About our running club...
We are a friendly and relaxed mixed group of runners, hikers, of all ages and abilities and we run/jog/walk for time, not distance. For information about our weekly run, click here, or go to the Home page and click on the button labelled "This week's run..".
History of our running club (by John Medina, founder)
The first 20 years (1982-2002). The Mountain Goats Running Club was formed back in 1982 when I started organizing trail runs with a few members of the then Santa Monica Athletic Club (SMAC), now known as the Spectrum Club. I was at the time coaching the SMAC Running Club for our Sunday morning workouts which consisted of street running along Olympic Blvd within and around the Santa Monica city area. However, after taking part in the 1982 "Over the Hill" run, a 14-mile race organized by Craig Chambers that went from Craig's shoe store in Encino to his apartment in Santa Monica, cruising through beautiful Sullivan Ridge, I decided then that trail running was the way to go, so along with a couple of my friends, Susan Shimabukuro and Bob Davenport, we started exploring some of the trails in the Santa Monica Mountains shortly thereafter.
At the time there were no trail maps or much literature about the unspoiled Santa Monica Mountains, but I was so impressed with the Sullivan fireroad/trail that it drove me to find more like it. As Susan & I discovered more mountain trails, our small group’s unscheduled runs became weekly runs and we continued running consistently after work, in the evenings during weekdays. As our trail runs became longer and darkness limited our ability to see the trails well, I switched the runs to Saturday mornings and invited some of my runners from the Sunday mornings group to join.
The early runs were very short by today’s standards; they were about 5 or 6 miles long starting from the Santa Monica side and sometimes would end up on the Valley, which required my car or van parked on that side prior to the run, to bring the runners back to Santa Monica. The name "Mountain Goats" came about after one of the early hill runs, when one of the first-timers in the group came back from a hill run and described the group as "a bunch of crazy people that look like mountain goats running up and down the hills”, and the name "mountain goats" stuck. In those early days, the meeting place used to be the Santa Monica Athletic Club (SMAC), at 7:00 a.m., and then everybody would caravan in their cars behind me to the trail of the week. Later on, when people became familiar with the trailheads, they would call the 'goats hotline' (my home number) to get a recorded phone message for the Saturday run and would then drive directly to the trails.
The very first official "Graduation Run" (our yearly event at the end of every season), which culminated in the first complete running season, took place in October 1983, and the winners were Carol Noonan and Randy Pelton. They were part of the original 'Mountaingoats' group that had about twelve members from which only three still remain today, Carol, Glen, and I. Glen was the winner of the Grad Run four years later, in 1987.
Races - During those early years in the 80s, the Goats were participating in 10Ks, half and full marathons individually, but most especially in the 50-mile and 54-mile relay races with teams of five runners, captained by me and others like Glen Strauss, Tom Kacvinsky, and other early Goats - those relay races were fun, competitive and helped bring the group closer together. One relay race that stood the test of time for the Goats was the Jimmy Stewart Relay Marathon (JSRM), which benefited the Child & Family Center at Saint John's Hospital in Santa Monica. As a club, the Goats started participating in the JSRM in 1984 and had teams running there every year, fielding up to 20 teams of 5 runners each.
Ultra-running & Goats Treks - In late 1989, shortly after Craig Chambers joined the goats, he invited me to do the "double-crossing" (South - to North- to South rims), of the Grand Canyon - a trek Craig used to do every year with just a few of his close friends. After going with Craig and completing the "double crossing" through such a great place, I decided to make it a yearly event for the Goats and started organizing it for the group in 1990. In the early 90’s some of us in the Goats got into ultra running and as a result, the Saturday runs started to get longer and steeper for ultra training. The Goats Grad Runs also became longer and more challenging, and I adopted the ‘Dipsea Race’ (a race I did with Susan several years running), handicap style where runners are given a 'time handicap advantage' to allow them to have an equal chance of winning regardless of speed and ability. Besides the Grand Canyon, other popular running places for the Goats, since the early 90s have been Mount Baldy, Mount Whitney, and lately Kings Canyon, Joshua National Tree, and Death Valley. These annual Goats-organized runs are only open to the runners in the group
Goats Group Makeup - Because we do not advertise or promote our ‘non-profit, non-dues’ Mountain Goats Running Club, new members are usually referrals from within the group, or members of the Spectrum Club. Our group’s make-up from the very beginning has been about half male, half female, with runners of all ages and abilities, with three common goals - getting together to improve our running, lend support to each other and the needy, and enjoy the beauty of the Santa Monica’s. Throughout the last 10 years, and coinciding with Mike Kobrick's (known to his friends as Dr. Mikey), completion of his first entire season running with the goats in 1992, there has been an influx of runners from the Hash House Harriers (HHH), which followed Dr. Mikey into the Goats group, after Dr. Mikey stepped down from serving as the Hashers Grand Master (director and organizer) for many years.
The next 9 years (2002-2011, 2nd generation goats). In 2002, after 20 years of guiding the Goats from the SMAC beginnings, I decided it was time for a change so I passed the group reins over to my great friend Glen, who together with Dr. Mikey, and Carol led the Goats for 9 solid years, up until the Summer of 2011. Under their guidance, the Goats have continued the same running tradition and group culture attracting lots of new members.
Third generation Goats (2011-??). As Glen became busier with family and work obligations, it was clear that we needed to find a new replacement who could lead the Goats and maintain the culture that has made the group unique. We found her - Angela has been running with the Goats for the last 10 years, a very experienced ultra-runner herself having done 'Badwater' and many other ultras and countless marathons. She will bring new ideas and energy to the group and will be assisted by Dr. Mikey and Carol.. Welcome Angela (A-Force) Brunson!!