23rd Annual Hook & Ladder 10K
August 19, 2001
By Jim Gallagher
On a near perfect Sunday in Golden Gate Park 420 runners gathered to run through one of the most scenic urban parks in the world. As the 9am start time approached, San Francisco Chief of Department, Mario H. Trevino, addressed the runners and thanked them for participating in the California State RRCA 10K Championships. He issued a preparatory command, “Runners get ready”, and fired the starter’s pistol releasing runners and an abundance of hoots and whistles. A parade of runners streamed east from Rainbow Falls on Kennedy drive toward the Conservatory.

Jurg Stalder of Menlo Park, raced to the front and was joined by several members of the Hoys-Excelsior team: Brian Richter, Chris Phipps, Dan Mancini, Andy Chan and Hans Gouwens. The lead pack moved away steadily from the main body of runners during the first few miles. Stalder established a twenty-five second lead by the midpoint of the race with Brian Richter the lone contending trailer. Hans Gouwens, the first master, was having an excellent race running with Dan Mancini and Peter Lopriore as they headed west beyond the race’s midpoint.

Stalder continued his dominance throughout the second half of the race to win by 42 seconds over runner-up Brian Richter. Stalder’s victory earned him the California RRCA State Championship for the 10K. Hans Gouwens followed, seventh overall, to win the Master’s division RRCA State Championship. In the woman’s division, Hoys-Excelsior star runner, Jen Major claimed the Woman’s Open RRCA State Championship. Jen took command early in the race, maintained her lead throughout and finished 26th overall, winning by three minutes and seventeen seconds.

The most exciting performance of the day was provided by Tamalpa Senior runner, Steve Lyons. Lyons challenged the course record for 60 years olds, held by Ray Piva since 1989. Steve was on pace to break Piva’s record through the first five miles, then the rise during the last three quarters of a mile took its traditional toll. Steve claimed the State Championship with the second fastest time for 60 year olds in the race’s history, but was unable to sustain his quest to break Ray Piva’s course record. Sub-forty minute 10k’s are the goal of many excellent runners but when you can still accomplish that goal at 60 - big time congratulations to State Champion Steve Lyons.

Another Hoys-Excelsior runner, Charles Thompson, was the winner of the Grand Master Division. Charlie is a veteran Hook & Ladder racer and claimed the Master division title on several occasions.

Fire/Police Competition

Veteran firefighter and road racer, Andy Sobozinsky was this years winner of the Open and Master’s division of the State Championship for Firefighters and Police Officers. Andy ran a strategic race with San Francisco Firefighter teammate, Larry McDonnell. Larry led through the first five and a half miles only to be passed on the hills near the end of the course. Andy’s victory breaks the string of four consecutive victories by McDonnell in the Hook & Ladder 10k. This is the third time, Sobozinsky has won the Hook & Ladder’s Fire-Police title. His previous victories were in 1990 and 1996.

Gil Moreno ran an excellent race in an enviable time to win the Grand Master (50-59) Fire-Police Division. Dave Floresch won the Senior (60+) Fire-Police division Championship. Katherine Alba-Swanson slashed over eight minutes from her previous best Hook & Ladder performance to win the Open Woman’s Fire-Police division. Katherine also served as the assistant registrar for race day registration. Patty Yuen won the woman’s 20-29 Fire-Police division. Patty also ran an impressive PR in winning her division Championship.

San Francisco Firefighters won all three contested divisions in the team competition for the State Championship. Larry McDonnell led the men’s open team to their 23rd straight championship. Andy Sobozinsky lead the Master’s team to their 22nd victory in 23 years, and Katherine Alba-Swanson lead the woman’s team to victory and continued undefeated status.


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