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HomeMember of the Month

SFRRC Member of the Month

As a way to highlight members of our community, each month the San Francisco Road Runners recognizes someone who brings a particular positive contribution to the club. It might be from a comeback story, or their joyful/helpful presence at club runs, or inspire others with their beautiful spirit, or they trained with us and ran an awesome race.

Our Member of the Month spotlight began in the summer of 2018. Please give our recipient a smile and a hello when you see them! 

CHRISTINE LAMPE | APRIL 2020 - Member Spotlight (two April spotlights)

Grace, goodness, and grit... the simplest way that we can describe Christine. Thank you for your smiles and support from Tuesday track to our Saturday runs to helping lead us as a Club Ambassador (Butterfly habitat restoration on Strawberry Hill and more) to the Boston Marathon. We appreciate you so very much. 

Christine is a high school math teacher at her alma mater. We extend our gratitude to all our teachers (always) and particularly during this COVID-19 time. As Christine tells us, most of her time now is taken up "recording tutorial videos, holding Zoom office hours and calling home - all of which is usually interrupted by my barking dog."

You are awesome, Christine! Stay strong. We're with you! And cheering for you.


Questions we asked Christine:

When did you first get interested in running? And why do you run now?
I leisurely started running in college as a way to keep active but didn't start racing until 2013. My first race was the SF Rock n' Roll half marathon. When I finished, I felt so empowered and overcome with joy that it didn't matter when I got a bad fever and almost passed out. Now, I like to make sure that I'm trained and ready before getting to the starting line.    

How did you hear about SFRRC and for how long have you been a member?
I found SFRRC online when I first moved to San Francisco in 2016 and have been a member ever since.

What are your running goals?
My current goal is to break 3 in the marathon. Some things that have been working for me: running 6 days a week, yoga, foam rolling, lifting, and getting regular massages.

What are your favorite things about the club? I joined the club mainly because of the Tuesday track workouts and Saturday long runs but I am most appreciative of the friendships I've made over the last few years.

Favorite Race: Boston Marathon (road), Double Dipsea (trail), Christmas Relays (fun) 

Favorite Training Runs: speed workouts

Which pace group are you in: 8:30 min/mile
How many miles do you run per week: 40-60
Shoes: New Balance 890 (speed), Nike Pegasus Turbo (mid/long), Nike Next% (race)
Food (when training for a marathon):
 veggie patty on quinoa with mixed vegetables topped with Sriracha (everyday for lunch), pizza, pasta, and occasionally hot Cheetos  

What do you like to do when not running with the club
Music. Before running, my time was taken up by singing and playing the guitar. Instead of afternoon runs, I'd go to open mics

What keeps you motivated?
Social media has actually played a large role in motivating me to become the runner I am today. The online community has always been a source of knowledge and inspiration.

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for a race?
Patience. You'll have good workouts and bad workouts but they don't define you. Trust the process.

NED LERNER | APRIL 2020 - Member Spotlight (two April spotlights)

With kindness, intelligence, and a generous heart Ned has become a leader with the San Francisco Road Runners. In good fun and complete respect and care we still joke with Ned how it didn't begin too pretty for him... "form" in his case. But, thanks to good focus and commitment, Ned qualified for the 2020 Boston Marathon (fingers crossed that we can run it on September 14th). We are super proud of him. In this process, Ned has recently taken on the role of leading our 8 min/mile pace group and we often rely upon him when our coaches are not able to be present for a track session at Kezar on Tuesday. Thank you for making this life a little more joyful walk/run for so many of us, Ned.


Questions we asked Ned:

When did you first get interested in running? And why do you run now?
I used to run 5-10 miles a week to 'stay in shape'. Then 10 years ago I hurt by knee skiing and decided to see if my body still worked by trying to run. Luckily two of my friends at work were very encouraging, and I later found out both were running marathons. They got me running further and further. And then I joined the SFRRC and started enjoying running more and treating it like a sport ... training.   

Now I run because I can feel the energy and focus it adds to my life, and I love running with my running buddies.  And if I don't run a lot I'll have to slow down!

How did you hear about SFRRC and for how long have you been a member?
Once I started running longer I wanted to find people to run with. I went to the internet and looked for "San Francisco running clubs". At first 7:45am Saturday seemed way too early. But then I tried in fall 2013!

What are your running goals?
Goal #1 is to stay healthy and keep running.
Goal #2 Boston 2020, 26.2, 8 minute miles? (A 2 minute PR?). Maybe a 6 minute mile? When I turned 55 I decided I could be a competitive runner in my age group - so track (thanks John and track friends!) tempo (thanks 8 minute pace group), more sleep, good food, and a lot of physical therapy and form work, learning pacing, and a bit of craziness.

What are your favorite things about the club? The people of course, but I also love that it's super organized and San Francisco is an awesome running city.

Favorite Race: The Half Moon Bay half marathon. Convenient, reasonably priced, great course.

Favorite Training Runs: Track! and trails. Anywhere where I can't see or hear a car. Lands end is convenient and beautiful.

Which pace group are you in: 8 Minute. It's my tempo pace. It's too hard to run at tempo pace if I'm by myself. 
How many miles do you run per week: 30-45, and I try to ramp up another 10-15 for peak marathon training.
Shoes: My main shoes are Merrell Bare Access Trail shoes. They have zero padding (great for form training) and I wear them until they have holes in the soles (2000 miles). I just discovered the Nike Vaporfly Next in my last race (Hot Chocolate 15k). Amazing. Magically 2% faster?
Food (when training for a marathon): 
My wife was diagnosed with pre-diabetes a few years ago, so we're on a mostly low carb diet (which cured her problem). So I crave carbs after runs - fruit, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, buttermilk pancakes, and good bread. Chocolate milkshakes (after the race)!

What do you like to do when not running with the club
I have a startup, so I work a lot, and not regular hours. Anything with my wife, Leslie, and my children when they are around (23 and 19, so not regularly). Our favorite is mountain biking in Marin, good food and good company

What keeps you motivated?
Life is good and I'm doing what I can to keep it that way. That keeps me on my toes (actually I'm more of a mid-foot runner).

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for a race?
If you haven't already, read a book by one the the well respected running coaches, like Jack Daniels. In short, track and tempo.   
- Pay attention to your running form. If you're running longer than usual, don't let your form change when you get tired. 
- Have someone make a video of you running at race pace on a treadmill (from behind) and watch it in slow motion. Then go to YouTube and watch pros from the same angle. Learn from them. If you get hurt when you ramp up your training you might need a form coach.

DIODITA AVENIS | MARCH 2020 - Member Spotlight

Oh, so much gratitude for Diodita. For all the joy she brings to SFRRC. For her kindness. For her smiles. For her participation. And for all the encouragement she gives to everyone she knows. Yes. SFRRC is a more loving and a better place because of Diodita. That all aside, Diodita works as a nurse, and when we told her of being unanimously voted as our Member of the Month... she was about to go to work. Diodita is on the front line with COVID-19 patients and it's getting very difficult. With our love, best wishes, and prayers for her safely (and the safety of her husband and their two kids) too. Thank you, Diodita.


Questions we asked Diodita:

When did you first get interested in running? And why do you run now?
I first got interested in running 10 years ago. Working in the hospital and with all the stress levels I had gained weight, so I decided to go to the gym and hire a trainer. While my endurance was building up I had a co-worker who happened to be a runner and invited me to join them and run a half marathon. I did, saying I’ll just do it once (that’s a lie), but after that finish line I was hooked.

How did you hear about SFRRC and for how long have you been a member?
I heard about SFRRC through Coach John while on my marathon training maybe 5 years ago. It was at Vista Point (on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge). John mentioned the San Francisco Road Runners Club and encouraged me to check it out. A few months later I attended the January Club Kickoff and become a member. I believe that was in 2018.

What are your running goals?
My running goals are to continue running and hopefully run Boston. I have few races this year including the Paris Marathon, Jack 'n' Jill Marathon, and the Marine Corps Marathon. For me, the key to hitting my goals is training smart, eating well, strength training, stretching, and having good people near me.

What are your favorite things about the club? I love Track practice and Saturday runs. I wish I could go to every single run, but my job schedule has been in the way
Favorite Race: So far my favorite race is the Chicago Marathon. I just loved the crowd and how it was very organized.

Favorite Training Runs: I guess all the routes that our club runs so far are my favorites! I’m very happy that I joined SFRRC. I used to run only in the places that I was familiar with. But with the club I’ve been able to go places which I never been.
Which pace group are you in: I run with the famous 10-min/mile pace group. 
How many miles do you run per week: When I’m not training the most I run is 25-30 miles per week.
Shoes: My training shoes are mostly Mizuno.
Food (when training for a marathon): 
No specific food but mostly from Whole Foods. I love "Science in Sport" (SiS) as my gel during race day.

