Special Events

 (Contributed by Malinda Walker)

In 2012, Andy and Malinda dressed up in bras, walked a 10K and for our effort raised $2,165 with a huge proportion of the money given by Pamakid Runners. We were humbled and grateful. In 2013 we planned to do it again, and both felt a little intimidated and challenged by the amount of money we had raised. How could we fundraise to that level again? The charity and cause are just as important this year as they were last year, but seeing Andy in a bra? Been there. Done that.

However, again, you our running family, were there to support us. Yvonne Ou and Justin Mikecz, while making a donation decided to ask a funny question in the donor message section: “How much does the team have to donate to get you to coach track in a bra one night?”

Bras Workout 02

We immediately checked the numbers from 2012 and came up with a dollar amount. If Pamakids donated to either one of us, to reach a total of $1,500 (a number partly chosen because of Andy’s love for the track & field race, the 1500 meters) Andy would wear a bra to coach a Tuesday night workout.

Bras Workout 03

The donations started pouring in. The ones from the Pamakid Runners were kept in one tally to chart our progress towards the $1,500 goal. Someone from the Impalas, one of the other running clubs that works out at Kezar on Tuesday night got word of our fundraising effort (and the coach in a bra challenge) and she made a donation. There were also donations from other friends and family members. Every time we received a donation, it made us think about that person and our memories of spending time with that person. As many of you know, Andy cleverly e-mailed a thank you that included the wording: “Thanks for the SUPPORT!”

Bras Walk 01

The Pamakids were giving donations but it was unclear if the $1,500 mark would be reached. Suddenly Yvonne and Justin threw down the gauntlet again. For every new Pamakid that made a donation, they would donate $5 more. It was going to be close. On the actual day of the walk, just hours before we left the house, two anonymous donations came in, one for Andy and one for Malinda. We had good reason to suspect that these donations should be credited to the Pamakids’ “See Andy Coach in a Bra” account. Within the hour were able to confirm that it was so. The goal had been met. We were off to walk a 10K.

The event honoree was Denise Wolf, a colleague of Malinda’s. Denise was also the person who gave us the new additions to our family – guinea pigs that we named Sheldon and Leonard. This year’s bras were decorated with fur to look like a wolf (Denise WOLF!). Purple WolfPack shirts were made. And Andy supplemented his ensemble with a hat that some of you may remember from a Bay to Breakers centipede costume in 2011.

Bras Walk 04

After the walk, Denise gave a moving speech about fighting cancer. It was a reminder that cancer is an awful disease and that while it was fun to banter about seeing Andy coach in a bra, what really was important was to fight breast cancer.

In total, the event raised over $120,000 and with their other fundraising events the Tri Valley SOCKs were able to donate $150,000 to four charities. $70,000 was donated to UCSF, $30,000 to Axis Community Health, $30,000 Valley Care Breast Cancer Services and $20,000 to the HERS Breast Cancer Foundation.

Of this, we raised $2,645, almost $500 more than 2012. We received donations from over fifty different people. It’s a good feeling to have supported this cause. We truly believe that it’s these “small” donations that add up to the “big” dollar figures that make all the difference. It is people coming together to support a cause together. That’s community. That’s support. That’s our friends and family.

Bras Walk 02

We owe a huge thank you to Pamakid Running club family. Please let us know if you have ideas about how Andy can reach yet another new level of embarrassment in the name of a good cause next year.

Thank you for the wonderful support for the Bras for the Cause walk.


(Contributed by Karma Quick and Asit Panwala)

Pamakids conducted their own trial by jury of Oscar Pistorius on Wednesday, May 22, 2013.  Judge Karma Quick held court at the home of Andy Chan and Malinda Walker.  The famous blade runner is currently charged in South Africa with murdering his girlfriend of four months, Reeva Steenkamp.  Mr. Pistorius is alleged to have shot Ms. Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine’s Day 2013 at his home in Pretoria, South Africa.  Prosecutor Nadim Hegazi led the state’s case against Mr. Pistorius, while defense attorney Asit Panwala vigorously defended his client.

"Oscar" Lee Novich swears in.

“Oscar” Lee Novich swears in.

Testifying on behalf of the prosecution were: former detective Hilton Botha (Tomas Palermo), who inspected the scene of the incident; Gina Myers (Danielle Bisho), Reeva Steenkamp’s best friend; and Samantha Taylor (Malinda Walker), a former girlfriend of Mr. Pistorius.  Testifying in defense were Kevin Lerena (John Spriggs), a good friend of Mr. Pistorius, and Mr. Pistorius himself (as played by Lee Novich in an Oscar-worthy role).

Prosecutor Nadim Hegazi (L) and defense attorney Asit Panwala (R).

