Run for your life: Run for the Animals record smashed |

Run for your life: Run for the Animals record smashed

A record number of participants showed up last Saturday in Nevada City for the Third Annual AnimalSave Run for the Animals races. Two hundred thirty five runners and walkers, 69 with dogs, competed in the 5K and 10K races, substantially up from the 162 in last year’s event and 98 the year before.

As always, Grand Prix point totals are unofficial.

Nevada City’s Larry Defeyter showed his versatility and strength by moving up from the 5K, which he won at the Spring Run three weeks ago, to the 10K, and winning it by over a minute in 40:47.

Pete Lubbers, from Oregon House, who won the 10K at the Daffodil Run and Spring Run in April, was second in 42:12, but retains the lead in the 30-39 age group (AG) Grand Prix (GP) with 37 points, with the undefeated (in his AG) Defeyter second with 30 points.

Dixon’s Greg Ngo, who was third in the 5K and second in that AG in 20:15, remains third in the 30-39 AG with 22 points.

Other top men’s runners in that AG in the 5K were Grass Valley’s Nate Homan (19:50, second overall, first 30-39) and Nevada City’s Sid Heaton (21:20, eighth, third) and in the 10K, Nevada City’s Dean Garcia (44:17, fourth, third), Grass Valley’s Troy Vahidi (44:47, fifth, fourth), Nevada City’s Andy O’Reilly (sixth, no time recorded, fifth) and Mike Newsom (seventh, 45:51, sixth).

Reno’s Chris Badolato continued his status as the only undefeated male runner in this year’s series of Grand Prix races, winning the 5K and 20-29 AG in 19:11. Badolato won the Daffodil 5K and Salmon Run 10K, which I’ve been reliably informed is closer to 11K, which, along with all the steep hills, accounts for the slow times on that course. He leads the 20-29 GP with 30 points.

Grass Valley’s Brian Kelly remains second in the 20-29 GP with 24 points. He took second in that AG in the 10K in 52:30, while Oakland’s Conor Medley jumped into third in the 20-29 GP with 17 points by winning that AG in the 10K in 51:07.

Nevada City’s amazing Sara Freitas, who turns 50 next year, won the women’s 5K (fifth overall) in a fast 20:22 and became the first women’s triple crown winner by also coming in first in the 40-49 AG and the “with dog” category.

Grass Valley’s Judy Alberts remains the only undefeated woman in the GP series this year, adding a 46:13 first place (eighth overall) in the 10K to her victories at the Daffodil and Spring Run 10Ks. Smartville’s Inka Mims took second in the women’s 10K and 40-49 AG in 49:10 (tenth overall), which was good enough to keep her first in the GP with 37 points. Kirstin Koch, thanks to Freitas not participating in the GP, took ten first place points while finishing second in the 40-49 AG, third woman in the 5K in 23:26 (15th overall), which kept her one point ahead of Alberts, 31 to 30, for second in that GP.

Nevada City’s V. Neelakantan finished third in the 10K and won the 40-49 AG in 43:10, which kept him undefeated in AG competition and first in his GP with 30 points. Grass Valley’s Shawn Ryley, not giving it his all as he had a race the next day, still finished the 5K in 22:50 (14th overall), which was third in the 40-49 AG and earned him 10 first place Grand Prix points as the two runners in his AG ahead of him weren’t in the GP, so he holds onto second with 28 points.

Nevada City’s John Fairchild also benefited from those two runners not being in the GP to move into third in the 40-49 GP with 14 points by running 23:34 and finishing 16th overall. Livermore’s Ed Tollefsen won the 40-49 AG in the 5K in 20:22, fourth overall.

Grass Valley’s Jen Homan was sixth in the 5K, second woman, and first in the 30-39 AG in 21:11. Her performance, which keeps her undefeated in her AG, boosted her into third in the 30-39 GP with 20 points, behind Grass Valley’s Heather Bullis, with 23, who was fifth woman in the 10K and first in the 30-39 AG in 55:50. Grass Valley’s Jill Vahidi remains in first with 34 points and was the third 5K finisher “with dog” in 26:30.

Grass Valley’s Kyle Chirigotis finished seventh in the 5K and won the 16-19 AG in 21:14, which boosted him out in front in that AG in the GP with 20 points.

Sean Lubbers, son of Pete, with his 12 and under AG win in the 10K in 68:06 moves past Meadow Vista’s Zach Stoll (30 points) into first in the GP with 38 points. Nevada City’s Kael Newton, showing dramatic improvement since the Spring Run, won that AG in the 5K while placing ninth overall in 21:35, moving him into third in the GP with 29 points. Right behind him in tenth in 21:53 was Nevada City’s Sam Dykstra, another 12-year-old who is improving rapidly.

I finished 11th and won the 50-59 AG in 22:00, maintaining my slim lead of one point (30 to 29) in the GP over Grass Valley’s Larry Mason, who won the same AG in the 10K in 49:57. Nevada City’s Bob Meier, with his third place AG finish in the 5K in 25:12, moved into third in the GP with 16 points.

Nevada City’s John Darlington finished 13th in 22:17 to win the 60-69 AG and move into a first place GP tie with 30 points with Yuba City’s Ken Gaal. Both are undefeated in their AG. Nevada City’s Steve Linden, who won the 60-69 AG in the 10K in 66:18, and Ron Gross, second in that AG in the 5K in 27:39, are now tied for third in the 60-69 AG GP with 17 points.

Penn Valley’s Mary McLean won the 60-69 AG in 25:30 to remain undefeated in three races and stay two points behind Nevada City’s Marion Linden (32 to 30), who won that AG in the 10K in 74:14.

Grass Valley’s Lynne Hurrell and Santa Rosa’s Darryl Beardall won the 70 and over AG’s in 65:26 and 56:55, respectively. Both have huge leads in their GPs, are undefeated, and are the high point scorers, male and female, with 40 points, for the year.

Nevada City’s Jean Bystry was fourth woman finisher in the 5K in 24:36, while Nevada City’s Mallory Meier was fifth female in 25:25 and won the 16-19 AG. Aburn’s Nichole Tintle, third female in the 10K, won that AG in 50:42 to stay in first in the GP with 30 points to Meier’s 29.

Nevada City’s Carly Brush, who won the 20-29 AG GP last year, was fourth woman in the 10K in 54:05, good enough to win her AG and be in first again with 33 points. Rough & Ready’s Jennifer Entz won the 20-29 AG in the 5K in 26:40 and holds second in that GP with 23 points.

Nevada City’s Carl Bystry was 12th in the 5K and second finisher “with dog” in 22:13. Grass Valley’s Sue Piscatella and Rob Avery were the fourth and fifth “with dog” finishers in 27:40 and 29:06, respectively.

The top five “with dog” finishers in the 10K were Nevada City’s Frank Plucker in 48:45 (ninth overall), Grass Valley’s Erin Jensen in 59:33, Nevada City’s Alex Keeble in 59:34 and Megan Anderson in 65:50 and Penn Valley’s Annette Berkowitz in 77:50.

As usual, full results and updated Grand Prix point totals can be found, when posted, at the Sierra TrailBlazers Web site


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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