Catching up with CA HS running legend, Ralph Serna

The following is an interview with 1975 Loara HS graduate, Ralph Serna. He had a best of 4:07.0 in the mile and qualified for the state meet all three years in HS. In his senior year, Serna finished in 2nd place in the 2-mile race with a time of 8:45.9 which converts to about 8:43.0 for 3200m. That time still ranks him as the 8th fastest 8 lapper in California history and is still the fastest 2nd place time in state meet history. He also ran 14:16.2 in the 5000m and represented the US in multiple international meets. Serna competed at UC Irvine and was a multiple NCAA individual champion as well as a member of two NCAA championship teams. He continued to compete after college and for the past 30 years, Serna has been one of the most influential shoe designers for different shoe companies. Thank you to Mr. Serna for taking the time to answer all my questions as well as sharing the many pictures he has from his competitive days.

1) When did you first start to run and what inspired you in becoming a better runner? Aside from running, what other sports did you play before high school?
A-I attended Trident Jr High in Anaheim, California and in PE we had to run a mile every Friday for time. In the Fall of 1969, I was in 7th grade (photo to the right) and running 7:30-8:30 miles and almost lapped by the best runner in my PE period class. One day I decided to try and catch the fast runner. By late November I was running 6:30 miles, then by mid-December, I broke 6:00. Coach Hinman said I should go out for track in the new year and I asked him what that was (my Dad and Mom were not athletes). In January, track tryouts were held and the coaches said I should try the 1320 which I did. I finished first for 7th graders and made the team. We only had 6 meets and by season's end, I was undefeated and set the 7th grade 1320 record with my 3:53.4. I was hooked and wanted to improve. In PE I continued running and by school's end I had run a 5:25 mile and set the 7th-grade record too...and tied the fastest runner who was an 8th grader.        

B-Before moving to Anaheim, we lived in Compton and while living there I played Little League Baseball as a 9 and 10-year-old. First-year I played outfield and the second year I was the catcher. I was average at best. Ironically in Compton, I was on the Angels both seasons.           

2) What do you remember about your first two years in high school?     
A-Loara High School was only a 3 year school back in the Fall of 1973 and by the end of my Trident Jr High 9th grade year, I had run a 4:19.7 mile at the Von's Classic in the Coliseum which Curtis Beck won in 4:04.8. I was invited to run against the high schoolers by meet promoter Al Franken. My mile time broke the CIF-SS Freshman Record. By the time I got to Loara that Fall I had run faster than the school's record and expected to lead the team as a Sophomore. We qualified for CIF XC Finals each year I was there and my Junior year Loara only lost one meet all season, the CIF XC Finals, and were rated 8th team in the country. Each year at Loara I set every record from the 880 and longer. (photo to the left is from 
9th Grade at Trident Jr High 1972 with Serna winning the Anaheim Jr High District Meet 1320 in a new record-3:14.8)

Sophomore year:            
Finished 3rd in CIF-SS XC Finals (Large schools)  behind Terry Williams and Curtis Beck. Broke the CIF-SS Sophomore Class Mile Record, previously held by Bruce Bess with my 4:13.2 7th in the State Mile Finals. Set the National Sophomore 3Mile Record with my 14:10.6 (Sophomore XC: 1972 CIF-SS Finals Top 5: L-R 1st Terry Williams, 2nd Curtis Beck, 3rd Ralph Serna, 4th Barrie Williams, 5th Jim Shankel)

3) What kind of training did you do?
Mainly speed workouts and low to medium mileage, rarely ran over 50 miles per week. See the book "How High School Runners Train" by Greg Brock, my section is listed with the example of workouts. We had very good finishers at all levels on our team because of that, yet we could run fast up to 10 a Sophomore, I ran a 51:45 road race against OC's best Open runners and finished 2nd, as a Senior I ran 50:30. Very few hills in Anaheim so repeats were rare.

