Over 1,000 runners of all ages laced up their sneakers for the Devil Mountain Run on Sunday, May 5 in what organizers called an "overwhelming success."
The well-loved race got its start in 1978 and returned to the streets of Danville after a one-year hiatus. This year's run, organized by Forward Motion Sports and Katalyst Events, consisted of a 5K, 10K and children's fun run throughout downtown Danville and up to Alamo.
"We were above and beyond our expectations," said Forward Motion owner Marty Breen. "The vibe and feel was phenomenal."
Between 1,400 and 1,500 adults and children participated in the run, in addition to over 100 volunteers and even more spectators. Chris McCrary, co-founder of Katalyst Events, said the event went off without a hitch.
Alamo resident Michael Garaventa, 20, took first in the 10K run, finishing at 33 minutes, 15 seconds. Danville's John Constas, 27, finished second at 36 minutes, 16 seconds. David Bayliss, 46, finished third at 36.23. Berkeley resident Brian Collett, 28, took first place in the 5K run/walk with a 17 minute, one second finish time. Dublin's Juan Gomez, 26, took second at 17 minutes, 34 seconds. Complete race results can be found on the Devil Mountain Run website.
"Everyone gave us very positive, glowing reviews of course and how well it was marked. The kids fun run was a blast, we got lots and lots of comments about that," McCrary said. "It was really a family- focused community event with all the kids and parents out. It was a good community event and obviously we were extremely proud to bring back the 35-year-old tradition of Devil Mountain."
Long-time runner and Forward Motion Race club member Ralph Gowen came in second in his age group and 13th adult overall. On his blog, Gowen wrote that he was aghast at the demise of the Devil Mountain run because of the money "seemingly needed to keep the promoters, charity, etc all mutually happy."
"After 35 years, the race seemed on the verge of extinction. Thankfully, we had some local energy surrounding the event," he wrote. " Clearly, the town got behind it with most of the Town Council present at the start. For a reborn race, the first year has to be viewed as a great success with over 800 finishers of the two distances."
Between $4,000 and $5,000 in profits from the race will be donated to Danville-based Discovery Counseling Center, which provides affordable mental health and substance abuse services through clinic and school-based counseling. Devil Mountain was held in memory of Allison Bayliss, a San Ramon Valley High School sophomore who lost her battle with depression in May 2011.
"We focus so much of our time and energy keeping our kid's physically healthy -- yet many times we don't focus on their emotional and mental health," McCrary said. "We hope that this year's Devil Mountain Run will raise awareness of the struggles that our kids deal with every day and to let them know that there are resources like the Discovery Counseling Center right in our backyard."
Race organizers will meet with town officials to recap the race, though both McCrary and Breen said the mayor, vice mayor and councilmembers were extremely supportive.
"Because were so focused on keeping all the money for the fundraising local with Danville and focusing on making it a tradition again, we have plans to be here for many years to come," McCrary said.