Lexington Half Marathon/10k/5k – Lexington, SC – 11/14/15


This is the second year of the Lexington Half Marathon, the second race put on by Jesse Harmon’s Run Hard group, in addition to his resurrection of the Columbia Marathon in 2014 and 2015. The guy must not sleep much because the idea of putting on two major races a year sounds like a metric crap ton of work.

I was in the midst of Kiawah training last year, and had just done the Savannah half the week before, so I did the half in 2014 with Justin Bishop and Kristin Cattieu’s 1:45 pace group. It worked out perfectly with knocking out my long run for the week. I was definitely surprised at Jesse and Ken Lowden’s ability to put together a 13.1 mile course in Lexington that actually wasn’t too hilly. For the uninitiated, Lexington must have been the site of some ancient mountain range because the area is one roller coaster hill after another. But the Lexington half was pretty good, save for a nasty stretch on 378. The caveat being that I didn’t race it.  Still, Ken Vowles spent half the race in a portapotty last year and still clocked a 1:32, so it can’t be that bad.

With all my eggs in the 2016 Boston basket, I haven’t been marathon training this fall, and instead focusing on the shorter stuff. Last week’s Gov cup 5 miler was a big confidence boost that I’m nearly back to where I want to be, though I’ve been dealing with some right hamstring/glute tightness that has been nagging me since. Yes, Tigs, I know, I know.

I was on the fence about which race to run of the three. My trophy studies have yielded that when three races are available, always choose the middle one. The big dawgs choose the longest race, and people just kind of forget about the middle distance. In this case, I actually think there would be a similar undercard factor to both the 5 and the 10, and probably spreading out the field to make both weaker. You can tell I spend way too much time on this completely useless stuff. Alas, the trophy addict must get his fix.

Joe Wilson, ex -Columbian and my random running partner for half of Kiawah 2014, was coming up to run the 10k, so I agreed to put aside my hatred of the 6.2 and give it a shot. Breaking 40 is my last major running goal I set out for myself years ago, and it has eluded me even when I should have already done it. Technically I did it in the last 6.2 of the Orangeburg Rose Fest 12k, but I need to see those 39’s on a results page to make it legit. Either way, I’m not quite in that shape again for this race.

Arriving at the race I heard some reports that the 10k had the smallest field, so the trophy hunt was on. I knew Randy Hrechko was doing the 10k,  so he would probably be my main competition, and I figured Joe would probably take me down since he got his 39:xx at Peachtree.  There’s a huge crowd for this thing, with a ton of people I don’t know. Temps are literally 30 degrees colder than last weekend, high 30’s-low 40’s. I ran by the half start to check out the competition. Eric Ashton is there, so I know he’ll be running this thing solo. Dude is 47 and still running close to 1:10.  Ty Thomas, Michael Nance (1:30 pacer) , Devon Shirley , Linn Hall, Eric Bopp, Lynn Grimes, Jennifer Reeves, Maria Huff, Julia Early, Joyce, Flicker, Trophy, Ivanka and Eliere Tolan, Rick Gibbons, Mike Jensen, Jeanna Moffett , Jennifer Glass, Marlena Crovatt-Bagwell, Jennifer Hill, April Hutto, Ilia Owens, The Fadels, Wendy Hart, Alan Humphries, Jenn Covington, Ken Lowden and Hou-Yin Chang are some of the familiar faces. There was about a 8-9 minute delay on the start but no worries, I still have 20 plus minutes to do a quick warmup. The Code and I join Joe and his friend Danny from Atlanta on a 1.5 mile warmup and get back to the line at 7:54 for the 8 am start. I’m moving my way up to the front when someone tells me I missed the 10k start. WTF??? Sure enough, I don’t see any other 10k bibs around. Although the website said 8:00, there was apparently some announcement at the half start that they were going to have us 10kers go off at 7:45. Well… I missed that memo.

