Jan. 22, 2013
For immediate release

Talented runner won several marathons, started local Team in Training program

(Fifth in a series highlighting the eight members of the Sacramento Running Association’s inaugural Hall of Fame class. Today: Chris Iwahashi).

Chris Iwahashi’s running resume includes an impressive array of accomplishments.

She won the Napa Valley Marathon three times and recorded victories at Avenue of the Giants, Marathon de Medoc in France, the Detroit Free Press Marathon, the Bidwell Classic Marathon and the Russian River Marathon.

Her 2-hour, 45-minute and 28-second personal best came at the 1988 California International Marathon, an event she’s finished 21 times. Iwahashi has completed more than 160 marathons, finished the 56-mile Comrades Marathon in South Africa four times and owns personal bests of 3:37 for 50k and 7:09 for 50 miles.

What Iwahashi is most proud of, though, is connecting others to the sport. She’s led a variety of training groups over the years, started the first Team in Training program in Sacramento and mentored many local runners.

“I’ve always tried to make it a good experience for everybody,” said Iwahashi, who is scheduled to be inducted into the Sacramento Running Association’s Hall of Fame during a dinner on Saturday night at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento.

“Seeing people make accomplishments, that’s the most pleasing part for me. That’s why I do it.

“It’s just going out there and trying to encourage people to just try. You don’t have to be the first person over the line. Just be a little better than the day before.”

Iwahashi, who lives in West Sacramento, joins the inaugural Hall of Fame class of Rae Clark, Eileen Claugus, Helen Klein, Billy Mills, Paul Reese, Dennis Rinde and Linda Somers.

“I don’t feel like I’m worthy of such a distinction,” she said. “That’s an amazing group of people. I look at them in awe.”

When Iwahashi, a 57-year-old research biochemist, looks back on her running career she focuses on the relationships she’s built.

“What running has done for me, I’d have to say it’s a portal to the community, people in the world,” she said. “I’ve had the opportunity to run thousands of miles away and developed some wonderful friendships.

“It’s just been fun to connect with communities all around the world.”

Tickets for the Hall of Fame dinner are $50. Group and table of 10 reservations are welcome and can be made at www.runsra.org.

The dinner, which begins at 6 p.m. and includes a no-host cocktail hour, will also feature the presentation of Annual Achievement Awards to the Sacramento area’s top runners in track, road racing, cross country and ultra running.

High school honorees include Trent Brendel, boys cross country athlete; Maggie Bell, girls cross country athlete; Bob King, boys cross country coach; John DuCray, girls cross country coach; Edixon Puglisi, boys track athlete; Madeleine Ankhelyi, girls track athlete; and Donene Vukovich, girls track coach.

Brendan Gregg will receive the men’s college track athlete of the year, with Deborah Maier earning the women’s track athlete honor. Other college honorees include Trevor Halsted, men’s cross country athlete; Sarah Sumpter, women’s cross country athlete; Rick Anderson, men’s cross country coach; and Drew Wartenberg, women’s cross country and track coach.

Olympian Kim Conley, the women’s track athlete of the year, heads the open division. Other honorees include German Fernandez, men’s track athlete; Lindsay Tollefson, women’s cross country, road racing and marathon athlete; Kevin Pool, men’s cross country and road racing athlete; Tim Tollefson, men’s marathon athlete; Jacob Rydman, men’s ultra athlete; and Rory Bosio, women’s ultra athlete.

Masters honorees include Marcelo Lerda, men’s cross country athlete; Karen Jeffers, women’s cross country athlete; Chris Knorzer, men’s road racing and marathon athlete; Midori Sperandeo, women’s road racing athlete; Mary Coordt, women’s marathon athlete; Rich Hanna, men’s ultra athlete; and Jennifer Pfeifer, women’s ultra athlete.

Seniors honorees include Kevin Ostenberg, men’s cross country athlete; Sara Freitas, women’s cross country athlete; Iain Mickle, men’s road racing athlete; Janice Kesterson, women’s road racing athlete; Jacob Nur, men’s marathon athlete; Rena Lantz, women’s marathon athlete; Lee McKinley, men’s ultra athlete; and Karen Bonnett, women’s ultra athlete.

The SRA will also honor several super seniors: Adam Ferreira, men’s cross country athlete; Yvonne Nickel, women’s road racing athlete; Mike Ammon, men’s road racing athlete; Richard Powers, men’s marathon athlete; Nancy March, women’s marathon athlete; Larry Cawthon, men’s ultra athlete; and Barbara Ashe, women’s ultra athlete.

Men’s cross country athlete Robert Seldner, men’s road racing athlete Ronald Gross and women’s road racing athlete Rusty Barnett are the veterans honorees.

The Sacramento Running Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding 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.

SRA events include the recently concluded California International Marathon, the Super Bowl Sunday 10k Run on Feb. 3, the Credit Union SACTOWN Ten-Mile Run on April 7 and the Lake Natoma Four Bridges Half Marathon on Oct. 27.

SRA beneficiaries include the American River Parkway, youth fitness programs, local running venues and aspiring young runners.