A total of 47 runners competed in the JPL Running Club's 30th Annual Arroyo Seco Freako Microthon (Charles Voge Memorial Run) on April 1, 2004. This race has been run every year since 1975 on a course that runs alongside and across the wash south of JPL.
This year's race was staged during a mild drizzle and cloudy 60 degree F. weather. Eric Rignot was the fastest runner, covering the 3.4 miles in 21:19. Feiming Morgan won the women's division in 28:02.
Four of the five participants in the original 1975 Microthon were on hand this year to celebrate the race's 30th running. That first race was a two-team challenge match, won by the Thirty-Niners (John Beckman, Len Efron, and Ken Atkins) over the 180 Planners (Dick Davies (running twice) and Lou Friedman).
The original runners have a long history here at JPL and in the space community. Beckman is currently ALD of the Technical Divisions (Engineering and Science Directorate 300). Efron is recently retired from the navigation section (312). Atkins, retired in 2002, was the Project Manager for Stardust and continues to work part-time at JPL. Friedman is executive director and co-founder of The Planetary Society in Pasadena. Davies, who was already 53 years old at the time of the original race, is acknowledged as the dean of JPL runners, in that he recruited the others to his avocation. He is still living in the Pasadena area enjoying (or, as he says, "fussing and moaning about") his retirement; click here for some additional interesting facts about "Doc Davies" (courtesy of his friend Rich Benson).
Special thanks go to Rich Benson for marking the course and providing cold drinks after the race. Sam Dolinar and Kathleen Crean advertised the event and encouraged the original racers to participate. Mark Ryne was race director.
Chuck Lahmeyer (one of the runners in this year's race) took several pictures starters1, starters2, starters3, starters4, starters5, starters6, starters7, starters8, of runners congregating before the start of the race, and two photos founders1, founders2 showing four of the five founders of the original race in 1975 (left to right, Ken Atkins, John Beckman, Dick Davies, Len Efron; missing from photo, Lou Friedman).