Runners return to Vallejo for Mare Island race

By Lanz Christian Bañes 
Posted: 11/14/2012 01:01:12 AM PDT

Mare Island residents sipping their morning coffee Sunday could have the perfect views as hundreds of runners stream past their backyards. 

"I participated last year, and I had a lot of fun with it," said John Burk, a second-year medical student at Touro University. 

Sunday marks the return of the Mare Island 5K Run/Walk, which benefits Fighting Back Partnership and the Greater Vallejo Recreation District. 

Burk, who at 17:01 minutes had the fastest time last year, is president of Touro's sports medicine club. That group typically organizes the run, which starts from campus on the island's south end and weaves through the new residential developments as well as the historic Naval officers' quarters. 

"I did a little under 30 minutes (last year), so I was pretty happy with that," said Madeline Nguyen, the sport medicine club treasurer and, along with Burk and Kelly Queensland, a key organizer of the event. 

Unlike last year, the trio did not have to start from scratch. While the 2011 race was the fifth Mare Island 5K, it came after a yearlong hiatus because students were unable to continue the race once organizers left. 

Medical students at Touro University leave campus in their third year for their rotations, sometimes leaving an information gap. 

"Luckily, we had last year's contacts and everything set up," Burk said. 

Still, medical school is far from easy, and organizing a large event like the Mare Island 5K took some work, Nguyen said.

"Juggling school and planning the whole race has been difficult and stressful, but we've tried to recruit as many people as we can," Nguyen said. 

She added that they were hoping for a smooth transition next year to continue the tradition.

About 300 people ran last year, with the event raising $2,700 each for GVRD and Fighting Back Partnership.

"It's a very big race, it's very pleasant to get out and exercise, and it's helping the Greater Vallejo Recreation District as well as Fighting Back Partnership," Burk said.

The race starts at 9 a.m. Sunday at Touro University, 1310 Club Drive. Cost is $30 general, $15 for students. For details, email Burk at

Contact Lanz Christian Bañes at (707) 553-6833 or Follow him on Twitter @LanzTimesH.

If you go:

What: Sixth annual Mare Island 5K Run/Walk

When: 9 a.m. Sunday

Benefits: Proceeds go to Fighting Back Partnership and Greater Valejo Recreation District

Cost: $35, $15 for students, $70 for family of three, free for children 7 and under