The four of us start running, but I turn around about 100 meters in and we all get the go ahead from Jesse that we can last-second transfer down to the 5k. I know this is going to be an epic timing cluster for Strictly Running, but there’s not much I can do about it at 7:58. I guess the 5k is also a target event for the Run Hard school program, because I am up on the line with a ton of kids, Joe, Code, Danny and Brandenburg.  The start is crazy with all the kids and I feel like I’m a bus among a bunch of speeding subcompacts. One thing is sure – I am just not feeling it. I guess I have to mentally steel myself against the 20 minutes of torture that is the 5k, because I am just hating life from the get go. Joe, JB and Code form a minipack ahead while I wallow in my pool of negativity a few meters back. What’s worse, my hamstring is really not liking the sudden jolt to low 6 pace.


I manage to free myself from the pack of grade schoolers, though there is one stubborn pre-teen that isn’t liking getting passed by a 40 year old Sasquatch. He lingers through the first mile but eventually gets dropped right after the marker. I was debating about doing the unthinkable and dropping out for the first time, since my heart wasn’t in it, but getting a 6:15 on the Garmin told me I could at least pull an ok time. After mile 1 is a plunge downhill on Pond View Lane. Right leg is still tight and I’m fighting against it.  Code has dropped back from Joe and JB and I’m tracking him down hardcore. As I’m trying to gain on Code, some thin African American guy (later identified as  Kennedy Mulinqe) passes me. I’ve never seen him before, but dude looks super fast. I wonder if he was supposed to do the 10k too?  He runs up ahead and takes down the Code too. Damn, now I’m in 5th. My trophy hopes are dying in the cold Lexington air. I finally catch up to Code just before we have to do a little cul-de-sac out and  back.  Dave Hale was there at the turnaround cone taunting, I mean cheering, us.  We’ve caught up to the half and 10k pack by now and its pretty crowded.  Between my tight leg and all the people around doing different paces and distances, I start sinking into Debbie Downer land. What’s worse, we get to make up all that downhill as soon as we get out of the cul-de-sac. I am ready to get this thing over with, but I’ve got no power going up this hill. The sun is beating down on me and I can literally see the Code’s shadow on the ground in front of me. I catch up to Ken Lowden, making it 2 weeks in a row we’re struggling up a hill together. At least I don’t have 4 miles to go like him, though. Mile 2 in 6:30 something.  Finally I reach Barr road and I’m pretty sure its flat and straight to the finish. Kennedy is slowly getting reeled in. By this time, my lungs are blasting but the hamstring/glute is at least a little looser, so I’m not fighting my own body as much. With visions of trophies dancing through my head, I push all the chips in when I can see the church. Kennedy either looks really smooth all the time or just isn’t trying, but I pass by him in a fury of flailing arms and legs. I’m sprinting it out from there, having no idea what this dude can do, and scared to death he’s going to blue shoe the blue shoes. I round the turn into the church parking lot and about blow out a lung hauling tail to the finish chute. The clock has the half time up, but my Garmin spits back a 19:53. 19:51 officially and 3rd overall.

Ok, so not bad for a 5k where I kind of phoned in the first 2 miles. I’ll take it. I don’t think I was any threat to break 40 in the 10 anyway with my bum hamstring. Selwyn Blake was my hero at the finish. I had to go up and explain the whole situation and we ended up giving him a pile of bibs while he’s trying to manage 3 ongoing races. Major props to him for getting everything worked out.


Eric won the half in 1:13, nine minutes clear of the field. Wow. Brandon Derrana was second with TUS’ David Russell third just a  few seconds behind. Devon Shirley took the women’s win in 1:32, with Cruz Figueroa 2nd and Linn Hall 3rd.  Julia Early and Joyce Welch went 1-2 in female masters, while Ty Thomas took 2nd in male masters. Ty was heartbroken when he learned his new 1:28:39 PR was 11 seconds slower than mine. To be fair, mine was on the pool table flat Savannah course.

