Olympic torch, hopefuls run through Santee

The Olympic torch was recently lit in Santee Trolley Square beginning the three-day celebration of the Olympic trials.

Beginning the celebrations of Santee’s 40th year as a city, on Jan. 23 hopeful Olympic track and field athletes and community members ran from West Hills High School to Santee Trolley Square carrying the Olympic torch, which was lit and stayed lit through the Olympic trials held on Jan. 25 in hopes of making it to the U.S. team for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. After the Olympic trials, the inaugural Santee Sunset 5K covered the same loop course for a 3.1-mile fun run/walk.

A leader and innovator in track and field for more than 40 years, Tracy Sundlun worked with more than 100 Olympic athletes from 15 countries and was inducted into the Running USA Hall of Cham pions in 2015 and named “one of the most 50 most influential people in running” by Runner’s World Magazine.

Sundlun said there would be around 60 athletes competing on Saturday, but only 15 in the men’s Olympic trials, women’s events and shorter distant run­ning competitions.

Nick Christie of El Cajon was an early leader in the 50K, but after vomiting around 30k and he said it just “kind of fell apart from there.” Christie came in third with a time of 4:27.28. He said right now his main focus is the 20K as the number one ranked American in the 20K walk run but with the ranking and point system he might be in the lead with his previous re­cords. He said he is looking for­ward to sealing his 20K in June to be on the Olympic team.

“I started [track and field] at Cuyamaca College after play­ing baseball at Grossmont High School and switching to track,” Christie said. “Through there I got a four-year scholarship”

Christie said he has lived in El Cajon most of his life. ­