2002 Will Rogers 5K

Thursday, July 4, 2002

Report by: Eric Barron

If you live on the west side of Los Angeles, like to run, and stay in town over July 4, attendance at the Will Rogers 5K/10K in Pacific Palisades is almost mandatory. Although the several, long hills on the course provide a significant challenge, the festive atmosphere makes it worth the effort.

For most, running the Will Rogers race means running the 10K. And though he has much more experience with 5K's, the first TCLA'er to finish the long course this year was Rasmus Tamstorf. Clearly, his consistently torrid pace on the Niketown eight-miler is paying off as he dipped under 35 minutes and earned first in his division. For the second year in a row, Tyrone Black was not only the second club member to finish, but he again improved his time from the prior year by almost a minute. This is especially impressive given the pace at which he is running. Just behind Tyrone, a TCLA newcomer, Chetan Nayak, proved he will be one to watch in the future, and both he and Tyrone took home bronzes. Almost a minute later, but almost a minute faster than his time last year, Todd Patterson cruised across the line.

Training together has many benefits, one being that you can race together and push each other along. This was the case for Blair Tarr, Rab Brown, David Kent, and Peter Glassman who finished one right behind the other. Blair, being in the front of the pack, well deserved his third place division finish. Bill King rounded out the sub-40-minute TCLA'ers, and ended up second in his division. If Jose Castillo and Brian Panosian aren't training together, they should be because they ended up with identical times just under 41 minutes, and Kelly Smith finished ten seconds later.

The TCLA women also held their own. Susanne McNeil ran a competitive race, finishing as the third women overall (only a second behind second) and the first in her age group. Likewise, Claudia Spooner earned first in her division. Dennis King was the other TCLA'er to keep his pace under seven minutes per mile.

Lawrence Spear, who prefers triathlons to road races, tried to make himself more comfortable by biking to and from the race, but ran almost as fast as he did six weeks ago on the easier Brentwood course. Brad Lusk, who finished shortly in front of Lawrence, has been busy starting a new business, but should he return to the track, his times are sure to drop. Colin Walker and Shannon Whaley, training in the same group on the track, were the next two club members across the line, though they were over 30 seconds apart. Wenise Wong, just starting to get into the running groove again after her Boston Marathon, and Amy Aukstikalnis, who is making the most of running after being injured for most of last year, ended up only two seconds apart. Not on the track lately, Kim Brettler ran a strong race.

Breaking the eight-minute pace barrier were Michael Berger, Masami Fukuhara and Alison Song. Alison deserves special recognition for improving her time from last year by approximately five minutes. Just behind her, Ellen Kukuchka improved her time over the previous year by four minutes. Sam Spencer was the next to tackle the hills, though he probably wishes he had had his bike (with motor) to do so. Running one of his first races after being on the track, Dennis Gilkerson continues to discover just what he can do with some training. Similarly, Caroline Devita is just beginning to get in some track workouts and they will help her in races to come. Proving that there is hardware in the middle of the pack, Sharon Yamato walked away with a bronze medal. Janet Fleishman, working through an injury, approached the race as more of a fun training run, and hopefully enjoyed it.

In the hilly, but not as hilly, 5K, Elizabeth Farnan-Flynn did herself and all of us proud with an overall victory and a heartfelt acceptance speech at the awards ceremony during which she honored the memory of a good friend and runner who had recently died. Also taking first in his age group, Juan Barrera ran a strong race. Second place honors in the same division went to Rob Spooner. Not far behind, Robert Newmark, did not let himself be distracted by the horde of runners that would soon be descending on his home.

Steve Reifman turned in a good performance and should eventually achieve his quest of breaking 20 minutes on a flatter course. Anthony Manniello, another runner without much track background, is already breaking seven-minute pace on a tough course. Still recovering from Grandma's Marathon, Mike Kukuchka took it easy. Finally, for all we know, Cindy Bernstein finished first in the mommy-to-be division.

Honorable mention to those cheering on the runners: Paul Anderson, Jeff Brettler, Erica Nemmers, Jacinda Raiche, Jim Spear, and Chi Vuong. Thanks to those working at the race: Josh Farnan-Flynn and Peggy Sauve-Enriquez (as well as her husband, Paul). And by no means least, special thanks to Robert Newmark for hosting the third annual post-race party. Peggy had done the duties for the first two years, but with Robert's house just completed and about 400 meters from the finish line, he kindly offered to open his doors and feed a bunch of hungry, sweaty runners.

Average Finishing Time: 22:3.4
Averge Per Mile Pace: 7:6
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