San Quentin’s 1,000 Mile Club continued its season with a 3-mile run to help prepare its members for the annual team marathon, which is scheduled to take place in November 2023.
Head Coach Franklin Ruona, coach Kevin Rumon, and volunteer Jim Maloney were impressed with the 40 runners who showed up to run the race on a brisk February morning on the Lower Yard.
“Today’s race is the second race of the season,” said Maloney. “It’s a three-mile competitive race that is timed.”
The event normally requires about a dozen volunteer lap counters positioned around the starting line. While at least 20 volunteers applied to come to San Quentin for the competition, only three counters were medically cleared for the race.
The Covid-19 pandemic has had an adverse effect on the ability of volunteers to be cleared to assist San Quentin residents’ running in competitions, according to race organizers.
“We do have a back-up plan to request other sports players to help count laps,” said Tommy Wickerd, San Quentin resident and 1,000 Mile Club president.
The counter shortage led to the race beginning at 10 minutes past the usual 9 a.m. start time.
“We’re going to run this three-mile race on the honor program,” Ruona told the runners. “Each runner will count their own 12 laps and when they run by the clock the twelfth time, tell us your time.”
Coach Ruona, with the inside help of Wickerd, has been able to keep the running club functioning with the aid of other runners willing to step up when necessary.
“That makes us an awesome running community as incarcerated people,” Wickerd said.
The race began with the 40 runners bracing for position at the starting line. Coach Ruona began the count down at 10 and then yelled, “Go!” signaling the 40 runners to take off.
It did not take long for 1,000 Mile Club newcomer Jose Fajardo to secure the lead with a pace of 6:04 minutes per mile. Runners Juan Camargo and Marin Fidello were not far behind.
This trio of runners would maintain their lead positions throughout the race and finish in first, second, and third place respectively. Their finishing times were 18:10, 19:48, and 19:50 minutes.
Two hearing-impaired runners, Jaime Paredes and Albert Compos, completed the race in a dead heat with a time of 28:40 minutes. They demonstrating what can be accomplished when working together.
The day’s 3-mile run attracted onlookers, many of whom signed up to join the 1,000 Mile Club.
“Running is an awesome community here in San Quentin,” said Wickerd, who has ran over 10,000 miles since being incarcerated. “Let’s go 1,000 Mile Club!”
The coaches encouraged residents to join the club and participate in the races. “We’ll have a race one Friday morning a month until the big marathon in November,” Maloney said.