Jan. 21, 2014
For immediate release

Skaden Mansoor set records en route to Hall of Fame

(Sixth in a series highlighting the eight members of the Sacramento Running Association’s 2014 Hall of Fame class. Today: Heike Skaden Mansoor)

Tired of being cold and wet, Heike Skaden Mansoor walked away from competitive swimming when she was 11 or 12.

That decision benefited the Sacramento-area running community greatly.

She took up running soon after, developing into a superb talent who ran national bests in the 1,500 meters (4:35) and 3,000 meters (9:48) while at Encina High School and then setting a national high school record in the marathon with a 2:43:00 effort in Eugene in 1980.

Skaden Mansoor went on to serve the running community for 30 years as office manager for the California International Marathon and the Sacramento Running Association. She still lends a hand as office manager for USA Track & Field’s Pacific Association, another job she’s held for three decades.

Her accomplishments earned Skaden Mansoor a spot in the Sacramento Running Association’s Hall of Fame. She joins her husband, John Mansoor, and six others in the 2014 Hall of Fame Class: Al Baeta, Lindsay Hyatt Barr, Patti Gray Bellan, Harold Kuphaldt, Michael Stember and Tim Twietmeyer.

That group is scheduled to be inducted at a dinner on Saturday at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento.

The 2014 honorees join the inaugural SRA Hall of Fame class inducted last year: Rae Clark, Eileen Claugus, Chris Iwahashi, Helen Klein, Billy Mills, Paul Reese, Dennis Rinde and Linda Somers Smith.

The SRA will also present its Annual Achievement Awards, including Athlete of the Year to Shadrack Biwott.

Tickets for the 6 p.m. dinner are $50 and can be obtained at www.runsra.org.

Skaden Mansoor, 51, recalls how she stumbled into running after deciding swimming wasn’t for her.

“It (swimming) is such a disciplined sport,” she said. “After school I went to swim practice. All of a sudden I had this hole in my life.

“My Mom said, ‘Go for a run.’ So I ran around the (apartment) complex. My Mom asked, ‘How was it?’ I said, ‘OK.’

“She said, ‘Do it again.’ So I did it again. I didn’t know anything. I just ran around the little circle there.”

Skaden Mansoor quickly blossomed into a national talent, setting those national bests while running for coach Gordon Hubbell at Encina and then competing for Will’s Spikettes, the Buffalo Chips and the Capital City Flyers.

She won the Bidwell Classic Marathon, set a course record at the Sacramento Marathon in 1981 with a 2:47:37 performance and delivered her national marathon record when she was 18 at the Nike Marathon in Eugene, a 2:43:00 effort that still ranks as the fastest women’s marathon in California prep history.

Her coach for that record effort was John Mansoor, who would become her husband.

Skaden Mansoor, whose younger brother Erik Skaden is an accomplished ultra runner, chuckles at how she picked up some of her early marathon training tips.

“I remember picking up a Runner’s World and reading about how Bill Rodgers trained for a marathon,” she said. “Pizza and butterscotch lifesavers. Run 13 miles in the morning and 13 at night.

“I’m thinking, ‘I can do that. How hard is it to eat pizza and butterscotch lifesavers and run 13 miles in the morning and 13 miles at night?’”

She was also the top Sacramento-area women’s finisher at the California International Marathon twice, finishing 10th in 1984 with a 2:51:07 effort and 15th in 1987 with a 2:58.22 performance.

By then, though, her focus had shifted from competitive running to helping the sport behind the scenes. A few years later, she started raising a family in El Dorado Hills that includes son Alex, 25, and daughter Jackie, 21.

The behind-the-scenes work that goes into putting on a race? Skaden Mansoor has pretty much done it all, from making sure runners have bib numbers to helping kids get to meets to lending coaches a hand.

“You’re helping people who like it (running), too,” she said. “It always makes me feel good.”

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.