Soda City Crit 5k and Destiny Johanna 5k double dip – Columbia, SC – 12/17/16

Although it may seem inconceivable to the non-road racing obsessed, I actually felt like a slacker with this double dip. Why? Like a total eclipse , a TRIPLE dip opportunity only comes along once in a very good while. As has been well documented in this blog, my triple dip in 2013 was my personal masterpiece: an epic trophy hunting, Tour de Columbia points grabbing run through the morning of my 38th birthday weekend. I shouldn’t mention the trouncing Tyler Mcgaha received in the third race after trash talking all week. Ooops..there I go again.


Anyway, this weekend was set up for another possible triple. The rescheduled Destiny Johanna 5k was at 7:30, Soda City Crit 5k at 8:30 and the Arthritis Foundation Jingle Bell 5k at 9:30. It was a little tight but definitely doable. However , Soda City has an elite 5k at 9:30  separate from the main race, where the top two women were going to make a run at the 5k state record (16:30) – I couldn’t miss that.

So double it was. The original Destiny Johanna 5k was scheduled during the Hurricane Matthew weekend in early October, and with the busy fall racing schedule it had to be postponed all the way until now. It’s a first time event, put on to benefit the Destiny Johanna Foundation, a group which assists with parents dealing with the loss of a newborn. Looks like a good cause.

Surprisingly, this first time event not only had a certified course but a unique one that went through the streets of Rosewood, starting and ending at Memorial stadium. I had already pegged this race as a trophy hunt given its limited publicity, competition with a bigger race (Soda City) and rescheduled status. My trophy senses were tingling even more when I showed up kind of late and there was hardly anyone there. The organizers probably thought I was some complete nut job parking and re-parking my car to find the optimal getaway position for the double dip. Kristen Brumbaugh was working the table and said she was a TDBS reader, so always good to have the ridiculous ego fed first thing in the morning.

It was brutally cold, getting late, and I was being lazy, so my “warm-up” consisted of a half mile jog around the area. When I got back there was still only a handful of people there. We had good Columbia Running Club representation with Jennifer Tudor, Stephanie Dukes, Rocky Soderberg, Reese and Melinda Petruzzi, Pete Poore and Gretchen Lambert. I looked around and didn’t recognize anyone else. None of my typical age group peeps, no elites. They had 70 registered but only 27 at the starting line. Jordan Lybrand looked at me and we both realized the obvious: this was going to be a run for the holy grail of trophy hunting: the overall win.


There was one fit looking dude that I was slightly worried about, but he seemed overdressed to be racing. After getting directions to make sure I could navigate the parking lot loops, we were off. The first loop goes through the parking lot and a short out and back around the bathroom house near the field, maybe a quarter mile tops. As I turn back on the road out of the stadium complex, I already have a 100 meter lead on the field. Fit dude is walking with his family. Um , this is not going to be close. Circling back onto Holly Street, I hit mile 1 in 6:23, and there’s no one in sight. Now, I love a good trophy hunt but this just seems ridiculous. My hamstring is complaining since I didn’t warm it up enough, and my mind is already drifted to the fact I have to do another one of these in less than an hour.

The pace gets backed down and suddenly I’m getting a police-escorted tempo run through Rosewood. The total Adam Feigh/Eric Ashton experience -only 2 minutes per mile slower and a lot fatter. I’m kind of confused by the course but the police guy seems to know where he’s going. Slightly hillier than I thought but not too bad. Lots of police monitoring the intersections – sometimes “my ” cop car would pull ahead and say something to the other guys. Probably “How did I get Sasquatch babysitting duty??” Mile 2 was like 6:55, slower than Kiawah pace. This makes me pick it up a little, because I am forever mocking Trophy McGaha about his “blackjack” 5ks. Heaven forbid the crap I would get for going over 21 myself.