What do you like to do when not running with the club
When not running I love to read books and go out with friends and family

What keeps you motivated?
It’s the feeling I’m getting from being active. Running makes me happy, feeling healthy, and gives me more energy to take care of my family and my patients

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for a race?
Listen to your body and train smart as they say to do!

CHINH LE FEBRUARY 2020 - Member Spotlight

Chinh is another one we are most grateful for... He gives so much of his time to making others better runners with his presence and a very good sense of our sport and the fundamentals that surround it. If Chinh is in town he never misses a track workout. And at the end, leads us all in strengthening our core. As of this beginning of this year, he has also taken over long-time pace group leader Robert Hood as the new leader for the 8:30 min/mile group. In this spotlight on Chinh, we also give our sincere thank you to Robert for leading our 8:30ers with such commitment and joy (to our runners) for many years. 

Chinh's advice to runners looking to become faster... "Learn how to run/train slowly. When I first qualified for Boston, it wasn’t because I learned how to run fast, it was because I learned how to run slowly.


Questions we asked Chinh:

When did you first get interested in running? And why do you run now?
After I retired from playing competitive ultimate frisbee, I wanted to find an active sport that I could continue as I aged. When one of my teammates asked if would run with him for his first marathon, I had found my new sport.

How did you hear about SFRRC and for how long have you been a member?
Having come from a background in team sports, I was missing the camaraderie during my solo runs so I searched for a running club on the internet. I choose the SFRRC because it was well organized and had friendly coaches who could help me improve.  

What are your running goals?
In 2019, I surpassed my goal of 2019 miles. For 2020, my challenge is to run enough hills equivalent to the Seven Summits (the tallest mountain on each continent), which is over 142,000 ft.

What are your favorite things about the club? The people.
Favorite Race: Boston Marathon
Favorite Training Runs: Downhill training on Middle Drive in GGP

Which pace group are you in: I’m pace group leader for the 8:30 group
How many miles do you run per week: Well, in 2019, roughly 40.
Shoes: I’m a Nike guy.
Food (when training for a marathon): 
Ice cream when not training for a race. And ice cream when training for a race, but just less of it. 

What do you like to do when not running with the club
I like to think about thinking.

What keeps you motivated?
See above… Ice cream!

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for a race?
Learn to love the process.

DIANA SCHULTZ | JANUARY 2020 - Member Spotlight

Diana tells us how SFRRC has brought so much to her, but the feeling is mutual as she has brought so much to us. It seemed like right away she was offering to volunteer at our water/nutrition stops on our long runs to Tiburon with her smiling good spirit. And at the end of her first year as a club member she became a member of our Club Ambassador team welcoming new/potential runners to our Saturday club runs (with monthly donuts after - thanks to our Ambassadors) and so much more. Diana is such a kind and helpful/giving woman. We are grateful for her. :)


Questions we asked Diana:

When did you first get interested in running? And why do you run now?
I can't really say I first got 'interested' in running at first. Honestly, I had been going through a bit of a tough time (break-up with a significant other, of course) and craved a new hobby to take my mind elsewhere. I had just moved to Chicago and needed to get to know the city better. Street by street, I started to run more and more miles and before too long - I really started enjoying it. Now, I run because it makes me my best self. It makes me focus on what matters and gives me dedicated time for reflection. Most importantly though, it provides me with a place to connect with great people.

How did you hear about SFRRC and for how long have you been a member?
After deciding I was moving to San Francisco (from Chicago), I looked up running clubs online and read the best things about SFRRC. I moved around the time of the Annual Kickoff Party (in January) and was immediately hooked. I joined on the spot back in January 2018 and have been a member ever since.  

What are your running goals?  Any upcoming races? And what's been the key to hitting your goals thus far?
I'm *planning* to run a marathon in every state. But that's only if I (1) enjoy running throughout the entire process and (2) I stay injury-free. The key (so far) has been the support of my friends and family. My Ma has come to every marathon thus far (11 down) and have had many other friends and family come to cheer me on - they're the best.

What are a few of your favorite things about the club?
Two things. First, the people - yes, it's cliche but it's true. Second, the sheer number and variety of the runs. Depending on the time of year, there may be five COORDINATED runs throughout the week, each with a different following / crew. It's incredible, there's something for everyone.

Favorite Race: This is a difficult question to answer but I'll say my favorite has been the Chicago Marathon. It's an incredible turnout on all fronts - participants, volunteers, and spectators. Not to mention, you get such a great feel for the city going through so many neighborhoods.
Favorite Training Runs: Saturday Long Runs and the Sports Basement Fun Runs on Wednesdays (which are led by SFRRC). 

Which pace group are you in: 9:00 minute / mile (shout-out to Laura and Rachel!) 
How many miles do you run per week: It varies - maybe 20 - 40? Despite how much I run and how much I enjoy it, I'm not very religious about how many miles I need to put in every week. I run when I feel like it, I don't when I don't.
Shoes: Saucony Freedom ISO (Not the 2's, the 'originals')
Food (when training for a marathon): 
Clif Bloks 

What do you like to do when not running with the club
If I'm not running - it's likely that I'm staying active (weightlifting or hiking) or I'm being an absolute bum.

What keeps you motivated?
My training plan is a basic Google Sheet that I've created and maintained. If I miss a run, I mark it in red - so really, the fear of an entirely red Google Sheet keeps me motivated enough to keep on going.

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for a race?
Being a 'runner' comes easy for a select few, but for the rest of us - it's a process. Take your time and be patient with yourself. Getting comfortable running 2 more miles than your 'normal' amount may take you months - that is OKAY. It took me four years to work up to a marathon and even that was a push for me. Do what feels right for you and your body and most importantly - be proud of your personal accomplishments along the way, no matter how small

LILY GENTNER | DECEMBER 2019 - Member Spotlight

The San Francisco Road Runners took in its fastest female runner a little less than a year ago. She trains with us on Saturdays and nearly every Tuesday at Kezar track. Then, in December of 2019, Lily became our first woman that we can remember to break 3 hours in the marathon. She did this on not the coolest of days in Sacramento at the California International Marathon (CIM). Congrats Lily!!! You are an inspiration. And such a kind and thoughtful woman too. We are grateful to have you in the club.


Questions we asked Lily:

When did you first get interested in running? And why do you run now?
I joined my high school cross country team during my junior year- after I realized that I enjoyed the longer conditioning runs more than anyone else on the softball team (they were less than a mile, but that seemed really long to me at the time). After a few injuries in high school I mostly stopped running until my senior year of college when I signed up for a marathon on a whim. I skipped a lot of runs and didn’t hit my goal of breaking 4 hours, but that motivated me to find out what I could do with more consistent training.

Today I run because it makes me feel mentally calm and physically strong, because it’s introduced me to a lot of great people, and because I like having a hobby that I care about outside of work. More personally, I want to prove to myself that even if I wasn’t the most “talented” runner at the beginning, with enough work and stubbornness, I can do things that I originally thought would be impossible. This has helped me face other, non-running, challenges with more of a “growth mindset”, and so I want to keep working towards new running goals that at one point seemed impossible.

How did you hear about SFRRC and for how long have you been a member?
I met Christine Lampe after I moved to SF in January 2019, and she convinced me to join the club for a Saturday long run in April.  

What are your running goals?  Any upcoming races? And what's been the key to hitting your goals thus far?
My biggest athletic goals for 2020 are to place in the top 100 (females) at a World Marathon Major (I’m running Boston and Chicago this year), to be more consistent with doing strength work at the gym, and to get more involved with the SF running community.   

The key to hitting my goals thus far has been consistency: staying healthy and getting out the door even on days when I don’t really want to. I’ve found that having a plan and a mileage goal for the week makes it a lot easier to get through the runs that I’m tempted to skip. To stay healthy I try to sleep as much as I can and do some kind of a warmup (foam rolling, stretching, activation drills) before every run.

What are a few of your favorite things about the club?
For a long time I procrastinated joining a running club because I wanted to have control over the exact workouts I was doing, but I’ve learned that this was completely the wrong way to think about training. Having other people to run with, especially for workouts, has helped me push myself harder and get through workouts that I probably would have cut short on my own. Plus it’s just more fun! I’m positive that running with the club helped me reach my marathon goal this fall, but it also helped me enjoy training more than ever before.

Favorite Race: The Chicago Marathon. I grew up in Chicago so this one holds a lot of memories for me. In 2011 I got to race the last 2.62 miles of the course with my cross country team, in 2015 it was my first marathon, and in 2017 I ran a 51 minute PR there. And every time I’ve raced it my family and friends who still live in the city will all come out to cheer.
Favorite Training Runs: My favorite workouts are mile repeats on the track and long tempo runs at marathon pace. My favorite places to run are Golden Gate Park, Central Park, and the Lakefront Path in Chicago.

Which pace group are you in: 7:30 - 8:30, depending on my goal for the run.
How many miles do you run per week: In 2019 I averaged around 45, but this fall before CIM I was around 60-70.
Shoes: New Balance 1400 for track workouts, Saucony Kinvara for easy runs, and the Vaporfly Next% for racing.
Food (when training for a marathon): 
I have black coffee and oatmeal before every race and important long run. Other than that, lots of burritos, pasta, and smoothies. 

