Sacramento Running News

Running news and gossip from in and around Sacramento

Fun, Fast Running at the Willow Hills XC Open

October 14, 2011 By: John Blue Category: Cross Country, General Running News

The leaders of the open men's race at around 1.6 miles. (Photo by Craig Newport)

In Folsom last Saturday, the hills were alive with the sound of running. The weather was ideal for a day outside, so why not a little cross country?

The 3rd Annual Buffalo Chips’ Willow Hills XC Open saw runners from all over northern California join local racers for this Pacific Association of the USA Track and Field Grand Prix event.

There were three 5K races making up the event: Women (for open and masters women), Masters Men, and Open Men.

In the women’s race, masters runner Valerie Young (Talmapa) was the overall winner in 18:34. Following her were the top-three open women: Ashley Carroll (Impalas) in 18:50, Sarah Raitter (West Valley Track Club) in 19:02, and Nichole Campbell (West Valley Track Club) in 19:07.

Rounding out the top masters women were Sacramento’s Kirsten Schneider (Impalas) in 20:13, and Louise Stephens (Pamakids) in 20:36.

Valerie Young gets the win (Photo by Craig Newport)

In the Masters Men’s race, the competition was fierce, but local runner, and pillar of the running community, Rich Hanna (River City Rebels) took the overall win in 16:46. Next in was Nick Bingham (Strawberry Canyon) with a 16:59, and finishing third was Marcelo Lerda (River City Rebels) in 17:03.

In the Open Men’s race, the first man in was Michael Coe (Bay Area Track Club) in 15:07—just a couple seconds shy of German Fernandez’s 15:05 course record. Rounding out the top three were Steve Sodaro (Bay Area Track Club) with 15:14, and Alex Varner (running unattached) in 15:22.

Coming in fourth overall in the open men’s race was 15-year-old Blair Hurlock (unattached), of Pleasanton. I suspect we’ll see more of Hurlock. It’s pretty unusual to see high school runners keeping up with the leaders in these competitive open races.

Complete results are here.

Race Director Arnold Utterback (Photo by Craig Newport)

It’s great to see the local running community supporting these Pacific Association cross country races. If you like racing, you should definitely put these on your calendar. They are low-frills and low cost events ($20 on race day!) that hearken back to the good old days of running.

The next local cross-country race in the series is at Ancil Hoffman on November 5th. I hope to see you there!




Masters Men lead pack (Photo by Craig Newport)

2 Comments to “Fun, Fast Running at the Willow Hills XC Open”

  1. Andy Harris says:


    Ancil Hoffman is on 11/05, not 11/11.



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