In the age groups, Kim Hardin took 2nd in the 30-34. Michael Nance won the 35-39 when no one could match his 1:30 pace group. He did nail the time with a 1:29:52. Kenny Culbertson and Eric Bopp went 1-2 in the 40-44, with Ivanka Tolan and Wendy Hart doing the same among the women. Jennifer Conrick and Jenn Covington went 1-2 in the 45-49. Phil Togneri was 2nd inthe 50-54. Rick Gibbons was 3rd in the 55-59, while Alsens Edwards placed 2nd among the women. Rob Kreigshaber claimed the 60-64 by 13 minutes. John Houser was champ of the 65-69.


Jonathan Kinsey showed up for the 10k to destroy all holy grail chances for the mere mortals. His 33:16 was ten minutes clear of the field, with Randy Hrechko taking 2nd. Laura Day had a trophy hunt by winning the women’s race in 50 minutes and change. Peter Mugglestone claimed 2nd masters at age 70. Not too shabby. Tommy and Cheryl Outlaw were champs of the 55-59, with Dolly Rodgers 3rd. Sharon Sherbourne took home the 60-64. Patt Lowden won the 65-69 with Ken Lowden 2nd among the men.


Joe Wilson held off a charging JB to take the win in 19:14. Code got first masters, with Wayne Shuler 3rd. Four out of the top 5 were 40+. Yay for old men. Susannah Cate took the women’s win followed by Sara Bonner and Kristie Mears. Mary Howk crushed a 23:52 at age 64 (81 percent age grade, equivalent to an 18:05 ) to win female masters, with Barb Brandenburg 2nd. Danny Freeman took the 35-39. Beth Tanner placed 3rd in the 45-49 with Tom Tanner 3rd in the 50-54. Tour director John Gasque won the 55-59. Alex Ponomarev and Brigitte Smith were 65-69 champs. Rocky Soderberg won the 70+.










Governor’s Cup Historic 5 miler – Columbia, SC – 11/7/15



The Gov Cup is the granddaddy of Columbia road races, first put on in 1973 with about 300 runners, then progressing to the big event it is today. It started as a 5 miler and 15 miler, but it’s been an 8k and a half for the past 15 years or so. The Columbia Running Club helped found the race, but later let the Carolina Marathon Association (which also directed the Carolina Marathon 1977-2000) take over. Now the CMA hosts the Gov Cup in the fall and the Women’s Heart and Sole 5 miler in the spring.

This year, new Gov Cup race director Ray Renner and the CMA decided to take the race in a totally new direction and hold it in May, though this left the traditional first -week-of-November race date empty this year. To fill the void, they decided to hold this race, a reiteration of the original 1973 5 miler course.


We held a combined Gov cup 5 miler course preview/Columbia Running Club social last month which exposed the masochistic side of those headband and long tube sock wearing dudes 42 years ago. This thing was pretty brutal. I thought the beginning was going to be pretty flat, but it turns out the course went down Barnwell St, which plunges you down into a chasm and makes you hike right back up to Gervais. And just when you’re getting tired, they threw in Saluda hill at the three mile mark. Damn you, 1970’s guys. Our preview also featured a torrential downpour and lightning for dramatic effect.

Speaking of weather, I woke up on race day and swore I must have taken a Delorean ride at 88 mph back to August. Over 70 degrees and nearly 100 percent humidity..in the early morning…in November. WTF?? I was sweating just walking out to my car.  Code and I carpooled downtown and did a couple of miles with our large Team Utopia South presence. I did Barnwell hill at 10 minute pace and was already sucking wind. This was not going to be fun.