What do you like to do when not running with the club
Traveling, Reading, Hiking

What keeps you motivated?
I know that the night before a race I want to feel confident that I prepared to the best of my ability. So I try to do right by my future self by doing all the little things that will give me that confidence. Longer term, I’ve stayed excited about running by having a long list of goals to work towards (some of them very far in the future).

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for a race?
You don’t need to have a perfect block of training or even a perfect race day to reach your goals. Prioritize consistency above any one day, and don’t give up hope when something doesn’t go according to plan.

GARY LEE | NOVEMBER 2019 - Member Spotlight

The San Francisco Road Runners Club has more goodness because of Gary. Thank you for all you do to motivate and encourage other club runners. The joy and excitement of running he brings to our club and shares on his social pages is contagious.


Questions we asked Gary:

When did you first get interested in running? And why do you run now?
I first started running in high school. I competed in the 100m, 200m and 400m sprints on the track team. I later moved up to the 800m, 1600m and ran on the Cross Country team for conditioning. After high school I stopped running (for fun anyway) but got back into running a few years ago to be a positive role model for my kids.

How did you hear about SFRRC and for how long have you been a member?
I first heard of SFRRC at the 2018 San Francisco Kaiser Half Marathon.  I saw a few runners wearing SFRRC shirts and hats.  After the 2018 San Francisco Marathon one of the club ambassadors invited me to a Saturday club run in the Presidio.  I immediately fell in love with the positive energy and I joined that afternoon.

What are your running goals?  Any upcoming races? And what's been the key to hitting your goals thus far?
My immediate goal is to run the Boston Marathon. I ran a BQ time at the 2019 Chicago Marathon so I’m keeping my fingers crossed my time will hold for the 2021 race. I would like to improve my speed and endurance in the half marathon. The key to my success is staying positive.

What are a few of your favorite things about the club?
I LOVE the positive vibes SFRRC has. Everyone is supportive and always encourages other members. I’ve grown so much as a runner in the short time I’ve been with SFRRC. I have not participated in too many of the club events but the guest speakers / clinics are always one of my favorites.

Favorite Race: The San Francisco Marathon (my hometown and very first marathon) will always be my favorite.
Favorite Training Runs: Track Tuesdays at Kezar.

Which pace group are you in: I run anywhere between the 8:00 min and 9:00 pace groups.
How many miles do you run per week: My mileage varies depending on my my schedule. I try to run anyway between 35-50 miles a week.
Shoes: I currently train in Nike Pegasus and Nike ZoomFlys.  I race in the Nike VaporFlys.
Food (when training for a marathon): 
Pastas, fish and chicken. Nothing too greasy and no fried foods. 

What do you like to do when not running with the club
I volunteer my time as a track and cross country coach for a local high school. So it’s still running. I also spend time helping at my local animal shelter.

What keeps you motivated?
Humility and gratitude. I realize not everyone takes joy in running and I’m blessed that running is a sport I can still participate in.

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for a race?
Stay positive and don’t be too hard on yourself. Worry about your own race and not what the other runner is doing. Listen to your body. If you need to rest there’s no shame in skipping a run day. Believe in yourself!

ALISA YUKO BROZINSKY | OCTOBER 2019 - Member Spotlight

The San Francisco Road Runners Club is a more joyful, gleeful, and happy place because of Alisa... Thank you from the depths of our hearts. You make everybody's life a little bit brighter.


Questions we asked Alisa:

When did you first get interested in running? And why do you run now?
I've enjoyed running most of my life and grew up in Vancouver, Canada, an avid running city, with beautiful running routes and many fun races. I started out as a sprinter and was part of the Track and Field team during my early school years. I began participating in a few 5k fun runs during my University years, but running was just one of many sports I enjoyed. In 1989, I ran my first half marathon with my sister and a friend. I signed up for a second half the following year and had thoughts of then training for a full. Unfortunately, a few months after completing my second half marathon, I was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. Having lived a healthy lifestyle and with no family history of the disease, it came as a devastating shock. For the next 9 months, I was in treatment and running took a back seat. In fact, there were times during chemotherapy that I could barely walk 2 or 3 blocks without feeling nauseous or exhausted. After treatment was done, I worked my way slowly back into lower impact activities. I would sign up for the occasional breast cancer run, but I didn't jump back in with the passion I'd felt before diagnosis. Six years ago, I was back in Vancouver and decided spontaneously to go for a run around my favorite park, Stanley Park. I felt reinvigorated and realized just how much I had missed running regularly.  Shortly after, I signed up for my first marathon, the 2014 Vancouver Marathon. The passion for running was back and since then, I've run 4 more marathons and 31 more half marathons. I run now because it makes me happy, it makes me feel alive. After battling cancer, I really gained an appreciation for my health and what was important to me. I have also met some of the most wonderful and inspiring people through running. Being part of SFRRC has been truly wonderful!

How did you hear about SFRRC and for how long have you been a member?
I had considered joining a run club for awhile, but was initially intimidated, thinking that everyone must be super serious and lightning fast. After doing some research and talking to some friends who run, SFRRC kept popping up on my radar. I joined a Saturday run back in May 2018 and immediately felt a great energy from everyone I met. It was the best decision I made and I've been an enthusiastic member since!

What are your running goals?  Any upcoming races? And what's been the key to hitting your goals thus far?
I would like to continue trying to improve my speed and consistency, but mostly I want to continue running injury free. I would like to get back to track practices once my schedule opens up and I always look forward to running long on Saturdays, especially with the support of my fellow Roadrunners. There's nothing quite like running with your buddies and realizing you've gone farther than you planned because you're having such a great time! I have a number of half marathons I've already registered for through the first half of 2020, but am considering either the Berlin or Chicago Marathon too.

What are a few of your favorite things about the club?
I love how supportive and encouraging everyone is. I've learned so much from some of the more experienced runners and from the Coaches. I'm constantly inspired by my fellow Roadrunners and it motivates me to become a better runner. I love the club events, such as speakers, movie nights and breakfast runs. I'm also looking forward to attending my first Fall Run Retreat and my first book club as well.

Favorite Race: The beautiful Vancouver Marathon is near and dear to my heart as it is in my hometown. But, the NYC Marathon is unmatched for its energy.
Favorite Training Runs: I love runs with a view, so any runs that include the SF waterfront, the GG Bridge and the Presidio are always favorites.

Which pace group are you in: Both the 10 min and 10:30 pace groups, depending on how I'm feeling
How many miles do you run per week: Currently varies quite a bit, but I try to get in 25 - 30 when I'm regularly training.
Shoes: Brooks Ravenna 9
Food (when training for a marathon): My favorite food is Japanese, but sushi doesn't usually go well pre race. I like soba noodles, grilled miso salmon and rice.

What do you like to do when not running with the club
I love being active, so I enjoy hiking, kayaking and walking my dog. I also enjoy traveling, good food, reading and spending time with family and friends. Being a mom definitely keeps me on my toes!

What keeps you motivated?
Gratitude keeps me both grounded and motivated. I have a lot in my life to be grateful for and I do my best to minimize regret, live in the present and look forward to the future.

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for a race?
Don't forget to enjoy the journey. Don't forget your joy for the sport. Put in the work and trust in your commitment. Don't be too hard on yourself when you have an off day. And when it comes to race day, have confidence in your training, enjoy the camaraderie of your fellow racers and believe that you will do your best that day, no matter the outcome.

GEORGE IWAOKA | SEPTEMBER 2019 - Member Spotlight

The San Francisco Road Runners Club and the running community of this great city is better because of George. He simply makes both more joyful... when George was not able to run a hill/track practice because of injury, he offered his photography talents (of course, we accepted) and came with his digital SLR camera to shoot photos of the club/members; a few months earlier he skipped running our Summer Club Kickoff run to do the same. George's presence at club runs and activities, genuine interest in helping others (including welcoming newcomers and others as a Club Ambassador this year), his affability, intuitive relationship development, and encouraging nature, along with his ability to tackle big task with great ease are only a few reasons why George is such a valued leader in our club. Thank you, good man!


Questions we asked George:

When did you first get interested in running? And why do you run now?
I first started running back freshman year of high school for the school's track and field team. I still remember running my 2 miles and feeling the "runners high" after my first practice (I was not in nearly the shape I am today) and decided to stick with it until senior year. After college, I pretty much stopped running except for occasional runs here and there to stay in shape. But then I moved to the Bay Area in the summer of 2017. Running a marathon had always been a bucket list item of mine, and having moved to a new city, I thought it was a good opportunity to try something new. I slowly started ramping up my mileage and finished my first marathon that next summer in 2018 in San Francisco. I've been hooked ever since and hope to keep running for as long as I can.

