Sandia’s Albuquerque site wins big as labs across DOE complex compete for fastest mile
Sandia’s Albuquerque site was the big winner in the 2020 Do-It-Yourself DOE Mile, winning the men’s and the women’s mile race and earning a third-place overall finish in both the men’s and women’s walk. Additionally, the site had the highest participation with 343 run and walk competitors. Ten labs across the DOE complex joined in the fourth annual event, bringing a total of more than 870 runners and walkers, including spouses and dependents.
New race format
The race is normally held as an in-person race on lab campuses across the complex on the same day, but COVID-19 forced a “get out there and do it yourself” format. Between Oct. 1-12, participants had to map out a one-mile course, run or walk the virtual race, and self-report their time. Devices such as Map My Run, Garmin and Strava were used to validate distance and finishing time.
A cross-country running scoring system was used to determine team placing. The top five times from each team/lab received the points that corresponded to their place (first-place runner receives one point, second-place runner two, and so on). The team receiving the lowest score won. Sandia’s Albuquerque and Livermore sites were treated as separate teams for the contest.
Justin Wiens, the spouse of Sandia’s Kristin Divis, clocked the fastest time in the men’s run category, coming in at 4:21. Unfortunately for Sandia, Justin’s time did not count toward the DOE standings because he is a spouse. This gave the victory to Argonne’s Darren Driscoll, with a time of 4:27.
Sandia’s Albuquerque site placed their top five runners in the top 13 overall places, giving them a strong win with 35 points and the title of Fastest DOE Lab for the second straight year. Ari Bregman and Samuel Oxandale from the site finished second and third, with times of 4:37 and 4:39, respectively. Sandia’s California site finished fourth overall.
In the women’s mile, Sandian Sofie Schunk came in first with a race time of 5:13.
A Division 1 soccer player for Marquette, Sofie only recently took up running and has no shortage of speed. In fact, she spent the better part of the summer trying to break a 5-minute mile and got very close, clocking 5:05 before she got burned out on training at the track.
After a two-week hiatus, Sofie ran her 5:13 Do-It-Yourself DOE Mile over a stretch on Tramway Blvd. in Albuquerque.
Landing a job at Sandia, Sofie is excited to be back in New Mexico, where she grew up. She lauds the value Sandia puts on work-life balance and replenishes herself by running on mountain trails.
“I am looking forward to running with others, especially post-COVID,” Sofie said. “It is one of my favorite ways to connect with the community and network, and some of my best problem-solving and thoughts come while I’m out for a run.”
Sofie’s Sandia teammates were close behind, all five finishing in the top six places overall, giving them an easy team win with just 15 points. Los Alamos National Laboratory finished in second place with 59 points and Sandia’s Livermore site finished third with 81 points.
Sarah Allendorf, Sandia director of the Chemistry, Combustion, and Materials Science Center in Livermore, tried for the win in the women’s mile walk, turning in a time of 13:11. “Close but no cigar,” she said, as Los Alamos National Lab was a force, taking the top three places to win the team race with just 18 points.
Brandy Gaffney of LANL won first place, coming in at 10:32. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab took the men’s walking race with 29 points.