4) Who were your coaches?
I had 2 coaches at Loara simultaneously, Dave Hurlburt and John Wells. John also coached me for 6 weeks at the end of my 9th-grade year and post-college. (
L-R Ralph Serna, Dave Hurlburt, John Wells)

5) Who were the runners that you remember looking up to as a young runner?
As far as high schoolers, Marc Genet, Mark Schilling, Curtis Beck, Robert Harrell and Terry Williams were the ones I wanted to be like. Harrell was all speed and was as smooth as silk, Schilling had an amazing kick, Genet had amazing form and power, Williams would grind his competition into the ground and Beck had the best of speed and endurance at the same time. (
Sophomore Track: 1973 LA Times Indoor HS 2Mile: L-R Terry Williams, Barrie Williams, Ralph Serna, Cliff Morten, Pat Dutzi, Bob O'Brian, Jim Shankel)

6) At what point in your high school career do you feel like you jumped to an elite level?
I think when I qualified for the State meet my Sophomore year at the Master's because I had to finish in the top 5 to advance to the State Meet and I had to beat guys I never beat before. (
Sophomore XC: 1972 CIF-SS Finals: Curtis Beck finishing in second place in 10:14 and I'm finishing 3rd in 10:16)

7) What about your junior and senior years in high school?       
Junior year:
Won CIF XC Finals (Large schools) and only lost one race all season, to Gary Blume in CIF XC Semi-Finals
Finished second in Arcadia with my 4:07.6            
4th in the State Mile Finals            
1st in the Jr National 5000 (under 20) in 14:16.4  and set the National Junior Class 3Mile Record en route in 13:45.6...both are still the Orange County Records 46 years later.            
2nd in the USA vs USSR Jr Dual Meet in 14:25 right behind Rich Kimball of De La Salle.          
Fastest National High School Steeple Chaser in 9:24.0 in which I beat Eric Hulst.     
(Junior year 1973-Villa Park XC Invitational: L-R Mile Durham, Nick Priest, Andy Clifford, Ralph Serna, Steve Scott. Serna pulled away from Durham the last 200 yards to win and break the course record)

Senior year:            
Undefeated in XC and rated #1 High School XC Runner in the Nation            
Set the National High School Postal 2Mile Record with my 8:56.0            
Won CIF-SS XC Finals the second time            
Qualified to represent the USA in the World Junior XC Championships in Rabat, Morocco
Finished 15th in the World Junior XC Championships and helped the USA to a Team World Title            
Won the Arcadia Mile in the Nation's fastest Mile 4:07.0.            
Won the CIF Master's Mile and broke the meet record with my 4:08.3, breaking Terry Williams's record.
Finished second to Eric Hulst in the State Meet 2Mile      

8) What are the races that stand out to you aside from your senior state meet race which we will cover below?
Pierce College All-Comers 3Mile where I set the National High School Sophomore Record in 14:10.6
Junior National 5000 where I set the National High School Junior Class record of 13:45.6 en route to my 14:16.4 win over Rich Kimball          
World Junior XC Championships in Rabat, Morocco when we won the Team Championships. I finished 15th  Mission Viejo Postal Invitational 2Mile where I set the National High School Record in 8:56.0 beating Eric Hulst           
Arcadia Mile where I ran the Nations fastest high school season mile of 4:07.0          
My 4 high school cross country races against Eric Hulst:          
-1973 Orange County CC Championships          
-1974 Villa Park CC Invitational          
-1974 Orange County CC Championships          
-1974 Mission Viejo CC Postal Meet                

9) Who are some of the other standout runners during your high school career that you raced?            
-Terry Williams-Lompoc            
-Barrie Williams-North Torrance            
-Curtis Beck-Santa Monica            
-Alvin Gilmore-Lompoc            
-Jim Shankel-Lompoc            
-Rich Kimball-De Salle            
-Bobby Thomas-Glendale            
-Steve Scott-Upland            
-Andy Clifford-Sunny Hills            
-Roy Kissin-San Ramon Valley            
-Mitch Kingery-San Carlos            
-Brian Hunsaker-Corona Del Mar            
-Eric Hulst-Laguna Beach            
-Thom Hunt-Patrick Henry            
-Alberto Salazar-Wayland            
-Don Moses-Crescenta Valley 
(1974 Mission Viejo Postal 2Mile during XC season...I had a good day and outsprinted Eric Hulst with 300 to go and broke the National HS Postal Record with my 8:56 to Eric's 9:00)

10) What do you remember about your training in hs?
-Our training was based on high intensity, short rest interval and low mileage (compared to most of the day), a lot of 440s. As a group, we had faster finishes than most rivals. Although we had a hard 10 mile run twice a month and we could all do well in the summer road races.