How did you hear about SFRRC and for how long have you been a member?
I was out training for my first marathon one day and me and some friends were doing a track workout at Kezar track. I ran into Kelli, who I had met through some community running events, who introduced me to John who happened to be there for our Tuesday Track workout. John introduced himself and the club and his energy was really what pushed me to start coming to club events. He invited us to the Summer kick off run which happened to be that Saturday and since then, I've been a regular member trying to attend as many events as possible. It's been a little over a year since I joined but I love this club and hope to be a part of it for as long as I can keep running.

What are your running goals?  Any upcoming races? And what's been the key to hitting your goals thus far?
I think my biggest goal right now is qualifying for Boston, which happens to be a sub 3:00 hour marathon for my age group. It's a big goal, it won't come easy and I understand that. But because it's such a challenging goal, I think it makes training a lot more exciting. I see running as a sport where your success it directly proportional to the amount of effort you put in. You could argue some people are born better runners than others, but at the end of the day, I think it all comes down to how long you're hitting the road out there. I've yet to reach my goal for a BQ time, but I hope to get there soon. I have a lot of other club members I've gotten closer through training who are going for the same goal, which is a huge motivator in itself.

What are a few of your favorite things about the club?
How welcoming and supportive the club community is. I remember the first time I ran into SFRRC at track, EVERYONE was cheering each other on, no matter how slow or how fast you are. And I really think the people who take the time to join a club like ours truly want to grow the running community. Last month, my brother visited from Japan and came with me to Santa Rosa to watch me run a half, and the first thing he mentioned on our ride back was how welcoming the running community was. He actually ended up buying a pair of running shoes the day after we got back and started running #proudbrother

Favorite Race: Rock N Roll series - they do a really great job of hyping up runners on the course 
Favorite Training Runs: Ocean beach - I love running down the great highway 

Which pace group are you in: 8:00 / 8:30 depending on how I feel 
How many miles do you run per week: less than what I'd like to admit to John
Shoes: Nike Flyknits for my training runs, and Nike Vaporfly 4% for my race shoes
Food (when training for a marathon): I don't really follow a strict diet, but I eat A LOT when I'm around my peak mileage. I do try to shy away from sugar and alcohol during my peak weeks but really anything I crave is fair game

What do you like to do when not running with the club
I do a fair bit of photography on my spare time - it's been a huge hobby of mine that conveniently pays for itself picking up gigs. I also love traveling so I do a fair bit of that on weekends occasionally

What keeps you motivated?
As cliche as it sounds, seeing other members of the club succeed. Everyone sort of keeps each other accountable in a way training together each week and working towards the same goals and races. Also I think Strava is a huge motivator for those days when you're feeling lazy or busy. You open the app and see your friends running and working hard? I guess it means I can't be slacking off either 

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for a race?
Listen to your body! I think I can give this advise to myself almost but I've definitely had times where I pushed myself when I didn't have to and paid the price later down the road. Also, have fun with your training! I think it's important to enjoy what you are doing to not burn out. There's gonna be days where you're gonna be good days and bad days during your training, but if you truly enjoy running, it'll make getting through your bad days so much easier.


LOUISE STEPHENS | AUGUST 2019 - Member Spotlight

Our unrelenting and amazing club member... Thank you for everything you do for us, Louise. For your presence, for your encouragement with others getting into the sport, for your racing (and pacing others for) such cool "long" races and in the process inspiring us all to reach for a little more, and for the support of your husband Bill and daughter Jane, we are SO grateful to/for you.


Questions we asked Louise:

When did you first get interested in running? And why do you run now?
We did not have track or XC in grammar school. In 8th grade there was a “fun run” put on by the father’s club. I came in 2nd place and someone told me that I should run in high school. My coach in High School was Mary Etta Boitano’s dad. She was a senior at the time. I didn’t know until years later, that she was famous in the running world. Her dad was instrumental in starting DSE and Pamakids. Two groups that I’m involved with today.

I run because it’s fun! I love talking with friends and getting a good work-out at the same time.

How did you hear about SFRRC and for how long have you been a member?
Akemi invited me to come to a Saturday run and I’ve been showing up ever since! I believe I’ve been a member for 5 yrs

What are your running goals?  Any upcoming races? And what's been the key to hitting your goals thus far?
My goal is to keep racing as long as I can. I usually race once a month. And what's been the key to hitting your goals thus far? The key for me is to sign up for all my races in the beginning of the year.

What are a few of your favorite things about the club?
I like how there’s so many pace groups. Some days I’m tired and it’s nice to have the option of running with a different pace groups. I also really like Bill's Sunday trail runs!

Favorite Race: Way Too Cool 50k 
Favorite Training Runs: any Presidio run and any trail run 

Which pace group are you in: 8:30
How many miles do you run per week: 30-40
Shoes: Brooks
Food (when training for a marathon): anything my husband cooks for me

What do you like to do when not running with the club
Work, gardening, movies

What keeps you motivated?
Club breakfast runs, Wed beer run with friends, occasional DSE runs on Sundays, racing for the PAMAKIDS 

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for a race?
Listen to your body. If you’re too tired you may have to skip a work-out and take a rest day. I use the Hansons’ training type of philosophy and do back-to back runs on the week-ends.

JOYCE YOUNG | JULY 2019 - Member Spotlight

Our awesome and superbly helpful SFRRC Club Ambassador. Thank you for everything you do for us, Joyce. You make everybody's life and time with us a little brighter.


Questions we asked Joyce:

When did you first get interested in running? And why do you run now?
In high school, I was looking to participate in a sport so that I would be a more well-rounded college applicant. Cross country seemed to be the perfect fit because running required the least amount of coordination (for me), I did not have to be a skilled or experienced runner, and all of my friends ran cross country so why not? Thus, began my dabble in running during junior and senior years of high school.

After high school, I took a long hiatus from running (except for the occasional SF Bay to Breakers) until 2014 when I decided to run again. A friend of mine ran half marathons and I remember seeing her race posts on Facebook. That inspired me to get back into running and to set a goal to run a half marathon (yes, just one). Five years, 15 half marathons and 1 marathon later, I'm still running. Now I primarily run for the enjoyment of it but perhaps there is a little bit of self-challenge to see what more I am capable of.

How did you hear about SFRRC and for how long have you been a member?
I first learned about SFRRC on Facebook in January 2017 where I saw an ad about the club kick off at Sports Basement. I ran with the 10 minute pace group at the kick off, signed up the same day and have been a member since. SFRRC is such a great run club and I wish I had known about it sooner!

What are your running goals?  Any upcoming races? And what's been the key to hitting your goals thus far?
My current goals are to run a sub 1:40 half marathon and a 3:30 marathon. My upcoming scheduled races include Santa Rosa half marathon in August, Berlin marathon in September, North Face Endurance Challenge half marathon in November, Hot Chocolate 5K next January, and Boston marathon next April. I am hoping to incorporate strength training into my routine to help me achieve these new goals.

When I look back, there were two significant breakthroughs in my running, and both were associated with consistency in training and increased weekly mileage. In 2016, I ran a 1:55 half marathon (7 minute PR) and earlier this year, I ran a 1:40 half marathon (10 minute PR). For the 2016 race, I increased my running from 3 days and 10-15 miles a week to ~4 days and 15-20 miles per week. For the 2019 race, I increased my running to 5-6 days and 40-50 miles per week. The key training runs for me have been Tuesday speed work at Kezar track and Saturday long (slow) runs.

What are a few of your favorite things about the club?
Pace groups, variety of events and most of all, the people! One of the main reasons I joined SFRRC was for the pace group on Saturday long runs. Having a group of people to run (or commiserate) with is so much more enjoyable than running solo, especially when training calls for 18+ miles. I thoroughly enjoy all of the running and non-running events that SFRRC offers from the various weekly group runs to brewery runs, movie nights, club nights and the annual holiday party. I have particularly enjoyed club nights where I can learn about race, nutrition and hydration strategy from experts; be inspired by celebrity elite runners; or just have an opportunity to meet and mingle with other club members. The holiday party is another favorite event. It is so fun to see everyone in non-running gear and to see what the club has accomplished throughout the year. Last but not least, the people in the club are awesome! It is so inspiring to be surrounded by so many dedicated and talented runners, to be able to motivate and encourage each other, and to train and race together.

Favorite Race: Monterey Bay Half Marathon, it is a beautiful out and back course along the Pacific coast in Monterey and Pacific Grove
Favorite Training Runs: Lands End, Presidio, Marina
Which pace group are you in: 10 minute/mile pace group 
How many miles do you run per week: 40-50 miles
Shoes: Hoka Tracer 2
Food (when training for a marathon): I don't follow any particular race training diet and tend to eat what I want to eat and when I feel hungry; I try to eat healthy as much as possible but my sweet tooth sometimes gets in the way.

What do you like to do when not running with the club
- Eat! I run to eat and eat to run. ;)
- Travel. I do keep up with my running while traveling as it is a great way to explore new (and familiar) places.
- Spend time connecting with old and new friends.

What keeps you motivated?
Signing up for races and being around other like-minded people/runners/club members.   

