Paula Morrison had been running competitively for 25 years and was a three-time Olympic marathon trials qualifier, but she had never raced in Fontana before last Saturday.
In the end, she was very glad she made the trip from Tucson, Arizona to be in the Fontana Days Run.
“It’s a fantastic race; really well put on,” Morrison said after taking first place overall in the women’s division in the 5K Run.
When asked why she decided to try Fontana’s race, she said with a smile: “The prize money. I’m not going to lie.”
But she added: “My coach ran this race years ago and talked about how good the times were and told me it was a good opportunity.”
It was also a good opportunity for Gray Mavhera, who came in first place in the men’s division in the 5K. He was determined to take top honors in his third try in Fontana, but he was appreciative of the runners who challenged him during the very warm morning.
“I give thumbs-up to all the competitors who were in the race; without them, I couldn’t push myself,” said Mavhera, a native of Zimbabwe who now lives in Moreno Valley.
Mavhera and Morrison were two of more than 2,200 entrants in the Fontana event, which has grown tremendously in popularity in recent years.
“We sold out with 1,200 participants in the Half Marathon more than a month in advance, so this was a record-breaking year,” said Bianca Morales, the race organizer.
In the Half Marathon, Leon Medina of San Diego was the No. 1 overall finisher, while Beverly Owen of Murrieta took top honors among female competitors.
Several Fontana residents performed very well in the Fontana Days Run, including Jennifer Sandoval, 14, who was third among female runners and 12th overall in the 5K.
Alejandro Quezada of Fontana was eighth overall in the Half Marathon and first in his 45-49 age category.
Many of the runners, including some who had never been in a lengthy race before, were just interested in achieving personal goals.
Dave Showalter, a teacher at Kaiser High School, was glad to be able to make it through the 5K in his first attempt. “It was a long, hard race, but I survived,” he said.
Results of the races:
—— 5K RUN:
Male 1-10 – 1st place, Glenn Bell, Fontana; 2nd, Jason Panuco, Fontana; 3rd, Logan Berzins, Rancho Cucamonga; 4th, Kevin Hernandez, Fontana.
Female 1-10 – 1st, Julissa Galeana, Fontana; 2nd, Jazmin Barajas, Fontana.
Male 11-15 – 1st, Cody Nelson, Redlands; 2nd, Ethan Frisone, Yorba Linda; 3rd, Nolan Hardin, Half Moon Bay; 4th, Hunter Richards, Mesa.
Female 11-15 – 1st, Maily Wong, Mission Viejo; 2nd, Jennifer Sandoval, Fontana; 3rd, Isabella Frisone, Yorba Linda; 4th, Kate Whitham, Monarch Beach.
Male 16-18 – 1st, Aaron Vasquez, Fontana; 2nd, Aaron Bastani, Corona; 3rd, Rudy Gonzalez, Fontana; 4th, Sal Riestra, Rancho Cucamonga.
Female 16-18 – 1st, Emily Cobb, Upland; 2nd, Amber Ventura, Fontana; 3rd, Amber Postel, Fontana; 4th, Mary Diaz, Fontana.
Male 19-24 – 1st, Sebastian Puraci, Highland; 2nd, Jarel Roxas, Fontana; 3rd, Josh Valdez, Fontana; 4th, Taylor Schultz, Moreno Valley.
Female 19-24 – 1st, Daniela Navarro, Fontana; 2nd, Robin Smith, Fontana; 3rd, Elizanda Dingle, Fontana; 4th, Britney Delafuente, San Bernardino.
Male 25-29 – 1st, Raymundo Deras, Grand Terrace; 2nd, Ted Braucht, Chino; 3rd, Timothy Brady, Highland; 4th, Richard Gray, Fontana.
Female 25-29 – 1st, Adrienne Flores, Chino Hills; 2nd, Juliana Ruffolo, San Dimas; 3rd, Karina Vega, Chino Hills; 4th, Kimberly Cooley, San Bernardino.
Male 30-34 – 1st, Donald Morrison, Pasadena; 2nd, David Montes, Colton; 3rd, Alfonso Moreno, Fontana; 4th, Jason Hart, Apple Valley.
Female 30-34 – 1st, Eliu Rodriguez, Moreno Valley; 2nd, Brigitte Lousberg, Fontana; 3rd, Nicole Thornton, Banning; 4th, Marilyn Corinaldi, Rialto.
Male 35-39 – 1st, Lee Cripps, Fontana; 2nd, John S. Hernandez, Fontana; 3rd, Jose Soto, Bloomington; 4th, Nathaniel Bratton, Fontana.
Female 35-39 – 1st, Alicia Longyear, Rancho Cucamonga; 2nd, Judith Gutierrez, Colton; 3rd, Jessica Montoya, Fontana; 4th, Jayme Cripps, Fontana.
