Runners do their part for track
Personal-best times obviously weren’t the focus of the runners who participated in the annual Legendary Run on Sunday in South Lake Tahoe.
Collectively, runners were focused on raising money to replace the 38-year-old Olympic track at South Tahoe Middle School.
“I have a lot of good memories out here,” said Wes Long, a former STHS basketball and track and field athlete in the 1990s. “It was state of the art at one time, but it definitely needs some renovation and we’re happy to help out any way we can, so people can enjoy it like I did.
“I know it’s beneficial to the kids to have a place to exercise and a place in their town where they can shine.”
Long worked a little harder than most during his 5K as he pushed his 2-year-old daughter Ella in a stroller.
All of the track’s downtrodden features were on display, including cracks, standing puddles caused by overnight irrigation collecting in the tartan surface dips and a variety of surface colors caused by the wear and tear of the past four decades.
But with most of Sunday’s 10K and 5K runs spent on trails, runners were able to avoid the pratfalls of the track and field.
“It was a perfect day. The only problem was being on Father’s Day, but it’s hard to pick a good weekend up here,” said race director Karin Holmes. “I had a lot of people say they couldn’t do it because they were doing something with their dad.”
Local chiropractor David Borges remembered when there was only a dirt track at STMS. Following the 1968 Olympic Track and Field Trials at Echo Summit, the tartan track was relocated to the middle school.
“I ran on this thing in ’68, and I’ve been running on it ever since. It needs to be replaced, sort of like me,” Borges said. “It’s the No. 1 priority for the city’s athletic council. The school district wants it done, the county wants it done and the locals want it done.”
Concerned families such as the Norbergs contributed to the cause as Keith, Rand, Wade and Drew participated in either the 5K or 10K.
“We desperately need a new track,” said Wade, a 13-year-old seventh-grader at South Tahoe Middle School who finished 11th in the 5K. “There are a lot of potholes and I see kids tripping up in P.E.”
Even some visitors took a breather from their vacation to help raise money for the track.
“I like to support small 5Ks or do something for a good cause,” said Laura Knight of Costa Mesa. “I read about the race and trying to raise money to resurface the track, so I thought that it was a really, really good cause.”
Laura was rewarded for her generosity as she won the 10K in 43:56.
Other winners were South Lake Tahoe’s Amy Czesnowski, who claimed the women’s 5K title in 22:11; Scott Matzoll, the overall 5K champ in 19:11; and Michael Goralka, who cleared the 10K field by more than 4 minutes with his winning time of 36:10.
“I love to see a new track here,” Czesnowski said. “I train here a lot, so it would be nice to not be running through ditches and potholes.”
South Tahoe High’s Patrick Reilly was runner-up in the 5K, recording a time of 20:21.
Eventually, Holmes hopes the Legendary Run will become a maintenance fundraiser for the new track facility. Until then, the community can still contribute to the cause by making a donation, buying a meter of the existing track for $100 or purchasing a T-shirt.
To help, phone Holmes at (530) 541-6404, ext. 215.
(LTCC to STMS)
Overall 5K Top 20 Results
1. Scott Matzoll 19:11, 2. Patrick Reilly 20:21; 3. Amy Czesnowski 22:11, 4. Greg Knight 23:16, 5. Neal Chappell 23:39, 6. Eric Schmidt 23:57, 7. Erich Baumann 24:16, 8. Marvin Gerrard 24:58, 9. Mike Masshart 25:46, 10. David Borges 26:06.
11. Wade Norberg 26:37, 12. Jared Fajman 27:04, 13. Larry Lambdin 27:29, 14. Kenneth Gerrard 27:33, 15. Alisa Nourse 27:56, 16. Steve Madison 29:05, 17. Mike Burns 31:10, 18. Drew Norberg 31:13, 19. Jamie Souers 31:34, 20. Kahl Eidam 31:46.
Overall 10K Top 20 Results
1. Michael Goralka 36:10, 2. Craig Denney 40:28, 3. Alex Izguierdo 41:19, 4. Jim Rantala 43:02, 5. Doug Cichowicz 43:28, 6. Laura Knight 43:56, 7. D.J. Bickert 44:02, 8. Grace Butler 45:44, 9. Ed Klote 45:51, 10. Sean Cronin 45:59.
11. Kate Lambdin 45:59, 12. Keith Norberg 47:31, 13. Dave Price 47:39, 14. Rand Norberg 47:53, 15. Melanie Garcia 49:09, 16. Erika Mathews 49:10, 17. Brenton Sahm 51.26, 18. Mike Thornson 52:03, 19. Andrew Margano 52:10, 20. Jamie McKillop 53:31.