Mara Olson of San Francisco, age 25, easily cruised to overall victory in the 10k portion of the East Bay 510K Bay Challenge race on Sunday, Oct. 14. I happened to be there as she turned the corner on the west side of the park. She was so far ahead that the next runner wasn’t even visible yet, and the pack chuffed far, far behind. Olson strode comfortably, as if on an easy jog, and was neither short of breath nor sweating as she passed. Her time, according to the unofficial race results, was 35:41, almost three minutes ahead of the second place winner (and top male finisher), the German runner Christian Zingsem. Olson posted a phenomenal 5:45 mile pace over the 10k course.
Race organizers did a good job setting cones, posting volunteer route monitors, and cleaning up afterward. Race volunteers emptied every trash barrel along the route into plastic bags and then picked up and carted the bags off. I walked most of the route in the park after the last runners/walkers were gone and could not tell that approximately two thousand people — the number of registered participants stood at 2,192 — had just passed.