Male 40-44 – 1st, Gray Mavhera, Moreno Valley; 2nd, David Longyear, Rancho Cucamonga; 3rd, Joe Burwell, Downey; 4th, Pablo Murillo, Moreno Valley.
Female 40-44 – 1st, Paula Morrison, Tucson; 2nd, Melissa Flicker, Rancho Cucamonga; 3rd, Stacey Grady, Moreno Valley; 4th, Heather Frisone, Yorba Linda.
Male 45-49 – 1st, Kevin Barda, Victorville; 2nd, Jesus Sandoval, Fontana; 3rd, William Martinez, Pomona; 4th, Herberth Meza, Bloomington.
Female 45-49 – 1st, Patricia Klein, Trabuco Canyon; 2nd, Katy Carlton, Highland; 3rd, Lisa Gonzales, Alta Loma; 4th, Nina Castrellon, Fontana.
Male 50-54 – 1st, Gilbert Fritsch, Rancho Cucamonga; 2nd, Ford Fujii, Newport Beach; 3rd, Tony Allison, Upland; 4th, Mark Cobb, Upland.
Female 50-54 – 1st, Susan Gray, Mentone; 2nd, Catherine Sorbo, Redlands; 3rd, Melinda Zavala, Fontana; 4th, Debi Dossey, Fontana.
Male 55-59 – 1st, Gary Gardner, Whittier; 2nd, Jose Martinez, Fontana; 3rd, Thomas Crivello, Murrieta; 4th, Mark Josephson, Colton.
Female 55-59 – 1st, Arliss Bowen, Apple Valley; 2nd, Gail Hanoumis, Barstow; 3rd, Cynthia James, Fontana; 4th, Laura Komai, Anaheim.
Male 60-64 – 1st, Paul Norris, Las Vegas; 2nd, Steve Fierro, Fontana; 3rd, Peter Biloschaetzke, Fontana; 4th, Bill Stewart, Highland.
Female 60-64 – 1st, Barbara Peterson, Rialto; 2nd, Zelphanie Riley, Fontana; 3rd, Judy Conners, Rialto; 4th, Joyce Jacobsen, Chino Hills.
Male 65-69 – 1st, William K. Sumner, Newport Beach; 2nd, Harry Terrill, Monrovia; 3rd, Albert Allen, Inglewood; 4th, John Hawkins, Yucaipa.
Female 65-69 – 1st, Shirley Ness, Hacienda Heights; 2nd, Paula Stamey, Rancho Cucamonga; 3rd, Cipriana Rolando, Rancho Cucamonga.
Male 70-74 – 1st, Thomas Richards, Apache Junction.
Female 70-74 – 1st, Carmen Schultz, Fontana; 2nd, Maria Ochoa, Redlands.
Male 75-79 – 1st, Ty Yamazaki, Fontana.
Male 80-84 – 1st, Al Ray, Diamond Bar; 2nd, Harold Lindsey, Fontana.
—— HALF MARATHON:
Male 11-15 – 1st, Ethan Ohler, Murrieta; 2nd, Daniel Torres, Alhambra; 3rd, Jorge Avalos, San Jacinto; 4th, Jisung Yang, Chino Hills.
Female 11-15 – 1st, Sierra Nordberg, La Habra; 2nd, Cheyenne Espinosa, Corona; 3rd, Brittany Phelan, Glendora; 4th, Yuqing Lin, Moreno Valley.
Male 16-18 – 1st, Joseph Taylor, San Diego; 2nd, Fabian Lopez, Moreno Valley; 3rd, Jonathan Howe, Chino Hills; 4th, David Garcia, Alta Loma.
Female 16-18 – 1st, Angela He, Chino Hills; 2nd, Lauren Carr, Riverside; 3rd, Madeline Wrathall, Riverside; 4th, Stephanie Williams, Winchester.
Male 19-24 – 1st, Leon Medina, San Diego; 2nd, Jose Lara, Redlands; 3rd, Bryan Cisneros, Glendora; 4th, Taylor Malouff, Highland.
Female 19-24 – 1st, Ally Swan, Highland; 2nd, Katherine Hernandez, Rialto; 3rd, Celina Hernandez, West Covina; 4th, Katheryn Rendon, Chino Hills.
Male 25-29 – 1st, Andreas Tolman, Chino Hills; 2nd, Ruben Trujillo, Pomona; 3rd, Brandon Hancock, Redlands; 4th, Jose Sanchez, Fontana.
Female 25-29 – 1st, Jena Muhr, Chino; 2nd, Jennifer Swenson, Yucaipa; 3rd, Amy Holbrook, Irvine; 4th, Melissa Fischer, Murrieta.
