The Famous CITGO Sign in Boston Tells You There's Just One Mile to Go

Although I haven't run the Boston Marathon for quite some time, I did have a chance to visit the city of Boston recently on a family vacation. In over 13 years of marriage, not once have we, as a complete family unit. been to a local Dodger game. But that didn't stop my wife from convincing me to spend the equivalent of two car payments on outstanding tickets to the Red Sox vs Yankees game at Fenway Park.

The game was a lot of fun, at least the few minute of it that I got to see between trips to the concession stands for my offspring. A growing family requires sustenance at all times.

Before the game we grabbed a snack at a local eatery (pre-game sustenance) and I looked up to see one of the most well known scenes from the Boston Marathon...the CITGO sign on Beacon Street.

Any Boston Marathon participant with eyesight will be able to recall the CITGO sign, because it indicates that you are just about done with the 26.2 mile trip. The sign is situated just about a mile from the finish of the race. I've run over 30 marathons over the years, but this is perhaps the only marathon that has such a distinctive, memorable, historal finish.

According to the CITGO website, CITGO was founded in 1910 as Cities Service Company. In 1965 its name was changed to CITGO for branding purposes, using the first 3 letters of "Cities" and ending with "GO." My wife says local pronounce it "See It Go." I don't know if that's true or not but pretty cool nonetheless.

After a brief stint as a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum in 1982, CITGO was sold to The Southland Corporation in 1983 to provide a steady supply of gasoline to the 7-Eleven store chain. In 1986, Southland sold half of CITGO to Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., (PDVSA), the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the other half in January 1990.

But I digress. We had a great vacation and I managed to get out there and run every single day. Not a lot of mileage, but enough to keep me feeling groovy. I have no race plans at the moment but once I'm feeling it I'll be back in the game, having just turned the BIG 5-0. New age group!


2014 Boston Marathon Results for Ventura County and Adjacent Area Finishers

Fellow Bruin and American Meb Keflezighi won the 2014 Boston Marathon on Monday in his personal best time 2 hours, 8 minutes, 37 seconds, just two weeks shy of his 39th birthday. Meb took the silver medal in the 2004 Olympic Marathon, broke his hip during the 2008 Olympic Trials but still managed to finish 8th, won the New York Marathon in 2009 and finished 4th in the 2012 Olympic Marathon.

I don't think the day could have been any better from Meb K and there isn't a more deserving person than him. And he runs in Sketchers, which is kind of cool. Learn more about the Boston Marathon at

There were 70 local area finishers in this year's Boston Marathon. Congrats! Here they are:

Josh Spiker, Ventura 2:51:34

Randy Miller, Thousand Oaks 2:58:57

Juan Viramontes, Santa Paula 2:59:40

Sara Roche, Ventura 3:08:51

Joseph Jaurequi, Newbury Park 3:09:47

Sergio Aloma, Simi Valley 3:11:05

Emily Boggs, Newbury Park 3:11:16

Curtis Names, Ojai 3:12:30

Michelle Chille, Agoura Hills 3:12:38 (18th in division)

Rob Hennick, Moorpark 3:12:59

Clinton Cates, Camarillo 3:13:50

Justin Shakespeare, Camarillo 3:15:43

Benjamin Atkins, Westlake Village, 3:16:41

Paul Schwartz, Westlake Village, 3:16:47

Christina Lightfoot (great runner name), Westlake Village 3:16:16

Martin Simon, Newbury Park 3:20:28

Joe Herzog, Moorpark 3:24:40

Denise Millar, Moorpark 3:24:58

Shauna Potrawski, Simi Valley 3:26:49

True Randall, Ventura 3:27:35

Steve Arce, Westlake Village 3:27:48

Jason Griffith, Thousand Oaks, 3:28:45

Marla Randall, Ventura 3:29:12 (16th in age group!)