By the time we started lining up to the start, I could tell this was the exact polar opposite of a trophy hunt. Beasts everywhere. While Brandenburg was cruising to a 19:47 win at the Spring Valley 5 and 5, I was going to have to compete against the best runners in the state. Eric Ashton, Jud Brooker, Matt Shock,  Ricky Flynn, Justin Bishop, Orinthal Striggles -these are all guys used to winning every race they enter. I’d be lucky to crack the top 20. The women’s side was stacked too with Eric Ashton’s team of Sara Powell and Michelle Ziegler. Greenville sent some of their elites down as well. On top of that, 49 year old 1984 Olympian Zola (Budd) Pieterse was on hand. And these we just the ultra elite. Eric Allers was on hand to make sure I didn’t have a prayer of placing in Masters, along with Toby Selix. I figured I would have plenty of company with Sarah Allers, the Code, Randy Hrechko, Winston Holliday, Linn Hall , Geary McAlister and Ivanka Tolan. Team Utopia also fielded Eliere Tolan, Julia Early, Lorikay Keinzle, Chris Fawver, Travis Nichols and Mike Compton. Mary Lohman, Lynn Grimes, Dave Hale, Shawn Chillag, Chip Lupo, Hou Yin Chang, Ellen Rodillo-Fowler, Brigitte Smith, Jesse Smarr, Kimberly Hardin, Neil Derrick were some of the other familiar faces.

After hearing a few words from WIS’ Judi Gatson and legendary Columbia runner/multi-Gov cup champ/CMA head Russ Pate, we were off. With the super fast field, I got sucked in immediately. I drafted behind Zola for awhile to get the 1984 Mary Decker Slaney effect but then realized she was still way faster than me. We made the first turn and I knew we were going too fast. Tigs and Code were already talking about it behind me, but I was getting locked into a pissing match with a surging Ivanka and Linn. I have a tendency to be too conservative in the first mile, so I made a point to stay with them. I knew Barnwell was coming up soon but my melon head ego wouldn’t let me ease off. We finally hit the turn on to Barnwell less than a mile in and the mountain ahead looked like an absolute spirit crusher.  That didnt stop me from flopping down the preceding plunge downhill, passing the mile marker in tandem with Ivanka and Linn at 6:15.


And the first expletive of the day gets uttered. Yeah..that’s my flat 5k pace, not my hilly as @#$ 5 miler pace. I remember bitching and moaning to Ivanka but she didn’t want to hear it. We were getting slammed in the face with Mt. Barnwell. We passed Barnhill Colony student housing  on the left, which I used to bitch about in 1996 walking there to drink beer with my friend Dan. Racing it at sub 7 pace was definitely less pleasant than that. I reached the summit at Gervais and I’m sucking wind like I’m blue shoeing a finish… except the finish is almost 4 miles away. Linn doesn’t seem to care and is just crushing it. Must be nice to be 80 pounds lighter. I’m fighting through a case of the no oxygenzies for the better part of the next quarter mile on Pendleton and finally catch my breath to hit another hill at the Pendleton-Pickens intersection. I forgot about that little treat. By the time I reach the turn onto Sumter I’ve managed to drop Linn and it feels great to find some flat. Sumter and the Horseshoe is my old student home so I try to pick up some good karma from my past. As if the aura of drinking beer and eating wings will make me faster. Mile 2 was about 6:42 with the nasty hill.  Sumter turns downhill past Longstreet past the old Towers site from my freshman year which is now some high end luxury dorms. Not that I’m bitter, not at all. Luckily I’ve picked up a new pack of a girl and a tall teenaged guy (later identified as Gage Bowman and Ashley Sears) that I can actually draft off a little. We fly down the turn on Wheat and we all seem to slow down as we pass the old Blatt PE center. It always sucks to pass the finish line area in a race, but I think we all know that Mt. Saluda awaits. We remain in a mini-pack through Maxcy Gregg park and I’ts hard not to despair of what is coming up. I feel myself losing concentration and then get pissed and tell myself to man up – time to get this thing over with. I jump out of Maxcy Gregg and go alone out into the street. The sizable elite and sub-elite field has left us all for dead long ago, so it feels like I’m suddenly winning the race of mere mortals. Mile 3 in 6:29. Carol Wallace and Ken and Sheila Bolin are at the Saluda corner cheering, so it was nice to get a boost before I attack the monster. And I mean attack, hard. Ken Lowden is marshaling the course on his bike (having newly minted himself an Ironman in Chattanooga a few weeks ago) and starts up the hill with me. Arms are pumping, lungs are burning, but I figure if I can just get to the top in one piece it will literally be all downhill from there. Ken is powering up the hill on the bike and I try hard as hell to keep up. Shockingly I am able to motor up this thing pretty fast –  all the Team Utopia monday workouts must be paying dividends. I manage to keep up with the bike most of the way and exit out onto Heyward St half euphoric from being done and half wanting to donate a lung or my breakfast to the street.

