San Francisco ‘girly girls’ band together to run two-day relay race

On Friday morning, Kate Ellmer will walk from her San Francisco apartment to Marina Green Park and the starting line of the Ragnar Relay Napa Valley.

Ellmer, captain of one of the more than 300 teams running in the 190½-mile relay, will rally her 11 “My Other Shoes are Jimmy Choo’s” teammates as they get psyched for the two-day race.

“We are a group of active women, but we love our mani’s and pedi’s and are a bunch of girly girls, so we decided to take the name of our favorite shoe designer,” Ellmer said.

Anne Fuglei of San Francisco will run the first leg, a 3.8-mile jaunt across the Golden Gate Bridge. Each of the team members, all of whom are between 25 and 32 years of age, will run three legs, 36 total, during the continuous, 30-hour event.

Traveling in two vans, the “Jimmy Choo’s” will cheer each other on as each runner takes her turn. Tarps and sleeping bags will be packed for those desiring a few winks along the way.

Ellmer, 27, seventh in the rotation, will take the baton for her first leg in Fairfax at about noon on Friday. Her 7-mile second leg, considered “very hard” on the event’s website, will take her through Santa Rosa, and her final run will be on Saturday afternoon in Napa.

The team will gather at the finish line in Calistoga later Saturday to greet Kristy Ellmer, Kate’s sister, who is visiting from Philadelphia to run the anchor leg.

“I can’t think of a better group of girls to cross the finish line with,” Kate Ellmer said. “I can’t wait to make memories with these women.”

Finding the time to train has been a challenge for a busy Ellmer, who works for a South San Francisco pharmaceutical company conducting Alzheimers research while attending graduate school full-time at San Jose State.

“Three times a week, I set the alarm for 3 a.m., go for a 4- or 5-mile run, go home, shower, fall asleep for another hour or so, get back up and go to work,” said Ellmer, who added team members who live in The City have met about seven times for group runs.

“We run in the Marina or Pacific Heights, where the hills are,” Ellmer said. “Then we go get Mimosas.”

Postrace, Ellmer isn’t sure if she will have the energy for some wine tasting near the finish line or opt to head home and sleep until Sunday.

One thing is certain, however.

“After the race I will reward myself with some Jimmy Choo’s,” Ellmer laughed.



Napa Valley

  • WHAT: One of 16 locations across the country for the “200-ish” mile relay races.
  • WHEN: From early Friday morning to the late Saturday afternoon
  • TIME: 11-minute miles would result in a 34-hour event. Ellmer’s personal goal is a 9 minute, 15 second mile pace.
  • BENEFITS: San Francisco Police Activities League
  • INFO:
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