The Lodi Mile

ELITE ATHLETES - 2014


STEVEN GARBODEN II - SOUTH BAY   4TH PLACE


800 PR: 1:53.03

1500 PR: 3:44.38

Mile PR: 4:05.42

Born: 12/31/1989

College: USF ‘13

Club: Bay Area Track Club

Twitter: @Gar_Bonzo

A question frequently asked to runners who spend hours laying rubber to pavement is: “what do you think about when you’re out running?”  The answer to that question is that we don’t think, we dream.  Running facilitates a dream-like state where your wildest dreams become attainable, but only through hard work.  Steven’s dream is to break the 4-minute barrier in the mile, a dream that started as a wild one but has methodically been tamed through many miles at varying paces on the roads and tracks around the Bay Area.  A dream is founded in emotion and takes heart to achieve, but the inner-workings that drive a dream through the brick wall barrier to reality are mechanical and require a levelheaded approach.  In order to devote time to training, time must be shaved elsewhere, which is why Steve chooses to eat standing up… and usually out of the pan he cooks in to reduce dishwashing time.  Efficiency extends to rest, and that means escalators are Steve’s ally.  Avoid stairs at all cost and ignore what Mitch Hedberg said, if the escalator is broken, it is not temporarily stairs, it is an impassible obstacle.  As Steve’s journey brings him to the starting line, we will see if the road in Lodi is the wormhole that brings his two worlds crashing together in perfect harmony.  Aside from the roar of the crowd, it will sound like rubber to pavement, a sound of which Steve never tires.  


DAWSON VORDERBRUEGGE - CENTRAL VALLEY   3RD PLACE


800 PR: 1:53.68

1500: 3:48.03

College: CSU Stanislaus ‘13

Twitter: @dvord

Dawson glides out the door for a run because as John L. Parker penned in Once a Runner: “you gotta pay homage to the calendar gods.”  It’s as simple as that, if you want something, you have to serve the master who will give it to you… and that master is hard work, prescribing a training schedule with few days off.  When out on the roads, he thinks of himself as liquid, cascading towards his destination, with a fluid stride like the Silver Surfer.  Once his daily dues have been happily paid, Dawson occupies the rest of his time brushing up on the classics and philosophy, playing guitar, leading worship at his church, and eating at least 3-4 eggs a day.  The man who made a name for himself on the track at CSU Stanislaus maintains that heroes live sacrificially for others, and they live to elevate others.  By this definition, Dawson’s heroes are his feet; they’ve carried him to victories and personal bests and have paid the price for it, with blisters, callouses, black toenails… they’re seriously nasty.  On race day in Lodi, the man who moves like water downhill will rely on his feet to take him yet another mile, and if he’s paid the calendar gods enough, he’ll get what he’s bargained for, and his feet can soak in some water.    


JK WITHERS – SAN FRANCISCO   5TH  PLACE


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1500 PR: 3:46.88

Mile PR: 4:03.24

Road Mile PR: 3:58

Born: 06/1986

College: Oregon ‘09

Club: Sacramento Running Association

Twitter: @jkwithers

Long before JK ascended to the upper ranks of the California running world, he climbed to the top of the rock in the backyard of his childhood home, clad in underpants, armor, and boots, thrust his toy sword towards the sky and shouted: “I have the power!”  Echoing the words of his cartoon childhood hero, “He-Man,” even then he knew that it took courage from within to conquer his goals… and that a reached goal deserves a worthy celebration.  What drew JK to running is the simplicity of the process.  If you put in the hard work, you see good results, so what excuse is there to not work hard?  If a runner does not work hard, then they run the risk of losing, something JK despises equally as much as he loves to win.  The equation for running fast does not solely rely on the ability to work hard, but to also take time to rest.  The most competitive runners, JK included are acutely aware of this, and when not pushing the speed limits of their own bodies, they are some of the slowest walkers to slog through the veggie isle at the grocery store, down the driveway to grab a paper, and across the crosswalk; a mid-shuffle blinking red hand inevitable.  When JK is not training or walking incredibly slow, he is playing with his wide-eyed, excitable puppy that helps him get in a little extra speed work.  In Lodi, the rock that Jk conquered as a boy will take the form of smooth black asphalt, stretching exactly a mile, and as he lines up with his competitors, we will get to see who conquers it first.  He has agreed to wear regulation size running shorts this time.   


