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MailTribune.com
  • RUNNING

    Palmer, Gage head Pear Blossom

    Palmer aims for first victory; Gage is going after her fourth straight triumph on Saturday
  • Having the most recent men's winners in the field for this weekend's 38th annual Pear Blossom Run would be good, surmised Trevor Palmer.
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    • PEAR BLOSSOM RUN
      WHEN, WHERE: Saturday, in front of Medford City Hall. Ten-mile race starts at 8:20 a.m.
      • ROUTE: From Oakdale Avenue, out Jacksonville Highway, right turn on Hanley Road, then turn around ...
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      PEAR BLOSSOM RUN
      WHEN, WHERE: Saturday, in front of Medford City Hall. Ten-mile race starts at 8:20 a.m.

      • ROUTE: From Oakdale Avenue, out Jacksonville Highway, right turn on Hanley Road, then turn around at Ross Lane and follow same route back.
      • WEBSITE: www.pearblossomrun.com
  • Having the most recent men's winners in the field for this weekend's 38th annual Pear Blossom Run would be good, surmised Trevor Palmer.
    However, having those people, Max King and David Laney, wouldn't necessarily be good for Palmer, said Palmer.
    Neither King, the all-time victory leader with seven, nor last year's winner Laney, will compete in Saturday's 10-mile race that begins and ends in downtown Medford.
    Is that opportunity knocking at Palmer's door?
    "I'd go in with a different strategy if both of them were running it," said Palmer, a former Crater High and Southern Oregon University standout who is the top returning male finisher. "They have such a long history in the race, I don't know that it's good they won't be there. If I'm being honest, and being opportunistic, it definitely could work out for me."
    King and Laney each are running the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile on Saturday.
    King won the Pear in 2011 and '12. With him in the Sonoma last year, Laney captured the Pear in his debut, one place ahead of Palmer.
    On the women's side, Marci Klimek Gage, who starred at Phoenix High and Linfield College, will be gunning for her fourth straight title.
    Gage, who lives in Bend, last year became only the second woman to win three straight. Deanna Schiedler-O'Neil is the all-time leader, with six of her record nine overall victories coming in succession.
    Gage's three wins (in as many tries) ties her for second overall with Rosa Gutierrez.
    Online registration for the 10-miler and other, shorter races ended on Wednesday, but sign-ups will continue to be taken today during packet-pickup hours at the Rogue Valley Family YMCA, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
    The races begin at Eighth and Oakdale streets in front of City Hall.
    The first is the popular 5-kilometer at 7 a.m.
    The 10-miler begins at 8:20 a.m. and follows Jacksonville Highway to Hanley Road, where a turnaround point sends the runners back.
    There are also a 10-mile wheelchair race and 1- and 2-mile Mayor's Cup runs.
    Through Wednesday, there were 1,175 runners signed up for the 10-miler. Last year, 1,263 finished the race.
    For the 5K, there are 1,663 entrants. The final tally last year was 1,873 finishers.
    Race co-director Steve Buxton expects last-minute entrants to show up today.
    "I suspect some people are going to look at the weather forecast and say, 'This looks too good to pass up' and jump in," he said.
    Unlike last year, when chilly temperatures and a 7 mph breeze accompanied — or worked against — runners, ideal weather is expected Saturday. Temperatures should be in the neighborhood of 50 degrees with virtually no wind during the 10-mile event.
    There will be a couple noticeable changes this year.
    Ten-foot poles with bright red flags on them will serve as mile markers for the big race, providing better visibility for runners wanting to know where they are.
    Also, the route of the 5K changed slightly at the start because Fir Street is closed due to construction.
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