11) Longest run?              
-The longest run at Loara was a 12.5-mile workout. We did lots of hard 10 milers.

12) Workouts?              
These are examples of our typical hard workouts              
Day 1-4Mile 22:22;   3Mile 15:50              
Day 2-3Mile 17:52;   Mile 4:59;   1320 3:43;   880 2:27;   440 62;   440 58;   880 2:18;   1320 3:45;   Mile 4:37    Day 3-3Mile 15:28;   3Mile 14:48              
Day 4-4Mile 21:12;   4x330 48, 47, 46, 46, 45, 45, 46, 41              
Day 5-12x 440  69, 70, 67, 71, 76, 68, 65, 62, 63, 62, 58, 56.6              
Day 6-3Mile 15:39;  Mile 4:31.7;   1320 3:39;   880 1:58.3;   3Mile 16:28              
Day 7-4x880 2:27, 2:19.4, 2:12, 2:05; 3Mile 15:38                  
Day 8-4x440 65, 65, 65, 65;   Rest    57.9, 59.8, 59.8, 59.5;   3Mile16:18

13) What international races did you compete in and favorite memories from those meets?
-11th grade  17 years old-USA vs USSR Junior Meet-Placed 2nd to Rich Kimball in 14:26 and beat the two Russians              
-12th grade 18 years old- World Junior XC International Championships-I placed 15th and we won the team championship

14) You had an epic race against Eric Hulst in the 1975 CA state meet in the 2 mile. What do you remember about that race?             
-The week before the State Meet at the Masters Meet, I beat Eric in the mile 4:08.3 to 4:10.5 and an hour later he beat me in the 2Mile 8:51.0 to 8:55.0 and knew at the State meet the order of the two events would be reversed...the 2Mile first in the middle of the hot summer day. At the State Meet the weather was extremely hot especially since we were running on a rubberized asphalt track at Balboa Stadium...probably close to 90 degrees. For some reason Eric was lined up in the second row so when the gun went off I jumped into the lead and held that position until Eric passed me at about 300 yards. When he did get into the lead I tucked right behind him and stayed there the entire race. I couldn't have got any closer and when Brian Hunsaker tried to pass me I didn't give him any room to cut in front of me so I could stay with Eric. Brian eventually faded after our first mile in 4:21 and had to be carried off the track after the race with huge foot blisters. Mitch Kingery then tried to pass me and I again stayed close to Eric. Mitch faded and as we came to the bell lap, I knew Eric and I were running faster than either of us ever had. I felt good enough to try to pass Eric right at the bell but held me off after 20 yards so backed off. Eric kept the pace fast and in the middle of the backstretch I made another attempt to pass him before the last turn, Eric again held me off. I regrouped and as we rounded the turn and headed into the final home stretch I made my third attempt to pass and win. After sprinting stride for stride for 30 yards my legs started to falter and Eric inched away and won by exactly one second. Eric broke Rich Kimball's year-old State Meet record with his 8:44.9 and also became the third-fastest high school runner ever. Only Craig Virgin and Steve Prefontaine had ever run faster...and I became the fourth-fastest performer ever one second back in 8:45.9.

