Steve Bond: Ghidotti Phoenix Run joins in GP fun |

Steve Bond: Ghidotti Phoenix Run joins in GP fun

The inaugural Ghidotti Phoenix Run will be held on Saturday, Aug. 23, beginning and ending near the lower parking lot of the Sierra College Nevada County campus, just outside the back gate of Eskaton Village.

This race, the eighth in the 2008 Gold Country Grand Prix series, will be a 5K only this year, and will start at 8 a.m., with registration beginning at 7 a.m. Parking is available at Sierra College.

The course will start downhill into the back of Eskaton Village, then uphill, almost to Ridge Road, turning left onto the gravel trail, which, after running parallel to Ridge, goes down “Killer Hill” (the major dirt uphill in the last mile of the Freedom Run).

Following the gravel trail, the course then goes down the far side of the lower baseball and soccer fields behind Nevada Union High School, then up the long Apple Hill (which led up to the two-mile mark of the Freedom Run).

The course continues uphill, past the start, and follows the gravel trail past the day care center behind Sierra College, out to Sierra College Boulevard, goes left, and very shortly afterwards, left again onto the NID ditch trail, which, after less than a quarter mile, hooks back up with the gravel trail, back past the day care center to the finish, which will be somewhere near the start.

More information can be obtained from Race Director Karen Sartori by phone at 530-272-6803 or via e-mail at ksartori@fsaccess. There also is a website:

Participants in the Run for Friendship event, held this Saturday (Aug. 16) prior to the Ghidotti Phoenix Run, (as detailed in my previous column), coming on Highway 49, should take the Gold Flat/Ridge Road exit.

Race Director Shawn Ryley requests that those arriving before 6:45 a.m. come onto New Mohawk Road via Hollow Way and those after 6:45 a.m. come in on Gold Flat Road. There will be race parking signs as well as volunteers directing participants.

Now it’s time for some interesting and fun facts from the first half of this year’s Grand Prix competition, with six races in the record books.

Seven runners have completed all six possible races, with four of them in the 50-59 age group: Mike Buzbee, Therese Iknoian, Rod Gillespie and Anne King. The other three are Robert Warner, Jeffrey Gail and Jake Cena.

Another 35 have run five of the six races.

Proving that, in addition to talent and training, showing up at the races frequently pays off, 14 of 18 first place holders in the various age groups have run five or six races, with the remaining four first places held by runners who have completed four.

Of the 42 runners who have raced in five or more races, 30 of them are in the top three in their age groups.

After six races, how many runners have six age group wins?


Therese Iknoian.

Therese is also currently in the women’s top 20 in the RunSac Grand Prix race series in Sacramento.

She’s certainly having an exceptional year.

Six other runners have five age group wins: Jessica Boutte, Chris Badolato, Jeff Boutte, Rhonda Jensen, Lynne Hurrell and Ron Gross.

Seven runners have won their age groups four times: Jamie Boutte, Breanne Mitchell, Larry Defeyter, Austin Violette, Mike Buzbee, Darryl Beardall and yours truly.

And another seven runners have three age group wins: Amber Kinaston, Kael Newton, Zach Stoll, Nadja Young-Warner, Sue Piscatella, Drue Mathies and Ken Gaal.

Looking from a different angle, there are 11 runners who have run at least half the six races and remain undefeated in their age groups. Three, impressively, are in one family: Jamie (4 races), Jessica (5) and Jeff Boutte (5).

The other eight are Breanne Mitchell (4), Amber Kinaston (3), Chris Badolato (5), Larry Defeyter (4), Rhonda Jensen (5), Lynne Hurrell (5), Ron Gross (5) and, of course, Therese Iknoian (6).

With the second half of the Grand Prix series starting this Saturday at the Run for Friendship, it will be interesting to find out if the age group leaders can continue at the front of their respective packs.

And, even more so, to see how many runners will remain undefeated, having run at least half the races, through the end of this year’s Grand Prix race series.

Kudos to Conor Medley, who has shown dramatic improvement over the course of the Grand Prix races this year, starting near 25 and a half minutes at Daffodil, progressively lowering his times, down to 22:30 at the Freedom Run, a much tougher course.

Conor, for those of you who don’t remember, won the Nevada City Spring Run 5K in a fast 19:16 back at the tail end of his college running career in 2002. I remember it well, as I was a distant second, about a minute behind, on a very blustery day, with a cold, driving rain.

It’s good to see Conor improving so impressively, and leading the 20-29 age group in the Grand Prix after finishing second last year to Chris Badolato.

See you at the races … soon!

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