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for a race?
Set a personal goal that is achievable and be consistent in your training. If you put in the work, you will see the results. Remember to have fun and enjoy the process!

CHAU SMITH | JUNE 2019 - Member Spotlight

The San Francisco Road Runners are honored to have Chau Smith as a club member. It's been a treat for each one of us who has met and interacted with Chau. She joined the club in 2018 and has since run many marathons (often many per month). When she's not traveling for races, you'll see Chau at our Saturday club runs and dialing in her speed at Kezar track with us on Tuesdays. 

Chau also joined us for our inaugural Running Camp in May. During her introduction, Chau told us about sending her kids off to camp and later sending her grandchildren. Now, it was time for Chau to go to camp she said with big smile! During the camp's Saturday evening movies we showed this 4-minute video of her on being awarded the Lifetime Sportswoman Award for Kansas City women's sports. She had previously celebrated her 70th birthday by running a marathon on each of the seven continents in seven days!!! Thank you Chau for all you do for us and the greater running community.  


Questions we asked Chau:

When did you first get interested in running? And why do you run now?
I married my husband Michael, in 1983. He was a good runner then.  After we married I opened my dry cleaning and alterations business. I was working 15 to 17 hours a day. Then I sponsored my four sibling and their family from Vietnam, 25 of them. I was busy helping them find jobs, helping their children with doctor appointments and school….  My life was so stressful with lack of time and finances. Sometimes my back went completely out. I couldn’t move. The doctor wanted to operate on me, so I went for a second opinion. This doctor told me it was all about stress. He asked me to walk but since my husband was a runner I used to ride my bicycle behind him. 

Then I started to walk then run. My back problems completely disappeared, with no medicine. Running makes me happier and I feel  better. My oldest daughter has lived in San Francisco for over 20 years. She wanted us to moved out to San Francisco so she could see us during our old age. But I said I was still working so my husband moved out to San Francisco first. Then I finally joined. I still go back to Kansas City to work so I can pay for all of my running activities. The rent is so high in SF, I can’t retire completely.

How did you hear about SFRRC and for how long have you been a member?
When I first went out to San Francisco the first thing I looked for was a running club. When I found SFRRC, I also found out that Lynne Killirnr, who I met in Antarctica last year, was a club member as well. This is my first year with the club.

What are your running goals?  Any upcoming races? And what's been the key to hitting your goals thus far?
My goals include completing my 50 states. In June she running multiple marathons: Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey. On June 28th she's traveling to Missoula, Montana with Lynne, to run a marathon there. After that I will have only 8 states to complete my 50. I  try to run without injury and slow enough to finish before the cut off time.

What are a few of your favorite things about the club?
Making new friends. It’s always fun and time goes by fast when I run with the group.

Favorite Race: Great Wall of China Marathon
Favorite Training Runs: speed sessions on Tuesday night with SFRRC
Which pace group are you in: 11:00 pace group 
How many miles do you run per week: 25-55 
Shoes: New Balance. Trail shoes are Hoka
Food (when training for a marathon): rice, vegetables, tofu, and fish.

What do you like to do when not running with the club
I like to bike, hike, read and fish. 

What keeps you motivated?
The way I feel after I run. Being with other runners who have challenges similar to mine.   

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for a race?
It is like going to school. You have to do your homework. When the test day rolls around you will be fine.

SHAWN RAZEK | MAY 2019 - Member Spotlight

It is awesome having Shawn and his good spirit, encouragement, and SPEED that he brings to the San Francisco Road Runners. We are grateful for it! Shawn was our fastest runner at the Boston Marathon this year and his family joined us too for our post-race SFRRC team celebration. You'll see him at our Saturday club runs, and sometimes on Tuesday at track or Thursday at our Embarcadero runs. 

As Shawn shared with us, "It's been a great experience with the group thus far and I just wish I would've joined sooner."


Questions we asked Shawn:

When did you first get interested in running? And why do you run now?
My older brother and sister were avid runners (well, sprinters) in high school. My sister held 3 school records and I just wanted to follow in their footsteps. I quickly realized my sprinting capabilities were poor, so I turned to distance pretty quickly.   

I've been running for over 15 years and I still do it so I can eat ice cream every day! On a more serious note, the only thing that truly gets my mind off the stress of work and life is running. I can go out for a run and just completely forget about the 1,000 things on my to-do list or all the crazy stuff going on in this world. I just started racing again last year (took a 6+ year break) and I've set some lofty goals for myself. I don't want to look back in 20-30 years and have regrets about not achieving those goals. But, really... I love ice cream and running makes me feel less guilty about it. :)

How did you hear about SFRRC and for how long have you been a member?
I heard about SFRRC from Christine Lampe. She joined a few years back when we were running together in the local Fleet Feet group. When Fleet Feet closed (sadly), I was looking for another running group, especially one focused around the community. Christine suggested I try a couple runs with SFRRC and the rest is history.

What are your running goals?  Any upcoming races? And what's been the key to hitting your goals thus far?
Pre-Boston, I was aiming for 2:49, but fell short due to some injury issues and training. I ended up running a 2:53 (still extremely happy with it). So, the short/medium term goal is 2:49 and the longer term goal is 2:39

I still split my workouts between running (3 days a week), lifting (3 days a week) and cycling (maybe once a week). I want to continue to maintain that balance, but in order to reach 2:39, I am going to have to sacrifice lifting a bit which I am willing to do. 

My key to hitting the goals is always staying positive. I believe running is 80% mental. I look around and see that other people have achieved similar goals, so why can't I? Also, I want to coach and mentor folks at some point. So, I want to reach these goals so I can provide perspective and tell stories to others to help motivate them and help achieve their goals.

What are a few of your favorite things about the club?
Everyone is so nice! When I first joined, so many people came and introduced themselves which gave me a sense of belonging. Though I am newer to the group, the members don't treat me any differently. Also, people are super positive which motivates me to keep going.   

I enjoy meeting new people and building relationships and SFRRC has enabled me to do that. It helps when you already have something in common, the love for running!

Favorite Race: Double Dipsea  
Favorite Training Runs: 800m repeats around ATT (Oracle Park). I love turning the corner and stepping on the gas. I enjoy tempo runs as well, especially doing them with other people. 
Which pace group are you in: 7:30 
How many miles do you run per week: ~25-30 (Not counting my 1.5 mile runs with two backpacks to the gym)
Shoes: I always race in Nikes, but I switch up my trainers. I am currently running in Nike Pegasus but spent a few cycles running in the Adidas Boston. Next cycle, I will probably go back to a lower profile shoe (I don't like foam!).
Food (when training for a marathon): Ice Cream. Other than that, I enjoy eating different variants of pasta. I also make killer salads which I typically eat more frequently.

What do you like to do when not running with the club

I try to be outside as much as possible. I enjoy traveling, spending time with my fiance, the dog, hiking and cooking. 

What keeps you motivated?
I set goals and try to achieve them for my own personal well being, but I also want to make my family and my fiance proud. Though my dad can't remember a marathon is 26.2 miles, I always think of him and my mom during workouts and it helps pull me through. My brother and sister told me that my parents would tell every person that their son was running the Boston Marathon. I remember my dad called me one day and he said 'Shawn, what was your qualifying time for Boston? I'm at Doctor X's office and I was telling him how you're running the Boston Marathon next month'. Moments like those motivate me, even more, to keep going.   

My fiance is my number one fan. I try to stay humble with my running, but she will be sure to tell all our friends, family, and new people we meet how 'fast' I am. She puts up with me waking up at 5AM every day to run or lift, she helped me through my injuries, and so much more.  

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for a race?
Hurt now, win later. My high school friend had a brother who ran the Steeplechase in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. One day, he came to our school and did a workout with us (well, he was more or less jogging). He took the lead and just kept saying "hurt now win later" and it stuck with me. You can't cross the finish line at the time you want unless you put in the effort and experience some pain.   

When you're in the middle of a workout or a run that isn't going your way, tell yourself when you finish, will you be more proud of yourself that you pushed through the pain and achieved something, or more upset that you "took it easy"? The answer is always the former. Keep pushing, keep trying because, in the end, it will all be worth it.

ELIZABETH SEIRMARCO | APRIL 2019 - Member Spotlight

You bring so much goodness to the San Francisco Road Runners, Elizabeth! You make us smile, your optimism is infectious, and you help people with no thought beyond making an optimal positive difference in someone else's life. With our sincere gratitude.


Questions we asked Elizabeth:

When did you first get interested in running? And why do you run now?
I started running in college in early mornings around the Charles River listening to 80s music on a bright yellow Sony walkman sports player! I run now because I love it; running gives me great joy, helps relieve stress, plus the members of SFRRC are amazing.

How did you hear about SFRRC and for how long have you been a member?
I have been a proud member since May 2016 and wish that I had found SFRRC much sooner. I love this club and especially look forward to the long Saturday morning runs.