15) You also ran with Eric at UC Irvine. What can you tell us about Eric and your relationship with him as a competitor and teammate?               
-As competitors, Eric and I were intense rivals but respected each other's abilities. We always knew whenever we raced the spectators would be entertained with a real "throw down". He was a year younger so I saw him make the State Meet 2Mile as a freshman when I made the State Mile as a Sophomore. We finally raced head to head the next Fall as a Junior and Sophomore in the Orange County Championships. Eric led until the final 70 yards when I sprinted away and won by roughly 3 seconds. Most of our later battles were much closer. After each battle with Eric, my coaches and I would analyze the pros and cons for my next race against him and I know he and his coaches did the same thing. Eventually, most coaches and spectators knew how our races would go...Eric was strong and he tried to always lead and grind me down pushing with his rough styled form, I was the opposite and preferred to follow with my superior leg speed and smooth stride. We were like poker card sharks who played with all their cards face up so all could see, no-nonsense. Whoever had the best day would win that particular. As a college teammate, we had similarities and differences. We had roomed as high schoolers when we ran against the Russian National Junior team in Austin, Texas as a Sophomore and Junior. He ran the 10,000 and I ran the 5000. He was more of an extrovert than I was but we got along well for those 5 days. Later as UC Irvine teammates, we were both interested in art and shared a couple of classes. Our training was intense since we had guys like Steve Scott, John Koningh, Don Moses and Ed Ahlmeyer besides the two of us to push interval workouts. Eric and I often raced to our 1976 NCAA D2 XC Championships when Steve Scott joined us and we had possibly the only 3-way tie ever in that NCAA meet. Everyone at UCI was friendly with each other but we still all had our unique personalities. Eric wasn't as mischievous as some of the others of us, and he rarely attended weekend parties with us but he had a great witty sense of humor.

16) What were your highlights from your college career?                
-Most of my highlights were from my Freshman and Sophomore years due to injuries my Junior and Senior years.                 
-Winning the 1975 Individual NCAA D2 XC title my Freshman year                
-Winning the 1975 Team NCAA D2 XC title my Freshman year                
-Running the 1976 World XC Championships and winning the team title my Freshman year 
-Winning the 1976 Team NCAA D2 Track title my Freshman year                
-Winning the 1976  Stanford XC Invitational my Sophomore year                
-Winning the 1976 Individual NCAA D2 XC title my Sophomore year                
-Winning the 1976 Team NCAA D2 XC title my Sophomore year               
-Winning the 1977 Individual PCAA XC title my Junior year                
-Winning the 1978 PCAA 10,000 title my Junior year                
-Winning the 1978 Team PCAA Track title my Junior year     
(UCI's first XC Championship Team: L-R Brian Hunsaker, Ed Ahlmeyer, Robert Slick, Ralph Serna, Coach Len MIller, John Koningh, Bob Tillman...They won with only Freshmen and Sophomores!)

17) You mentioned some of your famous teammates. What were some of their accomplishments?             
-Steve Scott: one of Americas greatest milers                 
-Eric Hulst: Legendary runner                 
-Mauricio Bardales: NCAA D1 Decathlon Champion                 
-La Monte King: Great Sprinter and Long Jumper                 
-Ed Ahlmeyer: PCAA Steeple and 5000 Champion   
(1976 NCAA XC D2 Championship Team...L-R Ralph Serna, Eric Hulst, Steve Scott, John Koningh, Robert Slick, Ed Ahlmeyer-Don Moses is missing)

18) And any epic workouts or humorous moments?                  -
Our coach at UC Irvine was Len Miller and he had a goal of having us do 10 miles worth of INTENSE workouts...not counting the rest interval jogs                  
-10 x 1Mile My recollection is that we had about 5 minutes rest interval and we averaged 4:35 per interval, my last interval I ran a 4:19 and Steve Scott ran away from me. It would take most of us 3 or 4 days to recover.                  
-20 x 880 We'd run these on a measured grass loop above our track on a large athletic field so we all normally ran barefooted. Don't remember our average but it was FAST with guys like Scott, John Koningh, Don Moses, Eric and myself, someone who feels good for a few then rotates to another. This workout took a long time and we normally finished in the dark.                   
-3 x 3Miles My recollection is that we had about 10 minutes rest interval. I don't remember our average but again with guys like Eric, Don Moses, Steve and myself, we ran almost as fast as some races.              
-Of our humorous pranks, most were often played on Len Miller, two that come to mind were when we'd go up north in the woods for our XC camp. Len would always take a headcount at night before bed and be the last to use the we'd sneak in before him and we once put Vaseline over the entire toilet seat...another time we put saran wrap over the toilet seat...both times we waited for a yell or cursing and both times there was only silence until he emerged with a smile and said he's seen it all and we'd have to do better...which was followed the next morning with a slightly tougher workout than planned...I guess the laugh was on us.                  
-Another prank was played on Eric at the camp...someone brought in a frog and put it in his bed and when he tucked into it a few seconds later he yelled jumped up pulled off his sheets. the frog was put back outside unharmed and we all laughed about it...although the next day's run Eric pushed the pace a little harder and made us all suffer a bit more...I guess he had the last laugh too.                  
-My Freshman year, I led the XC team and because of that John Koningh nicknamed me 'Spanky" as in an old TV show called the Little Rascals which were a bunch of mischievous kids led by "Spanky". The name stuck and to this day all Anteaters of my era still call me Spanky when we meet up.    
1977 Stanford Invitational XC Meet. Serna won and beat Tony Sandoval, Olympian, Rich Mc Candless and Eric Hulst is visible in fourth)

