Conley Earns SRA Athlete Of The Year Award

Kim Conley

Jan. 29, 2013

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Kim Conley deeply appreciates the Sacramento Running Association's support in realizing her Olympic dream.

Financial backing from the SRA helped Conley focus more on training as she prepared for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Ore.

The former UC Davis standout made the most of her opportunity. Her 15-minute, 19.79-second performance edged crowd favorite Julia Lucas (15:19.83) and Abbey D'Agostino (15:19.98) in a dramatic race for third place in the women's 5,000 meters and just beat the Olympic `A' standard of 15:20:00 needed to compete in the Games.

In London, Conley recorded a personal best of 15:14.48 in the first round of the Olympic Games in London but failed to advance to the final.

"Thanks to SRA, 2012 was a breakout year for me and allowed me to realize an incredible dream in making the Olympic team," said Conley, who nearly quit competitive running after leaving UC Davis.

"What's even better is it has set the stage for the future, and with our continued partnership I'm hoping to become a competitive athlete on the world stage in 2013 and beyond."    

Conley received the athlete of the year award at the SRA's Hall of Fame and Annual Achievement Awards dinner last Saturday night at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento.

The SRA also inducted its first eight members into its Hall of Fame: Rae Clark, Eileen Claugus, Chris Iwahashi, Helen Klein, Billy Mills, Paul Reese, Dennis Rinde and UC Davis alumna Linda Somers Smith.

 The dinner also featured the presentation of Annual Achievement Awards to the Sacramento area's top runners in track, road racing, cross country and ultra running.

Brendan Gregg received the men's college track athlete of the year, with Deborah Maier earning the women's track athlete honor. Other college honorees included the Aggies' Trevor Halsted, men's cross country athlete; UC Davis' Sarah Sumpter, women's cross country athlete; Rick Anderson, men's cross country coach; and UC Davis' Drew Wartenberg, women's cross country and track coach.

Conley led the open division. Other honorees included German Fernandez, men's track athlete; Lindsay Tollefson, women's cross country, road racing and marathon athlete; Kevin Pool, men's cross country and road racing athlete; Tim Tollefson, men's marathon athlete; Jacob Rydman, men's ultra athlete; and Rory Bosio, women's ultra athlete.

Masters honorees included Marcelo Lerda, men's cross country athlete; Karen Jeffers, women's cross country athlete; Chris Knorzer, men's road racing and marathon athlete; Midori Sperandeo, women's road racing athlete; Mary Coordt, women's marathon athlete; Rich Hanna, men's ultra athlete; and Jennifer Pfeifer, women's ultra athlete.

Seniors honorees included Kevin Ostenberg, men's cross country athlete; Sara Freitas, women's cross country athlete; Iain Mickle, men's road racing athlete; Janice Kesterson, women's road racing athlete; Jacob Nur, men's marathon athlete; Rena Lantz, women's marathon athlete; Lee McKinley, men's ultra athlete; and Karen Bonnett, women's ultra athlete.

The SRA also honored several super seniors: Adam Ferreira, men's cross country athlete; Yvonne Nickel, women's road racing athlete; Mike Ammon, men's road racing athlete; Richard Powers, men's marathon athlete; Nancy March, women's marathon athlete; Larry Cawthon, men's ultra athlete; and Barbara Ashe, women's ultra athlete.

Men's cross country athlete Robert Seldner, men's road racing athlete Ronald Gross and women's road racing athlete Rusty Barnett were the veterans honorees.

The Sacramento Running Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding 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.

SRA events include the Super Bowl Sunday 10k Run on Feb. 3, the Credit Union SACTOWN Ten-Mile Run on April 7, the Gold Rush 100k on May 11, the Lake Natoma Four Bridges Half Marathon on Oct. 27 and the California International Marathon on Dec. 8.

SRA beneficiaries include the American River Parkway, youth fitness programs, local running venues and aspiring young runners.

(Courtesy Sacramento Running Association)