Sold-out Annadel Half Marathon draws 500 runners, aiding local parks

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Despite wet shoes and mud-spattered legs, after dodging puddles and slippery rocks in Trione- Annadel State Park, most of the some 500 runners in the 10th anniversary Annadel Half Marathon and 5K and 10K runs Saturday crossed the finish line with sunny smiles on their faces.

“It was muddy, but I’m used to it,” said Tim Helms, 36, of Santa Rosa, the overall winner of the 13.1-mile half marathon, with a time of one hour, 31 minutes and 20 seconds. “I’m out here running every Saturday, and it has been a muddy winter.”

Santa Rosa’s Krista Dreschler, 29, the first woman to finish the half marathon, also knows the terrain well.

Her time was one hour, 46 minutes and 59 seconds.

“I do a lot of running at Annadel, every weekend,” she said. “It wasn’t as sloppy as I thought it would be.”

Even though recent rains left the trails soaked, the runners didn’t contend with anything heavier than light drizzle during the race. Half of the field participated in the half marathon, with the rest entered in the 10K run, new this year, or the 5K.

While the starting times of the races were staggered, beginning with the half marathon at 8 a.m., some of the last of the 5K runners crossed the finish line in Santa Rosa’s Spring Lake Park about the same time as the leading finishers in the longest race. For some it was serious sport, but for others it was a fun family outing.

“I was walking in the puddles,” said 7-year-old Cole Harris, “and my dad got mud all up my back.”

Not everyone aimed to win. John Martin, 45, of Petaluma, has taken part in all 10 races since the Annadel Half Marathon began in 2010.

“I’m a middle-of-the-pack runner,” he said. “There are a lot of rewards for running in the middle of the pack. There’s camaraderie along the trail, and there’s less competition.”

Some runners trained as part of a squad and participated in the event with their teammates. Tony Roth, 30, settled in Santa Rosa after moving from Minnesota to work with the Straus Family Creamery in Petaluma. He showed up Saturday with his company’s team and ended by winning the 5K, with a time of 22 minutes and 53 seconds.

“This was my first time,” he said. “It was pretty sloppy out there. You have to watch what you’re doing.”

The Annadel Half Marathon was conceived by trail enthusiast Marc Strozyk as a fundraiser when a statewide budget crisis threatened to close parks, including Annadel. Proceeds have helped support park maintenance, with funds this year going to help trail construction at nearby Taylor Mountain Regional Park.

The race is sponsored by the Fleet Feet Sports running store in Santa Rosa, whose owner Rhonda Roman collaborates with race manager Tawnya Nason on the event. This year, slots for runners in the Annadel Half Marathon sold out in advance.

“Some people were angry because it sold out, but that’s a good problem to have,” Nason said with a broad grin.

Since the race is a rain-or-shine event, Nason was a bit relieved that Saturday’s weather was a bit less wet than Friday’s.

“I was up marking the 10K route and the Rough Go trail was a muddy river,” she said. “It looked like a chocolate fountain.”

Other winners this year included Brandon Crowell of Santa Rosa, who won the 10K with a time of 42 minutes and 42 seconds. The first woman to finish the 10K was Katie Pedigo of Sacramento, with a time of 49 minutes and 49 seconds.

The first woman to complete the 5K run was Olivia Bronzan of Cotati, in 24 minutes and 56 seconds.

For complete results, go online to annadelhalf.com/race-results.html.

You can reach Staff Writer Dan Taylor at 707-521-5243 or dan.taylor@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @danarts.

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