Acting Warden, San Quentin State Prison
On the cold morning of Dec. 11, 2010, a group of runners huddled under an awning in preparation for a quest to run 50 miles to benefit the Marin Food Bank.
This idea was formed by Rudy Luna, Correctional Lieutenant, several months earlier and gradually gained momentum until the morning of the 11th. Thus the first annual San Quentin 50-mile run for charity began.
Despite the cold weather, fog and drizzle, a large number of San Quentin employees stretched, strained and ached as teams to complete 25 laps of the San Quentin property, all for the sake of charity. Several different teams of staff members, some as few as four runners, started before the sunrise. Within each team, there were runners who were able to maintain a blistering pace, while others jogged or walked. Regardless of each individual’s prominence, the end result was 50 miles of charitable running.
While it is unimportant who finished the 50 miles first (that honor went to the Warden’s Office Team). What is important that all the teams completed the 50-mile, grueling run. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the mileage leaders: Rudy Luna and Mary Cello. Rudy completed 28 miles, while Mary completed 20 miles.
Many staff members sponsored the teams, either with a flat donation or a per-mile donation. In addition to this event, food barrels were placed around the institution and staff responded.
THANKS TO MANY
San Quentin staff members donated over 560 pounds of food for the Marin Food Bank. More importantly, the 50-mile run raised over $1,500 in cash donations for the Food Bank. I must take the opportunity to thank various staff members who worked tirelessly to ensure this run was successful: Rudy Luna, Mary Cello, Michelle Rochelle, Jenny Ray Turner, Kristine Rillon, Cheryl Beatty, Troy Kinsey and Sam Robinson.
Also, I would like to thank Costco for providing bottled water and Gatorade and the San Quentin Fire Station for assisting with course safety and aid stations.
The real impact of this entire process was our visit to the Marin Food Bank. Myself, Rudy Luna and Laura Bowman-Salzseider, had the opportunity and pleasure to visit the Marin Food Bank and meet the staff and volunteers.
All three of us were awestruck by the magnitude of operation and the need to provide food and services to low-income families in Marin County.
In 2010 the Marin Food Bank served over 120,000 people, an increase of 53 percent from 2009. The Food Bank distributed over 2.5 million pounds of food, which is a 55 percent increase from the prior year.
In these difficult economic times, more low-to-moderate-income families have to choose between essentials like food or utilities or necessary health care. I was heartened by the fact that San Quentin staff helped this valued organization that provides an absolutely essential service to our surrounding community.
I will endeavor to hold additional events such as this, and to expand the participation of staff, the inmate population and the surrounding community. My expressed gratitude to all who helped make this event a worthwhile adventure!