A 40-minute disturbance at San Quentin State Prison blew incarcerated runner Eddie Herena’s chance to take back first place in the 1000 Mile Running Club’s two- hour race Sept. 7.
“It would have been the ideal ending to my difficult but triumphant prison experience,” said Herena, who paroled Oct. 20.
At 5 feet 2 inches, 137-pound Herena was the best runner in the 1000 Mile Running Club at San Quentin until Markelle “The Gazelle” Taylor came along in 2015. Taylor, chiseled with long legs and zero body fat, broke all of Herena’s records.
At the two-hour race, Herena had a chance to go out on top before he left. With a graduation to attend, Herena started the race at 7 a.m., two hours early. He ran at a 6 minute and 55 seconds-per mile pace, then a correction officer announced, “All inmates down,” which signaled a disturbance was taking place somewhere inside the prison and required all incarcerated people to sit on the ground until it cleared.
The alarm delayed the race until 9:20 a.m., 40 minutes later.
“My plan was to finish before 9:15 to make the CRI graduation at 9:30,” Herena said. “But in prison you never know what’s going to happen.”
Herena had to stop running and left after the completion of only 8-1/2 miles in 58 minutes and 43 seconds.
“If he (Herena) would have been able to maintain that pace for the full two hours, he would have finished in first place for the run,” 1000 Mile Club coach and sponsor Frank Ruona said.
Virtually uncontested, Taylor came in first, covering a distance of 17-1/4 miles at a 7:17 pace.
Chris Scull placed second with 15-7/8 miles and Steve Reitz took third with 15-1/16 miles.
Newcomers Kelsey Eisenman and Vincent Contreras III impressed the coaches. Eisenman (6-3, 272 pounds) ran the whole two hours and completed 9-3/4 miles along with Contreras, who paced with him.
“Two months ago I was about 300 pounds,” said Eisenman, who paroled a week after the race. “I wanted to get in shape.”
Running with the 1000 Mile Club helped Eisenman go farther than he ever had before.
“I’ve mostly been running by myself,” Eisenman said. “This was my first time running with a group. It actually helped. Seeing everybody running kept me motivated.”
Contreras III (5-8, 195 pounds) didn’t think he could complete the race.
“He said he (Eisenman) was going to do it, so I said I’d do it with him so he’d have somebody to jog with,” Contreras III said. “It’s great to run with somebody— motivating.”
Almost everyone who started the race completed it. Twenty out of 24 men ran for the whole two hours with the sun beaming down. The other finishers were:
Fidelio Marin (15-1/6); Jonathan Chiu (14-11/16); Mark Jarosik (14-1/2); Bruce Wells (14-3/8); John Levin (14-1/4); Michael Keeyes (13- 7/8); Larry Ford (13-11/16); Tommy Wickerd (13-9/16); Dan McCoy (13-1/4); Darren Settlemyer (13); Michael Ybarra (13); Glen Mason (12- 1/2); Al Yaseng (12); Moua Vue (12); Nicola Bucci (11- 9/16); and Ernie Soltero (10- 1/2).