I finally make it back to Bonham St after a mile or so loop, and it looks like a good third of  the field is actually just walking. The finish is a long gradual hill up Bonham and Holly St, the same as the old Rosewood Eagles 5k. I turn the last corner into the parking lot, and the clock is already in the 20’s. I do a mini kick and cross in 20:40. It wasn’t pretty but a first overall is always cool. I took a few pics and met Destiny’s mom, Joy, who was super nice. I feel bad about the turnout, but glad to see they had 70+ registered. Hopefully they can have better luck with the weather next year.



I then had to jump into my car and haul tail to the Crit. Start was at 8:30 and I had 8:03 on the watch when I left.  As I was pulling out I saw Gretchen taking 1st female and 2nd to cross the line. Looking at the results, Pete Poore took 2nd  male, with Stephanie Dukes and Jennifer Tudor taking 2nd and 3rd female. Awesome! Rocky , Melinda and Reese Petruzzi all won their age groups.

After a million traffic lights and not finding any parking, I jumped out of my car on Assembly street and sprinted over to the Soda City packet pickup. You’re supposed to do early pickup for double dips, but I figured my kids wouldn’t take to kindly to missing Star Wars: Rogue One so daddy could feed his freaky addiction. I made it to the table with ten minutes to spare. Luckily it was still super cold so I just threw the race shirt on instead of going back to the car.

The Soda City crit is another iteration of what was the Main Street Crit. This race started as a nighttime November race, then a nighttime December race, then a New Year’s Eve afternoon race, then not happening at all last year. I personally like the nighttime December race the best, but I was just glad to see it come back again. Steven Johnson and some of the 621 ninjas put this event on. It is done criterium style (Crit) where you essentially use 2 city blocks as a rectangular track. Its a great event for spectators since you get to see people come back through the same area 6 times. My favorite part is the separate elite race , where the pros and local beasts battle it out for cash.


Ken Lowden course with Blue Shoes notations


I had to throw my bib on and high tail it to the start, which is about a quarter mile from the finish line/packet pickup. Everybody was lining up already. Looked like a decent crowd – Sarah and Eric Allers, Randy Hrechko, Zach De Moya, Ian Clawson, Drew Williams, Will Brumbach, Wilson Harvey, Matt/Brie/Sabine/Quentin McGrievy, Winston Holliday, Kyle Addy, Anita Recchio were all I could see with a quick scan near the front. Oh, and Joyce brought all her Team Utopia Youth minions with her. Oh noes. Here I am weakened from the previous 5k and the Forche family is going to come beat me down. Connor informs me he’s sick, but dad Jason informs me that little bro Camden is going to try for the 8 year old state record, 19:45. Great – there is a legit chance that I’m going to get third gradered and his dad is going to age group me. Awesome!


Photo credit: Tracy Tisdale-Williams

The start feels like death as the cold and sitting has frozen up my legs and the slightly gimp hamstring. The Forches, Randy and Sarah jump ahead of me instantly as I try to get the engine fired back up as quickly as possible. Tigs gives me a quick “gluteal massage” on her pass. Oh, she’ll pay for that. The first corner is the heckler/smoker bus station corner – always good to pull a wide turn around these guys. The second turn onto main st features the awesome 90’s band, which seems to have a playlist completely from the Blue Shoes college CD rack. Nice downhill on main all the way to the finish mat/lap counter. By the first lap, I’ve passed the Forches but Tigs and Brumbach are in a mini pack up ahead. Finally the legs are a little warmed up and I surge ahead, making sure to throw a little elbow and verbal harassment Tigs’ way, drawing a rare British F bomb. I am so proud!  The first couple of laps feel OK, mile split in 6:19, though its hard to trust the garmin signal among the downtown buildings. Around the third lap things start turning a little south – legs are hating the abuse and I can feel Brumbach just behind me. By this time, people are getting lapped so you have to do a little tailback maneuvering and find your seam. A few times, people almost step out in front of the albino bus but I’m able to avoid any significant impacts. I don’t hear the mile 2 split, and I’m really just going by Coach B’s lap signs anyway. With two laps to go, some teenage kid cuts me off and starts blocking. OK dude, its on.These xc kids are ruthless. I start trying to kick it in but the legs are  just toast. Wide turn around the hecklers, a little Nirvana on the turn and blast down the straightaway with one lap to go. My eyes of death meet Joyce and Darrell, both of which I’m sure are rooting for me to get the smackdown from Camden. No way. The last lap is just brutal – the brain is spending all of its energy trying to override the veto of the legs and lungs. I basically throw everything into the  heckler/band curve, hoping to slingshot into the downhill finishing straight. I don’t dare look back. I still see 19’s as I make out the clock with a block to go. One last sprint into the chute and I cross around 19:50. The official time is 19:46, which matches my Garmin. Good enough for 1st in AG, though only 14th overall. I’ll take it for a double dip.


