Incarcerated runners struggled through their cramped legs, aching quads and dizzy spells to complete a three-hour race on the San Quentin Lower Yard. Markelle Taylor and 69-year-old Mike Keyes both broke 1000 Mile Club records while doing so.
“Some days just aren’t your days,” said 1000 Mile Club Sponsor Frank Ruona. “You never know what body is going to show up on race day.”
It became clear Taylor would break the 24 1/4 in three-hours record set by Lorinzo Hopson in 2012, when he passed the 23-mile mark with 21 minutes left in the run. Hopson was 58 when he set the record. Taylor is 43.
Taylor completed 25 3/4 miles, just missing completing a marathon in the allotted time.
“It felt good, but at 23 1/4 miles, my quads starting getting sore,” Taylor said. “I completed this race for my daughter.”
Ruona also predicted Keyes would break Hopson’s 60-And-Over Three Hour Run record. Keyes did by completing 20 1/8.
“It only means something if it is an inspiration to the younger guys,” Keyes said. “Through an elder’s eyes they can see a glimpse around the corner and prepare for it.”
Keyes said he runs as a tribute to his father, who had spinal issues.
Tommy Wickerd completed the race after having given three vials of blood at medical that morning. Wickerd got a dizzy spill after running 15 miles. He walked it off, then continued to finish 18 1/4 miles.
“I had a lab ducat, but this is a lesson,” said Wickerd. “Do not give your blood on a race day. You train so hard for this one day, and a lab ducat throws your whole game off.”
He says that he trains so hard because running a marathon is a major accomplishment. His goals are to complete a marathon and get his GED this year.
Eddie Herena ran for one hour and 40 minutes, completing 12.5 miles, leaving Chris Skull, who was already at least 20 seconds ahead, firmly in second.
“I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t train because I became a newsroom bum,” said Herena, the photographer for San Quentin News. “It had nothing to do with Chris. It’s about how I felt.”
Herena still supported Skull by passing him water as he ran past.
“He’s my teammate; that’s what we do,” Herena said.
With about 30 minutes to go, Skull’s legs cramped up, but he refused to quit.
“There is no such thing as being stagnant,” said Skull. “Either you are moving forward or going backward, and I’m going forward.”
Skull completed 22 1/8 miles, securing second place.
“You got number one in the non-Markelle division,” joked community volunteer coach Kevin Rumon.
Rumon has still come into the prison to support the 1000 Mile Club while battling throat cancer over the last year. For this race, he kept track of runners’ laps as they went past.
“This is an entirely selfish process with me,” Rumon said. “You look forward to getting out; I look forward to coming in here. It feels like I’m making a difference.”
“Wake up Kevin,” yelled runner Lee Goins as he went by, to make sure he received credit for another completed lap.
“See, it’s that love; that’s why I do it,” Rumon joked.
Military veteran Nicola Bucci complete 13 1/2 miles in the three hours, despite having old ACL injuries he received while falling down a ladder on the USS Roanoke. He said he runs as an act of atonement for the harm he caused in a head-on car collision.
“I do it because my victim, Jordan Callison, is in a wheel chair and he can’t,” Bucci said.
Chris Schuhmacher completed 15 miles.
“Fifteen miles is 11 away from the whole marathon,” Schuhmacher said. “It was warm. I’m hoping the day of the marathon is a little cooler.”
Schuhmacher pushed himself through the heat because he likes running with the team, and he likes pushing himself to be a little better than he was before.