Prosecutor Nadim Hegazi (L) and defense attorney Asit Panwala (R).

Mr. Hegazi repeatedly emphasized that Oscar’s version was patently unreasonable.   He argued that Oscar would have awakened Reeva Steenkamp prior to shooting his gun if he believed an intruder was in the house.   He described him as a reckless man who owned tigers.   Meanwhile, Mr. Panwala described Oscar as a victim of a horrible tragedy.   In a country beset by violence, Mr. Panwala argued that Oscar was only trying to defend his home and his girlfriend when he accidentally shot her.

Judge Karma listening very carefully to the arguments.

Judge Karma listening very carefully to the arguments.

A jury of 7 individuals deliberated the evidence. The jury ultimately hung as to what charge Mr. Pistorius is guilty of.  4 individuals found the blade-runner guilty of murder, and the remainder found the defendant guilty of manslaughter.  Generally, most Pamakids had a bad feeling about Oscar’s actions.

[Editors note: As of this posting, Oscar Pistorius is due to reappear at Pretoria magistrates’ court.]

In an anonymous survey, 40% of Pamakids admitted to cheating on their significant others with running. One female member said while her husband thought she was going into work on weekends, she was really sneaking in a 4-hour trail run. Another confessed that he would wait for his wife to fall asleep before sliding out the window to go for a midnight jog. A woman wearing a walking boot on her left leg said it was just a decoy to extinguish any fears of her fiancé that she was running without him. A few of the more liberal couples on the team knew their partners were cheating on them with running and actually encouraged them to do so in what they called an “open running relationship.” One went so far as to set her husband up with a group run. Just because she did not “have the energy to do it with him any more” did not mean that she wanted him to abstain from his running passion.

Also Inside:

Page 4 –

Local Woman Likes Her New Runner’s Body: Boyfriend and Creepy Neighbor Agree

Page 7 –

Waiting for the Green Smoke: Pamakid Board of Directors begin Conclave to Elect New Board

Health, Page C4 –

Ultra-running: A Growing Addiction

World, Page D6 –

Kim Jong-Un: Admits Running Would be Good for Him, Still Hates It: North Korean Leader Bans all Cardio in Country

(Contributed by Rosie Ruiz)

Justin Mikecz has finally come clean.

Mikecz confessed to doping in a taped interview with Oprah only hours after giving a wrenching apology to the Charity Committee and resigning his committee position. After years of denying the rumors and somehow avoiding being drug-tested, Mikecz admitted to using the performance enhancing drink (PED), chocolate milk. He told Oprah he starting using the PED when he was 5 and has been hooked since then. He contended that he only used it after races and workouts, not before, but acknowledged the hastened recovery it caused helped him exceed 30 miles of running in one week on multiple occasions.

After finishing in the top 60% of the PA cross-country championship 4 consecutive years, rumors were circulating that Justin Mikecz was doping. Asked by Oprah if it was “humanly possible” to finish in the top 2/3 four years in a row, Mikecz replied: “Not in my opinion.” During most of the interview, Oprah appeared dumbfounded by the responses she was receiving. At one point the tension rose to such a point that she finally confronted him: “So you are telling me after all these years of evading the press and the rumors circulating, the performance enhancer you used was chocolate milk?” Justin, with tears welling up in his eyes, said “Yes,” before pausing “and sometimes I added sugar if I needed an extra boost.” Oprah pressed more: “Do you really believe chocolate milk is a banned substance?” The contrite runner responded, “I was in denial for a while and tried to rationalize it by telling myself that the Masters Men had been lying about their ages for years and that what I was doing wasn’t as bad.”

Mikecz said he knew he could not hide much longer after a teammate had discovered a syringe with a frothy, brown residue at a recent trail race. An exasperated Winfrey looked for more, “You used a syringe? You put chocolate milk in a syringe and injected it?”

Later in the interview, Mikecz lamented all the sponsorships lost including Saucony, Osprey, and Trek. A Saucony spokesperson has since released a statement completely disavowing their relationship with the disgraced runner, “We have never endorsed Justin Mikecz, nor have we ever heard of him. His definition of an endorsement is a 10% discount at Sports Basement. This discount was not subsidized by Saucony or endorsed by any of its representatives. We do not condone performance enhancing drugs, especially for someone of his average caliber.”

Is there a moral to the story? “I can look back at what I did,” he said, “Cheating to finish in the middle of the pack, lying about it, bullying people. Of course, you’re not supposed to do those things. That’s what we teach our children. My children will know to steer clear of the dirty business of chocolate milk.”

[Editor’s Note: PA Sportswriter Rosie Ruiz was born in Cuba and rose to fame as a marathon runner. She was the first female to cross the line in the 1980 Boston Marathon in a recorded time of 2:31:56.]