Photo credit: Tracy Tisdale-Williams

In the elite race, Michael Banks, running for Strictly, crushed a 14:35 for the win. Adam Freudenthal ran shoulder to shouder with Banks for most of the race and finished 2nd in 14:41. Brandon Hudgens placed third in 14:48. The women’s race was also close with Victoria Hammersmith and Esther Atkins battling it out side by side all the way into the chute, with Hammersmith taking the win 16:51 to 16:53. Michele Ziegler used a punishing finishing lap kick to edge Shawanna White for third. Adam Feigh had a huge PR with a 15:50. Other Columbia finishers included Eric Ashton in 16:20 and OJ Striggles in 17:01.

In the mere mortals race, Christian Acker clocked a 16:51 for the win over Hunter McGahee and Alex Dahlstrom. Sarah Allers recovered from Blue Shoe harassment to take the women’s win. Even with all the elites, the only state record taken down at the Crit was 2nd place female Kendra Miles. All of 7 years old, Kendra rocked a 21:51 for a PR and an obliteration of the 22:30 record she tied last weekend. Amazing. Ten year old Rylee Matthews ran an impressive 22:50 for third overall. Joyce, what are you feeding these kids?

Age groups: Camden came up a little short in the record attempt but still got 2nd in the 2-14 age group with  a  20:32. Alan Deogracias placed 2nd in the 15-19, with Ian Clawson 3rd.  Zach Demoya ran an impressive 17:53 but only needed to show up to win hs 20-24 age group.Wilson Harvey continues his sub 19 streak with a 2nd in AG in the 25-29. Drew Williams and Will Brumbach  went 1-2 in the 35-39. Eme Crawford took 3rd in the 35-39 women. Rebecca West, Amanda Wardlaw and Brie Mcgrievy won the 40-44 women while Jason Forche and Matt McGrievy finished 2-3 among the men.  Eric Allers, Randy Hrechko and Winston Holliday swept the 45-49 men. Anita Recchio eked out a 50-54 win by a mere 17 minutes. Kyle Addy took the 55-59 men. SC racing legend Catherine Lempesis was champ of the 65-69 women in an impressive 24:34, with Peter Mugglestone winning the 70+.

Soda City results:

Destiny Johanna results:

Adam Feigh’s blog from the elite race:


One comment on “Soda City Crit 5k and Destiny Johanna 5k double dip – Columbia, SC – 12/17/16

  1. Amy Lauren says:

    I read the whole blog Alex and thought it was great, congrats to you on both of you races and some great times and for pulling off a double race day. That would be impossible here because of traffic. Glad to see the elite results as well- sounds like it was quite the race to watch between all of them.

    But the best part is Kendra’s record! That is so awesome- I didn’t even realize they had state records for 7-year-olds but I hope she doesn’t show up to race me because I might get second-grader if she’s sub-22. Not sure what Joyce is feeding them but I know she has a fondness for peanut butter and also krispy kreme if that helps… :). Healthy food’s overrated anyway!

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