I fly down Heyward as fast as I can go, fittingly in the same area we do the TUS warmup. I’m still deathly afraid of a Code or Tigs appearance but its gotten very quiet, so I’m hoping the Saluda blast has earned me some distance. Rounding the turn on Pickens onto Enoree I can actually make out Toby in the distance. Wow, must be doing well. Mile 4 with Saluda was 6:42. With flat Enoree and a downhill to Wheat to go, I ramp it up to blue shoe kick mode. The heat/humidity are really making themselves known by now, but its time to empty the tank. They let a car in behind me so I know I’ve got a good gap on my pack. I’m absolutely flailing down the hill that parallels Saluda and almost trip over myself flopping onto Wheat. With the red numbers in sight I go into overdrive. No one to catch, but I see low 32 and sprint it out to get under 32:30, 32:28, 6:08 last mile, 6:30 overall. I make sweet love to the asphalt for awhile but I’m pretty excited about the time. This is a good minute faster than my Race to Read 5 miler a month ago, which was colder and probably about the same hill-wise.  I ended up 4th master and 2nd in the 40-44, so pretty thrilled about getting some bling in such an uber-competitive race. Nice woodcarvings for awards too – very sweet.

Results –

Ricky Flynn crushed the competition by blasting just under 5:00 pace to take the win in 24:58. CIU coach Jud Brooker ran a 25:59 to take 2nd, with Eric Ashton just a second behind for 3rd and 1st masters. Greenville’s Nicole DeMercurio and Dylan Hassett went 1-2 with EA’s Sara Powell taking 3rd among the women.  Zola took 1st women’s masters, with Linn 2nd. Eric Allers took 2nd men’s masters. Geary McAlister and Sarah Allers were grandmasters champs.

In the age groups, Gage Bowman took 1st in the 2-14. Travis Nichols won the 25-29 with Kortni Miller 3rd among the women. Matt Shock and Justin Bishop went 1-2 in the fastest 30-34 ever. Michele Ziegler and Ashley Sears made for a pretty fast women’s 30-34 too. Striggles took the 35-39 by only ten minutes. Toby Selix won the 40-44 followed by the Albino Sasquatch and the Code. Ivanka had a rough Saluda hill but still got 1st in the women’s 40-44. Randy Hrechko and Winston Holliday went 1-2 in the 45-49, while Julia Early showed a blue shoes style kick to win in the women’s division. Chantal Faure won the 50-54 with Francisco Mora and Phil Togneri going 2-3 in the 50-54 men. Lorikay Keinzle took the 55-59. Mike Compton and Neil Derrick went 1-2 in the 60-64, with Lynn Grimes placing 3rd among the women. Brigitte Smith took 2nd in the 65-69, with Shawn Chillag winning the men’s division. Peter Mugglestone took 2nd in the 70-74 while Jesse Smarr won the 75+.





NW YMCA Pumpkin 5k – Irmo, SC – 10/31/15


The Pumpkin 5k is put on by Erin Roof and company at the YMCA and goes to benefit their Annual Campaign to make the Y available to everyone through scholarships and financial assistance. I first did it in 2009 and I’ve run it several times since, including a scorching 42 minute 5k with a complainy 10 year old in 2013.

Little Alex did have a point – the course is pretty brutal and a little long (garmin has been 3.18 consistently), but it being a Y event I could count on it being well done and swagtastic.

Since it was Halloween, I saw they were encouraging costumes for this one. I am typically a purist – dont make me run through color clouds or eat a box of donuts halfway. Running Times not Runners World. Yes, I am an insufferable runsnob. But, I got suckered into buying a Hulk costume in a post-beer Target expedition with three overeager preteens, so I might as well get some mileage out of this thing.