DANIELLE DOMENICHELLI - CENTRAL VALLEY  4TH PLACE


5k PR: 16:01

1500 PR: 4:26

Mile PR: 4:41

Born: 5/11/1987

College: UC Santa Barbara ‘10

Club: Sacramento Running Association

Twitter: @danielled7

Power down that computer… but wait til you’ve read this.  Chances are that what you want to find in running isn’t going to come to you through a pixelated screen.  For Danielle, finding success on the track means looking for it over many miles of winding trails.  Her commitment to her goals is resolute, and her work ethic has brought them to her in high resolution, in the form of All American status in the 5 and 10k as a UC Santa Barbara Goucho.  Off the track, Danielle is an easy going individual, comfortable letting others take the wheel while she backseats it, daydreaming about snorkeling, gardening, hiking, camping, or that cake she’s going to bake for her friend’s birthday.  Victory in running is an activity that requires different ingredients, however, and that is a cake that Danielle doesn’t want to share.  Setting foot on the rubber or roads is parallel to entering another world, and one that she is all too familiar with.  Careful preparation is reserved for race day, as it is a time when one can measure fitness, passion and determination.  An introspective endeavor, racing offers a chance to block out reality and embark on a quest to the inner reaches of your soul and extract something rare that only you can find.  Finding something so unique may be the reason Danielle is always smiling off the track; smiling and singing.  Danielle admits that she will even sing on easy runs through the trails, or sitting in traffic, not caring who is staring at her from 3 feet away through two panes of glass.  Daily life is a backseat drive through the countryside, but on the road in Lodi, buckle up the kids and make sure you can hold it for a few minutes because Danielle is taking the wheel and she’s going to floor it.  


SAM HYAMS - SACRAMENTO   6TH PLACE


800 PR: 1:50.83

1500 PR: 3:45.19

Born: 06/13/1990

College: UC Irvine ‘13

Club: Bay Area Track Club

Twitter: @szhyams

When Sam leaves his house in the morning to embark on his daily run, he embraces what greets him on the other side of the threshold.  Be it wind, rain, the bitter cold or the warming sun, he knows that by meeting his challenges head on, he will be better prepared to grapple with future ones, however strange or difficult they may be.  A recognizable force in the Big West Conference, Sam tormented opponents as a UC Irvine Anteater, although he will tell you that he much prefers carrots.  He is obsessed with carrots and says they are without a doubt his favorite food.  Carrots and competition not solely occupying Sam’s heart, he loves going on spontaneous adventures.  One of his favorite things to do is to just jump into a car with a few friends, point in a direction and head that way in search of whatever may receive them.  If one does not expect anything when embarking on a journey, they are prepared to be amazed by anything that may happen- like how some of the best movies you’ve seen were introduced to you only after brushing through the door of the theater, bucket of carrots in hand, with no preconceived notion of what the film would be like.  When Sam steps on the starting line in Lodi, he will do it with the expectation of bettering himself as a person and as a runner, and with that direction, when the credits roll; we may well have seen a spectacular show.         


