Steve Bond: 2010 Gold Country Grand Prix |

Steve Bond: 2010 Gold Country Grand Prix

The time has come for everyone thinking about running any of the races in this year’s Gold Country Grand Prix (the fifth year) to get your calendars out to mark down the dates of the races in the series.

For those new to the concept, the Gold Country Grand Prix is a series of local races, ten this year, same as last, where points can be earned for participation and even more by placing in the top five in the various age groups in the attempt to finish in the top three in the given age groups at the end of the year to earn special awards.

The age groups, with separate competitions for male and female, are 10 and under, 11-14, 15-18, 19-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, and 70 and over.

Ten points are awarded for age group winners in each race, seven for second, five for third, four for fourth and three for fifth. Those not in the top five in their age group get one point for completing the race.

Runners who don’t finish in the top three in their age group at the end of the year, but who complete at least four races (down from a five minimum) still get a personalized participation certificate at the end of the year.

Those who change age groups during the year will score for Grand Prix purposes based on their age as of June 30. They will place in their age groups in individual races based on their age on race day.

The Penn Valley Daffodil Run races, both 5K (3.1 miles) and 10K (6.2 miles), kick off the competition on April 11, at Western Gateway Park. These races are the flattest and fastest in the series, a good way to ease into racing for the year.

The Nevada City Spring Run 5K and 10K races will be held on April 24, starting at the Methodist Church at the top of Broad Street.

The Twin Cities Run for the Community 5K and 10K races, to be held May 22 at the church on Rough and Ready Highway in Grass Valley, will be third in the series.

The Freedom Run 5K, held on the Nevada Union High School cross country course on July 4, will be the one race in the series that pits all the competitors against each other.

The fifth event in the series, the only new one to the Grand Prix, is the Bear River 5K and 10K, held at Bear River High School on August 7. This race replaces the Draft Horse Classic, which will not be held this year (one of my favorites and I will miss it).

The first event in the second half of the Grand Prix schedule will be the Race Against Hunger 5K and 10K races on August 21, at Pioneer Park in Nevada City.

Next up is the Run for Friendship 5K and 10K races on September 11, at the Friendship Club in Nevada City.

The eighth event in this year’s series is the Monster Gym 5K and 10K on October 9. Sounds like there may be a more runner friendly (less hilly) course this year. More on that to come.

Following that are the Run Through the Colors 5K and 10K races at Pioneer Park in Nevada City on October 24.

Last, but certainly not least, is the final event in the 2010 Gold Country Grand Prix, the Michael Bratton II Turkey Trot 5K and 10K races, which by far garner the biggest turnout each year. These races also provide competitors one final chance for points needed to move up or hold their places in the final standings.

More details can be found on the Sierra Trailblazers site, thanks to webmaster and Grand Prix statistician Gary Loucks (

Or you can e-mail me and I’ll find answers for you.

Words to the wise: If you haven’t been running over the winter, it’s time to kick it into gear and get moving. Build gradually back into it so you won’t overdo, but still be ready to race by April.

The Grand Prix competition is a great deal of fun.

Best of all is the camaraderie and the new friends you can make coming out to the races.

You will be welcome!

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