Leanne Mohr, Camarillo 3:31:05

Ariane Hendrix-Roach, Oxnard 3:32:17

Emily Stone, Thousand Oaks, 3:34:58

Charles Brown, Moorpark 3:35:58

Janice Hyllengren, Newbury Park 3:37:11

Danny Vasquez, Oxnard 3:40:13

Brett Fuchs, Camarillo 3:41:37

Melinda Casaus, Ventura 3:42:17

David Moore, Moorpark 3:42:45

Marialuisa Vanore, Camarillo 3:44:42

Tom Schmidhauser, Camarillo 3:45:52

Jeffrey Vanneman, Simi Valley 3:45:54

Julie Ungerleider, Camarillo 3:46:56

Amada Garcia, Thousand Oaks 3:48:15

Leontine Shockley, Santa Paula 3:48:42

Sara Jones, Simi Valley 3:48:46

Kent Blankenship, Thousand Oaks 3:50:01

Brett Goldsmith, Simi Valley 3:51:12

Kelly Clark, Ventura 3:53:14

Melissa Hernandez, Oxnard 3:53:14

Wendy Raymond, Westlake Village, 3:53:38

Mallory Ham, Simi Valley 3:53:38

Hugo Ito, Oxnard 3:54:50

Michael Clarke, Westlake Village, 3:55:56

James Dawson, Ventura 3:55:58

Carolyn Talarico, Westlake Village, 3:56:13

Sarah Rossbach, Ventura 4:01:51

Ashley Graham, Oxnard  4:04:58

Joell Quirarte, Thousand Oaks, 4:06:52

Linda Houser, Simi Valley 4:07:51

Patricia Shapiro, Simi Valley, 4:10:09

Amanda Flaum, Thousand Oaks 4:10:12

Andrzej Bieszczad, Camarillo 4:14:32

Susan Duenas, Thousand Oaks 4:23:37

Nancy Aguilar, Newbury Park 4:30:13

Jack Redmond, Camarillo 4:30:59

Tina Burch, Newbury Park 4:30:17

Kathleen Broder, Camarillo 4:35:09

Darleen Hanlon, Westlake Village, 4:39:46

Courtney Kershaw, Agoura Hills 4:41:10

Laura Pedersen, Simi Valley 4:55:20

Mary Nelson, Ojai 5:03:02

Dorothy Baxter, Moorpark 5:06:39

Christine Kam, Ventura 5:07:19

Randy Pentis, Westlake Village 5:35:26

Dennis Silva, Simi Valley 5:43:03

Donald Aguilar, Oxnard 5:59:53


Registration for the 2014 Boston Marathon Began on Monday, September 9th

Registration began began this past Monday, September 9th, for the 2014 Boston Marathon. I hadn't even thought about the Boston Marathon lately, let alone any marathon, other than the marathon I ran this past Sunday.

My 3 hrs, 8 minutes is about 17 minutes than the 3:25 qualifying time for my age group, which gets me into the second group of qualifiers allowed to apply to event. The first group, those that finished at least 20 minutes below their designated qualifying time, were allowed to enter starting on Monday. There's even a Registration Date Calculator for the event on the BAA website:


Qualifying times for the 2014 Boston Marathon are as follows:

Age        Men                                      Women

18-34     3hrs 05min 00sec              3hrs 35min 00sec

35-39     3hrs 10min 00sec              3hrs 40min 00sec

40-44     3hrs 15min 00sec              3hrs 45min 00sec

45-49     3hrs 25min 00sec              3hrs 55min 00sec

50-54     3hrs 30min 00sec              4hrs 00min 00sec

55-59     3hrs 40min 00sec              4hrs 10min 00sec

60-64     3hrs 55min 00sec              4hrs 25min 00sec

65-69     4hrs 10min 00sec              4hrs 40min 00sec

70-74     4hrs 25min 00sec              4hrs 55min 00sec

75-79     4hrs 40min 00sec              5hrs 10min 00sec

80+         4hrs 55min 00sec              5hrs 25min 00sec

Boston Marathon organizers indicate this will be a unique event and that entrants, volunteers may be asked for additional cooperation in certain areas, including transportation, baggage and other logistics.

"Among the changes, it is anticipated participants will be asked to submit to security checks of their personal belongings.  Participants may be asked to significantly reduce, or eliminate, the belongings that they carry with them on the transportation provided by the B.A.A. and into race areas.

Participants should be prepared for the possibility that the checking and pick-up of personal belongings will not be allowed."

BAA organizers are taking a particularly hard look it appears at what the runners can check in at the start of the race. They actually indicate as shown above that there is a possibility that personal belongings will not be allowed.