DAVID TORRENCE - EAST BAY   2014 CHAMPION


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800 PR: 1:45.14

1000 PR: 2:16.76 *AR 

1500 PR: 3:33.23

Mile PR: 3:52.01

Born: 11/26/1985

College: UC Berkeley '08

Club: Bay Area Track Club

Sponsor: Nike

Twitter: @David_Torrence

Turn the music up in those headphones.  Lay down a 4 minute track, and if he finishes early, fill the rest with some noise. That precious time shouldn’t be wasted, but David doesn’t need nearly that much to wrap up a mile.  This year has seen David stamp his name on an indoor 4x800 world record and an American record of 2:16.76 in the 1,000m, not to mention solidifying himself as the second fastest American over 2,000m on a 200 meter track under a ceiling.  When training, David grinds along above the track with a business class mindset.  Motivated to stay out of the freight car behind him that carries past failures, he looks ahead of him and thinks about ripping the door of the dining car open and feasting on some medals with a side of times in smaller portions.  It’s not all business for David, in his spare time he likes to jam on the charango (small Peruvian guitar) and cajon (Peruvian box drum).  Before races, the American record holder’s demeanor is casual, staying loose and relaxed and avoiding the solitary confinement some athletes opt for to find their game face.  When it’s go time though, his manner switches from confidante offering advice on how much milk to add to a bowl of ice cream, to a swagger reserved for the baddest man on the track.  The great Nourredine Morceli’s quote occupies the top tier of the podium in his mind- “When I step on the line, my mind is full of questions… who will finish second? Third?”  When the gun cracks and the feet drop, may the baddest man on the road leave the rest of the field to figure out what to do with the remaining time… he doesn’t need all 4 minutes.    


BRETT ZORICH - EAST BAY   3RD PLACE


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800 PR: 2:04.54

400 PR: 54.00

1500 PR: 4:37

Born: 05/04/1990

College: UNLV ’12

Club: Sacramento Running Association

Twitter: @brettzorich800

As the sun rises over the Sierras, Brett finds her motivation in a cup ‘o joe and heads out the door with carefully selected workout attire to reflect whatever workout she will tackle today. A quirk among runners that Brett exhibits is our desire to don the duds that best suit the workout at hand. If the schedule calls for long run- loose shorts. Speed work? Long tights. Really tough workout? Any accessory that will make her feel like Vernon Davis speeding down the sideline, unable to be slowed by anyone or anything. When Brett isn’t training with the tenacity of an NFL tight end, she enjoys dining out with friends, visiting new places, and eating new and exotic foods. Her desire to try new things has led her to new levels of fitness, and she has developed a taste for fast times as showcased by her storied career at UNLV, capped off with an Olympic Trials appearance. Brett believes that she has the passion and dance moves to be a pop singer. She exhibited these characteristics in a music video of Macklemore’s “Can’t Hold Us” with fellow Lodi Miler, Lyndsay Harper.  Hearing Macklemore’s jam will prompt Brett to channel her inner Vernon Davis, which may just be the recipe for breaking the plane, victorious in Lodi. Get ready for the touchdown dance.


LYNDSAY HARPER - SAN FRANCISCO   2014 RUNNER UP


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1500 PR: 4:18.80

800 PR: 2:03.16

Mile PR: 4:46.2

Born: 10/26/1988

College: University of Virginia ’11

Club: Bay Area Track Club

Twitter: @lyndsayharper

Lyndsay is a designer, it’s what she studied at the University of Virginia and it’s what she does now, while carrying out her plans for triumph on the track.  Her designs for success have come to life in the form of NCAA All American status, multiple USA Championship meet appearances, and a trip to the Olympic Trials.  A well-choreographed race execution calls for every detail to be scrutinized and calculated, and it begins with the pre-race dance… spirit fingers, a crucial component.  Lyndsay’s talents in design and choreography have not only shown themselves in the studio and on the track, but also in the unofficial music video for Mackelmore’s Can’t Hold Us, which she produced with fellow runners including Lodi Miler, Brett Zorich.  Although it is satisfying to carry out one’s design exactly, Lyndsay maintains that there is no better feeling than surpassing your own expectations.  Maybe you plan on some really good spirit fingers, but if the moment is right, those spirit fingers could be absolutely ridiculous!  Lyndsay is very competitive, even in games like Jenga.  When the finish line approaches in Lodi, and the Jenga towers of other runners start to sway, she plans to not be holding the block.  She will be making spirit fingers, her arms outstretched.  


