Run for Your Life: Locals excel at weekend road races |

Run for Your Life: Locals excel at weekend road races

This past weekend, 19 “local” runners competed in three big races in northern California, with an impressive nine of them placing in the top three in their respective age groups.

Of those 19, 12 ran age-graded races either Local Class level or better, with four achieving the top half of Regional Class (or very nearly), another a National Class age graded time, and yet another in the top half of National Class.


What a weekend!

As a reminder for those that may have forgotten, there is a chart available online allowing anyone to plug in a race distance, age, gender and time, which will then generate a percentage figure, roughly computed comparing your time to the world record at your age and gender.

The site is:

Simplified, anyone achieving a percentage from 60 to 70 qualifies as Local Class. Seventy percent to 80 is Regional Class, with 80 to 90 a National Class time. Over 90 is World Class.

I put quotation marks around local earlier because I include two racers who technically aren’t local, but have strong enough ties to be included in my mind.

The first is Reno’s Chris Badolato, whose in-laws live in Grass Valley, so he races quite often on the local scene and has won his age group in the first two years of the Gold Country Grand Prix.

Chris, on Sunday, March 2, ran the 30th Annual Napa Valley Marathon, his fifth ever, and finished eighth overall and second in his 30-34 age group. His two hours, 42 minutes, 10 seconds finish time beat his own personal record by exactly 12 minutes and age graded was over 77 percent, less than three percentage points off of a National Class time.

On Saturday, March 1, Sara Freitas ran the John Frank Memorial Run in Redding, which was the Pacific Association USA Track & Field 10 Mile Road Championship event. Sara finished in 70 minutes, 14 seconds, which earned her second place in the 50-54 age group and a very impressive National Class age graded ranking of just under 81 percent.

The rest of the runners were in Chico for the Bidwell Classic on Saturday.

Robert Warner, who you might remember from my last column ran his best 5K time of 19:47, blew that away on a race day with much better weather. This time, Robert knocked another 35 seconds off his best time, qualifying for the Bay to Breakers elite wave easily with a new PR of 19:11.8. Robert’s time was second best in the 45-49 age group and at a hair under 76 percent age graded, boosted him into the top half of Regional Class.

Gene Gilligan proved he’s in fine racing shape by running 21:38, taking second in the 65-69 age group and coming in age graded at more than 78 percent, less than two percentage points off of a National Class time. Interestingly, Gene would have won the 60-64 age group and was nine minutes ahead of third place in his own age group.

Still in the 5K, Ron Gross won the 70 and over age group by four seconds in 25:38.1. Ron’s time, age graded was over 69 percent, at the very top of Local Class, just barely below a Regional Class time.

Sandy Schrezenmeier finished fifth in the 55-59 age group in 30:06.5, but was only 11 seconds out of second place. Her time, at just under 62 percent age graded, was solidly into the Local Class category.

Other local finishers in the 5K were Deby Harwood, ninth in the 55-59 age group in 36:27.3, Ellen Baxter, sixth in the 50-54 age group in 37:56.6, and Erin Fleischmann, 11th in the 35-39 age group in 32:03.9.

In the Bidwell Classic half marathon, V. Neelakantan was the first local finisher, taking second in the 45-49 age group in one hour, 28 minutes and 26 seconds. His time was just under 75 percent for a strong Regional Class time.

Next in was Paul Shigley, my second in the special exception “local” category. Paul, who lived locally and served as a sports reporter for The Union, played an important role in encouraging me to work past an injury and get back into running and racing again, which I will always be thankful for.

Paul was sixth in the 40-44 age group in 1:37:46, age graded just a tad under 65 percent, putting him solidly in the Local Class ranking.

Frank Ribiero ran 1:51:12.5 to take second place in the 60-64 age group and just missed a Regional Class age grading at barely under 69 percent.

Marion Linden won the women’s 60-64 age group in 2:32:36.5, a Local Class age graded time at over 61 percent.

But here comes the most amazing race of the day for any local runner.

Lynne Hurrell won the 70 and over age group in 2:05:51.8. Lynne’s time, age graded, came in just under 87 percent.

That’s right!

Her time was a bit over three percentage points off of a World Class time.


On top of that, Lynne would have won the 60-64 and 65-69 age groups with her time.

Sue Piscatella finished ninth out of 18 in the 45-49 age group in 1:56:19.3. Her time was over 62 percent age graded, boosting her into Local Class.

Other local finishers in the half marathon were Mallory Meier, eighth out of 27 in the 18-24 age group in 1:54:56.4, Bob Meier, 16th in the 50-54 age group in 1:54:58.3, Heather Bullis, 20th in the 35-39 age group in 2:05:32.6 (but she would have been 11th in the 40-44 age group which she’ll be in a few months from now), and Steve Linden, who was sixth in the 60-64 age group in 2:12:20.7.

Congratulations to all our racers for fine performances this past weekend.

And extra special congratulations to Lynne and Sara for running National Class times.

Stay tuned. I bet there are more outstanding races to come from our local runners.

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

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