By Jessica Mills

Professional running is like an indie rock band; a good one that you know is about to make it big. Sometimes the biggest draw to a band that still plays in a garage is the authenticity, and behind it a group of people arguing that the first album was still the best. Like the Pearl Jam of ’93, the world of professional running is changing right here in Lodi. A unique sport in its own right, track and field currently works to find a place in the professional sports world and gain the platform that can attract and support its fans. Competitive running has come a long way since its days as the first Olympic event in Ancient Greece and continues to grow in popularity and recognition.

Being showcased in our very own town is a new format in which elite athletes are given a chance to display their talent, represent their own native turf, and mostly importantly allows its fans to participate. Jeff Merrill, former University of Michigan athlete, is the brains behind this innovative plan. Merrill and his fellow competitive runners aspire to have a stage similar to the athletes of other “ball sports” and believe that this new system is the ticket. 

On Saturday, March 22, 2014, T.S.H. Lodi Physical Therapy and Michael David Wineries will be hosting the second annual Lodi Mile on Davis road starting at Peltier road with the finish line at Bare Ranch.  This one mile road race features Olympic hopefuls and professional runners in their quest to run a sub 4 minute road mile in California.   

Lea Wallace, Danielle Domenichelli, Brett Zorich, and Lyndsay Harper will compete in the women's race. 1,000 meter American Record holder, David Torrence will compete on the men’s side along with Tommy Schmitz,  Sam Hyams, JK Withers, Steve Steve Garboden II, and Dawson Vorderbruegge. Each of these runners will be competing to represent their adopted hometowns to decide who is the fastest region around: San Francisco, South Bay, East Bay, Sacramento or the Central Valley.

Recreational runners, fans, and spectators are invited to join a team, each represented by one of the professional runners. Following each race scores will be added up—half elites, half everyday heroes— to decide who truly “runs” Northern California. So, if running is an ‘up and coming’ band, the everyday runner is getting a guitar solo.

Middle school and high school heats will begin at noon. Open heats begin at 1:00 and the elite races begin at 2:00.  For registration and more information about the event, visit the website at

There will be food and wine tasting at the finish line featuring Michael David Wines, A Moveable Feast, and GUANTONiO’s Pizza.