The Year That Was

December is just as popular for year-end reviews as it is for menorahs and Christmas trees – yet somehow, running news typically goes underreported. We’re correcting that trend today, with a 2009 retrospective specifically for the running community:

January: Hundreds of runners participate in Rio Grill’s Resolution Run, and over a delicious post-race pancake breakfast, discuss the annual question: “How long do you think the race was this year?” Several hours later, thousands of slackers groggily roll out of bed and postpone their New Year’s Resolutions until 2010.

February: Pacific Grove’s Together With Love run triggers a collective awkwardness to rival a junior-high prom, as runners choose “partners” for the competition. Conversations like “I really like him, but I don’t want to give him the wrong idea,” or “Do you think she knows I even exist?” become frighteningly commonplace.

March: The Big Sur International Marathon’s JUST RUN Youth Program increases to over 6,000 participants for the school year. Appropriately, all of them get to wear bib number 1 in local races.

April: A huge month for running! At the Boston Marathon, Kara Goucher turns in the best American performance in 25 years, missing victory by a mere 9 seconds, then politely stands shivering in her singlet through an interview from a TV reporter who calls her “Sara”. Mike finishes 1 minute slower than his son at Boston, and suddenly feels old, but proud.

Meanwhile, back in Monterey County, the Big Sur marathon enjoys its most successful year ever, and will later be ranked one of the top 3 marathons in America. Afterward, a Herald columnist makes fun of the race’s periwinkle race shirts. Columnist gets in big trouble.

May: Christopher McDougall’s landmark book Born to Run is released, inspiring thousands of runners to ditch their shoes and run barefoot like the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico. In a related story, stock prices for Band-Aids and blister relief kits reach an all-time high.

June: Donald runs in the Western States 100-mile Endurance Run, finally confirming what many people long suspected: “Has he lost his mind?”

July: The Spreckels 4th of July 10K is as traditional as barbecues, parades, and fireworks. Veteran runners suspect the course is short, but nobody says anything so they can all enjoy their PRs.

August: The first-ever Carmel Valley Fiesta Run delights hundreds of trail runners in Garland Ranch, as well as dozens of yellow jackets who enjoyed a much heartier than usual breakfast feast. A few runners complain, skittish park officials panic, and the race is in jeopardy for 2010. We’re hoping this one stays on the calendar.

September: On-line entries open for next year’s Boston to Big Sur challenge; two marathons, two coasts, 6 days apart; 300 people sign up the first week. Mike’s son Bryan gets married, making Mike feel even older, but even prouder.

October: Birth and rebirth: the first ever Just Run for Peace takes place in Salinas, and the Big Sur River Run returns after a one-year hiatus due to wildfires. It’s good to see both races on the schedule.

November: Southern California-raised, UCLA-educated Meb Keflezighi becomes the first American in 27 years to win the New York Marathon – prompting a handful of idiot sportswriters nationwide to publicly ask “Wait … Is Meb really an American?” We wish we were making this up.

December: Tiger Woods hits a fire hydrant with his SUV at 2AM – and absolutely nothing else newsworthy happens anywhere in the world.

We hope that you had more good miles than bad ones in 2009. Thanks for sharing the year with us!

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