Despite the torturous weather conditions on Feb. 15, Markelle Taylor, who was fighting off a cold, still managed to come only 27 seconds short of beating his own record. He had a finish time of 17:14 on the 3 mile (5k) run that the 1000 Mile running club hosts annually.
“Even though I run because it’s therapeutic, I dedicate this run to my daughter, who has lupus,” Taylor said. “I hope to not only race in prison but I want to represent the men in blue and go race in the Boston marathon, if I get released.”
The 1000 Mile Club prepares the runners for the SQ marathon, held at the end of the year, by gradually increasing the miles each meet, starting at one mile. There have been 12 marathons thus far.
Commitment is what it takes. Last year’s newcomer Fidelio Marin gave Markelle “The Gazelle” Taylor a run for his money but came in second place with a completion time of 19:01.
For the 5K race, the storm beat down on the runners as they strived through the rain and light thunder.
Assistant coach Jim Morris, 70, is an ex-marine biologist. He advised the runners: “Don’t blast too fast; take it slow and keep an even pace and especially watch out for slippery spots.”
But last year’s ankle problem did not stop veteran Chris Scull from stomping through and taking third place. Time: 19:31.
Starting at a moderate pace, Jonathan Chiu suddenly got a burst of energy and took a leading stride past Steven Brooks and flowed through the finish line placing fourth, with Brooks graciously taking fifth place. Michael Ybarra took sixth while veteran Tommy Wickerd settled for seventh.
“I was just expecting to finish and not slip and get hurt again,” said Wickerd after recovering from a knee injury last year. “Here we have the option to program and make good choices, and running keeps me away from the negative influences.” He was referring to his 17 years of being sober and away from gangs.
Michael Keeyes, 71, set a new San Quentin 3-mile-race 70+ record, finishing eighth. Bruce Wells came in ninth, John Levin took tenth, and Ismael Altamirano finished in 11th place.
Moua Vue took 12th place. Vue started running last year; he joined through a commitment that he made to a friend. He began by running short distances to build up his stamina. “Training does matter,” he said. “I was gonna set a goal and break a record, be- coming faster and faster than my last time. This race I just want to do well.”
Michael Johnson took 13th.
Although the track was muddy and the rain—and even hail, at times—was sporadically beating down, Coach Frank admonished the runners to run a comfortable race because he is not taking excuses.
First timer Ben Tobin, 30, said, “Markelle ‘The Gazelle’ inspired me to participate. It’s amazing to see his level of focus. I never ran long distance before, and it’s a new adventure for me. I want to prove to myself that through commitment I can get better with time.”
Coach Frank Ruona said that Tobin started out too fast, and that’s why he came in 14th.
The race was completed when the 23rd place was taken by Edward Scott, who caught the end of the pouring winter rain.
Runners & Finish Times
1. Markelle Taylor – 17:43
2. Fidelio Marin – 19:01
3. Chris Scull – 19:31
4. Jonathan Chiu – 20:28
5. Steven Brooks – 21:10
6. Michael Ybarra – 21:21
7. Tommy Wickerd – 21:35
8. Michael Keeyes – 21:40
9. Bruce Wells – 22:10
10. John Levin – 22:13
11. Ismael ALtamirano – 22:22 12. Moua Vue – 22:38
13. Michael Johnson – 23:03 14. Benjamin Tobin – 23:20 15. Nicola Bucci – 24:43
16. Darren Settlemeyer – 24:56 17. Malcolm Jones – 25:53
18. Eric Rives – 25:53
19. Eddie Deweaver – 27:07 20. Al Yaseng – 28:00
21. Ernie Soltero – 28:51
22. Jeery Gearin – 33:32
23. Edward Scott – 19:20