Steve Bond: Change in course for Draft Horse Classic races |

Steve Bond: Change in course for Draft Horse Classic races

Steve Bond

The Draft Horse Classic 5K Run & Walk, 10K and Kids’ Runs will all be held on Sunday, Sept. 21, starting at the Wine Pavilion at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley.

The 5K and 10K races feature new courses set up by Ron Gross, who currently leads the 70 and over age group in this year’s Gold Country Grand Prix.

With past year’s courses, there were problems with a double loop in the 10K and traffic complaints. All those issues have been taken into account by Ron, who promises well-marked courses this year, with more than 100 cones, 20 bucket markers, 900 feet of streamers, 30 mileage or directions signs, and chalk lines on several miles of the courses.

The 5K course is primarily on roads, starting flat, then mostly uphill to (almost) the mile mark, which is also the final mile. The second mile starts with possibly the toughest uphill of the course, followed immediately by the longest significant downhill, before a flat section on roads.

Then it’s into the woods for almost a half mile of slower trail running, then hooking back up onto the roads for the final mile (which, after a very short up, is almost entirely down or flat, so it will be a fast finish).

The 10K course splits off from the 5K in the trail section, just after at the 2-mile mark at the water stop, then goes off for several miles before hooking back up with the 5K course. Both course maps are available on the Sierra TrailBlazers Running Club’s website:

The Draft Horse Classic, organized by the TrailBlazers, has earmarked proceeds from the event to support local youth physical fitness programs, as in past years.

The 5 and 10K races, the ninth event (of 12) in this year’s Grand Prix, start at 8:00 a.m., while the kids run, which is free and inside the Fairgrounds, starts at 9:15 and features medals for all finishers.

Parking is available at Gate 4, online registration at, and race day registration at the Wine Pavilion from 7 to 7:40 a.m. Pre-registered competitors can also pick up their packet/number at Mountain Recreation Store in Grass Valley the day before the race (9/20) from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Late registration during those hours is also available.

Further information can be obtained from race co-directors Frank Ribeiro (530-274-0738,, Terrie Horlick (530-432-3340) or George Raynsford (

Now, once again, we have an opportunity to catch up on some outstanding performances by local runners in out of town races.

But first, Joe King, the father of Anne (who currently is in second in the 50-59 age group in this year’s Grand Prix competition), broke the World Record for the 80-85 age group in the mile by three seconds in a track meet in the Bay area on February 23 on a cold, windy, rainy day, running seven minutes, 13 seconds. Congratulations, Joe!

John Darlington, competing for the Golden West Athletic Club at the U.S.A. Masters Track & Field Championships in Spokane, Wash., held August 7-10, came home with two Gold Medals, one for the 4 x 400 meter relay and the other for the 4 x 800 meter relay.

At the Shriner’s 8K run on June 21, which was the Pacific Association Track & Field 8K road championship race, featuring many top runners from northern California, Sara Freitas turned in another National Class age graded performance, running 32:09 for the almost five mile course on the hottest day in the history of the race. Sara finished second out of 31 in the 50-54 age group and 123rd out of 650 overall.

I ran 34:32, under 7:00 pace per mile, which was my goal, and finished 23rd out of 48 in the 50-54 age group and 171st overall. Therese Iknoian had a sub-par race and still finished 15th out of 31 in the 50-54 age group and 340th overall, running 41:49.

Drue Mathies ran the 5K race, held later that morning, when it was even hotter, and took second in the 60-69 age group in 23:31, 25th overall out of 314 finishers.

That’s all we have space for this time around. More to come!

I’m betting we won’t have pouring rain at the Draft Horse Classic this year, like we did last year, so I’m planning on seeing many of you on a beautiful race day.

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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