That would obviously be a drastic, perhaps overly draconian move. Unfortunately due to the 2013 bombing the organizers of the 2014 event have to be particularly cautious as to how to proceed.  I recall for example running the 100th Boston Marathon, quite a cold day, with snow on the ground while we awaited the start of the race in Hopkinton. Luckily I had gloves and warm, layered clothes to keep me marginally warm. But then I placed the items in a bag and retrieved them at the finish. Would entrants basically have to toss away their belongings next year? I guess we'll find out.

Have I registered? No.

Will I register? Haven't decided yet but leaning toward no because I'm likely to have a surgery in the next few months that may take me away from training for several months.

Would I like to register and run the 2014 Boston Marathon? I would for sure if I lived near Boston. But I dread the hassle and cost of travel to an event I've already run several times. That said, this will be a special event in more ways than one.

2013 Boston Marathon Results for Ventura County and Adjacent Area Finishers

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of the today's cowardly Boston Marathon bomb attacks along with their families and the entire city of Boston. It was really a challenge trying to get anything done this afternoon as the news reports rolled in.

I've run two Boston Marathons, had to cancel my third Boston Marathon last year and having passed on the opportunity to run this year's race, this attack was particularly troubling for me. We are all in mourning and in shock. But let's take a brief moment out of all the chaos to recognize those from our local community who completed the 2013 Boston Marathon.

I noticed that Jack Redmond of Camarillo finished just seconds before the first explosion. This Ventura County Star article talks about the aftermath and the stories of some local runners. The article notes some runners were diverted as a result of the blast and thus were unable to cross the finish line. Stacy Stapleton of Camarillo falls into this category. Contact us if you are aware of other locals who were unable to finish due to the attacks.

Benjamin Atkins, Westlake Village, 2:48:15

Jay Loppnow, Camarillo, 3:00:51

Scott Hambly, Thousand Oaks, 3:02:51

Bobby Scott, Ventura, 3:07:56

Christopher Eldridge, Malibu, 3:08:00

Daniel Greider, Ventura, 3:12:08

Rob Hennick, Moorpark, 3:12:11

Jason Griffith, Thousand Oaks, 3:13:34

Glenn Fout, Ojai, 3:20:05

Rafael Gonzales, Camarillo, 3:21:36

Leanne Mohr, Camarillo, 3:23:14

April Lecroy, Ventura, 3:25:54

Jeff Hager, Camarillo, 3:26:24

Jenny Loppnow, Camarillo, 3:29:38

Becky McClintock, Calabasas, 3:29:54

Janice Hyllengren, Moorpark, 3:31:01

Lauren Matzuka, Oak Park, 3:31:15

Mallory Ham, Simi Valley, 3:32:31

Randy Miller, Newbury Park, 3:32:52

Karen Faulhaber, Thousand Oaks, 3:33:26

Lane Desborough, Thousand Oaks, 3:33:30

Rachael Parent, Moorpark, 3:35:02

Amada Garcia, Thousand Oaks, 3:36:55

Julie Ungerleider, Camarillo, 3:37:23

David Moore, Moorpark, 3:39:16

John Wheeler, Simi Valley, 3:39:40

Wendy Raymond, Westlake Village, 3:41:23

Christine Powell, Thousand Oaks, 3:42:35

Sara Jones, Moorpark, 3:43:19

Kirk Waldron, Westlake Village, 3:43:29

Jackie Jones, Newbury Park, 3:45:13

Lisa Mcclellan, Simi Valley, 3:45:52

Steve Arce, Malibu, 3:46:00

Melissa Hernandez, Oxnard, 3:46:00

Rosa Cameron, Oxnard, 3:46:34

Nicholas Duca, Simi Valley, 3:48:10 (Nicholas is 70 years old and finished 6th overall in his division!)

