John Volkman has run the Boston Marathon probably more than anyone else from the central San Joaquin Valley, but this year he may have record company.
The 121st annual edition of America’s most famous 26.2-miler is Monday and the Valley will be well represented with more than 50 runners signed up for race day.
That’s more than Volkman can remember compared to previous years. And this will be No. 19 for the 66-year-old running coach.
A check of the marathon website shows 31 men and 27 women, hailing from Delano to Madera.
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There are 24 from Fresno, 14 from Visalia, six from Clovis, four from Hanford, three from Reedley, two apiece from Madera and Springville, and one each from Delano, Dinuba and Exeter.
California often has the most out-of-state participants, but Boston Athletic Association amendments on qualifying times have allowed more runners than ever a chance to run the world’s oldest annual marathon on what’s known in the East as Patriot’s Day.
Four local runners will be in the first corral of the likely fastest finishers: Joe Amendt, Jesus Campos, Benjamin Madrigal and Steven Waite.
Waite, 26, of Fresno, was the Valley’s top finisher last year, clocking in at 2 hours, 53 minutes, 46 seconds.
58runners from the central San Joaquin Valley signed up for the running of the 121st annual Boston Marathon on Monday, April 17.
Among the women, Clovis’ Stephanie Ormond is back after she was the top female finisher from the Valley a year ago at 3:29:27. Dinuba’s Maria Rodriguez, the two-time defending Valley Runner of the Year series winner (2015, 16) is also among the list of entrants.
Boston will be a family affair for father-son duos Al and Matthew Morales of Visalia, and Mark and Jordan Reader of Springville.
Ironman champion Christopher Montross of Fresno will run in Boston for the second straight year. Montross qualified for 2016 after winning his 55-59 age division at the 2015 Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.
The oldest competitor is 71-year-old Robert Ramirez Jr. of Hanford; the youngest is Andrew Arzate, 23, of Fresno.
Arzate is no stranger to Boston. He made his debut there in 2015 (3:01:57) and is back for a second time after a late qualifying push.
He called it a “gametime decision” as the full-time Starbucks manager and student at Arizona State University online squeezed in the extra hours to train. He made the cut by completing the Ventura Marathon in 2:57 – 8 minutes less than the cutoff time for the 19-34 age group.
As recently as five years ago, Arzate never would have imagined himself as a runner. He wasn’t into sports growing up, though he did take up wrestling as a Buchanan High senior.
But he gave running a chance and trained with the cross country team at Fresno City College. He’s no speed demon like Waite, Campos, Madrigal and Morales – all of whom he admires and aspires to be like.
Ruuning has evolved into a seriously healthy lifestyle for, as Arzate puts it, the former fat kid.
“I remember that first day I put on running shoes and saying, ‘This hurts,’ ” he recalls, “but I wanted to get better at this. And once you get better, you start liking it.”
He has one goal for Boston, also his 13th marathon overall: to cross the finish line with nothing left to give.
“I want to end on empty. I want to be at that point where I’ve given everything I got.”
121ST BOSTON MARATHON
Here is the list of Central San Joaquin Valley runners registered for the 2017 Boston Marathon on Monday, April 17. Know of somebody we missed? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Wave 1 (7 a.m. start): Andres Aguinaga, 31, Exeter; Joe Amendt, 48, Clovis; Andrew Arzate, 23, Fresno; Tyler Baxley, 27, Fresno; Adam Blitz, 34, Fresno; Jesus Campos Reyes, 32, Fresno; Enrique Flores, 38, Fresno; Justin Harris, 40, Visalia; Benjamin Madrigal, 30, Madera; Christopher Montross, 56, Fresno; Matthew Morales, 27, Visalia; Jordan Reader, 24, Springville; Stephen Serrano, 41, Madera; Vhusomuzi Sukuta, 40, Fresno; Steven Waite, 26, Fresno; Shawn Young, 43, Fresno
- Wave 2 (7:25): Don Demyan, 51, Fresno; Mark Dorman, 45, Clovis; Jason Martin, 45, Visalia; Al Morales, 53, Visalia; Farshad Oreizi, 55, Clovis; Mark Reader, 55, Springville; Michael Tejada, 44, Clovis
- Wave 3 (7:50): Michael Baumann, 60, Visalia; Brad Castillo, 61, Fresno; David Humerickhouse, 60, Visalia; Robert Powers, 56, Fresno
- Wave 4 (8:15): Ryan Castaneda, 24, Hanford; Bill Hastrup, 66, Fresno; Robert Ramirez Jr., 71, Hanford; John Volkman, 66, Fresno
- Wave 2 (7:25 a.m. start): Rebecca Cutler, 43, Fresno; Samantha Jaramillo, 31, Fresno; Kristine Koo, 34, Fresno; Stephanie Ormond, 34, Clovis; Andrea Samansky, 41, Fresno; Erin Spencer, 37, Fresno; Beth Tademy, 39, Reedley; Michele Van Ornum, 48, Fresno; Michelle Vasquez, 33, Visalia; Amanda Whitten, 34, Fresno
- Wave 3 (7:50): Stacy Anderson, 50, Visalia; Maria Alicia Brown, 46, Visalia; Juana Duarte, 50, Reedley; Laura Fenster, 52, Fresno; Yvonne Jessup, 54, Hanford; Julia Johnson, 53, Reedley; Jennifer Mihalcin, 40, Visalia; Carmen Pedraza, 43, Fresno; Maria Rodriguez, 37, Dinuba; Renee Saxman, 56, Visalia; Cynthia Serpa, 35, Visalia; Sarah Yost, 42, Fresno
- Wave 4 (8:15): Sally Lovejoy, 60, Visalia; Janet Lucido, 57, Clovis; Sheila Oberto, 61, Fresno; Hope Roe, 55, Delano