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Posted: February 18, 2016  

Athletics: Wallace named Sacramento Running Association Athlete of the Year

National championship highlights 2015 season

Lauren Wallace has learned to be comfortable being uncomfortable. Pushing her mind and body to extraordinary limits. It is all part of the life she has chosen.

Born to distance runner parents, Wallace gravitated to the sport at a young age but was always drawn to the sprints, much to her parents chagrin.

Wallace was a standout at Ukiah High School where she won the 200-meter title and finished fourth in the 100 meters at the Redwood Empire Area Meet her senior season.

Wallace, the sprinter, walked on at UC Davis. At the end of her freshman year she was asked to make the move to the 800 meters. She said yes Ė and her mother was thrilled.

The move paid off.

Wallace had a breakout sophomore season in 2010 where she placed second in the 800 meters at the Big West Conference Championships. Success continued and in 2012 she set the Aggie indoor 800-meter record with a 2:07.48.

The 800 meters was where she belonged.

Wallace captured the 800-meter Big West Conference Championship her senior season and earned first team All-American honors after running a school-record 2:02.91 at the NCAA Championships. She became the first Aggie in the programís Division I era to participate in a lane-race final.

The SRA will also induct five runners into its Hall of Fame: CIF champion Clifton West, long-time Mira Loma and Del Campo High School coach Bob King, national high school record-holder Alex Kosinski, talented ultramarathoner Jim Howard and long-time Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run race director Greg Soderlund.

More than 50 local runners and coaches will be honored with the SRAís Annual Achievement Awards. Tickets for the 6 p.m. event are $50. For more information, visit RunSRA.org.

"I am beyond grateful for the support I have received from the day I started studying at UC Davis," said Wallace.

"It is difficult to envision having the same success without the encouragement from the Sacramento community."

Wallace follows in the footsteps of 2012 Athlete of the Year winner Kim Conley, 2013 selection Shadrack Biwott and 2014 honoree Iain Mickle.

"This is a tremendous honor to be named Athlete of the Year, particularly following incredible athletes such as Shadrack, Iain, and my close friend and teammate, Kim Conley.

"Joining them as a recipient of this decoration validates the path that I am currently embarking on.

"Being surrounded by uplifting and like-minded individuals has undoubtedly aided in the pursuit of my goals."

The former walk-on sprinter who had no idea what the NCAA Championships even were left UC Davis as one of the most decorated distance runners in school history.

The girl who never dreamed of running after college embarked on a career as a professional runner.

In 2014, she ran a 2:05.71 at the USATF Indoor Championships and a 2:02.16 at the Outdoor Championships.

Those performances on the national stage prepared her for the race of her life.

Wallace entered the 2015 USATF 1,000 meter Indoor Championships hoping to contend and place in the top-three.

"The lead up to the 1,000-meter Indoor National Championship was far from ideal," said Wallace.

"I had spent most of the winter injured and then most of the weeks leading up to the race away from my home, coach and teammates.

"Originally, I did not think I had a chance at the title, but a few weeks beforehand I had soloed a solid 800-meter effort and was very pleased.

"I remember walking back to my hotel after racing telling my coach, Drew Wartenburg, that I felt I had a shot at the title, if I raced like that again."

With sixty meters to go, Wallace became a sprinter once again.

"The last lap, I was swallowed by the majority of the field and a small gap had formed.

"I tried to remain in contact in case anything opened up.

"An opening occurred the last 100 meters and I heard Drew whistling and never looked back.

"I aimed for the tape and put everything I had into that last 60 meters."

That kick made her a national champion.

Wallaceís personal bests include a 2:00.48 in the 800, a 2:40:42 in the 1,000 meters, a 4:13 in the 1,500 meters and a 4:38 in the mile.

High school spring to collegiate walk-on to distance champion Ė Lauren Wallace has learned two things Ė one, listen to your mother. And two, it isnít easy getting comfortable being uncomfortable, but when you do, amazing things happen.

The Sacramento Running Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding new 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 Annual Achievement Awards

High School Division
Michael Vernau, Boys High School Cross Country Athlete
Kendall Derry, Girls High School Cross Country Athlete
Walt Lange, Boys High School Cross Country Coach
Bill Gregg, Girls High School Cross Country Coach
Arturo Sotomayor, Boys High School Track Athlete
Fiona OíKeeffe, Girls High School Track Athlete
Bill Gregg, Boys High School Track Coach
Melanie Cleland, Girls High School Track Coach

College Division
William Reyes, Menís Cross Country Athlete
Peyton Bilo, Womenís Cross Country Athlete
Rick Anderson, College Cross Country Coach
Nathan Strum, Menís College Track Athlete
Raquel Lambdin, Womenís College Track Athlete
Devin Elizondo, College Track Coach

Open Division
Anthony Mallory, Menís Open Cross Country Athlete
Kaitlin Gregg Goodman, Womenís Open Cross Country Athlete
Brendan Gregg, Menís Open Track Athlete
Lauren Wallace, Womenís Open Track Athlete
Ryan Cosens, Menís Open Marathon Athlete
Lauren Jimison, Womenís Open Marathon Athlete
Shadrack Biwott, Menís Open Road Racing Athlete
Kim Conley, Womenís Open Road Racing Athlete
Tim Tollefson, Menís Open Ultra Athlete
Julie Fingar, Womenís Open Ultra Athlete

Masters Division
Gary Blanco, Menís Masters Cross Country Athlete
Kristen Soloway, Womenís Masters Cross Country Athlete
Chris Knorzer, Menís Masters Marathon/Road Racing Athlete
Jenny Hitchings, Womenís Masters Marathon Athlete?
Jaymee Marty, Womenís Masters Road Racing Athlete
Ray Sanchez, Menís Masters Ultra Athlete
Jen Pfeifer, Womenís Masters Ultra Athlete
Seniors Division?
John Blue, Menís Seniors Cross Country Athlete
Pam Runquist, Womenís Seniors Cross Country Athlete?
Mark Murray, Menís Seniors Marathon Athlete
Jenny Hitchings, Womenís Seniors Marathon/Road Racing Athlete
Terry Baucom, Menís Seniors Road Racing Athlete
Rich Hanna, Menís Seniors Ultra Athlete
Beverly Anderson-Abbs, Womenís Seniors Ultra Athlete

Super Seniors Division
Glenn Misono, Menís Super Seniors Cross Country/Road Racing/Track Athlete
Mo Bartley, Womenís Super Seniors Cross Country Athlete
Richard Powers, Menís Super Seniors Marathon Athlete?
Constance Coman, Womenís Super Seniors Marathon Athlete
Karen Kunz, Womenís Super Seniors Road Racing Athlete
Larry Cawthon, Menís Super Seniors Ultra Athlete
Barbara Ashe, Womenís Super Seniors Ultra Athlete

Veterans Division
Howard Ferris, Menís Veteran Marathon Athlete
Charlyn Frazier, Womenís Veterans Marathon Athlete
Mike Ammon, Menís Veteran Cross Country/Road Racing Athlete
Lynne Hurrell, Womenís Veteran Cross Country/Track Athlete
Jim Beckett, Menís Veteran Track Athlete
Carolyn Slavich, Womenís Veteran Road Racing Athlete
Manuel Loverde, Menís Veterans Ultra Athlete
Judy Shipman, Womenís Veterans Ultra Athlete

Special Awards
Bill Flink, Youth Fitness Educator of the Year
Gerry Garcia, Volunteer of the Year


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