Feb. 23, 2015
For immediate release

Edwards, Finkbeiner, Lange, Mastalirs, O’Neil honored

Sally Edwards, co-founder of the California International Marathon and Fleet Feet Sports, headlined a group of six inductees joining the Sacramento Running Association’s Hall of

Fame Saturday night.

Edwards, talented ultramarathoner Bill Finkbeiner, legendary Jesuit High School coach Walt Lange, Jesuit distance aces Eric and Mark Mastalir and former Masters running standout Jim O’Neil were honored at the SRA’s third annual Hall of Fame and Annual Achievement Awards dinner at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento.

Standout Masters runner Iain Mickle was honored as the SRA’s Athlete of the Year.

“I love Sacramento, I love running and I love the California International Marathon,” said Edwards, a 67-year-old Sacramentan who enjoyed great success as a runner, triathlete, businessperson and writer. She won the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run in 1980, set a World Masters record in the 1988 Ironman Triathlon, serves as CEO of three companies and has written 24 books.

Auburn’s Finkbeiner, 59, finished 30 consecutive Leadville Trail 100-Milers and has run at least one mile every day since Jan. 1, 1980. He’s completed more than 200 ultras, including 25 Way Too Cool 50ks and 17 Western States 100-Mile Endurance Runs, and owns three top-five finishes at Leadville and five top-10 finishes at Western States.

Lange, 72, continues to coach at Jesuit, where he started in 1970. His cross country teams won 24 Sac-Joaquin Section titles and nine California state titles. Lange also guided seven individual champions in the 1,600- and 3200-meter events at the California State Track and Field Championships, and produced one individual state cross country winner.

Two of his most talented runners were the Mastalir brothers, who dominated distance running in the mid-1980s. The identical twins, now 47, won California state individual titles in 1986, with Mark claiming the 1,600-meter crown in 4 minutes, 7.81 seconds and Eric capturing the 3,200-meter race in 8:44.95.

They ranked 1-2 in the nation that same year, with Mark leading the way in the 1,600 with a 4:04.15 personal best and Eric right behind at 4:04.23. At 3,200 meters, Eric topped the national list with an 8:44.95 best, just ahead of Mark’s 8:51.99 best.

“I stayed out of their way and let them do their thing,” Lange said.

O’Neil, 89, a former Sacramento resident who lives in Palm Springs, captured four consecutive national titles in the age 60-64 division at 10,000 meters, setting a national record of 34 minutes and 27 seconds in 1985, and won a world masters crown in the 55-59 age group at 10,000 meters with a 35:18.8 performance in 1983.

He also set a record with his son Tom in 1976 for fastest father-son marathon. Jim ran 2:35:48 and Tom, who ran for Lange at Jesuit, delivered a 2:24:28 effort at the West Valley Marathon for a combined 5:00:16 performance.

The six 2015 inductees joined 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.

Sacramento’s Mickle, 54, headlined a group of more than 40 athletes and coaches receiving the SRA’s Annual Achievement Awards. He earned Athlete of the Year honors after winning a national 8k age-graded title, running 26:53, and setting a personal best in the marathon at age 53 with a 2:38:38 effort at Boston that left him third in the 50-54 age group. USA Track & Field selected Mickle as its Long Distance Running Athlete of the Year for the 50-54 age group.

“It’s certainly an honor to receive this award, especially at my age,” Mickle told the crowd of more than 300.

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.

SRA events include the Credit Union SACTOWN Five- and Ten-Mile Run on April 12, the Gold Rush 50k on May 9, the California International Marathon on Dec. 6 and the recently concluded Super Sunday Run.