What are your running goals?  Any upcoming races? And what's been the key to hitting your goals thus far?
I have not yet run a full marathon! When I do in the next couple of years I’d like it to be overseas. Before then I’d like to run the Barcelona Half. My goals have been to run half marathons every few months...I can always find friends in the club who are training.

What are a few of your favorite things about the club?
The people in SFRRC are the best -- incredibly passionate about running and fitness, kind, smart, fascinating, service oriented and they want to make the world a better place. The social opportunities are awesome. I particularly love the annual SFRRC party in November. The slideshow with music (e.g. theme to Rocky last year) featuring members of our club running gave me goosebumps.

Favorite Race: There are so many but I especially love the Santa Barbara Half Marathon - running through vineyards and along the coast. The bonus is going wine tasting afterwards.  
Favorite Training Runs: Lands End, Presidio, along the Bay and the Pacific (sometimes you can see whales and dolphins), Marina Green and up the 16th Avenue mosaic stairs where the ocean and city views are spectacular. 
Which pace group are you in: 10 minute group led by Luke Tougas (plus special shout outs to Megan Smith & Shagun Tougas who help out). 
How many miles do you run per week: Right now 18-20, increasing my distance in the spring/summer months.
Shoes: Hoka Gaviota (from A Runner’s Mind and Sports Basement - two awesome SFRRC partners).
Food (when training for a marathon): Pasta, bananas, avocados, all types of berries, dark chocolate and more pasta.

What do you like to do when not running with the club

Skiing, yoga, hiking, SoulCycle, walking around SF, traveling to Chile, watching my teen daughters play soccer and gardening.  

MATTHEW JEUNG | MARCH 2019 - Member Spotlight

Thank you Matt for pitching in so much to help the San Francisco Road Runners! We are better because of you. Last summer, Matt was our lead volunteer coordinator at the San Francisco Marathon "SFRRC water/electrolyte station" in Golden Gate Park. Thanks to Matt and team, we had ~28 volunteers and the SF Marathon gave our club $20 per volunteer.

Besides that, you'll find Matt at our Saturday club runs and track on Tuesday. He also was our captain for the Kaiser Half... putting together a gathering before the race and just making people feel at home.


Questions we asked Matt:

When did you first get interested in running? And why do you run now?
I started running in early 2008 at UC Davis when my friend was looking for people to do the The Big Sur Marathon with her. Her reason was for the amazing views. Eventually, a group of 8 of us signed up for the race and helped each other in training with advice, encouragement and growing excitement for the race. The race weekend in Monterey was so fun, chill, and energizing that I’ve been hooked on running since. Today, I still run to have fun and chill, meet new people through training and racing and explore new places locally and abroad. Over the past decade, I’ve also learned running makes me a better person by improving my focus and discipline, physical and mental strength and empathy toward the diverse group of runners in the world.

How did you hear about SFRRC and for how long have you been a member?
I heard about SFRRC from my high school friend (Go Lowell!), Jonathan Lui, who is one of the coaches in the club. I’ve been a member since the January 2018 kick-off run.

What are your running goals?  Any upcoming races? And what's been the key to hitting your goals thus far?
In the next year or two, I hope to run a 100k or 100 mile race and improve on my PRs for the 5k, half marathon, marathon, 50k and 50 miler. “Back of my mind”/”pie in the sky” goals of mine are to qualify for Boston and possibly run a sub-3 hour marathon.

Running with good people, regular track sessions, and variety of interesting routes and workouts are the keys to my athletic progression. In 2018, joining SFRRC was crucial in my improvement. I've since had a 23 minute PR in the marathon and improved my 50 miler time by an hour and a half.

What are a few of your favorite things about the club?
My top 3 favorite things about SFRRC are its inclusive and welcoming nature, its diverse and wide-variety of members, and the many opportunities it provides such as meeting awesome guest speakers and ways to give back to the running community.

Favorite Race: It has to be The Big Sur Marathon for its unique race culture and community, awesome location and personal memories. This year will be my 7th time running it.  
Favorite Training Runs: My favorite SFRRC runs are the Saturday long runs and Tuesday track workouts. Both always have familiar faces to catch up with as well as new runners to meet. A favorite non-SFFRC training run I do is a loop of Mt. Davidson, up O’Shaunessy to Twin Peaks and through Mt. Sutro forest reserve. Urban trails ftw! 
Which pace group are you in: I typically run in the 8:00 pace group. However if I’m tired or running long, I’ll run with the 8:30 or 9:00 pace group. On rare occasions and to challenge myself, I’ve ran in the 7:30 pace group. 
How many miles do you run per week: In 2018, I averaged 50 miles a week with a peak week of 90. In 2019, I hope to average more with a peak week reaching 100 miles.
Shoes: For everyday running, I wear the Hoka One One Clifton 3 (with over 1600 miles on them!). For road races, I wear the Kalenji Run Cushion ($18 from Decathlon). For trail races, I wear the Hoka One One Challenger ATR 3.
Food (when training for a marathon): I typically don’t eat during runs 20 miles or less. I’ve learned it trains my body to run more efficiently and reduces my chances of bonking during the race. For 18+ mile runs, I usually carry a Gu or Clif Bar just in case though and if weather is warm I’ll take a salt pill or two.
Favorite activity when you're not running with the clubI like to root for my bay area sports teams, camp and be in nature, volunteer, go karaoke, play music, travel and try new things. I have a lot of relatives including six uncles and four aunts and a few old friends in the bay area so when I can I love spending quality time and eating good food with them.

What keeps you motivated?
When times are good, I am motivated to hang out with my fellow runners, whether their new or old pals, explore new places and try new races and to reach my potential in running and life. When times are tough, I remind myself of the amazing feeling that I can rely on that running gives me and I know want to be a runner for the rest of my life.  

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for a race?
For anyone starting out running, I recommend picking a goal that would motivate you 
and make you feel awesome if accomplished. Then, I would train with people with similar goals to encourage, help and learn from each other. During training, I believe it’s key to do more easy miles at a very slow pace (2:00/mile slower than marathon pace). I know people are busy and don’t have time, but these miles will help you get stronger and prevent injury in the long haul. Plus you can really soak in your environment during these relaxed runs.

LYNNE LANGLOIS | FEBRUARY 2019 - Member Spotlight

She's one of our official Club Ambassadors, but she's also winning races and running races all over the world. And Lynne's wearing our club shirt and spreading the good news of SFRRC everywhere. Thank you Lynne!! In January, Lynne won the White Continent 50km in Antarctica. She told us she had on four layers of clothing and a hat, beanie, and balaclava mask with a wool neck gaiter, plus base layer pants, compression running pants, and a waterproof pants, sunglasses, waterproof gloves and waterproof socks called shower pass from REI and my Hoka One One shoes. She also had hand warmer heat pack to keep her hands warm.

In March she ran the Rome Marathon wearing her SFRRC shirt. Go Lynne! Thanks again for representing the San Francisco Road Runners so well.


Questions we asked Lynne:

When did you first get interested in running?
I got interested in running when I read an article about people doing triathlons. I wanted to do it, but lacked the knowledge of how to swim and bike. I learned how to swim first by blowing bubbles. Then progressed to swimming laps. I learned how to bike but was still not that confident in wearing clipless pedals. So I realized that I don't need to learn how to run.  I just need to learn how to run longer and a little faster.  So I trained to do a half marathon with a running group.   

Why do you run now?
I run because it helps me in my day-to-day life. It keeps me healthy physically, mentally and emotionally. I run to accomplish some running goals. I run because it keeps me happy, and I enjoy spending time with my friends. I run so I can eat whatever I want and not gain weight.  I run to make me stronger. I run to challenge myself and be a better person.

How did you hear about SFRRC and for how long have you been a member?
I think I learned of it online when researching for running group in San Francisco. I've been a member since 2015.

What are your running goals?  Any upcoming races? And what's been the key to hitting your goals thus far?
My goal is to finish 50 states half and full. I've already finished 7 continents half marathon 2017. I finished 7 continents marathon 2018 and 7 continents 50k 2019. I've also reached Titanium level, highest level, in marathon maniacs 2017 I've reached Sun level, highest level, in half fanatics 2017.  I've reached Mt. Everest, highest level, in double agent 2017. Very few people have reached it and I'm so proud of that accomplishment.

I've also ran/finished all of the Abbott World Marathon Majors in one year: 2017 Very few people have also done it in one year, let alone the whole 6 majors. I'm working on getting my 6 star finisher the second time. I want to do 50 miler and 100 miler next year, if I get healthy enough. Also the Comrades ultramaraton 89k in South Africa.

What have been the keys to hitting your goals thus far?
I'm trying my best to stay injury free, although it's quite hard since I actually don't train for my races. I just run them for fun. I'm not worried about my time. I did 66 races last 2017. That's when my injuries started.  I'm still suffering from arthritis on both knees. That's why I'm so slow right now. It's really painful to go down the stairs or down the hill.