19) You continued to race post collegiately. What were some of your memorable moments from that time period?                  
-I graduated from UC Irvine in 1979 and because of late college injuries I decided to try and mend so I went underground for almost a year and asked my high school coach John Wells to help me again. He was kind enough to do it and we'd often meet in the dark after he got off work. We went back to Loara HS where I did my intervals with him. When we felt I was finally ready to race again I ran a 10 Miler in Azusa and won easily with my 48:45. I enjoyed road racing and moved away from the track for the most part. I moved up in distance and won a big 20K race from Brea to Angel Stadium. I beat the best runners in Orange County including Steve Scott..although he wasn't as serious about it as his track races.                  
-Eventually, I seriously ran marathons and in 1983 I wanted to qualify for the 1984 US Olympic Marathon Trials so I chose Boston as my first attempt. I was running for Sub-4 TC and hoped to run a 2:18, I finished better than I thought..18th place in 2:14:16 and qualified for the Trials (below).  

-I continued to road race heavily and do more marathons:                    
1982 Stockholm-7th 2:24:00 extremely hot                    
1982 New York-11th 2:14:22                    
1983 Boston-35th 2:16:35                    
1983 New York-51st 2:18:50          

20) What led you into designing shoes and what different companies have you worked for as a shoe designer?                  
-Graduating from UC Irvine with a Fine Arts Degree I worked for Sub-4 doing anything needed and eventually designed for them. It was only apparel BUT I met a salesman, Angel Martinez who also sold Reebok shoes in the early 1980's. He recommended I design shoes but it took another 7 years before I took it seriously. Reebok hired me in an entry-level unrelated to design, six months later they moved me to Pusan, S. Korea for 2 years to work logistics for the factories. Only a year later I was offered a design job back in Boston for them. I was the 5th designer in the summer of 1988. that's how I got in the design industry and continue 32 years later.                  
-Companies I've designed for are: Reebok...Etonic...Mizuno...Reebok (again)...Vans...Avia/NSS/EVOS...Doc Martens (London)...Pony/Nautica/Diesel/Sean John/7 for all mankind/55 Soul...Puma  

21) Are there any shoes that you are especially proud of designing?                   
-Some of my designs are still sold over 30 years after I designed them. Here are only a few of my favorites... 
-Reebok Ventilator designed in 1989 and launched in 1990...25 years later Kendrick Lamar chose it as his first Reebok signature shoe...still being sold                              -Reebok Court Victory designed in 1990 and launched in 1991...I designed this Pump tennis shoe for Michael Chang before his French open appearance...still being sold                    
-Reebok Dual Pump designed in  1990 and launched in 1991...It was the first running Pump model and still sold today                   
-Van's Knu Skool...first Vans model with athletic foam in the midsole                   
-Van's Willie Santos I and Willie Santos II Signature models                  
-Van's Salman Agah I SIgnature model                  
-Van's Dualist...first SPD mountain bike/BMX model                   
-Doc Marten's collaboration with Issey Miyake...we did a special 1460 boot for his Paris Fashion Launch party and I got to attend it where Madness and Terry Hall of the Specials walked the catwalk                  
-Sean John collaboration with Diddy on his footwear line for two seasons. Flew to New York a few times to accomplish these products.                   
-Usain Bolt Puma's...I did 3 models for Usain after Puma flew me to Jamaica to meet with Usain for 2 hours.  

22) Any thoughts on the Vaporflys?                   
-As long as no extra energy is returned to the wearer than's expended, I feel it's fine...think about fiberglass poles vs bamboo or metal poles, or synthetic tracks vs dirt tracks, or high jump foam pits vs saw dust...all those advances made better performances possible and everyone embraces those today.  

