Paul Perrone, one of the long-time stalwarts of our running and triathlon community, is heading out of town soon for a new job. I mention this because Paul is someone who has run the gamut from top college at UTSA and open runner (a sub-four minute miler) to shoe company rep to race director to owner of his own rep agency. He is truly one of the good guys who would give you the shirt (and jacket) off his back.
Allow me to reflect back on a very cold, windy Austin Marathon morning in 2003 when the wind chill was probably in the 20s. That year, the race finished just off Riverside on a short incline to Palmer Auditorium. From the finish, you were given a medal and shuffled off into Palmer for post-race activities.
Good thing too because I was absolutely depleted and frozen to the very marrow of my bones. For some stupid reason, I didn’t check any gear at the start. The hotel I was staying was nearby so I must have figured that after finishing it would be an easy five-minute jog to my room where I could shower and then rush to ABIA for a noon flight.
But what I hadn’t figured on was the north wind that was still blowing like crazy. My clothes were probably a little wet and I was still so drained and freezing from the race that as soon as I stepped outside Palmer to run back to hotel, I couldn’t even make it to Riverside. I rushed back into Palmer and ran around for a couple of minutes to get my body heat back on line and then went outside to try it again.
No dice. I was still way too cold and just couldn’t make it.
Back inside Palmer, I was still shivering uncontrollably when I ran into Perrone who was then a sales rep for Mizuno. (Full disclosure: I work for Mizuno now, but didn’t then.) I was now so frigid that I could barely get the words out that I had to get back to the Embassy—and quickly.
Without hesitating, Perrone stripped off his Motorola Marathon jacket that the race volunteers had and gave it to me along with a dry Mizuno shirt. With that bit of extra warmth, I was able take off my salt-encrusted singlet and brave the bitter cold and made it back to the hotel and airport in time to catch my flight.
I still have that jacket. It’s one of my favorites with a neat Motorola Marathon patch embroidered into it. And this morning on another chilly run, I wore it and was flooded with memories of one of my best Austin marathons–and of Paul.
In my time of need, he was a friend who I’ll never forget.
O More Perrone. The man about town and bon vivant, Perrone is moving to Durham, North Carolina next month where he’ll work for Implus which has all sorts of running-related products in their line. Implus is based in Durham where Perrone will run the East Coast specialty sales, working primarily with Balega socks.
O The Zilker Relays, which Perrone started up and has directed for 13 years, will continue. Perrone has kept Zilker going before when he lived in Maryland and later Massachusetts, so this won’t be anything new. “The Relays will keep right on rolling,” Perrone told me. “It will be a good reason to come back to Austin and visit all my friends.” The ’16 date is September 9.
O Steve Chase just ran the Houston Marathon a few weeks ago in 2:44, but he’ll be toeing the line at the Austin Marathon next Sunday. Well, not exactly the starting line. Chase will start Austin in dead last—at the back of the back of the pack. But there’s a point. For every runner Steve passes in the race, Conley Sports will donate $1 to Family Eldercare. Rogue Running is also pitching in by asking other Rogue runners (or anyone) to commit to a penny for every runner Chase passes (about $30-40). To donate or for info, go to facebook.com/steve.chase.
O Tonight at 7 at Luke’s Locker (115 Sandra Muraida), long-time Austin Marathon race director John Conley and Gilbert Tuhabonye will have a course talk in advance of next Sunday’s marathon and half marathon. Tuhabonye, who ran the marathon last year, will offer his tips on how to best run the course. The event is free and open to the public.
O The US Olympic Marathon Trials will be held in Los Angeles on February 13th and the greatest number of runners—81–qualified for the Trials in a Texas race, almost all in either the Houston Marathon or its half. Of the 450 runners who have qualified for Los Angeles, 172 ran their qualifiers in a half marathon. Of the 210 guys who have qualified, 124 did it in a half, including Austinites David Fuentes, Will Nation and Rory Tunningley. So did Allison Mendez.
O Former Austinite Greg McMillan used to coach a group of top marathoners after he moved his operations to Flagstaff, but doesn’t any longer. Since moving to San Diego and now Mill Valley, California, McMillan’s emphasis is on coaching recreational racers through McMillan Running. The one top guy G-Mac still coaches is Brett Gotcher who was fifth in the ’12 Olympic Trials in Houston in 2:11:09. Gotcher is originally from Santa Cruz County in Northern California where he still lives and he and McMillan now communicate by phone, text and emails about his workouts. The Gotcher-McMillan team has been together since ’07 and with a 2:10 PR, a healthy Gotcher is considered a possibility for the ’16 Olympic team. “I trust Greg completely,” said the 31-year-old Gotcher. “I just do what he tells me and don’t think too much about it.”
O It looks like Leo Manzano will make his indoor debut in the Wanamaker Mile in the Millrose Games on February 20th in New York. Leo The Lion was supposed to open his ’16 campaign last weekend but postponed it because of a death in his family. In New York, he’ll face a stacked field which will include Matthew Centrowitz, Robbie Andrews and Nick Willis.
O Up in Waco last weekend, Jeanna Lucas and Grant Stieglitz won their divisions in the warmish Miracle Match Marathon. Lucas was the top woman in 3:23, while Stieglitz prevailed in 3:00:34. In the accompanying half marathon, Kristen Bartiss (1:36) and Peter Ferretter (1:25) were the overall winners. Top masters were Jan Vicary (1:42) and Georgetown’s Bill Schroeder in 1:28.
O Former Austinite Sara Periman (used to be Mark), who now lives in Houston, won the San Jacinto Memorial Mile last Saturday. Her 5:13 won the women’s division, but not her family division. Her hub Brian was faster with a time of 5:07 to win his age group. Sean Wade was the overall winner in 4:22. BTW: Sarah is making noise that she’ll finally run her first marathon in March.
O Our sympathy to my buddy Paul Williams on the passing earlier this week of his younger brother Chuck at the age of 52. His funeral is tomorrow at 2 at St. Luke’s in Lakeway.
O What I’m listening to this morning: “Stop Making Sense,” by the Talking Heads. Great soundtrack to an amazing concert movie. Actually first saw them in early ’70s in a bar in Providence, Rhode Island.
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