During a six-mile race, the sun beamed down through the clear blue sky onto the San Quentin yard, making the runners thankful to have new caps donated by the Tamalpais Runners Club.
“It was a rough day but I did better than I thought I would do”
“I think the hat is responsible for giving me my personal best time today,” said John Levin, a member of San Quentin’s 1000 Mile running club. “I think it has aerodynamic properties.”
He finished the six miles in 44:18, more than two minutes faster than his prior best time of 46:35.
The gray caps have the 1000 Mile Club logo on them and adjustable straps in the back.
The Tamalpais Runners Club also donates sneakers annually for all members who have been in the 1000 Mile Club for more than six months. In addition, Tamalpais provides community support for parolees who remain in the Bay Area and want to continue their running. Former Tamalpais president and current 1000 Mile Club sponsor Frank Ruona said they give returning citizens free memberships and pay for race entry fees.
“They (the Tamalpais Runners Club) think we are doing a good job here, helping with the rehabilitation of you guys,” Ruona said.
Tamalpais member Dylan Bowman added, “I think we have an obligation to give people the support they need to be positive members of the community—because if you don’t, you are no longer a community. It’s important because most will be released back into society.”
Bowman is a professional ultra-marathon runner. In 2017, he won in Croatia, and in 2018 he took first in the Rotorua New Zealand 100-mile race. He volunteers at San Quentin to support the runners.
“I think the club is important because running as exercise is a great metaphor for life,” Bowman said. “It’s learning to deal with these circumstances in a reasonable way and always seeking improvement. It’s difficult but rewarding.
“That’s why I think it helps with rehabilitation. It helps you deal when adversity arises in your everyday life; it helps you deal with it with a steady disposition and the confidence that you can get through.”
Steve Rietz, a 1000 Mile Club member, said, “I’m grateful. Good advice and good equipment have helped me improve.”
He ran a personal best time of 41:48.
The race results were predictable. Markelle Taylor took first place with a time of 35:37, his second fastest time.
Eddie Herena secured his spot at second place, beating Chris Scull 37:26 to 39:04.
Steve Brook came in at 44:44 despite the fact that he went to work in the kitchen at 3 a.m., thinking the race would be rained out. When he found out it was sunny, he came to the race straight from work at 8 a.m.
“I had to mentally get into it,” Brooks said. “It was a rough day, but I did better than I thought I would do.”