Chad Hall blisters Half Marathon field

Wood, 62, places 17th

When a long-distance running fan hears the name “Hall,” it is usually associated with marathon superstar Ryan.

But last Sunday, June 23, at the inaugural Mammoth Half Marathon, it was Ryan’s younger brother, Chad, who captured the imagination of the crowd, not to mention the other 1,200 runners in the field and $1,200 in prize money.

Hall, 26 years old and running out of Big Bear, ran the 13.1-mile course in 1-hour, 6-minutes, 26-seconds, finishing so far ahead of everybody else that it left the Finish Line throng on Old Mammoth Road scratching their collective heads, wondering where the rest of the runners were.

It must have taken Hall by surprise, too.

Asked after the race if his time was a personal best, Hall said, “I don’t know! This is the first half marathon I’ve ever run.”

He might want to try another one.

The closest competitor was still 4-minutes, 4-seconds behind Hall—the former University of Oregon and Cal Riverside distance athlete.

That was Tim Tollefson, 28, a physical therapy specialist at Mammoth Hospital’s S.P.O.R.T. Clinic, who won second-place earnings of $600 by breaking the tape in 1:10:30, and 17-year-old Jonathan Byrne of Newbury Park, who turned in a time of 1:15:33.

Before coming to Mammoth, Tollefson was a star runner at Chico State.

Things weren’t much closer on the women’s side of the race, which began at Horseshoe Lake at 7:30 a.m. and finished in front of Rafters restaurant.

Lindsay Tollefson, 27, the spouse of Tim and also a former Chico State athlete, also took home $1,200 by winning the women’s race in 1:22:18. Lindsay, who finished 12th in the 2012 Chicago Marathon, easily outran Bridgeport’s Rebecca Clayton, 26, who finished in 1:32:14, and Megan O’Dowd, a 35-year-old runner out of San Diego who finished in 1:38:23.

In all, the race itself qualified as a big-time winner, said race organizer Susan Briggs.

“It really was extraordinary,” she said afterward. “We have hundreds of runner feedback responses, and all but a very few said they had a great time.

“The No. 1 thing people liked was the scenery, and then the weather. The support among the town’s volunteers was incredible, too.”

Perhaps the biggest buzz of the race surrounded Mammoth attorney and current Mayor Rick Wood, who at 62 finished 17th overall in 1:32:53.

Wood, by far the oldest runner among the top finishers, won by six minutes over Mammoth’s Erick Sugimura, 35, and 51-year-old Stephen Ingram from Swall Meadows.

Dr. Mike Karch, 44, represented the Mammoth Hospital well, coming in 56th.

As for the course itself, there was plenty of grumbling, not because of the road surfaces (superb), traffic mitigation (top-drawer) or space (unrestrained). Rather, the grumbling, underneath gasps of heavy breathing, had everything to do with altitude.

The local runners didn’t complain, though, and, running out of Big Bear, it was not a complaint from the big winner, Hall, either.