24th Annual Interstation Competition
~~May 12, 2001~~
By Jim Gallagher
Blessed with near perfect weather, an uncluttered parking lot where the start and finish staging occurs, 60 San Francisco Firefighters assembled for our 24th annual SFFD Interstation Championship Race.

At 0900, a brief introduction was given, race instructions provided, then Deputy Chief Bernie Lee gave the “Runners Ready!” command and fired the starter’s pistol (and it worked).

Probationary firefighter, Mars Rivera (Stn 13) raced to the front immediately and was followed by Larry McDonnell (Stn 16), Chris Murphy (Stn 14), Andy Sobozinsky (Stn 3), Paul McDermott (Stn 3), and Dustin Novo (Stn 43). This front pack darted its way through many pedestrians out for a morning stroll on the Lake Merced perimeter path.

McDonnell edged nearer to Rivera as they approached the one-mile point. By this time, the lead pair had move ahead of the closely trailing Sobozinsky, McDermott and Murphy. Novo remained just slightly to the rear of the second group of runners.

As Rivera and McDonnell neared the bottom of the Lake, McDonnell extended his lead to a few meters. Sobozinsky and Murphy had become a two person second pack when suddenly; Murphy collided with a pedestrian and remained stunned for a brief period. Shortly, he regained his composure and continued his pursuit of McDonnell, Rivera and Sobozinsky.

By mile three, McDonnell had established an insurmountable lead that Rivera was unable to overcome. Larry was on the way to his fifth consecutive “Interstation Champion-ship”. Larry’s time, 25:21 breaks Tom Masterson’s age record for 35 year olds set back in 1982.

Rivera maintained a steady pace through the last mile and a half and finished second in 25:45. Andy Sobozinsky finished third overall, and first Master in 26:35. Dustin Novo finished fifth in 27:56 and was the last to attain at time under 28 minutes, gaining 6 points to lead Station 43 to their second consecutive championship in the Single Engine Division of the Interstation Competition.

First Woman

Probationary firefighter, Mary Kucel (Stn 43) was the first woman to cross the finish line. Mary’s time of 33:14 breaks Karen Heald (Stn 21) record for woman’s master firefighters. Watching Mary race across the parking lot to the finish line showed an impressive kick and much potential for further reductions. Mary will be a great addition to our women’s team in the upcoming Hook & Ladder 10k.

Virginia Dudley-Rock was the second place woman, and first in the 30-39 age division. Virginia was followed by Rita Kearns who finish third woman and second in the 30-39 age division. In addition, Rita set a personal best on the course. She sliced a minute and 30 seconds from her pervious best time.

Greg Baron repeated as the Grand Master (50-59) champion. Second place went to retired BOE Captain, Gil Moreno. Gil continues to run in the low 30’s, so retirement has been good.

Tony Bendik captured the 20-29 age division while leading a very strong station 15 team to third place in the multi station division. Tony’s time, 30:44, is a personal best by 42 seconds. Patricia Yuen was the first place woman in the 20-29 age division. Patricia’s time was also a 28 second PR.

Station Seven Brings the Team

Once again, Walter Villavicencio rallied his station seven teammates to the Interstation Competition Challenge. Mick McKeon lead the team to their second consecutive victory and ninth in the 24 year history. From McKeon to Morrison there was cheering at the finish line from Station Seven supporters.

Personal best times on the course are significant achievements. They are the best times of a runner in a SFFD competition on the course. Listed below are this year’s PRs.

In the milestone department, Darrell Jeong (Stn 22) completed his 23rd Interstation Competition race, starting in our first race in 1978. Darrell is now the number one participant of this race.


Awards for the Interstation Competition will be made at the annual Awards Luncheon at Julie’s Supper Club. The luncheon will be held on Thursday, June 21, 2001 from 12-3 pm. See the accompanying announcement for details.


Special thanks to all the below for their assistance in helping to produce our annual race. No volunteers, no race!



Andy Assereto


Medrick Bullock


Peter Cornyn


Jim Gallagher


Bernie Lee


J. Louis Ramirez


Tim O’Brien


Dominic Spinetta


Susan Wong


Julio Bermudez


We extend an open invitation to all to join our Tuesday and Thursday ‘Running Group’. We meet at 9am at the Stow Lake Boat House in Golden Gate Park. Tuesday is the day for strength work and Thursday is steady jogging. Everyone is encouraged to participate.

Also, we now have a web page and the address is SFFRRC.org. The site is continually updated. Applications for all our events will be available. For alerts of upcoming events please contact us either at my email address: grapenotes@aol.com or from the web page. We will be happy to add your address to our list. Our next scheduled event is the annual “track meet”. This is the one time of year we will time short distances. The date is Tuesday, June 26, 2001, 0900 at Kezar. There will be registration available on the web page and distributed to all fire stations.

Photo by Frank Morino


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