Stacy Galer, Westlake Village, 3:49:57

Susan Duenas, Thousand Oaks, 3:53:15

Laureen Friedman, Oxnard, 3:54:54

Timothy Giller, Simi Valley, 3:55:03

Amy Kupic, Newbury Park, 4:06:43

Jack Redmond, Camarillo, 4:08:10

Lisa Jones, Thousand Oaks, 4:21:07

Dave Czerwonka, Thousand Oaks, 4:22:12

Boston Marathon 2012 Was Sweltering; Top Local Finishers

Here is the card I got back in the mail, indicating my lack of appearance at the race. My friend picked up my shirt in Boston for me. At least I have even splits in this race.It was actually a blessing that I didn't run the Boston Marathon last month as I don't like running in the heat and it was one gnarly, hot and humid day out there. According to race organizers, it was 79 degrees at the start of the men's race and 85 degrees at the finish.

One local runner who has run Boston a dozen or so times said it was 87 degrees at the finish and he was starting to see double. He finished about 33 minutes slower than last year's time, though he was equally fit. Another friend of mine who works at Future Track Running Center in Agoura Hills dropped out of the race; having finished in 3:22 last year, he saw little point in staying on the course for 4+ hours in overheated misery! The winner of the men's race finished in 2:12:40 this year, nearly 10 minutes slower than last year's winning time.

Here are some of the top local runners who did complete the whole course. Congratulations to all!

  • Blue Benadum, 32, Malibu: 2:42:08 (100th overall!)
  • Jessica Douglas, 30, Santa Barbara: 3:12:41 (79th female overall)
  • Pete Feldman, 47, Santa Barbara: 3:16:58
  • Joy Zemella, 36, Santa Barbara: 3:19:37 (153rd female overall)
  • Craig Prater, 47, Santa Barbara: 3:20:50
  • Simon Martin, 45, Newbury Park: 3:26:40 (1st Ventura County finisher)
  • Steven Kulchin, 57, Santa Barbara: 3:34:01 (61st in age group)
  • Leanne Mohr, 26, Camarillo: 3:34:25 (2nd Ventura County finisher)
  • Joslynn Spreadbury, 35, Santa Barbara: 3:37:30
  • Fred Alvarez, 49, Ojai: 3:37:35
  • Rebecca Getman, 23, Calabasas: 3:38:22
  • Barry Wallman, 60, Camarillo: 3:38:30 (19th in age group)
  • Andrew Whittington, 45, Thousand Oaks: 3:38:39
  • Jason Griffith, 40, Thousand Oaks: 3:40:03
  • Sharon Pick, 45, Thousand Oaks: 3:41:03 (56th in age group)
  • Brianna Alban, 23, Thousand Oaks: 3:41:09
  • Erik Lange, 44, Ventura: 3:41:57
  • Scott Hambly, 45, Thousand Oaks: 3:42:24
  • Dana Janowicz, 36, Camarillo: 3:42:31
  • Larissa White, 25, Santa Barbara: 3:42:49

Visit for more information.

Boston Marathon Organizers Indicate 2012 Race to Occur in "Red Zone" Not Safe for "Unfit and Novice Runners"

Boston Marathon organizer issued another precautionary email today with a more direct recommendation that "anyone entered in the marathon who has not met the qualifying standards for their age and gender strongly consider not running, and that they strongly consider deferring until next year."

That is very strong wording. They are obviously taking this weather very seriously. As mentioned yesterday, I think a deferment of this magnitude is unprecedented. Of course they still will ask those not running this year's race to pay for next year's race, thus giving up the $150 they paid this year. But it gives these runners another chance to run should they decide to take a pass.

Here is today's email from Boston Marathon organizers:

Update to Entrants in Tomorrow's Boston Marathon®

Sunday, April 15, 2012 as of 4:30 p.m.


Running any marathon involves risks

  • The weather conditions that we will be seeing on Monday, April 16 will involve even more risk.  It will involve an increased element of risk to all participants due to the heat.  Only the fittest runners should consider participating.
  • We have put in place a broad array of services and support for our marathon participants, but the risks that will be presented on April 16 will be higher than
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2012 Boston Marathon Organizers Urging Caution on Monday Due to Extreme Heat

If you've been reading this blog you would know I signed up for the Boston Marathon but due to an eye surgery lost 5 1/2 weeks of training and thus opted to skip the marathon. My surgery was 2/6 and I started running again on 3/18.

Today I received the following email (excerpted below) from Boston Marathon organizers. WOW! I've NEVER seen this before. Race organizers telling runners literally "YOU SHOULD NOT RUN." They are definitely urging caution due to projected heat going into the mid to high 80s with 50% humidity.