The problem is that I am not the chunky beast I once was, so putting on the oversized green muscle shirt looked pretty pathetic. Like Hulk was dying of some horrible illness. Bonus is that masks have evolved since the 1980’s. The ones from my youth were oppressive sweat boxes for your face, forcing you to breathe through two pin holes until you hyperventilated and were about to pass out. Not to mention the plasticky Gi-Joe sauna suit that left you drenched on a typical 70 degree South Carolina Halloween night. This Hulk mask had padding and was pretty easy to breathe through, and the shirt was fairly comfortable.I even test drove it at Strictly Running’s costume Run for Pizza. This was going to be fine.

I was impressed at the turnout when I showed up on race morning. Erin had told me they were shooting for 800, which I thought was a grandiose delusion on par with something I would see at work. This was a week after Ray Tanner, so I figured it would be tough to get people out 2 weeks in a row. Some people think that’s excessive. BAHAHA. Amazingly, there seemed to be at least several hundred on hand, so hats off to the Roof publicity machine.

After doing a couple of warm up miles with Charlie Clements, I realize that this crowd is really slim on the competition factor. I don’t see any elite types, at least not initially. I ran into Angel and figured he might be eligible for the trophy hunter’s holy grail, the overall win. I mean, the Code is a former champion here, so mere mortals have prevailed in the past. That was all shot to hell when Dimery made his typical last second arrival. And when we finally lined up, there were some front row guys that at least looked really fast.  I figured Liz Locke was going to win the women’s race in a cake walk (though disappointed she didnt choose the Stay Puft costume from the SR run). Alex Ponomarev, Pete Poore, John Gasque, Arnold Floyd, Peter Mugglestone, Brigitte Smith, Rocky Soderberg and  Henry Holt made up a crew that have probably already put in 20+ races each this year. Pete O’Boyle, Karen Manning, Missy Caughman, Lisa Smarr, Wayne Shuler, David Pappas, Shelley and Marion Hinson, Pam Griffin, the O’Toole family, The Petruzzis, and Mike and Kat Hudgins (as Fred and Velma from Scooby Doo) were some of the familiar faces. Todd Heinecke, Paul Sadler and of course Erin and Sarah Roof were on hand as race staff.

At the start line I reviewed the course with Angel. You run up and out of the parking lot and then downhill onto Firetower Rd. From there, a mile of hellish, quad destroying hill, then turn around and come all the way back. Seemed simple enough. Luckily this time I wouldn’t have to endure watching my son getting chicked by a bunch of preteen Southern Strutt girls.

I lined up just behind Dimery and the start was a total stampede with so many people (results had 494, Erin said about 600 total registered plus the kids run). I am trying hard not to hit people, though when you’re nearly 200 pounds and wearing a Hulk costume, people tend to give you the right of way.  The mask made it about 200 meters. It might have been fine at 9 minute pace, but the wind suckage at low 6 was not mask-friendly. In hindsight I should have just ditched it there near the parking lot, but I wanted it for the finish photo. We’ll get to that…

Luckily, the demasking helped a lot with the whole oxygen exchange thing, and I was able to settle in. As usual, there are all kinds of people all around me trying to crush the first mile. Did these dudes even look at the course? I guess not. Liz is taking a page from her SR teammate Jen Lybrand and is blasting it out too. Angel is surprisingly not in the picture. We round a turn near the mile mark and we get our first look at the multi-tiered mountain ahead of us. Oh God, this is going to suck. Mile 1 in 6:15, a little overcooked, but not surprising given the amount of downhill and adrenaline rush of the start.  Once Mount Misery begins the pack gets real thin, real quick. Dimery and three other guys are a whole zip code ahead, but suddenly its just me and this familiar looking guy just ahead. He’s a got a few grays so he’s probably masters and threatening to take my trophy. He must be beaten! Despite the extra luggage of beers and pizza I carry around, I’m surprisingly good on hills. I power up the mountain taking down masters guy and Liz in the process. Suddenly it feels like I’m winning the race, if it wasn’t for the four guys with actual talent a quarter mile ahead of me. Speaking of these guys, they suddenly come into view again on their way back down the mountain, so I’m hopeful the turnaround is somewhere up there soon.

