In the wake of Sonoma Valley High School’s cross-country boys claiming second place at the Sonoma County League championships on the Spring Lake course in Santa Rosa, while the young girls’ team finished fifth, they will next race in the postseason.
The Dragon runners, directed by head coach John Litzenberg and assistant coach Julie Niehaus, are set to compete in this Saturday’s, Nov. 23, North Coast Section Division-3 meets in Hayward.
Along with coaching the Dragons, Litzenberg, a Sonoma (1988) and Columbia University (1992) graduate and long-distance running star, continues his successful long-distance running career.
Over the summer, Litzenberg raised funds to compete in the Marine Corps Marathon, which took place on Oct. 27, in Washington, D.C., with the major event starting at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., and winding through other parts of Arlington before crossing the Potomac River.
Arriving in Washington, D.C., the course went around Georgetown and by the major landmarks before going back across the Potomac into Arlington and finishing at the Iwo Jima Memorial.
Among the 23,480 official runners, Litzenberg turned in an impressive performance and finished in 46th place with a time of 2 hours, 42 minutes, 36 seconds.
“It was very exciting from the huge crowds of runners and spectators, to the droves of Marines working the course, to the ‘cannon’ firing to start the race, to the scenic course with incredible views of the landscapes and the monuments,” said Litzenberg. “I was also really pleased to run for the Organization for Autism Research (OAR), especially since I’ve been working at the Sonoma Developmental Center in physical therapy for more than 20 years. I was able to raise over $600 for OAR and the 125 of us who ran for organization raised over $100,000. I was also the first finisher representing OAR, with my wife and daughter being my support team, and after the race, we enjoyed seeing the sights of D.C., including the Smithsonian Natural History Museum and the White House.”
While Litzenberg remains on the run as a competitor, he continues coaching his Dragon runners with the drive and enthusiasm for the cross-country and track sports he loves.