Running Warehouse hosted the 17th Annual Pozo 5k on the 4th of July this past weekend. The race is held in the small town of Pozo, a beautiful area set among the oak trees and rolling hills east of San Luis Obispo. The race starts and finishes at the Pozo Saloon, one of the few structures in town and the only business open to the public. The Pozo Saloon is a 150 year old former stage stop which still has the original old false front structure. The interior has the old wood flooring and ceiling, plus a funky old bar. The open area behind the saloon features large oaks tress, a big grass area and a industrial grade BBQ where we host the awards. To say Pozo is off the beaten path is a bit of an understatement. When runners aren’t invading the property on the 4th of July, its mostly popular with off-roaders, Hogs and concert goers. Ice Cube plays there next month.
The race started back in 1992 when a few of us went to the Saloon on the 4th of July 1991 and it was closed. The fact we didn’t have a 4th of July race in town, plus we wanted a place to go on the 4th led to the formation of the Pozo 5k. This year, the race served as a fund raiser for the Chris Jespersen Society which provides scholarships, educational opportunities and funds that help purchase equipment for area children with disabilities.
The race is an out and back affair held on a flat country road. We’ve wheeled it a few times cutting the tangents and doing all the things you’re supposed to do to ensure an accurate course. Each time the course measures between 4985m and 5015m, so we’re sure it’s fairly accurate. Course records stand at 14:11 for the men set by Louie Quintana back in 1997 and 16:59 by Kara June in 2007. Funny side note, Kara grew up in Nipomo right behind the Quintana house.
The top 3 finishers in the men’s race were Jeff Lease in 14:55, Mario Mendoza in 15:33 and Cuesta College Cross-Country head coach Brian Locher in 3rd at 15:53. In the woman’s race, the performance of the day has to go to the woman’s winner Linda Somers-Smith who ran 17:15 at 48 years old. To put that into perspective the 50 year old WR for woman is 17:17 and even though Linda is 48, she had the previous Pozo CR at 17:05 she set in 2000, so it’s not like she’s slowing significantly. Another amazing Master Aeron Arlin Genet just off her win at the Masters 1500 held in Eugene last weekend was second in 19:08. Rounding out the top 3 was Running Warehouse retail queen Christina Reyes in 19:41.
Running Warehouse was well represented beyond Christina with customer service reps David, Randy, and Trevor all cranking. Summer returns specialist Ben ran 16:27 indicating his summer training is on track to put him in the hunt to make the traveling squad when he returns to the Haverford College cross-country team later in August. Tera and Erik manned the 1 intersection with their daughter Marissa.
This year drew 197 runners who were treated to a post race breakfast held during the awards ceremony. Tri-tip, ham, sausage, eggs, potatoes, biscuits and gravy, cinnamon rolls, yogurt, orange slices and bananas were served. We try to have more prizes than runners and succeeded again this year with everyone who stuck around for the awards ceremony going home with a merchandise prize of some sort. This year’s race raised about $2,000 for the cause.
If you happen to be in San Luis Obispo next 4th of July, make plans on attending the 18th annual Pozo 5k, we’d love to have you run. It’s a low key, fun event that raises money for a good cause. A great way to start the 4th of July off.