I finally motor over the summit of Mt. Firetower only to realize the turnaround cone is about 50 meters down the other side. Approaching the cone, I exhibit all the finesse of a speeding 18 wheeler trying to stop on a dime. There’s just no way to gracefully turn around on a downgrade at 5k pace. I jolt to a complete stop and try to power back up to the summit again the best I can.  Turnarounds are good for scoping out the competition though. Masters guy (later identified as Anthony Hernandez)  and Angel are on my tail a few yards back. Its looking like one 4 man race for the overall and one three man race for masters. Liz is miles ahead on the women’s side.

The mountain climb has given my lungs a gut punch so I do try to maximize my considerable gravitational advantage for awhile. Unfortunately my gorilla physique is not real efficient in turning that potential energy into kinetic power, because I can hear Hernandez riding me like a circus monkey. It is nice to see everyone on the way down – man this race is huge. I then push it for awhile and lose Hernandez, but then hear a slightly different set of lungs sucking wind. I hit the mile 2 marker and before I can check my Garmin (an ugly 6:42) I look up and Angel takes me on the right. I figure he’s gone out easy and is now going to crush it. I tell him to go get it, but damned if my oversized melon headed ego isn’t wincing from the pride injury. Time to man up. We complete the freefall down the mountain basically side by side. An all-out old man war is in progress. Angel surges on the last two long inclines to the Y, and I follow suit. We are both sucking wind like there’s no tomorrow, Angel now a step ahead. I’m sure I’m giving him rapid-bear-chase nightmares for months to come. I keep telling myself, maybe I can get him in the Y parking lot… except every bit of my being is screaming to stop this torture..and damn I wish I wasn’t carrying this ridiculous mask.  Mile 3 (6:00) chirps back before we even hit the Y, so I know this is going to be longish. We plunge into the parking lot and I am just toast – I’m half worried my legs are just going to crumple in front of me. Angel is painfully close but he is sprinting it out like a beast too…and damn it’s going to be close to 20 minutes. But I just can’t do it. We crash through the finish with me a step behind, flashing my mask in my face for the photo op, looking absolutely ridiculous. 19:57.


Man, I hate to lose, but these battles are what I live for.  No way I drop a 6 flat last mile without chasing someone. Angel is a beast too, so no shame in finishing a second behind him. I’ll take it. Nice tervis tumbler 2nd masters award, even without the first masters cash.

In the overall, the four man race was won by Joe Keitt, Justin Carder and Jeff Spraker – never seen any of them race before. Justin is from Pelion so I wonder if he’s a Coach B product. Dimery finished 4th, though he’s over 10 years older than the other three. Angel, myself and Anthony Hernandez finished 5-7th in the masters race. Liz Locke easily claimed the women’s win, with Ashley Culler 2nd and my former Blue Ridge relay teammate Karen Manning 3rd (and 1st female master). CRC’er Shelley Hinson took 2nd female masters.

In the age groups, Mary O’Toole placed 2nd in the 14-16. New CRC member Sarah Merriman took 3rd in the 25-29. David Pappas enjoyed everyone aging up and took the 35-39. April Hutto said she was “out for a jog” but couldn’t help placing 3rd in the 40-44, with Christina McCarty 2nd. Charley Clements, Marion Hinson and Todd Whalon (dressed as a neon fairy) swept the 40-44 men. Wayne Shuler placed 3rd in the 45-49. Pam Griffin crushed the 50-54. Ken Sekley and Tour Director John Gasque went 1-2 among the men. Lisa Smarr was champ of the 55-59 women. Petes O’Boyle and Poore were 1st and 3rd in the 60-64. Jan Hardwick and Alex Ponomarev were beasts in the 65-69, with Brigitte Smith taking the win among the women. Arnold Floyd, Peter Mugglestone and Henry Holt swept a super tough 70+ division.