Mother and daughter to sparkle at Spirit Run

In 2017, Spirit Run is honored to welcome two local running gems – Ceci St. Geme (mother) and Annie St. Geme (daughter). These gifted runners shine in their sport and in their dedication to youth fitness.

Ceci has been an elite runner since high school when she was Footlocker’s National Cross Country Champion and USA Track & Field’s (USATF) National 3000 Meter Champion. She was also two-time Cross Country Champion for the State of Connecticut as well as Connecticut State Champion in the 800 meter, mile and 2-mile.

She competed for Stanford University, where in 1982 she was the NCAA 3000 Meter Champion and the American Junior Record Holder in that distance. She was also All American in Cross Country that year. Ceci was later inducted into the Stanford Athletic Hall of Fame.

She has also enjoyed success as a post-collegiate athlete. Career highlights include a second place finish at USATF’s 1993 Cross Country Championships, and a first place finish at USATF’s 1994 National 5000 Meter Championships. She qualified for the Olympic Trials in the 800, 1500, and 5000 meters, and is a member of the team that holds the American record in the Marathon Relay.

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Submitted photos

(L-R): Ceci and Annie St. Geme to race in this year’s Spirit Run

By 2002, and after having six children, Ceci resumed training as a Master’s (post 40) runner, winning a slew of 5000 meter races, setting a personal record as a Masters runner of 16:20 in that distance. Ceci has graced the cover of Runner’s World magazine seven times. She joined the coaching staff for cross country and track at Corona del Mar High School serving students until 2015. For more than a decade she has also led a ladies’ running group, offering training advice and inspiration.

Like her mother, Annie is a fierce competitor. She was the 2005 California State Champion and six-time CIF Champion in the 1600 meters. After a disappointing fourth place finish at the 1600 Meter State Championships in 2006, Annie channeled her frustration into victory. She competed in the National 1600 Meter Championships with a vengeance, finishing second, and anchored the National Champion and record-setting Distance Medal Relay Team.

With Ceci dominating local 5Ks and Annie tearing up the high school field, the mother/daughter team was quite the sensation. In 2007, they appeared together on the cover of the June issue of Runner’s World.

In 2006, following her mother’s footsteps, Annie took her running talents to Stanford University. Unfortunately, she was hampered by injuries for the better part of her collegiate career. After a four-year hiatus from running, in 2014, Annie resumed training with Strava Track Club in the Bay Area. Although she narrowly missed qualifying for the Olympic Trials, she enjoyed a successful summer track campaign in Europe, capped off by a 3000-meter victory in Finland.

Like her mother, Annie views running as more than a sport. “Running has always doubled as my social outlet,” Annie said. “I’d opt for a post-work run with girlfriends and green juice over happy hour any day!”

Recently, Annie reevaluated her running, professional and family goals. With the desire to be closer to family and the lure of an attractive job offer, she and her husband recently relocated to Newport Beach. Fittingly, Annie has joined LA Fitness where she is managing new business development and strategic partnership opportunities.

Of course, Annie will continue to make running a priority. “I’m now back in Orange County and looking to forge a community running group of my own, catered to the working woman,” Annie said. “In time, I’d love to do some volunteer coaching, as well.”

Ceci was first introduced to Spirit Run in 1990 when her athletic sponsor, Asics, flew her to Newport Beach to promote Spirit Run at elementary schools alongside America’s premier miler, Steve Scott. From 2002-2005, Ceci was Spirit Run Chair for Andersen Elementary, and frequently competed in Spirit Run’s 5k.

Annie has not yet competed at Spirit Run, but has fond memories of it. “My most prominent memories of the event are of cheering my mom on as she kicked past men down the final straightaway, and then running alongside my then elementary-aged younger siblings in the kids’ mile run. Community doesn’t even begin to describe the air at Spirit Run.”

Reunited, the St. Geme ladies will join forces in spreading the love of running to all ages. A first step will be participating in the 34th Annual Spirit Run. After repeated foot surgeries, Ceci has recently officially retired from competing. She will jog the 10K, and cheer Annie on as she races the Elite Mile and 5K.

It’s an honor to follow in her [mother’s] footsteps,” Annie said. “My running philosophy and approach are adapted from her. She is the calmest, most fierce competitor I know. Between kids, moves, careers…as cliché as it is, she is my inspiration.”