Run races, the first in the Grand Prix in 2007, is the age group the runner will be in for the Grand Prix for the whole year.

Remember, this year, if you want to compete in the Grand Prix, you have to check the appropriate box on each race entry form.

Last year, everyone who ran was automatically in the Grand Prix, which turned into a paperwork/tracking nightmare.

This year’s change also keeps runners who only do one or two races, and often are from out of the area, from creating havoc with the Grand Prix competition, which is designed to encourage participation and benefit those who will run at least half the races possible during the year.


Finally, a public thank you to the man who was walking his dog on the NID ditch behind Sierra College a month or so ago.

He was a great example of someone who was thoughtful and considerate. I’ve never had a better experience with a dog and owner while running.

As I ran toward him on the trail, he knelt down and put his arms around his dog. When I ran by, I said “Thanks!” and he said “You’re welcome.”

Later, when I came the other direction down that trail, he knelt again, holding his dog and I said, “Thanks again!” and he said “You’re welcome.”

How could a runner-meets-dog-on-the-trail experience be any better?

I’d also like to thank all those dog owners who clean up after their dogs on the trails. It’s extremely unpleasant to step in dog excrement, which does not easily come out of all the grooves in the bottom of running shoes.

And for those of you who don’t clean up after your dogs: Please have the common courtesy to do so! Thank you!


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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