LEA WALLACE - SACRAMENTO   2014 CHAMPION       


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1500 PR: 4:09.13 

800 PR: 2:00.30

Mile PR: 4:39.7

Born: 12/19/1988

College: Sacramento State ’11

Sponsor: Nike

Twitter: @Lea_Wallace

A familiar face in northern California, Lea made her first strides over the hills and around the tracks of Napa.  As those strides became progressively quicker, she left impressive marks on the walls of Vintage High School and took her talents and determination to Sac State where she continued to cut times, win races, and break records.  Running is a progression to Lea, with her intent to leave her bed each morning and be better than the day before; to run the race and check the clock to see that this lap is faster than the last.  Be better than the day before… check. Make the Olympic Trials… check. Become one of the fastest 800 and 1500 meter runners in the United States… check.  Enjoy a corn dog and some waffles… double check.  Lea’s friends, well aware of her exploits on the track have nicknamed her “The Dream Killer.”  Greeting each day as an opportunity, she silences her nightmares and the dreams of her competitors.  As the dreams of others float through the vineyards, they are slashed by the carefully sharpened stride Lea has perfected day in and day out.  The Dream Killer has come from her vineyards to Lodi’s.  Don’t sleep on her speed.  


TOMMY SCHMITZ - SOUTH BAY   2014 RUNNER UP


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1500 PR: 3:39.90 (2011) 

Mile PR: 3:58.40 (2010)

Born: 07/16/1983

College: Marquette ’07

Sponsor: Speed Factory Athletics

Twitter: @milertom

To those with their eye trained on the professional racing scene, Tommy is a fixture at the front of the pack- on the point, leading through grueling paces with the field strung out in his wake.  Tommy explains that what drives him to get out and run is the fear that he may lose an upcoming race.  His favorite training runs occur at night, ratcheting down the pace, attempting to uncover what lies behind the veil of darkness in front of him.  What Tommy describes as a fear-driven motivation shows itself in the form of curiosity; a desire to understand his own abilities that has led him to elite places like multiple USA Championship meets and the Olympic Trials.  Tommy’s detective-like nature doesn’t just lead him to scintillating speeds on the track and roads; sometimes he just wants to find out what’s going on in a folding chair at the beach… and jam out to the country sounds of Jason Aldean.  You won’t find any up-close pictures of this activity because by his own deduction he is not very good at taking “selfies,” a limitation that may be due to his inability to blink out of his right eye.  Consequently, Tommy will have a clear, unobstructed view of the finish line arch, as he drives the field to see just how much it takes to win the Lodi Mile.     


DORIAN ULREY


1500 PR: 3:35.23 (2009)

Mile PR: 3:55.62 (2012)

Born: 07/11/1987

College: Northern Iowa ’08, Arkansas ‘11

Coach: Chris Bucknam

Sponsor: Nike

Twitter: @DorianUlrey

Contributor to the Lodi Mile Racing Concept.  Dorian is the proud owner of 11 All American certificates, 8 SEC Championship trophies, an NCAA National Championship trophy in the 3k and a chocolate lab named Franko.  The former Arkansas Razorback’s favorite musical group is Coldplay… and he can be a convincing advocate for the band.  The kind of confidence that allows him to admit this in public is visible when he enters the competitive realm and one doesn’t need more than a glimpse to be convinced of his knack for track.  Known for a ferocious finishing kick that devastated the Southeastern Conference for years, you can be sure that when he roared across the finish line qualifying for the USA World Track Championships team in 2009, he did it with Speed of Sound racing through his head.  A self-proclaimed connoisseur of smoked meats, he loves himself a good plate of barbeque and will rarely refuse a basket of buffalo wings with some sweet potato tots on the side.  He’s always wanted to learn to play the guitar, but he’s just has never gotten around to it.  Dorian prefers the straightforward approach, which is why he’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the Lodi Mile.


ELITE ATHLETES - 2013

Here are some of the elite men and women who competed in the inaugural Lodi Mile race last year! 


