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Monthly Archives: January 2013

(contributed by William McCarty, Pamakid member since April 2011)

Bill running in the DSE Marina Green 5K, Sept 2012, photo by Noé Castañón)

Bill running in the DSE Marina Green 5K, Sept 2012, photo by Noé Castañón)

I only started running in 2002 when I was 55. A year later I took the AIDS Marathon Training Program sponsored by the San Francisco AIDS Foundation which was training people to run in the Honolulu Marathon. The coach of the program made a comment that out every 10 runners in the program, for 9 this will be the only marathon that they ever do. The other one will get the “marathon bug “. I got that “marathon bug “!! I have now completed a total of 76 marathon/ultras. My favorite marathons are the Newport Marathon (Oregon) and the Big Sur International Marathon.

After several years of having the marathon being my longest distance I decided to step up to doing ultras. I was always a middle of the pack marathon finisher but one thing that I noticed was that I had a very quick recovery time after running in a marathon. In a day or two after the marathon I would be out there running as fresh as ever. So I thought “well, maybe I am suited to be an ultrarunner.” My first ultra was the San Francisco One Day 12 Hour event at Crissy Field which was in October of 2009. I wanted just to say that I had run a 50K (31 miles) so I did just under 32 miles in a little over 6 hours and turned in my timing chip. I have completed 25 more ultras after that first one in October of 2009!

My first 50 miler was done on my 63rd birthday on October 15, 2010. It was the Rock’n River 50 Miler which is the American River 50 course in reverse (from Auburn to Sacramento). Just like with the marathons I had a pretty fast recovery time after doing a 50K or a 50 miler so I decided to try to complete my first 100 miler. I picked as my first 100 miler Run-de-Vous which was in August of 2011. The course was in a county park in San Martin, Ca. south of San Jose. It consisted of a relatively flat 2 mile loop which you ran 50 times to complete 100 miles. I completed it in just shy of 29 hours (I was not fast but I got it done!). Since then I have completed 5 more 100 milers. My favorite is the Keys 100 in the Florida Keys. I completed it last year and will be running in it again this year. 100 milers have become my race of choice and I now use marathons and 50Ks as training runs for the 100s. My favorite running quote which I have on my refrigerator wall is from Steve Prefontaine and is pretty much my attitude about 100 milers: “I do not run to see who is the fastest. I run to see who has the most guts.”

Bill volunteering at a PamaBEAST event, June 2012, photo by Thang Ta

Bill volunteering at a PamaBEAST event, June 2012, photo by Thang Ta

In closing, I want to point out that I have always, since I started training under the auspices of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, tried to tie in my racing with raising money for worthy charities. Last year I set a goal of completing four 100 milers and raising a combined total of $8,000 for Breast Cancer Emergency Fund and AIDS Emergency Fund. I am proud to say that I completed the four 100 milers and raised a total of over $8,500 for them. In 2013 my goal is to complete six 100 milers and to raised a combined total of $12,000 for four charities. It will be the latter goal that I will be most proud of as it was with the $8,500 I raised this year.

(contributed by Ashley Rodwick)

Whether you are running to reach a goal, visit with friends, or try something new, know that your participation reaches beyond the finish line at Golden Gate Park—it supports worthy non-profit organizations that work very hard to make our community a better place for those in need. Giving back is important to the Pamakid Runners, so important that it is included in our mission statement:

“to promote a healthy lifestyle, support the running community and charitable causes by organizing, volunteering, and participating in running related and social events in the San Francisco Bay Area”

Every year, the proceeds from the Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon and 5K Fun Run are given back into the community through donations to several local charities throughout the year. But most significantly, the race features 4 primary beneficiaries who will receive nearly $20,000 each.

So as you wash down that last PowerBar, retie your shoes, check your watch and think about your goal time, remember all the great things Sunday’s race stands for.  I know I will:

Meals on Wheels of San Francisco believes that all seniors have the right to live independently with dignity and respect in their own homes for as long as it is safely possible. For 40 years, it has been their mission to provide homebound seniors in San Francisco nutritious meals, daily human contact and supportive services.

Support for Families of Children with Disabilities  ensures that families of children with any kind of disability or special health care need have the knowledge and support to care for their children’s development and well being. They offer information, education, and parent-to-parent support free of charge to families in San Francisco.

Salvation Army Harbor Lighthouse has been providing comprehensive chemical dependency treatment for men, women, and families, has been successfully serving the San Francisco bay area for over 70 years. Through a program of progressive care, education, workforce development, and personal development, they transform people’s lives.

Family House is a non-profit guest house providing temporary housing to families of patients at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. As a home away from home for families of children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses, they provide physical comfort and emotional support, free from financial concerns.

(contributed by Heather Johnson)

Betty Cunneen bench view at Lake Merced. (photo by John Spriggs)

On Martin Luther King Day, a large flock of Pamakids gathered at Lake Merced for club president Andy Chan’s Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon tune-up run. This year, the race-pace miles took a back seat, if you will, to the dedication of a commemorative bench for Betty Cunneen, Pamakids’ first president. At a time when many people still believed that running would cause a woman’s uterus to fall out, Betty helped found an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU)-sanctioned club to accommodate the race-oriented athlete, as well as a family-friendly group open to men, women and children: Pa, Ma and Kids. (And of course those rascally Pamakid Indians.)

