Running on a track with six 90 degree turns is hard on a runner’s body, but the 1000 Mile track Club runners made it look easy as they did the three hour race on October 5th.
“Alright Michael,” Coach Diana Fitzpatrick said as Michael Ybarra ran at his own speed.
“Pace yourself Chris,” Coach Tim Fitzpatrick said to Chris Scull, who he thought was running too fast.
“Good pace Markelle,” Tim then said to Markelle Taylor, who was alongside of Scull.
“Jonathan you’re looking good,” Coach said to Jonathan Chiu. Shortly thereafter he was seen coming around the last corner on his eighth lap.
That’s how the husband and wife coach assistants encouraged the runners as they kept track of their times on log sheets.
Taylor won the race by completing 23-5/8 miles within the three hour time limit.
Mark Jarosik, who joined the 1000 Mile Running Club five months before, took second place with a distance of 22-3/8 miles.
A long alarm that meant all incarcerated people had to sit on the ground, pausing the race until correctional officers signaled the disturbance elsewhere in the prison was over, may have helped Jarosik excel past most of the club vets.
“Mark had the good fortune of being at the start/finish line when we had to endure a 47-1/2 minute alarm,” Coach Frank Ruona said. “During that long alarm I had Mark drink three bottles of electrolyte replacement liquid and when we came off the alarm he took off like a shot.”
The alarm, which halted the race for 47 minutes was due to an incident on East Block’s Condemned Row, a part of the prison separated from the mainline where the race took place.
“It was frustrating to be down so long, but the guys hung in there and didn’t let it bother them,” Ruona said.
“Being in prison, you’re used to it,” member Chris Scull said, “An alarm is a normal thing for us runners inside.”
Scull came in fourth by covering 22-1/16 miles just behind Jonathan Chiu who took third place with 22-1⁄4 miles.
The Fitzpatricks who have been coaching the 1000 Mile Running Club for some time, enjoy coming inside to see the guys progress in life despite being in prison. This progress includes changing perspectives on life, obtaining GEDs, computer literacy courses, and achieving a higher education at San Quentin.
Tim started running to quit smoking. He met a coach, and has been involved with running clubs ever since.
“In terms of the club here at San Quentin, it’s a community, the guys come to run and end up friends, because it’s friendly and genuine competition,” he said. “So the similarities I see between running clubs whether they are inside prison or outside is community support.
“These are friendships that help each other,”
“I met my wife through a track club.”
Originally from New York, he’s an alumnus of Hobart College where he once played hockey, but moved to Marin County in the 90s after the Loma Prietta earth quake. A four time runner in the Western States 100 Mile Run along a trail through the Sierra mountains he won in 2011, he says procrastination is still something he does as a runner.
“I like to think procrastination is the act of putting off things to feel good about yourself,” he said. “I know running is good for the mind, and body, but I don’t always do it.”
“But when you do it,” Tim added as he counted another lap for Scull, “It feels good, and improves your confidence.”
Jim Maloney of San Francisco, an assistant coach for three years, said, “The three hour run was a real impressive test of where these guys are at, fitness wise. They showed us today they’re ready for the marathon.”
“For me I was out of prison for the three hour run,” said Scull.
Fidelio S. Marin, a 48 years old man from Mexico serving 16 years to life for 2nd degree murder said he was running for the first time. “I liked the run and want to make it routine to do it more.”
Marin completed 20-9/16 miles for seventh place.
He transferred to San Quentin from Cal State Prison Soledad, because Marin said he wanted better for himself. Besides running in the 1000 Mile Running Club he also attends AA/ NA programs and AA Big Book classes here at San Quentin where he is currently strengthening his spirituality in groups, and building his endurance on the track one step at a time.