(Contributed by Noe’s Moustache, Pamakid member since Noe joined)

Donald Trump inserted himself into the Birther fray in a much-hyped announcement Sunday by demanding to see the birth certificates of the Masters Men of the Pamakids Running Club. Rumors had been circulating in the right-wing blogosphere for the last few years that the Masters Men are not Masters age, but this was the first time someone of Trump’s stature and hairpiece color had publicly entered the conversation.

Trump is contesting the ages of the Pamakids who run on the Masters Men team. “Let me tell you, I’m a really smart guy. I was a really good student at the best school in the country,” Trump continued, “I had friends at Wharton—the best school in America—lots of friends. Many of these friends looked much older in college than these so-called Pamakids. The reason I have doubt, just a little, is because they all grew up and nobody knew them. Andy, Tony, Adam, Denis, Tomas, just to name a few — none of them are a day over 35. I have it on reasonable authority that Jerry dyes his hair to look older. These guys are terrible. They will stop at nothing to get a leg up in the running circuit.”

The real estate mogul became more defiant as the press conference went on and offered the Pamakids $5 million to the charity of their choice “to come clean” and produce the Masters Men college records, passports, as well as their long-form birth certificates. “Many, many people have questions, and very serious questions.” It was reported by the Associated Press that Trump had already sent private investigators to the birthplaces of each of the Masters runners.

“I have people studying (Masters Men records) and they cannot believe what they’re finding… I would like to have them show their birth certificates, and can I be honest with you, I hope they can,” Trump said Sunday, “because if they can’t, if they can’t, if they weren’t born in this country, which is a real possibility… then they have pulled off one of the great cons in the history of the PA.”

When questioned why the country of birth would matter in the issue of PA masters eligibility, Trump snapped, “They’re all from Kenya. There or Ethiopia.” Pressed again to identify any PA bylaw that prohibits immigrants from running on a Masters team, Trump responded, “Everybody knows you can’t be president if you weren’t born in America. Andy Chan is President and we don’t know a thing about this guy. I question the validity of his presidency. You don’t have to be a Wharton graduate to know he is Kenyan. His speed is unnatural and he is way, way too skinny. Chan has 2% body fat. I mean, what American do you know has 2% body fat? The answer is none.”

The billionaire concluded the press conference by saying the President and the rest of the Masters Men team have until April 31st to meet his demands.

[Editor note: Noe’s Moustache is a resident of Noe Castanon’s upper lip. A former model, Noe’s Moustache now frequently participates in local ultra-marathons.]

(Contributed by Danielle Bisho Jones, Pamakid member since 2006)

The Tenderloin. I’m down there at least weekly for my job, doing home visits. Driving or walking almost every street in this neighborhood, I see lots of people hanging out-alone, in groups, sitting, sleeping, talking to themselves, doing drugs, dealing drugs, you name it! I bring this up because I had the opportunity to go down there at night and witness the same activities, and more notably, the same amount of people. What’s my point? These people, who I pass by during the day, are there all day and all night. They don’t have a place to cook dinner or a warm bed to sleep in. They are homeless.

Jerry in fashion safety yellow. Photo by Noe.

Jerry in fashion safety yellow. Photo by Noe.

Just realizing the severity of San Francisco’s homeless problem made my experience of volunteering with the Salvation Army Harbor Light Center, worthwhile. But, being able to do this with my fellow Pamakids made it a sincerely positive experience. Groups of three to five traveled with a Salvation Army leader to various neighborhoods throughout the city: South of Market, Civic Center, and Haight Street to name a few. We passed out sandwiches, juices, granola bars, and the hot commodity of the evening (due to the day’s rain), was socks! Phyllis Nabhan, Danielle Hashem, and I had a unique experience of literally being swarmed by people in need of those items. We had to regroup several times by redirecting people to stay on the sidewalk and calm them down by trying to ensure them that they would receive something. At times it was intimidating, but in retrospect it shows how truly desperate these people are…for even juice. Most people expressed great appreciation for not only the items we passed out, but also for just chatting with them and asking how their night was going. The fact that we stuck around for a while, even after the food was gone, shows that Salvation Army Harbor Light Center is more than just giving tangible things; they make a connection with the individual.

We reconvened back at the Center and it was interesting to hear Pamakids’ experiences based on what neighborhood they went to. Ask someone who volunteered and they can share their story, which I hope encourages you to come out the next time we do this.

Our club has volunteered for running related events for years and years, but more recently because of our enthusiastic and creative charity committee, we are expanding our volunteer opportunities to non-running related causes. I feel very lucky to not only be running with Pamakids but also relating with members (new and old), doing non-running activities, which also make a positive impact on our community! Pamakid Runners Club is so dynamic and for that, we are the best club ever!

(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)