But even before all of that, there was a woman and a boy, a young mother and son, running around Lake Merced, hand in hand. Countless Wednesday nights, Pat and Betty (mom and dad), daughters Connie and Kelly, and sons Garrett and Pat Jr., ran and played around the lake with their friends and fellow club members, often rewarding their efforts at a local pizza place.

Pamakids cherish Betty Cunneen and the rest of the Cunneen family not only for their work in developing and growing the club, but also for fostering this sense of family, friendship and fun.

When Mrs. Cunneen passed away on March 25, 2012, Andy and several others knew we wanted to honor her. Naturally, we would organize something special at the 2012 Rites of Spring, an event that she loved so much. Phyllis handled that task beautifully. But could we do something more? After a short burst of brainstorming and approval from the Board of Directors, the club decided to donate to San Francisco Parks Trust for a commemorative bench in Betty’s honor. Would someone be willing to take on this project? Of course I would.

Bringing the bench to fruition was a team effort: John Gieng took photos of potential location sites. John Spriggs helped me decipher the SF Parks topo maps. At Rites of Spring, John G and S found a new potential location that proved better than any of our other picks. Luckily, SF Parks agreed and gave us our first-choice spot.

Many nagging e-mails to SF Parks, a staff change, and more nagging e-mails later, a bench in Betty’s name sits overlooking the lake. To know how much it means to the Cunneen family to have a place to sit with their mom, grandma, wife and friend at a location that’s so special to them, makes all the nagging worthwhile. To know that our club members also have a nice respite to remember Betty is icing on the cake.

As Pat Cunneen said on MKL Day, LLPF (Long Live our Pamakid Family)!

Betty Cunneen bench  plaque

(photo by John Spriggs)

In 1971, the same year the Pamakid Runners Club was founded, the song “Sooner or Later” by the Grass Roots went to #9 on the US Billboard charts. The following remake of the song, dubbed “Soonar or Later”, lyrics by Yvonne and sung by Jackie, was debuted at the 2012 Pamakids Holiday Gala in honor of launching this blog.

(Lyrics by Yvonne, sung by Jackie)

Soonar or later, Pamakids will get ya
Soonar or later, we all get together
Soonar or later, Pamakids won’t let ya
Soonar or later, Pamakids will win!

It’s just a matter of time
Before you make up your mind
Come and run with us and stop your hidin’
It’s just a question of when
I’ve told you time and again
Pamakids have fun there’s no denyin’

Chorus

You say you’ll never be mine
But darlin’ there’ll come a time
Come and run with us and stop your hidin’
It’s just a question of time
Before you make up your mind
Pamakids have fun there’s no denyin’

You’ve been lookin’ at clubs, in all the wrong places
You’ve been lookin’ at clubs, in all the wrong places
Run with us, you won’t be disillusioned
Save your heart from all this confusion

Chorus

It’s just a matter of time
Before you make up your mind
Come and run with us and stop your hidin’
It’s just a question of when
I’ve told you time and again
Pamakids have fun there’s no denyin’

Chorus

President Andy Chan and Pat Cunneen dedicated on behalf of the Pamakid Runners Club a bench to Betty Cunneen at Lake Merced, San Francisco.

“In Loving Memory, Betty Cunneen, 1933-2012, Founder, Runner, Friend”

First off, we wish to thank the Pamakid Family for a wonderful tribute to Betty. It was too bad daughter Connie and family couldn’t make the dedication as they live in Georgia. Son Garrett was in Paris and son Pat was on a long planned holiday ski trip with his family. But everyone was here in spirit. They were also overwhelmed with gratitude and emotion.

Betty was a special person born to be a loving mother, RN, wife, and a friend to many. She also loved to run and organize. She didn’t know or care to know about the technicalities of the sport — just the freedom the release and all that goes with it. One thing that helped her to run with a group was when I told her that I began running with a small group, some with families at Lake Merced. They go to pizza after the run and if she came she wouldn’t have to cook dinner on Wednesday evenings. Well, next Wednesday evening she and the four kids were at the start line with their running shoes!

Most members are aware our Club began mainly because of the iron fist of the then AAU not allowing the DSE to be considered a bona fide running club. It was considered two distinct clubs with two AAU charters. And women and children couldn’t belong to these men’s clubs anyway. Also, many men didn’t want to be members either and pay dues.  At this time, runners, after paying about a dollar for a sanctioned AAU race, could get the race results mailed to them (no Internet at this time). Well, folks got tired of being listed as unattached in the results and wanted a club that would be listed. Recall at this period women and kids were not even allowed to run the Bay to Breakers, let alone other sanctioned AAU runs.

Betty was a natural organizer because she had a way of not getting people upset no matter what. She just smiled and could settle disputes without arguments or rancor. It just seemed no one could get really get upset with her. I know she is looking down on the Pamakid Family and is so pleased and happy.  LLPF!!  (Long Life Pamakid Family) she must be saying.

-P. F. Cunneen