Kenny's Korner

This page contains postings on important topics regarding Tamalpa Runners from the club's President, Kenny Grebenstein

Entry Two - Tamalpa Racing: 2010 Promises To Be Even Bigger and Better

2009 was a banner year for Tamalpa Racing. There were some fantastic performances by Tamalpans -- among those were Brian Pilcher’s age-graded 94 at the Marin Memorial Day Races, Val Young’s age-graded performance of 90 at the same race, and age-graded performances by Tim O’Rourke of 89 and Tom O’Reilly of 88. Mark McManus also came home with an age-graded 87 at the Turkey Trot 5k in San Jose. But I have to say that I would give Tamalpa’s master women the nod for best racing in 2009. They went down to the wire in both cross country and road, and ended up second to the Impalas in both categories. What is so remarkable is that in 2008 the Tamalpa master women had a hard time fielding a team for any event. The addition of Val Young and the return to Tamalpa of Tanya Fredericks, along with a crush of enthusiastic, motivated master women, made for a very remarkable and outstanding season. By the end of the year there was no doubt in the PAUSATF racing series (road, cross country and ultras) that Tamalpa was the club to be reckoned with.

Tamalpa’s dominance was no fluke. Late in 2008 Tamalpa undertook a sponsorship with Adidas. This sponsorship enabled us to offer shoes and other gear to top runners. Additionally, we were able to give to any committed racer a uniform and in most cases, a Tamalpa warm-up top. This combined with a very dedicated group of race captains drove a level of enthusiasm not seen in recent years. Tamalpa’s board authorized a Tamalpa Racing committee to oversee all efforts relating to racing. The board, which included Brian Pilcher, Karen Steele, Mimi Willard, Mark McManus, Ken Grebenstein, and racing director Frank Ruona, worked hard to achieve the right balance of incentive, focus and direction to return Tamalpa to its halcyon days of racing.

2010 looks like it will be an even better year for Tamalpa Racing. In addition to Adidas’ continued support for our road and cross country teams, we have picked up sponsorship for our ultra racing. We have formed an ultra committee consisting of Tim Fitzpatrick, Florencia Gascon-Amyx and Gary Wang. Their mandate is nothing short of making Tamalpa the preeminent ultra club in the country within the next few years. Tamalpa has always been one of the top ultra clubs, but with Adidas’ support we anticipate retaining and bringing into the club several of the top ultra runners in the country. There will also be some additional support for our other ultra runners. The ultra committee has been give a broad mandate to use the resources that Adidas has given us, as they see fit.

The Tamalpa Racing committee would like to build on this year's success and place our resources where they are most needed and can have the greatest impact. To that end, the bulk of our resources will be focused on our open and master men and women. It looks like we will soon be picking up several national caliber runners, along with some great local talent throughout the various age groups. Distribution of kits and shoes will be done a little differently next year. We plan to try to distribute more shoes to more runners, though top runners will still get full kits. This year we will back-end load our distribution, as opposed to last year where we gave shoes up front. Most of the runners who qualify for shoes will be told that they will receive them upon obtaining certain benchmarks. Our objective is to get the greatest bang for what we have got to give. The ultra committee is still establishing the criteria upon which it will distribute resources.

Tamalpa’s board has allocated $5,000 to our racing efforts next year. $1,000 will go to our new ultra committee and the remainder will be divided between the men and women for road and cross country. There have been a number of inquires lately about the Tamalpa budget, our allocation of resources and our reserve fund. In the next few months we will be publishing a summary of the Tamalpa budget along with some rationalization of our decision making.

Thanks to all who helped make 2009 a fabulous year. Many thanks to Tricia Wallace, Karen Steele, Dave Covey and Amy Sonstein who have helped captain Tamalpa teams and are relinquishing their responsibilities.

2010 promises to be an extraordinary year for the club. If you have not come out and raced for Tamalpa give it some consideration. Any runner who commits to racing six PA races in 2010 will be given a Tamalpa Racing or Tamalpa Ultraracing uniform. If you plan on racing for Tamalpa you must have a 2010 PAUSATF card along with a current Tamalpa membership.

Entry One - Distribution of Uniforms and Kits - 12/31/08

The Tamalpa Racing Board (Ken Grebenstein, Karen Steele, Frank Ruona, Brian Pilcher and Mark McManus have begun the somewhat arduous task of attempting to, as equitably as possible, distribute uniforms and the limited number of kits that are being given to us by our sponsor Adidas. Tamalpa is fortunate to have an incredible array of runners across many spectrums from ultras to track, from top national ranked older runners to very talented runners at the back end of their age group. The decision on who gets uniforms will be difficult and the task of distributing kits will be extremely difficult. The committee has decided to distribute the kits, which come with considerable gear, mostly in our open and master teams with a few going to our most noteworthy older runners. In some cases, we will ask recipients of kits to split part of their package. We are giving away the bulk of our kits to our younger age groups in an attempt to rejuvenate those racing teams. We have approached and been approached by runners from other clubs or previously unattached runners. Those who we are giving kits to who are coming from another club, or unattached, or are Tamalpa members, we are asking for a substantial commitment to racing in Pacific Association races. We are doing our best to have a long term vision on building better participation in racing and through that building a better club. There is no way to equitable distribute limited resources. We have a fairly large number of uniforms to give out and a fairly limited number of kits. Not all of the kits and uniforms will be given out in the beginning of the year. As mentioned in our prior announcement there will be significant discounts offered to all club members by Adidas in the near future on shoes and equipment. We hope to be back soon with details.

We know that in our decision making that we may not give a uniform or a kit to an individual who thinks he/she is deserving, or we may forget a runner who was a big contributor in prior years and was injured last year or a name may simple fall through the cracks. For this, we ask your forgiveness and understanding and hope that you will participate to the greatest extent possible and become entitled in the next year. We are hoping that those who are recipients of uniforms will be active participants in 2009 in Pacific Association ulra, road and cross country races. The uniforms will have a Tamalpa Racing log and will be distributed free. If you are already active you are probably on our list for a uniform, if you definitely would like us to consider you for a uniform please email me at kengreb@comcast.net. If you haven’t been a major participant in PA races in the past but want to run in six or more this year let us know and you will be considered for a uniform.

Tamalpa is a tremendous club with an amazing heritage. Racing is only one part of this great organization. While we are excited about our new sponsorship and the possibilities it brings the Tamalpa Runners Board will continue to endeavor to make the whole club an organization that runners of all abilities and interests enthusiastically want to belong to. Tamalpa is extremely fortunate to have a core of hard working volunteers who make this a wonderful organization to belong to along with a membership that is full of just amazingly wonderful people.

Ken Grebenstein

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