History of the
Mt. Madonna Challenge
The Mt. Madonna Challenge began in 1975 by a hodge podge group of runners led by a gentleman with a passion for running, Bill Flodberg. It was one of the original trail races that began the evolution of trail running.
In his 75 years, Bill wore many hats, and he wore them with equal passion. Bill was an avid runner; during college, he ran for UC Berkeley; later, he ran and trained on the roads and trails in San Martin and Gilroy, and he raced competitively well into his 70s. In addition to his personal running accomplishments, Bill encouraged runners and running as a Cross Country Coach at Gavilan College, as one of the founders of the Gavilan Joggers and Striders Running Club, through his “Running Man” running column, and as an organizer and director of several local races, including the Mt. Madonna Challenge.
Bill was also a longtime supporter of the South Valley Symphony and other arts groups, to which he brought the same passion that he had for running.
Bill was a quiet person, yet he proved that one man can make a difference for the lives of those in his community. Thanks to Bill, thousands of people were enriched by his efforts to encourage music and the arts. And thanks to Bill, thousands of people in the running community have benefited from his example, encouragement, and advice.
In 2007, the South Valley Running Club took over ownership and management of the Mt. Madonna Challenge as Bill could no longer manage putting on the race. The running club took over the race with the intent of all proceeds being donated in the form of scholarships for college to local high school running athletes. Over the 13 years the running club put on the Mt. Madonna Challenge, one to five scholarships were given out each year to local high school seniors. When the running club took over the race, the original distances were a 6k and a 12k.
The running club, in an effort to attract more endurance trail runners added an 18k in 2009 and then a 30k distance in 2012. In 2017, a redesign of the courses and distances to a regular 5k, 10k and Half was implemented. As with many organizations over time, the running club saw a decline in club support and participation with putting on the Mt. Madonna Challenge and decided that it was time to transfer the race to someone that could bring renewed energy and passion to the race. Beginning with the 2020 race, Jose Cruz will be taking over ownership and management of the race.
A local amazing running athlete, Jose has big plans for the race and promises to put on a fantastic race for those coming to run it. He will also be continuing the donation of all profits to local youth athletes in need of financial assistance to compete in the sports they love.