Male 30-34 – 1st, Mark Vishnevsky, Long Beach; 2nd, Andrew Robinson, Glendale; 3rd, Gil Sumaya, San Bernardino; 4th, Roberto Yanez, Fontana.
Female 30-34 – 1st, Patricia Bell, Fontana; 2nd, Jackie Hill, Corona; 3rd, Britta Holmes, Corona; 4th, Leigh Dela Victoria, Rancho Cucamonga.
Male 35-39 – 1st, Joseph Mariles, Rancho Cucamonga; 2nd, David Yoo, Ridgewood; 3rd, Antonio Barahona, Chino; 4th, Loren Nielsen, Fontana.
Female 35-39 – 1st, Kristin Pelinka, Newport Beach; 2nd, Keisa Ridgway, Mesa; 3rd, Jen Francis, Victorville; 4th, Mandy Larkins, Valencia.
Male 40-44 – 1st, Gilbert Salazar, La Habra; 2nd, Roberto Chavez, Montebello; 3rd, David Tien, South Pasadena; 4th, Eric Alley, Walnut.
Female 40-44 – 1st, Norma Edge, Corona; 2nd, Sokha Chhun-Dugger, Laguna Hills; 3rd, Rebecca Gavigan, Tempe; 4th, Jully Martilla, Canyon Lake.
Male 45-49 – 1st, Alejandro Quezada, Fontana; 2nd, Bryan Tanner, Chino Hills; 3rd, Jose Vara, Montebello; 4th, Marvin Fong, Monrovia.
Female 45-49 – 1st, Beverly Owen, Murrieta; 2nd, Kathleen Benner, Murrieta; 3rd, Selina Nordberg, La Habra; 4th, Karen Flynn, San Diego.
Male 50-54 – 1st, Danny Arteaga, Rancho Cucamonga; 2nd, Darryl Scroggins, San Bernardino; 3rd, Keith Randall, Murrieta; 4th, Paul Tenner, Glendale.
Female 50-54 – 1st, Kathleen Phair, Seal Beach; 2nd, Yuri Clingerman, Glendale; 3rd, Kristy Howell, Palmdale; 4th, Theresa Hoag, Perris.
Male 55-59 – 1st, Hulimavu Manjunath, Mission Viejo; 2nd, Andy Astadurian, Upland; 3rd, Carl Kitani, Moreno Valley; 4th, Rene Rodarte, Irvine.
Female 55-59 – 1st, Sena Hoodman, Huntington Beach; 2nd, Christine Spicola, Rancho Cucamonga; 3rd, Carol Disparte, Palmdale; 4th, Cindy Stimmell, Mira Loma.
Male 60-64 – 1st, Victor Sanchez, Fontana; 2nd, Pariss Saedinia, Fontana; 3rd, Moo Lim, Diamond Bar; 4th, Marc Loopesko, Seal Beach.
Female 60-64 – 1st, Lynda Neuman, Los Angeles; 2nd, Grace Jimenez, Moreno Valley; 3rd, Lesleigh Little, Irvine; 4th, Bonnie Hoffman, Rowland Heights.
Male 65-69 – 1st, Juan Cabeza, Torrance; 2nd, John Shin, Hacienda Heights; 3rd, Jay Kitchin, Vancouver; 4th, Ken Klein, Azusa.
Female 65-69 – 1st, Peggy O’Gara, Glendora; 2nd, Myoung Suh, Porter Ranch.
Male 75-79 – 1st, Roberto Vargas, Ontario; 2nd, Mel Pugliese, Lake Havasu City.
—— CHILDREN’S DASH:
1st, Victoria Ervin, Fontana; 2nd, Jorge Montes, Fontana; 3rd, Kevin Sanchez, Fontana; 4th, Nikolas Jordan, San Bernardino; 5th, Diego Montes, Fontana; 6th, Natalie Sanchez, Fontana; 7th, Haiden Thibodeaux, Apple Valley; 8th, Alondra Alcantara, Rialto; 9th, Jacob Bell, Fontana; 10th, Brian Sanchez, Fontana; 11th, Elijah Babb, Fontana; 12th, Vincent Chacon, Fontana; 13th, Caden Starkey, Fontana; 14th, Adalin Breacelt, Fontana; 15th, Angel Moreno, Fontana; 16th, Carly Berzins, Rancho Cucamonga; 17th, Paityn Thibodeaux, Apple Valley; 18th, Seidy Sida, Fontana; 19th, Jayden Parish, Fontana; 20th, Mia Vargas, Fontana; 21st, Brianna Bock, Fontana; 22nd, Jarred Martinez, Fontana; 23rd, Melissa Portilla, Fontana; 24th, Andy Ervin, Fontana; 25th, Keilani Mumulo, Rancho Cucamonga.
(To see video highlights, visit www.youtube.com and search for "Fontana Days Run 2013.")