23) You now have a vast shoe collection. When did you start the collection and how many pairs of shoes do you have now?                   
-I have roughly 400 pair in my collection now and I never thought, "I should start collecting shoes"...I just didn't throw away a lot of my shoes, that's how it began...that was about 1979.  
(The photo below was taken by Serna from his own collection before the Sports Illustrated featured article on the famed red Pumas that made their debut before the 1968 Olympics. You can find the SI article 

24) Which shoes are your favorites and what was your best find?                   
-Some of my favorite shoes in my collection are:                  
-1968 Puma Brush Spikes-My own actual pair I wore in high school in 1975                   
-1973 Puma Munchen Spikes(Claws)-Previously owned by 2X World Cross Country Champion Craig Virgin    -1956 Adidas Melbourne Spikes-Previously owned by Ron Delany, Irish 1956 Olympic Gold Medalist 1500      -1976 Onitsuka Custom Spikes-Previously owned by Bobby Thomas World Cross Country Junior Champion.  -1996 Reebok Custom Ex-O-Fit I designed for Rick Nielson of Cheap Trick.                   
-1950c Law & Sons Spikes my Father in law purchased for me in condition. 2 pair                  -1950c Foster & Sons Spikes my Father in law purchased for me in England. F&S became Reebok in 1957. 3 pair                   
-1977 Nike Night Track (Disco Shoe)...built on the LDV chassis and given as swag at a Nike National Sales Meeting...Ron Wayne who was the promotion director gave me 6 never laced, never worn pairs when we worked together at Mizuno. They sat in his garage for 18 years.                    
-My best find by far was my second pair of Brush spikes (Sacramento) in 1993 at Building 19 store in Hingham, near Boston for only $5.00. I also found 6 pair of all black leather spikes circa 1950...also for $5.00 that same visit.  

25) How closely do you follow the current running scene and if you do, what are your thoughts on what is going on right now in cross country and track and field?                    
-I follow high school running somewhat closely since a handful of my friends are now coaching in few different schools. For years a group of friends has gathered to go to the Arcadia Invitational every year as well as the CIF-SS Master's Meet. That group includes great runners like Ruth Wysocki, Colin Mc Connell, Robert Angel, Don Franken, Tom Wysocki, Daryl Taylor, Brian Hunsaker, Dennis Wilson, Brad Hutson, Armando Cendejas, Andy Di Conti, Bobby Thomas just to name a few...Coach Hal Harness and Coach John Dahlem of CIF have been so kind as to get us all in the Masters Meet and have also announced our group to the crowd. Art Cendejas is coaching at my old school Loara High School so I've gone to give a pep talk to the kids a few times. It's been great to hear their perspective about today's running in high school.                      In my opinion, today's period has to be another Golden Era as our 1970's Era was. It's impressive and really enjoyable to watch.

26)What do you wish you could have done differently in high school based on what you see now?                     
-First obvious thing is to have run on artificial tracks all the time. In my entire high school career I ran on only two. Coaching has improved but I was very happy with what my coaches did for me and not sure if the new coaching could have made a difference. I think John Wells and Dave Hurlburt were ahead of their time and our entire team prospered because of that.  

27) What about Runners Re-United?                    
-In early 2006 I rediscovered my parent's old 8mm rolls of my brothers and I running and being an amateur videographer I decided to create a series of "DVDs" for family, old teammates and even rivals who never had seen this lost footage. 10 months later the simple project ballooned to include photos, article clippings and results, a five DVD package was created.  In early 2007 I was turning 50 and wanted to try and track down as many old teammates and rivals as possible. I contacted Dan Empfield after decades and we compared our lists and decided to gather as many as possible in January. So at "Heroes" restaurant in Fullerton in 2007 24 runners reunited after decades and that's how RRU began...but I didn't name it Runners Re-United until the second gathering in July of 2009. Each year since then the group has increased and celebrated Olympians, World Record Holders, NCAA Champs, State Champs and many others have requested an invitation...last year we had 165 runners attend our 12th annual event, including current high schoolers. Our age span is 15 to 85 years old now and athletic corporations and running shops have been interested enough to sponsor us. Track & Field News has dedicated web pages to my event over the years. 
(Photo below L-R: Ralph Serna, Barrie Williams, Terry Williams, and Robert Angel at one of the recent RRUs)

