By Marcus Henderson
Two record-breaking performances highlighted the San Quentin 1000 Mile Club’s Fifth Annual Relay Meet.
The team of Carlos Moreno, Chris Scull, Eddie Herena and Markelle Taylor broke the 4 x 1 mile relay with the time of 21:34. Each premier runner ran the mile with speed and focus. Even an unwanted alarm could not slow them down. After the yard resumed Herena shot out the blocks with the speed of a cheetah, making up lost time and beating the record by a minute.
“We put the work in,” said Sculls. “This is the fruit of our labor, and it tastes great.”
Herena added, “I couldn’t do it without Markelle. He’s a natural leader along with the rest of the team. We set our mind to go for the record.”
The 4 x 200 meter Sprint relay record fell to the same high-performance crew of Donald “Tex” Walker, Jonathan Cannon, Tone Evans and John Windham, who set the record in 2014. They shaved off two seconds of their time, coming in at 1:44.
“We’re getting older and faster,” said Evans. “It’s the spectators that make these events go. To see them cheer makes us all go; it’s uplifting.”
Evans entertained the large crowd by running barefoot.
“It feels good to give the people a show, but we want to bring more youngsters out,” said Walker.
The team of Walker, Cannon, Windham and Evans also won the 4 x 100 meters shuttle relay in 0:48.28., just missing the record by 1.28 set by Erick Nelson, Leroy Lucas, Tone Evans and John Windham in 2014.
The final event of the meet was the 4 x ¼ Mile Relay. The same team that won the 4 x 100M and 4 x 200M relays earlier in the meet ran with Joshua Burton substituting for Tone Evans. They hoped to break the record of 4:08 set in 2013 by Malcolm Williams, Morceli Abdel Kader, Jahkeem Stokes and Carlyle Blake. Each runner would have to run a 1:02 or faster to do it. Burton ran the fastest leg in this relay with a 0:59 ¼ mile, but the team fell 7.26 seconds short of the record coming in at 4:14.
“This is incredible,” said Jim Maloney, first-time visitor and volunteer. “To see all these different people come together. Running is a spiritual and holistic experience for your whole well-being.”
Maloney read about the club in the February issue of GQ magazine, listened to the interviews on KCBS, and decided to donate his time to the program.
Oscar Aguilar, Chris Schuhmacher, Cuactemoc “Temo” Zamora and Jesus Sanchez won the Distance Medley race with the time of 13:59.83. The medley consisted of three laps for the first-leg, one lap, then two laps and four laps to close.
“Most of my team speaks Spanish,” said Schuhmacher. “This shows we can come together.”
Sanchez added, “I run for my family and this program. It helps me think differently. I want to get out and run in other competitions.”
The April 15 event displayed skills and unity for the participants.
“It’s about positive people supporting each other in a negative place,” said Tommy Wickerd, club runner.
Elder club member Dennis Barnes, 66, concluded, “This team makes life worthwhile. The younger guys say we are an inspiration for them, but they are an inspiration for us to keep running. I like to thank all the coaches; they are super people.”
–Frank Ruona contributed to this story
By Marcus Henderson