Sunday, May 13, 2007

Human Race 2007: Running Humanity and Humanitarian Running

[More pictures available at Agnès' Human Race 2007 photo album. If there are pictures you like, make sure you copy them before I clean up my Picasa space.]

108th race, 29th 10K. 10K, one week after Miwok 100K, quite a difference. Much less to narrate about the race itself, just 6.2 miles, flat fast race, less than 25ft elevation. And such a gorgeous day, with some breeze over the baylands. I was actually scheduled to participate in the QuickSilver 50K or 50M, but, after last week 100K, with some inflammation pain, my foot was whispering me to calm down, and join the family in this fun event.

A short race report then. A small elite field took the first positions at the start. A few familiar faces, I've done this race four times (2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007) and really like the outstanding organization (so professional and perfect), as well as the course, Shoreline, a park I've trained in for the past 8 years. As a matter of fact, I may come less often as my company, ILOG, is moving its headquarters from around the corner in Mountain View to Sunnyvale (Fremont and 85 for the local commuters). Just a few miles away from Google who drives the prices in Mountain View up so quickly. Chat with David Beauley, a faster Strider than I, who I haven't seen for almost 2 years. David and his wife adopted 3 sibblings (2, 4, 7) last year, it's great to see him almost in top shape with so little training and competition. Way to go Dave, and family! Here we are in the smoke of the gun (no kidding!).

Back to the race, same start for the 5 and 10K which always lead for a fast pace right off the starting line on the 10K. My Garmin indicated 5:20 when I passed 1 mile, following Eric (Albretch). I passed Eric in the second mile, we had 6 runners ahead of us. Two years ago, Eric pushed the pace at the turnaround, at mile 4, and won the Masters division then. I was expecting the same strategy, but we stayed together at a 5:35 pace. Three years ago, Eric tried to passed me at mile 5, so I was wondering if he'd do it again this year, and I didn't want to push too early. Small attempt which pushed me to switch gear, accelerating for the last mile, to a point I almost caught up with Jeff Hongo who took first in Masters, as I missed he turned 40 last year... Such a close finish as you can see below in the right chute!

34:55 versus 35:07 in 2004 and 34:57 in 2005, quite stable, replacing aging with more training. A good argument to prove that ultra running is not necessarily slowing you down. Like the previous years, and unlike 2003 when I clocked 32:50 on a shorter course, I believe the distance was exact, actually 6.32 miles on the Garmin. See overall results of the 10K.

So that's it for the race. The event is actually all about fundraising around the runs (5 and 10K) and walk (5K). Leading the Volunteer Center of Silicon Valley, Tim is doing an amazing job at reaching out to the community to raise money for dozens of local associations. I've known Tim around this special race as well as other local 5/10K races. Before giving his time to the community this way, Tim has lived through out the world and was directing the Moffet base before it closed. We are so bless to have Tim in the Bay Area. Not to mention the many other "volunteers in black" forming such a professional organization. And the "volunteers in blue", the color of their t-shirt this year. I'm sure this infrastructure could support one thousand more runners, please consider in joining the crowd if you were not part of it this year.
Started 27 year ago, The Human Race is actually held on "Mother's Day" weekend in 20 other locations in California. Tim is particularly proud of the level of fundraising from San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, well above $100,000.

On stage at the finish an amazing band was welcoming runners and walkers: the Spamtones.
Before the runners awards, Tim acknowledged the top corporate fundraiser, National Semiconductor again this year, with a record $45,000. That was the man and women "in blue", gathering around their head of Human Resources. Thank you NS!

Went on stage too, the most prolific individual fund raiser, Amir, from National Semiconductor.

Another long time friend and generous fundraiser of this event and other local races: Amir Shahkarami, from Coldwell Banker, sponsoring in particular Habitat for Humanity. The family with Amir and Tim:

Other corporate sponsors: AOL, PG&E, at&t, and my cherished shoe brand, Brooks (see my 10,000 miles in Brooks story). As I pay closer attention since I joined Brooks' Inspire Daily program, I could see more Brooks wore in the field. Run world, run!

Among the many associations raising money this weekend, a special project from Max' class at Cupertino High, to support a school in Kenya. Such a great initiative for teen, to expand their horizons beyond our wealthy Bay Area. I recognized faces from the cross-country and T&F team, but also from the amazing choir who gave us a great performance this Friday night. Readers you can contact them for a pledge or donation at They are in touch with a Kenyan graduate from UCLA, so the money will really goes to the school she went to in Kenya. Way to go, Tinos!

Kenya was quite a relevant topic today. Eric introduced me to his girlfriend, from Kenya, who ran Boston last month. And to the winner of today's race, trying to get into college to combine his passion and gift for running, with a great academic background. Keeping our fingers crossed for next week, Eric!

Tim also introduced to us the Green Challenge 07-09. I urge you to visit this website and hear what he says in the introductory video. In partnership with Disney, this is a program aimed at families to make our Valley sustainable, with individual and personal involvement to save our planet through local and actionable initiatives. A theme which I'll include in the Silicon French workshop about "Sustainability and I" I'm setting up for November (8-Nov-07) as part of our annual program on sustainable development.

As per the runners awards, too bad so many had already left. Right after or before the pizzas were delivered... 7 age categories x 2 races x male/female, 3 deep (bronze, silver, gold), equals 84 nominees!

Max went for silver in the teen 5K with 18:50 and I took silver too. Alex ran the 5K in 22:.... Not enough to get him a medal like last year, as he now joined the tough 13-19 age group. And Greg in ..... As per Agnès, the Mom of the weekend, she cannot run anymore, so we thank her for the pictures and crewing.

Hope to be back next year, calendar constraints permitting. Raising more money. And maybe faster, who knows? ;-)


Scott Dunlap said...

Hey, everybody...

Who's the FASTEST MAN at Ohlone?!?

It's Jean Pommier, that's who!!! And just 90 seconds off the course record too.

No denying it now, Jean - you are officially a rock star!


Jean Pommier said...

Hi Scott,
No Kenyans in the ultra world yet, that helps, doesn't it? ;-)
Congrats for your great race at SilverState last Saturday. 20,000 ft of elevation, still can't believe how they fit that many in a 50-miler!
You too are ready for a great June and triathlon in Oregon while we'll enjoy the Western States canyons.