28) How did that group start, who are some of the members and how often do you all meet?
-The start of RRU is described above.                    
-Some of the previous attendees have been to RRU:                      
Steve Scott (multiple times)                      
Ruth Wysocki (multiple times)                      
Lazslo Tabori-3rd man to break 4:00 (multiple times)                      
Jackie Hansen-2 Time Women's Marathon World Record Holder                      
Don Bowden-1953 State 880 Champ                      
Don Bowden-1954 State 880 Champ/National Record Holder...1st American to break 4:00                      
Ron Larrieu-1956 State Mile Champ                      
Jim Cerveny-1957 State 880 Champ/Record Holder                      
John Loeschhorn-1962 New Jersey State Mile Champ/Record Holder                    
Ralph Gamez-1965 1st State 2Mile Champ/Record Holder                      
Ralph Gamez-1966 State 2Mile Champ/Record Holder                      
Mike Kearns-1965 1st CIF SS 2mile Champ                      
Mike Solomon-1967 State Mile Champ                      
Pete Romero-1967 HS State 2Mile Champ/Record Holder                      
Ruben Chappins-1968 State 2Mile Champ/Record Holder                      
Ruben Chappins-1969 State 880 Champ/Record Holder                      
Percel Keeling-1971 State 2Mile Champ                      
Dale Fleet-1971 State 2Mile Champ/Record Holder                      
Mark Schilling-1972 State Mile Champ/Record Holder for 36 years                      
Marc Genet-1972 OC 2Mile Record Holder                      
Craig Virgin-1972 State Mile Champ and 2Mile Champ                      
Curtis Beck-1972 State 2Mile Champ/Record Holder                      
Matt Centrowitz-1972 New York State Mile Champ/Record Holder                      
Craig Virgin-1973 State Mile Champ and 2Mile Champ....National Record Holder                      
Terry Williams-1973 State 2Mile Champ/Record Holder                      
Rich Kimball-1974 State Mile Champ and 2Mile Champ/Record Holder                      
Tom Wysocki-1974 Nevada State 2Mile Champ/Record Holder                      
Jeff Nelson-1978 State 2Mile Champ                      
Jeff Nelson-1979 State 2Mile Champ...National 2Mile Record Holder                      
Andy Di Conti-1980 State 2Mile Champ                      
Jon Butler-1982 2State Mile Champ                      
Roman Gomez-1984 State Mile Champ and 2Mile Champ                      
Roman Gomez-1985 State Mile Champ and 2Mile Champ                      
Paul Thomas-1987 State 2Mile Champ                      
Mac Fleet-2009 State Mile Champ and 2Mile Champ  

29) Anything else you would like to add.                      
Running has given me so much, it didn't come cheap though because I've sweat gallons and gallons, missed events like my high school graduation, worked out until dark and couldn't see in front of me, pushed my body through pain thresholds, missed big parties as a young adult, and have worked out in every type of uncomfortable weather...BUT, I  wouldn't change a thing if I could do it all over again. I've made life long friends since my Jr High School running and every team afterward...and still, keep in contact and see many of them once a year at my RRU event. I've even had my Jr High School, High School, and College coaches all attend one year. I've traveled the nation and world because of running and the fact I raced opened career doors for me. I was recruited by the University of Oregon as an 18-year-old high school Senior and met and trained with Steve Prefontaine just two months before he passed away and then 22 years later Warner Brothers Film Productions contacted me to rent some of my track memorabilia for a movie about Prefontaine named "Without Limits".  I also met Bill Dellinger and Bill Bowerman on the same trip.

I was flown to Jamaica for 36 hours just to meet and design shoes for Usain Bolt by Puma since they felt I had a good idea what runners need. I've had major publications contact me for vital information about running or running products. Most recently some spikes from my collection were featured in the 2019 November Sports Illustrated issue along with quotes from me. Most importantly, running has provided me with a blueprint for success in all aspects of my life. Dedication, hard work, sacrifice, commitment, focus, and goals are valuable in facets of life.  

Thank you very much, Ralph. Very much appreciated.