Dec. 19, 2014
For immediate release
Mastalirs, Lange, Finkbeiner, O’Neil also earn 2015 nods
Sally Edwards, who launched Fleet Feet Sports, co-founded the California International Marathon and enjoyed great success as a distance runner and triathlete, headlines the Sacramento Running Association’s third Hall of Fame class.
Former Jesuit High School distance stars Eric and Mark Mastalir, long-time Marauders coach Walt Lange, local Masters standout Jim O’Neil and talented ultramarathoner Bill Finkbeiner also earned spots in the class of 2015, which will be honored at the SRA’s Hall of Fame and Annual Achievement Awards dinner on Feb. 21 at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento.
Tickets for the 6 p.m. event are $50. For more information, visit www.runsra.org.
“It’s hard to fathom that this is the third class of inductees into the Sacramento Running Association Hall of Fame, as the 2015 class has the prestige and cachet of an inaugural Hall of Fame class,” said Scott Abbott, executive director of the Sacramento Running Association. “This speaks to the rich running history in the region, and this class is a great representation of that rich history.
“We are honoring transcendent visionaries and pioneers in the sport in Sally Edwards and Bill Finkbeiner, as well as a man in Jim O’Neil who seemingly defied the laws of aging to become one of the nation’s all-time great masters runners. And to top it off, we are honoring the architects of Jesuit High School’s distance running program with legendary coach Walt Lange and his two illustrious pupils, Mark and Eric Mastalir, who together are the cornerstone pieces of one of the nation’s most storied prep sports traditions.”
Edwards teamed with John Mansoor to found the CIM, which began in 1983. She started Fleet Feet Sports in 1976, growing the company to 40 retail stores and $20 million in sales before selling the company in 1993. She’s written 23 books on sports, fitness and health, her credentials enhanced by an athletic career that includes winning the 1980 Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, the 1983 American River 50-Miler and the 1988 Ironman Masters title.
The Mastalirs ranked among the nation’s fastest prep distance runners while competing for Lange at Jesuit. The twin brothers delivered a family highlight at the 1986 California state track and field meet, with Mark winning the 1,600-meter title in 4:07.81 and Eric claiming the 3,200-meter crown in 8:44:95. The Mastalirs also competed for the U.S. in the 1987 World Junior Cross Country Championships.
Lange guided Jesuit to 24 Sac-Joaquin Section titles, believed to be the most by any coach in any sport in California history, and nine state championships in cross country. He also mentored seven individual state winners in the 1600 and 3200 races, including 2000 Olympian Michael Stember. He was honored as the National Boys Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2010.
O’Neil set Masters records with a 2:32:36 marathon in his 50s and a 2:47:15 marathon in his 60s. He also established age-group records (55-59) in the 5,000 meters (17:01:31) and the 10,000 meters (35:18:80) in 1983.
Finkbeiner was the first person to receive the Leadville 2,000-Mile Buckle for 20 Leadville Trail 100-Mile Run finishes. He’s one of five runners to finish the same 100-mile race 25 times and once completed the 100-mile Western States course in the winter with fellow ultramarathoners Tim Twietmeyer and Dean Karnazes.
The six inductees join the 16 members already in the SRA Hall of Fame. The inaugural class of 2013 featured Billy Mills, Rae Clark, Eileen Claugus, Chris Iwahashi, Helen Klein, Paul Reese, Dennis Rinde and Linda Somers Smith. The 2014 class included Michael Stember, Al Baeta, Patti Gray Bellan, Lindsay Hyatt Barr, Harold Kuphaldt, John Mansoor, Heike Skaden Mansoor and Tim Twietmeyer.
The Sacramento Running Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding new ways to encourage people of all ages and abilities to run. The SRA is committed to developing new, quality running events that appeal to a broad variety of runners.