Glad I'm not going! I strongly dislike running in heat and doubly so adding in humidity. Sounds miserable! And the race doesn't start until 10 a.m. Uggh. Well good luck to all that ARE running! Stay cool and hydrated! Thanks Phill for picking up my Boston Marathon race shirt!

Organizers take what may be an unprecedented (I haven't

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Gaining Entry Into the New York City Marathon Can Be Quite a Challenge

A friend of mine who recently finished his first marathon told me he entered into the lottery for an entry into this year's ING New York City Marathon. He asked me how I did in that race.

I've never run the NYC Marathon!

Timing simply never worked for me for New York and I enjoy the logistical simplicity of running local fall marathons like the Long Beach Marathon, Malibu Marathon and Santa Barbara Marathon.

But New York is one of the pre-eminent marathons around the world. With over 46,000 finishers last year, it is also one of the world's most popular marathons.

I've run Los Angeles, Boston and Chicago but not New York. So for grins I took a look.

Wow! $255 for non-New York Road Runners club members plus an $11 application fee! Ouch! That compares to $165 for this year's Los Angeles Marathon and $150 for Boston.

What really surprised me is that there are qualifying times for a guaranteed entry into the NYC Marathon. Having recently signed up for Boston, with a 3 1/2 hour qualifying time for my 45-49 age group, I was actually shocked to see that the qualifying time for my age group at NYC is 3 hours, 10 minutes, a full 20 minutes faster than the Boston Marathon!

Then I read and realized that the 2013 New York Marathon guaranteed entry qualifying times drop even 2 hours, 58 minutes for my age group! Wow! Boston qualifying times are also dropping in 2013, but more slightly, to 3 hours, 25 minutes for my age group, a full 27 minutes, or over 1 minute per mile, slower than New York.

I better start training! Or maybe I should sign up for New York THIS year!

They don't let anyone off the hook beginning in 2013. NYC qualifying times for men up to age 39 will be 2:45 in 2013 while ages 70+ will be 3 hours, 46 minutes. That's MOVING! For women up to age 39, you will need to run a sub 3 hour marathon, while apparently 70+ year olds will need to run 4:50 to qualify (which is actually 15 minutes slower than current NYC Marathon qualifying times).

I see this as a challenge! Check out more at

Offline for Another Month With a Follow-Up Eye Surgery

Well due to complications resulting from my retinal detachment surgery last Fall, I'm back in the surgery seat tomorrow. Yes, quite depressing. Just when my training was starting to feel good, I'll be away from running for about a month, starting tomorrow.

But the good news is that with all this rest, and hopefully an eye that has regained some of the vision lost due to macular/retinal issues, I'll be back at it with renewed energy. With rest "forced" upon me, my body will go into hibernation mode I suppose.

Yes, I'm still signed up for the Boston Marathon on April 16th but with a month of quality training time removed from my schedule at the peak of my training, I will likely be bailing out from the race :<

There's always next year...

Well the Good News is That I Received My 116th Boston Marathon Confirmation of Acceptance in the Mail Today


I received this confirmation in the mail today, re-confirming the email stating I have been accepted into the Boston Marathon on April 16, 2012. My qualifying time was nearly half an hour slower than my previous Boston qualifying times at 3:05:39, but what the heck, I'll take it.

But in the meantime I haven't run since September 14th. I've walked a bit but for the most part of had to ditch my training due to my corrective surgery for retinal detachment on September 15th. The bad news for me last week is that my surgeon and I agreed that I needed a second, shorter surgery last Friday. So I was laid up all weekend and am now recuperating again.

But the good news is that it appears to be doing better. Apparently the vitrectomy did not fully heal the detachment. So he went in and lasered it up on Friday. I was pretty much out for the surger but remember waking up towards the end, attempting to crack jokes while he was doing his final prodding in and around my eye. Great stuff!

So on that happy note, I'm hoping that within a few weeks I'll be back at it. Crossing my fingers.

The Boston Athletic Organization publishes a list of entrants. I count approximately 50 entrants from the Conejo Valley and Greater Ventura County areas, stretching from Agoura to Simi Valley to Ojai to Ventura.