Steve Bond: Run for Friendship up next in Grand Prix |

Steve Bond: Run for Friendship up next in Grand Prix

The next event in the 2008 Gold Country Grand Prix race series will be the Run for Friendship on Aug. 16, with 5K and 10K races, as well as a 5K walk, beginning and ending at the Friendship Club at 138 New Mohawk Road in Nevada City.

The Run for Friendship races will mark the start of the second half of this year’s Grand Prix, the seventh of 12 events. Course maps and more details about the race can be found on the Friendship Club’s Web site

The 5K course starts up the steepest hill of the race, has a long downhill on Searls Avenue, then up Sacramento Street and Zion to SPD, where it turns around and goes back down to Searls, for the long uphill, before a fast downhill finish.

The 10K also starts uphill, goes down Searls, then across the Pine Street Bridge, past the Miner’s Foundry and out to Champion Mine, for a long downhill to the bottom, where it turns around and heads back up the hill, back to Searls for another long uphill, followed by the fairly steep downhill finish.

Although this is the first year of the Run for Friendship, with inaugural events not uncommonly subject to learning curve issues, these races are in good hands.

Race Director Shawn Ryley has run many races over the last several years, including finishing second in last year’s 40-49 age group Grand Prix competition. He’s been sidelined recently, but has devoted his running energy to making every effort to have these races go as smoothly as possible, with plenty of volunteers, along with well-marked and relatively simple courses.

He’s even arranged for free massages to be available to runners after the races.

The Run for Friendship is a fundraiser for the Friendship Club, which has been assisting disadvantaged girls in Nevada County since 1995, with an impressive 100 percent of the girls who have completed the program graduating from high school. The year-round program includes after-school tutoring, cultural field trips, community service opportunities and peer support.

Shawn, in addition to being the race director, is also the Development Director for the Friendship Club, and is available via phone (530-265-4311) or e-mail ( for any questions about the race or additional fundraising opportunities, including cash awards for the top three fundraisers.

You can also register in person at the Friendship Club on Aug. 1 and Aug. 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Now, as promised in a recent column, more catching up on worthy race performances by local competitors.

On June 7, four local runners headed down to Pasadena to compete in the Senior Games State Championship with their goal to qualify for next year’s Senior Games National Championship in San Francisco.

All four came home having met that goal, with three of the four placing in the top three in their age groups and bringing home medals.

Elaine Sierra won the 1500 meter race in the 60-64 age group in eight minutes, 30 seconds and also placed second in her age group in the 800 meter race in 4:09, taking home a gold and silver medal for her efforts while qualifying for the National meet in two events.

John Darlington placed second at 800 meters in the 60-64 age group in 2:34.5 and also was third at 1500 meters in 5:35.6, coming home with silver and bronze medals, also qualifying for the National Championship in two events.

Gene Gilligan ran sub 6:00 in the 1500 to qualify for the National meet and also finished second in the 65-69 age group in the 5K to qualify in that event as well.

Frank Ribeiro, in the 60-64 age group, qualified for the National meet with a 13 foot, 11.25 inch long jump.

The Sierra TrailBlazers held a “Mighty Mile” event on the Nevada Union High School track on a very hot June 21.

Larry Defeyter clocked the fastest mile time, running 5:28, followed by George Raynsford in 6:15, Gene Gilligan in 6:29, John Freckman in 7:10 and Gary Loucks (co-founder of the club) in 7:57. The first female finisher was Elaine Sierra in 8:58.

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

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User