GARRETT HEATH - 2013 CHAMPION


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1500 PR: 3:34.12 (2013)

Mile PR: 3:53.15 (2013)

Born: 11/3/1985

College: Stanford ‘11

Coach: Danny Mackey

Sponsor: Brooks, Brooks Beasts

Heath, a former Stanford standout on the track kicked off an electric 2013 campaign with a victory at the inaugural Lodi Mile.  After storming down Lodi’s mile stretch in 4:00.5 to defeat South African  hero, Peter Van Der Westhuizen, Garrett continued his assault on his personal record book, blazing 13:20.01 in the 5k in Palo Alto, a 3:34 in the 1500 meters in Oordegem-Lede, Belgium and a 3:53 mile in London.  Heath continued his drive into 2014, defeating legends of the sport and Olympic gold medalists, Asbel Kiprop and Kenenisa Bekele in a 4k cross country race in Edinburgh, Scotland.  The man with a Master’s in management science and engineering has since joined Coach Danny Mackey’s talented track club of Brook’s Beasts in Seattle leaving friends and supporters eager to see just how far he can go, and how fast he can get there.         

 

PETER VAN DER WESTHUIZEN - 2013 RUNNER UP


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1500 PR: 3:35.33 (2009)

Mile PR: 3:54.90 (2010)

Born: 12/21/1984

College: Nebraska ’08

Sponsor: Saucony

Twitter: @vanders13

In a thrilling finish, Peter emerged the runner up in the 2013 Lodi Mile to a fast closing Garrett Heath.  Peter walked away having stamped a 4:01.8 on the road between the grape vines.  A native of South Africa, Peter made his way to the USA where he competed for the University of Nebraska on the track.  Peter’s talents helped qualify him for the 2010 World Indoor Track Championships and 2011 World Outdoor Championships, competing for South Africa.  

 

MILES BATTY - 2013 3RD PLACE 


1500 PR: 3:36.25 (2011)

Mile PR: 3:54.54 (2012)

Born: 06/01/1987

College: BYU ’12

Sponsor: Asics, Austin Track Club

Twitter: @MilesBatty

The former indoor NCAA record holder in the mile was the third man to cross the finish line at 2013’s Lodi Mile in a time of 4:05.2.  An immense talent at BYU, Batty was 2011’s NCAA Indoor Track national champion in the mile and anchored his distance medley relay team to top honors at the same meet as well.  His 2012 time of 3:54.54 for the mile, set at the historic Millrose Games in New York City broke a 38 year old NCAA record and stood for one year.  Batty is now sponsored by Asics and trains with the Austin Track Club down in the Lone Star State.  

 

TOMMY SCHMITZ - 2013 4TH PLACE


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1500 PR: 3:39.90 (2011) 

Mile PR: 3:58.40 (2010)

Born: 07/16/1983

College: Marquette ’07

Sponsor: Speed Factory Athletics

Twitter: @milertom

After an aggressive start to the race which saw Tommy powerfully striding through the half mile at the front of the pack, he held on for a 4th place finish in the 2013 Lodi Mile.  The time on the clock of 4:10.2 not revealing the whole story, as he went through the half mile in 2 minutes flat.  Tommy ran his college track for Marquette University and made his greatest improvements in the sport post-collegiately.  A familiar fixture in high level meets around the country; Tommy is never afraid to push the pace and will lead the pack through grueling splits without hesitation. 

 

GEENA GALL LARA - 2013 CHAMPION


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Mile PR: 4:31.4 (2013)

1500 PR: 4:09.95 (2013)

800 PR: 1:59.24 (2012)

Born: 01/18/1987

College: Michigan ’09

Coach: Mike McGuire

Twitter: @GeenaGall

Geena Gall broke the tape at 2013's Lodi Mile in 4:54 for the fabled distance.  Gall became the pride of her hometown of Grand Blanc, Mich. as she qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games and advanced to the semi-finals of the 800m. Her hometown hosted viewing parties for her races at the local McDonalds and she was welcomed home with proclamations and parties. While at Michigan, Gall  was a two-time NCAA Outdoor 800m champion, and qualified for the 2009 World Championships following her senior year. In high school she was the national indoor 800-meter champ twice and the outdoor 800 champion once.