San Quentin marathon offers inmates a sense of freedom

FILE - In this Friday, Nov. 22, 2019 file photo, Clifton Williams, right, hands out water as Wallace Jackson completes another lap around the prison yard in the San Quentin State Prison marathon in San Quentin, Calif. Aged 22 to 72, the competitors are all members of the maximum-security prison’s 1,000 Mile Club and include inmates incarcerated for rape, attempted murder and other charges. (Santiago Mejia/ San Francisco Chronicle via AP)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Once a year, the running club at San Quentin Prison gets a chance to race in pursuit of glory.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that 30 inmates took part in the annual San Quentin Prison Marathon, held on Nov. 22.

The 26.2-mile (42.2-kilometer) run loops 105 times around the outdoor track of California's oldest prison.

Aged 22 to 72, the competitors are all members of the maximum-security prison’s 1,000 Mile Club and include inmates incarcerated for rape, attempted murder and other charges.

“Running takes you out of this place,” said Mark Alan Jarosik, this year’s winner, who finished at 3:16:38.

Fidelio Marin finished second at 3:18:24, despite rolling his ankle on one of the final laps.

Jarosik, a former architect, was convicted of raping and attempting to murder his ex-girlfriend in 2012. Marin was convicted of murdering his estranged wife in 2011. Both are lifers, like most of the inmates at the prison at the northern edge of San Francisco Bay.

Markelle “The Gazelle” Taylor, who won last year’s marathon, holds the prison record of 3:10:42. After 18 years behind bars on a second-degree murder conviction, Taylor was released on parole in March. A month later, he ran the Boston Marathon in 3:03:52, a personal best.