Trophy and Diesel pulled a fast one on me this weekend and went stealth trophy hunting in Camden. Damn you Sweet T. At least they both know what color shoes to wear. Here is his report.
Trophy hunting…..we’ve all heard it, but what does it mean? It means us slower runners try to find a small race where the faster runners aren’t going to show up, hence giving us a chance to take home trophies! For those of you who don’t know, one of my many names is Trophy. I won’t even go into the others. But I fear McGoho is now going to be one of them.
FYI, Trophy’s favorite nickname is “Lady McGaha”. Joe Pinner called him this at the 2010 Red Nose Run 5k. Nothing like getting burned by Mr. Knozit.
A few years ago I wandered out into the country to do a small race. I would give the race name, but it’s still on the “trophy hunting” list and I don’t want the fast people to know about it! Anyways, I showed up to this 5K and found myself leading the pack. Actually, there was no pack. It was just Schmitz and I and we were ecstatic to be following the cop car. I still remember that moment fondly. I eventually pulled away from him and got myself a first overall finish. For winning I got a 9 foot trophy. Ok….it’s only maybe one foot, but in my mind it’s 9 feet! Since then, I have been known as Trophy. That was my ultimate trophy hunting moment.
This event led to my extensive study into trophy hunting. As a case study it depicts the key Blue Shoes TH criteria of : first time race, limited publicity, rural setting, multiple race competition on the same day. This trophy is truly amazing…you’d think he’d won the freaking Boston Marathon.
The 5th annual Camden Clinic Classic was another such opportunity. I had quietly researched the results from previous years and determined I might could have another trophy moment. I conferred with my partner in crime, Diesel, and we decided to go for it. There were a couple other races on this day as well as the very popular Mud Run. Could this be our chance???
Ah yes, research. Another critical component. The problem is, other trophy hunters see the slow winning times from last year and all show up at the next one.
The Clinic Classic is a 5K/10K held in Camden to benefit the Community Medical Clinic. The course is actually a very good one. It starts right on Hwy 1 in Camden and then runs through a nice older neighborhood in the heart of town. Fairly scenic and shaded in most areas. The race is not the most organized I have ever seen, but what they lack in race knowledge they make up for with enthusiasm and the desire to actually make everyone happy. I spoke with the director a few times and she was very helpful and was looking for feedback and ways to make the race bigger and better.
I see a conflict of interest here.
I got there pretty early to sign up and to scope out the competition. After 30 minutes or so, things were looking good. Diesel eventually showed up to sign up as well and we sized things up. We had decided that I would do the 10K and he would do the 5K, giving us both the opportunity for a trophy. Things were looking pretty good. We walked back to his truck to drop his stuff off and the most devastating moment of the day happened. Ryan Plexico. Son of a monkey! Being the elite runner he is, no way he was doing the 5K. My plan was foiled. Diesel on the other hand…was still in good shape. We conversed with Ryan for a little bit then did a one mile warm up. After returning I thought I saw a glimpse of Mike Hedgecock. He was the winner of the 5K the previous year, and a definite threat.
Runners with actual talent are the bane to the trophy hunter’s existence. Nothing like lining up with soccer moms, kids and granddads only to see a last second dude in a sponsored singlet show up. DOH!
We lined up and I scanned the crowd. At this point in time it looked to be me vs Plex. Pshhh…piece of cake. I told him go slow so I could keep him in sight and not make a wrong turn. Apparently he didn’t understand my idea of slow. Diesel was right there with us and his 5K chances were looking pretty good at this point, as no Hedgecock in sight. We started and it was as expected….Ryan way in front…then me…then some others. Some guy came up and got in front of me about a half mile in and I saw he had a 10K bib on. Uh oh. At this point I couldn’t tell if he was for real or not. Regardless, I passed him before we got to a mile. During this stretch I heard someone coming up behind me….running pretty fast. Right at a mile they caught me….it was Hedgecock. Apparently he started a little late and was catching up! He blew by me at the 1 mile mark and all I was hoping is he would turn off for the 5K. Whew…he did. Good for me…bad for Diesel. I made a turn between mile 1 and 2 and looked back and saw a few guys….unsure at that point if any of them could catch me. I tried to push it a little and open up some space. Around mile 3 or so the ugly sun reared its face. I am not a fan of heat or the sun when it comes to running, as most know. My pace slipped a bit but I was still securely in 2nd place. After about half a mile…I never saw Ryan again, until I crossed the finish line. Around mile 4 I got confused as to which way to turn. One of the few places it was not well marked. Luckily the closest guy behind me yelled to me and I then got back on course. Good that he helped, bad that he was close enough to see which way I was going. At this point in time I was struggling trying to keep pace. The heat was taking a toll and I was trying my best to stay ahead of the guy in 3rd. He seemed to get pretty close to me by mile 5. I had almost given up that I was going to stay in front of him. But then mile 5 or so hit and we had some shade and were going a little downhill and heading back towards the start/finish area. I found the boost I needed. We were also catching up with some of the 5K walkers and it was nice to be able to pass them. I kept my pace at a sub 7 at this point and was feeling pretty good. We made the last turn to go back down Hwy 1 to the finish and I took a quick glimpse back and knew I had secured 2nd place. I crossed the finish line and caught my breath. Saw Plex….who looked like he had already rested, eaten, and taken a shower and come back to see the rest of us. Decent time for me, but a little too hot for me to PR. Diesel ran a good time and managed a 3rd overall in the 5K. A teenager beat him out for 2nd place. Diesel apparently had a “Diesel” moment and bonked in the first mile because he believed he may actually be in line for a trophy. That was because Hedgecock was so far ahead of him he had no idea if he was running the 5K or 10K.
Hedgecock apparently won the race while starting from the front seat of his car. Diesel is the ultimate race underperformer. Dude runs PRs in training when he’s not even thinking about it. Put a bib on him though…its like kryptonite. I’m surprised Trophy was able to hold off Whitney Keen – he has been running right at 20 minutes for 5ks.
Awards were nice and unique. Unfortunately they only went one deep in the overall, so Diesel and I were pushed into age groups, which in this race were 10 year increments. We received a nice horseshoe for our efforts. Something I can definitely say I have never seen. Only other racer there was Henry Holt….who obviously managed an age group win as well. We can only hope to be running like him when we are that age.
The ultimate insult to injury – taking 2nd place, getting demoted to age groups and spelling your name MCGOHO. The 10k had all of 27 entrants, so you cant blame them for 10 year groups and 1 deep overalls. The Lexington Kiwanis Funfest 5k had a similar turnout in 2010 and I think EVERYBODY won medals. The last place finisher won overall 1st masters female. Awesome.
We learned our lesson and will never go trophy hunting again. Riiiiiiight. This course is actually very PR friendly and is for a good cause, so if you get a chance I would recommend you run it. Unless you are one of the thousands of runners that are faster than me! If you are one of those, go somewhere else.
Strong work, Trophy. Sorry Plex rained on your parade. How dare he decide to ruin your trophy hunt?!