The other thing is, I'm just hard headed. I do my very best to accomplish my goals, even if I'm injured (not really a good thing). My friends motivate me and inspire me to do all those crazy races, like the mainly marathons where I ran 7 half and fulls in 7 days in 7 states. It was so much fun as there's no time limit. And there's also lots of food at the aid station. Running with good people in a variety of different places like trails that I won't do by myself always help me hit my goals. It keeps me stronger and excited at the same time.

What are a few of your favorite things about the club?
People are so fantastic, especially John. He's always happy, encouraging, and fun to be with. Members are very friendly and motivating. They are all very patient and helpful to newbies. The running camp was also excellent. Track workouts are always challenging but fun. Listening to guest speakers are always very informative and helpful.

Favorite Race: Flying pig (tough but fun) They served bacon on the course. The rock n roll series is always fun with my friends. I did 23 out of 25 races in one year. International races are always amazing. I enjoyed Borubudur Marathon in Indonesia. They have so many spectators dressed in fun outfits, dancing and singing in the course.  
Favorite Training Runs: Trail runs with Bill is always great. (tough but beautiful views) Saturday long runs are also fun. I also like Lake Merced, Golden Gate Park, Lands End.
Which pace group are you in: I'm in the slow pace group right now due to my knee injuries.  But before that, I was in the 10 per minute mile pace group.
How many miles do you run per week: I actually don't have a specific number of miles. I just go out for a run and not worry about the number of miles. But lately I've been running about 25 to 30 miles.
Shoes: I wear Hoka One One and also Altra trail shoes.
Food (when training for a marathon): I eat the standard pasta before a race. During the race, I eat protein bar, fig-bars, and my UCAN drink.

What do you like to do when not running with the club

I love going and working out at YMCA. I take HIITS class, P90X class, spin, advanced strength, advanced core, advanced pilates, TRX, masters swim. I also love to travel and seeing different places when I go for a race. I try to explore the place as much as I can, but sometimes I just fly to that particular race and the next day, fly back. This is mainly because I have to get ready for the next race, which can be in a day or two later. I also like to go shopping and love to read and listen to podcast. I also spend time with my mom. She's 92 years old. We play mahjong and eat all day.

What keeps you motivated?
My friends keep me motivated and inspired. I always see their posts on Facebook regarding their races and their medals. The challenge also keeps me motivated. I want to accomplish a lot as soon as I can because I'm not getting any younger. The bling I get from my accomplishments also play a big role in my motivation. I love looking at all my medals and I'm proud of showing it off. 

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for a race?

Know the reason for racing. Know what's important to you. Know why you're doing that race. Get ready for it. Train hard and focus on your goals. And then just have fun.

ALAIN ALGAZI | NOVEMBER 2018 - Member Spotlight

It's a great joy for us to have Dr. Alain Algazi (crossing a finish line with his daughter) back running with us! In 2016 Alain slipped a disk in his back and was told he would likely be unable to ever run again. After surgery and 4 months in a wheelchair unable to stand, he quickly began the journey back to running. Then, just recently on November 4th was able to compete in the New York City Marathon. Welcome back, Alain! Thank you for reminding us of the possibilities that open to us when we put our minds to something and take the needed, though arduous, steps to reach our hopes and dreams. We're looking forward to seeing you again on our Saturday runs and occasionally on the trails on Sunday!


Questions we asked Alain:

When did you first get interested in running? And why do you run now?
The first time that I ran consistently was when I trained for my first marathon 21 years ago. I used to bike a lot and I would just run my old bike routes. I took about 13 years off during which I want to medical school and became really sedentary and mooched lots of food in the middle of the night from nursing stations while on call. Eight years ago, I lost 40 pounds and started biking. About 5 years ago I switched to running. This sounds corny, but I think of running as simply being. I don't worry about the past or future, I just live in the moment. This is a big deal when you have lots of middle-aged responsibilities. I love running with people, but I also love running alone, especially on trails.

I ran about 14 marathons from 2013 - 2016 before I slipped a disk in my back. After 4 months in a wheelchair unable to stand, I had qualified for Boston, and with a single training (test?) run and a bit of prednisone, I managed to complete the course using the SFRRCs 8:1 run/walk break approach. My only training run was, of course, with the SFRRC. A young woman who I'd never met finished the 20 miles with me, helping me to prove to myself that I could do it. The camaraderie in the SFRRC can be amazing!

How did you hear about SFRRC and for how long have you been a member?
I have been a member since 2013. I think that I probably found the club online.

What are your running goals?  Any upcoming races? And what's been the key to hitting your goals thus far?
I just finished the NYC marathon and I had an amazing time (not so much on the clock). I've learned to be okay with being slow. Running is worth doing at any speed, even if nobody is really impressed. My main goal is to keep going. Of course, if I could run the Western States 100 without hurting myself, I would. Similarly, getting fitter or faster would be cool.  But, if these things don't happen, I'm fine if I can just keep going. My next race is the Kaiser Half Marathon with my daughter where my goal is to finish with an empowered, happy little girl. I'm guessing we're looking at 2:30, but it doesn't really matter. The key to hitting my goals thus far has been stubbornness and consistency. Some parts have been easy. I really like long runs and I don't feel quite right if I can't run a 12 to 20 mile long run at least once per week.

What are a few of your favorite things about the club?
The club has been an amazing resource for the past 6 years. There's always a friendly, encouraging group of people there every time. I can show up after months off and the group will always be there. Similarly, the ability to change between pace groups has been a major plus. I have run with every group between 10 min and 7:30 at least once on long runs and I have felt welcome every time even when I don't know anybody in the group yet.

Favorite Training Runs: Recently, Solo: SF to Tennessee Vally. With the club: anything including Land's End and trail runs 
Which pace group are you in: 9 min, 9:30 and 10 recently. Depends on who I see and how I'm feeling.
How many miles do you run per week: Since NYC Marathon 20. Peaked at 40. Previously up to 70.
Shoes: New Balance Fresh 1080s, 9 4E -- also good for water skiing :)
Food (when training for a marathon): Toast. Lot's of toast.
Favorite activity when you're not running with the clubCure cancer, spend time with family.

What keeps you motivated?
I just love being out and running. Being able to move is a blessing and I never want to take it for granted again.  

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for a race?
Enjoy it. Celebrate being there.  

KAREN MCSORLEY  | OCTOBER 2018 - Member Spotlight

As Karen tells us, "Truth is I just love SFRRC - what a joy it is to wake up early Saturday mornings (go figure!)." And we love Karen!! Thank you for the joy and smiles you bring to each one of us at our Saturday club runs. Karen is our 10:30min/mile pace group leader. It's not just on club run days when Karen makes our member's lives better... Her pace group emails bring the info (run meeting spot details, course, etc.) and they also bring running tips, inspiration, and fun! High five coming your way from the Goldies and all of the San Francisco Road Runners, Karen. Thank you.


Questions we asked Karen:

When did you first get interested in running? And why do you run now?
I registered for my first marathon on October 9, 2004 as a bucket list item. I had not yet even taken my first running stride. Yikes! Precisely 365 days later, I completed the Chicago Marathon on October 9, 2005. As I crossed the finish line, I did not smile and I did not cry. I simply whispered to myself, "I'm home." And that it what it feels like every time I step outside my front door wearing a pair of running kicks. When I run, I am home. 

How did you hear about SFRRC and for how long have you been a member?
I heard great things about SFRRC & wanted to make sure I could keep up with the "pros." So I waited until I had completed 3 full marathons before joining in 2007. How silly I was! SFRRC is the perfect place for all levels of athletic experience and all bold & bodacious dreams.

What are your running goals?  Any upcoming races? And what's been the key to hitting your goals thus far?
Jokingly, I always tell club members that a good finish line photo is the best goal. But truthfully, I believe it because a giant smile at the finish is a good sign you are successfully rocking your own world.

What are a few of your favorite things about the club?
The people, the people, the people..THE BEST PEOPLE!

Favorite Race: With 30 full marathons & 150+ half marathons under my feet, I just couldn't ever choose a favorite. Too many loves.  
Favorite Training Runs: Angel Island 15 miles (two loops from the ferry) for training on trails. Best views of San Francisco + Sam's for lunch afterwards. 
Which pace group are you in: I'm typically a 9:30 runner, but I've run with many of the SFRRC pace groups from 8:00s to 11:00s. This year, I'm hanging with the hilariously awesome Goldies (10:30). Never in my life have I laughed so much! 
How many miles do you run per week:When everything (personally, professionally, and physically) is rocking, I usually put in 35-45 miles per week.
Shoes: I am loyal to ASICS.
Food (when training for a marathon):As a vegetarian, food is sometimes a complicated issue. Pasta & veggies are my go-to before long runs. Peanut butter on a bagel alongside chocolate milk is my finish-line treat.
Favorite activity when you're not running with the club:I'm an art historian by profession, a musician by training, and a baker of the world's best chocolate chip cookies by popular demand.

