King, West, Kosinski, Howard, Soderlund earn nod
Local running legends and pioneers in the sport of long distance running headline the Sacramento Running Association’s fourth Hall of Fame class.
Long-time Mira Loma and Del Campo High School coach Bob King, Sacramento’s first state track meet champion Clifton West, high school national record-holder Alex Kosinski, talented ultramarathoner Jim Howard and long-time Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run race director Greg Soderlund earned spots in the class of 2016, which will be honored at the SRA’s Hall of Fame and Annual Achievement Awards dinner on Feb. 27 at the Holiday Inn Capitol Plaza in Sacramento.
Tickets for the 6 p.m. event are $50. For more information, visit www.runsra.org.
“The Sacramento Running Association’s annual Hall of Fame event is such a great evening that brings together people throughout the region to celebrate Sacramento’s rich running history and vibrant running community,” said Scott Abbott, executive director of the Sacramento Running Association. “It has quickly become one of my favorite events of the year.
“Every year, I am in awe of the multi-faceted and multi-talented Hall of Fame classes that are pulled together; it is a testament to the depth of accomplished runners and dynamic contributors to the sport in the Sacramento region. This year is no exception, as we are excited to induct three of Sacramento’s greatest runners spanning nearly 5 decades of achievements, one of the state’s best coaches with almost 50 years of coaching excellence, and a visionary race director of one of the worlds most prestigious endurance events.”
King compiled a 663-56 record in cross country and a 271-42-4 record in track during his 49 years as a local high school coach at both Mira Loma and Del Campo High Schools. His teams captured 20 Sac-Joaquin Section titles in track and cross country and 45 of his athletes competed at the CIF State Track Meet. King was named the California State Cross Country Coach of the Year in 1977 and was inducted into the Sac-Joaquin Hall of Fame in 2011.
West, a Kennedy High School graduate, was the area’s first state champion having won the mile at the 1968 CIF State Track Meet with a time of four minutes and nine seconds. He went on to star at the University of California where he set the freshman mile record with a 4:04.0, which stood for over 20 years. West was a finalist at the 1972 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 1,500 meters and represented the United States in 1977 as part of the 4×400-meter relay team that went undefeated on a world tour.
Kosinski was a standout at El Dorado Hills’ Oak Ridge High School having set the national high school record in the 1,600 meters in 2007 (4:38.15). She was the runner-up at the CIF State Track Meet in the 1,600 meters as both as a sophomore and a junior and was the runner-up at the California State Cross Country Championships her senior year. Kosinski went on to star at the University of Oregon where she set the school’s record in the indoor 5,000 meters.
Howard experienced success on both the roads and trails during his illustrious running career. He posted a personal best marathon time of two hours, 16 minutes and 58 seconds in 1987 and won the Clarksburg 20 and the Avenue of the Giants Marathon in 1981. That same year, he won both the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run and the American River 50. Howard is a four-time winner of the American River 50 and set the old course record at Western States in 1981.
Soderlund served as the race director for the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run from 2000 to 2012. He led the world’s oldest and best-known 100-mile trail run through an unprecedented era of increasing popularity, prestige and worldwide renown. Soderlund also directed the American River 50 and Way Too Cool 50K ultras.
The five inductees join the 22 members already in the SRA Hall of Fame. The inaugural class of 2013 featured Billy Mills, Rae Clark, Eileen Claugus, Chris Iwahashi, Helen Klein, Paul Reese, Dennis Rinde and Linda Somers Smith. The 2014 class included Michael Stember, Al Baeta, Patti Gray Bellan, Lindsay Hyatt Barr, Harold Kuphaldt, John Mansoor, Heike Skaden Mansoor and Tim Twietmeyer. The 2015 class featured Sally Edwards, Walt Lange, Eric and Mark Mastalir, Jim O’Neil and Bill Finkbeiner.
The Sacramento Running Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding new ways to encourage people of all ages and abilities to run. The SRA is committed to developing new, quality running events that appeal to a broad variety of runners.