Meet The Wall-nuts!
The Wall-nuts are a group of gentlemen who happen to be quite the characters. When they were approached for this interview they shared their insight of running over the last 40 years in Manhattan Beach.
Here’s what Wall-nut Mo had to say about some of their traditions, or lack thereof
The following Q & A features answers from one of the founding Wall-nut members, Michael Allmon.
When were the Wall-nuts founded?
We are created to train for the first MB10K - so I think that was 1978.
Who started the group and why?
I lived at the corner of Valley & Walnut…I saw a neighbor (Mitch Gillis) running on the old railroad tracks (today’s running path) - we decided that we should train together, but our schedules didn’t work well together during the week, so we decided to meet each Sunday at 9 in front of my house. I eventually moved away a few years later, but he stayed. We now meet at his house and gather there - then we meet after the run in his backyard for water, Gatorade and (more) conversation…
How did you come up with the group name?
Long story - I will try for a short version - a couple of years after running together, and as more and more guys joined us, we wanted uniforms and a name. We argued for months until MB changed the street signs. We were walking by the new sign that said “Walnut” and noticed that there was a running shoe on that sign (actually it is an ocean wave, but to a Wall-nut it was a shoe!) - and so the answer was received divinely! From that point, it became a discussion that we were all nuts for running so much and the name needed to reflect that… we didn’t want to be the “Walnuts”, as this was too common for our strange group - and somehow, we came up with Wall-nuts.
How many members do you have?
The 2018 (yes 2018) listing is probably a bit outdated (believe it or not!) but it shows 62 members - this includes guys we haven’t seen in years and can’t find (“missing in action”). Each Sunday we have an average of 15 or so - this is made up of 3 groups (a 10k group that runs that far, a shorter group, and a walking group). Our quarterly dinners (we are an old-fashioned drinking group with a running problem) are about 3 times a year and we generally have over 20 in attendance.
Speaking of members, why only men?
“If you have to ask, you wouldn’t understand” is the usual answer! Because we don’t have to be polite, have manners or any of the things we have to do in “proper/polite company”!
Rumor has it you invited a female to run with you, can you confirm this?
This would be very rare unless she was a member of the MB10K race committee, and fully warned in advance!
How often do you meet?
The group still meets at 9 but now it’s “near” the corner of Valley & Walnut rather than at the corner. We now group in front of Mitch’s house and the official timekeeper “the monkey” tells us when we have reached a 5-minute grace period. We then walk to the path and along to Pacific where we are started by our official starter. The walking is because a 5-minute grace period isn’t sufficient for Wall-nuts. As one of our wives once said, “The Wall-nuts are not a very evolved group”, and this includes being able to get places on time. We usually leave Mitch’s house with about 10 of us and another 5 or so jump in while we are walking.
Do you wear anything special when you run so people can recognize you?
The Wall-nuts gear includes at least a half dozen styles of shirts (two different logos, short and long sleeves and different styles), shorts, and a hat. The shirt is required, and the rest is optional. We have a complete set of rules (kept in my head), including a fine system more complex that the Internal Revenue Code of the IRS.
Not that you're going to be 'over the hill' at 40 years, but are there any plans for anyone to retire their P.I.E.R. Group streak?
You must be kidding! We will carry anyone who can’t walk!
40 consecutive years is a long time. Was there ever a year you almost didn't run the race?
Yes, especially early on… but then the streak started, so it is now on our calendars far in advance. This is now the highest priority on my calendar. Nothing will replace it.
How many in your group have run every MB10K?
There are 5 of us:
- Me - Michael Allmon (da King's disciple)
- Mitch Gillis (da King)
- Don Jung
- Tracey Johnson
- Dale Keldrauk
What do you love most about the MB10K?
It is a wonderful neighborhood tradition that has helped to create the camaraderie of our group. We all look forward to the run each year. In addition to the awards given by the race committee, we also have our own awards. In spite of having members who have won the entire race, I happened to have won “fastest Wall-nut” last year. Of course, this is because of those rules I mentioned earlier (the ones in my head). I won because we have an attendance requirement. In addition to being fined for not showing up, a Wall-nut would be disqualified from our medal if he misses attending at least once a month. Last year was a perfect year for me because all of our fast runners missed at least one month!
Online registration for the MB10K is going on NOW at www.mb10k.com and ends October 2, 2017.
In-store registration opens September 1st at Village Runner, Manhattan Beach and ends October 6th.
PRICING NOW - SEPTEMBER 19TH:
$30 Youth (14 & under)
Image Credit: Michael Allmon
THE MB10K IS A NON-PROFIT EVENT AND THE PROCEEDS ARE DONATED TO COMMUNITY FITNESS-RELATED CAUSES & SCHOLARSHIPS. THE RACE COMMITTEE ORGANIZERS AND RACE STAFF ARE VOLUNTEERS.
COME CELEBRATE OUR 40TH BIRTHDAY WITH US AND RUN OR WALK - OCTOBER 7, 2017 AT 7:30 AM!
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