What keeps you motivated?
Running is the most human activity on my schedule. It keeps me grounded, humbled, and peaceful. Better than therapy.  

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for a race?
Dare to be awesome!

ZANETA CHA  | SEPTEMBER 2018 - Member Spotlight

Zaneta joined the San Francisco Road Runners early this year to help her on her quest to the Spartan World Championships. In the process Zaneta has brought so much joy and good will to the club with her participation - not only in training (long runs, speed work, etc.), but also in volunteering/service with the club. Along with Matthew, Zaneta spearheaded/led our entire SFRRC Aid Station on Mile 18 of the 2018 San Francisco Marathon (27 of our club members volunteered). With gratitude and smiles we won't mention how early she arrived to set that marathon fuel station up. ;)

Zaneta qualified for the 2018 Spartan World Championships at the end of August at the Regional Championships in West Virginia. Go Zaneta!  

Questions we asked Zaneta:

When did you first get interested in running? And why do you run now?
I started to entertain the idea of running two years ago, because a lot of my friends were inviting me to join local 5k “fun” runs. Personally, I always associated running as a punishment for sports and I was amazed that so many people actually paid money to do something that could be done for free. However, when I was introduced to the world of obstacle course racing, I realized that I needed to be a faster, more efficient runner. I joined SFRRC with the intent that running would be supplemental training that I needed to do to become better.

Why do you still run?
Little did I know that after joining the club, I would meet so many amazing members, discover so many different areas of the SF, and even enjoy running (sometimes). Even though the OCR season is coming to an end, I plan to continue to run because after watching the Boston Marathon documentary, I ended up signing up for my first marathon in December!   

How did you hear about SFRRC?
I first heard about SFRRC through a friend from my church, who said it was the friendliest run club in SF! I joined the club January 2018 during the Sports Basement kick-off run. Any run club that serves a bacon and egg breakfast afterwards will win me over! 

What does the San Francisco Road Runners Club do for you?
It affords me the opportunity to meet wonderful people who truly enrich my life while running.

What are your running/athletic goals - any races included?
My dream goal would be to be on the Spartan race podium. SFRRC has been vital to my success in helping me achieve my goal this year of making it to Worlds. Another athletic goal that I have is getting a personal training certification so that I can help other individuals meet their own athletic goals.

What are a few of your favorite thing about the club?
SFRRC is truly the friendliest run club in SF! I have met so many inspirational friends and runners, who continue to not only support me, but also challenge me to become better. I love having a group of people who continue to keep me accountable, just by being present at all the runs. I also really enjoy all the events that we have such as movie nights, book signings, and bowling nights, especially since they all are accompanied by free food!

Favorite Race: Spartan LA Dodger Stadium race! For anyone who is interested in trying out OCR (Obstacle Course Racing) for the first time, stadium races are great! This was my most memorable race because my friends and I did a 24 hour trip down to LA for the race. We drove down at 4 am, ran the race in the afternoon, went for Korean BBQ for dinner and explored City Walk, and then made it back to the city at 4 am the next day.  
Favorite Training Runs: I really enjoy track! It is a smaller group, and although the workouts can be challenging, they are usually over pretty quickly. Plus, sometimes we get pizza or ice cream afterwards! 
Which pace group are you in: I rotate between 9:30min/mile and 9:00min/mile depending on my race schedule. Wing and Laura are AWESOME!  
How many miles do you run per week: 35mi-40mi. I also lift weights 3-4 times a week
Shoes: Asics Kayano for long runs; Inov-8 Mudclaw 300 for OCR
Food (when training for a marathon): Two weeks before a race, I cut out dairy, gluten and anything with added sugar. Then a week before the race, I try to incorporate slightly more carbs such as baked sweet potatoes and quinoa.
Favorite activity when you're not running with the clubI LOVE to eat (can you tell?) so I am always excited to try new restaurants and always open to sharing a meal with others! Hit me up! I also really enjoy playing board games, scrapbooking, and reading.

What keeps you motivated?
I love pushing myself and discovering new limits. Watching my overall pace decrease and placing higher in races is a huge motivator for me. I also really appreciate all my fellow runners that show up to track and long runs every week. On the days that I do not always want to get out and run, I remember how much fun I have with everyone and how there is always someone that will show up no matter what the condition #fomo.  

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for a race?
Consistency and Variety is KEY! I believe that every run or workout that you do is one step closer to being successful in a race. If you stick to your plan, the results should hopefully follow. I am also a big advocate of weight-training and exercises that promote multi-directional movements. I try to include a lot of compound lifts, which help support my muscles when I run, as well as make sure that I am training other angles of my body so that I prevent imbalances from doing repetitive movements.

SHAGUN TOUGAS | AUGUST 2018 - Member Spotlight

Shagun is one of THE most helpful and hardest working members of our club! And we're so grateful for her. Here with her husband, Luke, as they were volunteering at the SFRRC Aid Station on Mile 18 of the 2018 San Francisco Marathon. Shagun is also one of our Club Ambassadors and the one who leads our partnership with Sports Basement as we lead their 6:30pm Wednesday evening Fun Runs from their Presidio Store. If you're looking for an easy run (often on the soft trails of the Presidio) on Wednesdays head over to Sports Basement. It's quite fun and they always have food and drink (often with hops to replenish the carbs) after. Thank you Shagun!

Questions we asked Shagun:

When did you first get interested in running? 
I played team sports while in school (don't ask how long ago that was), so running was always part of my life. But I really got interested in running long distance in 2012 with the aim to run my first marathon.

Why do you still run?
It truly makes me happy.  

How did you hear about SFRRC?
From my neighbor, club member, and dear friend - Karla Scott (I aspire to be super fast like her :)

What does the San Francisco Road Runners Club do for you?
It affords me the opportunity to meet wonderful people who truly enrich my life while running.

What are your running goals - any races included?
Long term - to stay healthy and stay running as long as I can.  Short term - I am currently training for the Twin Cities Marathon in Minnesota in October.

What's your favorite thing about the club?
The camaraderie of its members.  

Favorite Race: I haven’t run too many marathons, so I am still in search of my favorite.
Favorite Training Runs: Runs in the Golden Gate Park and Presidio. I just love the trails there.
Which pace group are you in: 10 minutes with the most handsome Pace Group Leader, Luke (I am biased, he is my husband).  
How many miles do you run per week: 35-40 on a good week
Shoes: Minimalist shoes by New Balance
Food (when training for a marathon): Gnocchi, pasta, and beer (I hear carb loading is good)
Favorite activity when you're not running with the club: Running while traveling or traveling while running

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for their first marathon or half-marathon?
Don’t go out too fast and I would share a quote from Art E. Berg “While the difficult takes time, the impossible just takes a little longer.”

NIMESH RANJAN | JULY 2018 - Member Spotlight

Nimesh was chosen at the most simple level for his infectious positive spirit! But, even more pertinent at the moment is that Nimesh has risen again after very difficult injury sidelined him (what he thought might be indefinitely)... last July 4th. Thanks to a great doctor, successful surgery, and terrific physical therapists... he's back running with us again. And we're so happy. Welcome back Nimesh! Cheers to you and lots of good running ahead!

Questions we asked Nimesh:

When did you first get interested in running? 
Oh.. I started running little by little back in 2003 when I was living in Bangalore. I had a neighbor who had run the Big Sur Marathon and I started running with him. However it was not until 2009 when I ran my first marathon (Chicago) that I was truly addicted.

Why do you still run?
I am hooked! I really enjoy it and it keeps me wanting to do more. 

How many years have you been with SFRRC?
I joined in 2014 after I moved to SF... and have not looked back! 

Which pace group are you in?
I am coming back from a bad ankle fracture so I am still trying to figure out what will work for me. You will usually see me doing my own thing between the pace groups 9 - 10:30 /mile. I used to run with the 8:30 (Go Robert!).. and hope to inch back there soon :)

What's your favorite thing about the club?
The people! When I broke my ankle, I didn't realize how much love and support I got from my close running buddies - Rachel, Tommy, Sabrina, Vince, Wayne, Kate, Jon Liu, John, Lisa, and many many more! Thank you for rooting for me.. it feels great to have such awesome friends and community :-)

Favorite Race: Chicago - It's something about the energy (and it helps that it is all flat)!
Favorite Training Runs: Saturday Club Runs with breakfast after :) 
Food (when training for a marathon): A lot! My tip: I go gluten free a few weeks before the race.
Shoes: Mizuno Wave Runners

What keeps you motivated/goals?
Peer pressure. Its great to see club members show up. Helps me to be there.

What words of advice would you give to someone who is training for their first marathon or half-marathon?
Track and Tempo were really helpful to me. Also.. Long runs - run sloooow... above all hope you enjoy the journey! 

Please contact us with suggestions of club members who've brought joy or inspiration to you and our club. Or someone who's accomplishing tremendous feats! Email: We'll put this request in our emails too. Thank you!

Thanks to the generosity of Sports Basement, our Member of the Month recipients receive a $50 Gift Certificate to the store.

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