The Sweat it Out 5k started out 8 years ago as a small independent race, but over the years it has grown to be one of the more competitive events on the tour. Held in the area near Meadowfield Elementary and Hammond Academy behind the VA, the course is a fairly flat and fast route and typically provides the last decent chance at a fast time before the summer heat really sets in. Erin Roof took over race directing early on, so true to GRIT form, there is great post race swag and food, wth chick fil a biscuits, coffee and the signature Chicken Man painting awards. Don’t forget the free beer at Hunter Gatherer at packet pickup on Friday. (I certainly don’t) The race goes towards a good cause as well, benefitting the national foundation for ectodermal dysplasias. The cause and race is in recognition of Nicholas Duke, who has an ectodermal condition that makes it impossible for him to sweat.
Sweat it Out has always been a standby on the Tour de Blue Shoes, but this year my calendar started filling up for June 4. At some point I agreed to do the Cottonmouth Beerlay (8 mile beer relay) with Drew Williams. That was in Greenville that afternoon, so a rough double dip was already in order. But then I realized the Wildewood Fun Run 5k was also that morning at 10 am. And I had to do that too, since I “won ” last year’s event by brutally beating down a couple of cocky teenagers from the ‘hood. Beware the chunky middle aged man showing up to a fun run in Vaporflys.
But I still had high hopes for a decent race at Sweat It Out to lead it all off. I ran a 19:05 last year and had an insane COVID shutdown virtual mano y mano race with F^&*ing Higgins in 2020 in 19:04 (which I lost and got brutally blue shoed in the final quarter mile), so I hoped to maybe crack 19 this year. It’s always a tough call though, because the heat is typically pretty nasty. The race start time is 7 am, which is good to avoid the worst of it. Unfortunately my testy race day colon isn’t used to that, so I’m always afraid of a late encore to my toilet performances of the morning.
Inside sources for this race suggested that the women’s field in this thing was going to be absolutely stacked. Sure enough, Shawanna White, Purity Menene, Sally Davidson, Christa Collins, Jen Davis, Jennifer Lybrand, Ivanka Tolan, MC Cox, Ashley Holman and Shannon Godby were all on hand, and Greenville elite Shelby Jaramillo was there as well. That being said, the men’s field seemed unusually light with no Trackstar Eddie, Shrum or Striggles to be found. Initially it looked like maybe Branham and I, or Regan, would be fighting it out for the male win, though it was all but assured we would be chicked multiple times over. A young fast looking dude and elite masters Get to the Green winner Robert McBee showed up late though, so the holy grail was definitely off the table. I told Branham he really should try to avoid getting blue shoed this time (a la Race for the Place). Getting a Sasquatchean beatdown two races in a row would be embarrassing. There was a huge CRC turnout for this one, since TDC point opportunities were about to get a lot fewer in the next two months.
We all lined up at 7 am and though the heat is definitely there, it’s not nearly as bad as it could be. I was hoping for the freakishly cool morning of the Higgins showdown but high60s/low 70s wasn’t too shabby. The start of this thing was nuts. Everybody just flying in the first quarter mile. I’m getting passed by everybody since I always have to toe the start line with my enormous ego. All the ladies are crushing it. It takes me a full half mile before I can settle in to where maybe I should be in this field. I feel like Branham, Christa and Jen are gapping me already and I’m really struggling not to let them get out of range in the first mile. Regan must have doubled up on the coffee because he is really flying out there with Shawanna. I really, really would like to just pull out as I can tell this race is going to be a dumpster fire from the get go. But maybe I can salvage something. Brendan Holman is riding me like an oversized monkey on my back and I’m deathly afraid of maybe getting Aufuldished too and miss out on masters altogether. Jordan is screaming for his wife so I know JLy is just behind me too. I really thought mile 1 was slow, but Garmin chirps back a 6:11, so not terrible for me. I had been hitting around 6 flat pace earlier this year, but it ain’t January any more. Mile 2 is a rectangle behind the school followed by the Saye Cut straight out-and-back. Saye Cut always gives you a chance to see where you are since there’s no hiding when you turn around right back from which you came. As I near the turnaround, I see the young dude, Purity, and Shelby absolutely locked in a tight pack for the overall win in both genders. McBee is next, followed by Shawanna, Regan, Chris, Jen and Christa. Regan is talking and acting like he’s out for a jog. Must be nice to be 25, I guess. Mile 2 in 6:08 and I’ve managed to keep Branham in range. One problem with pulling my usual negative splits though is that I feel like absolute death. The dumpster fire is starting to rekindle. What’s worse is not only that late hill, but also the thought of that late hill. I’m blasting down Galway pretty hard but the gas tank is pretty empty at this point. I do an ugly arm pump up that incline right before Meadowfield but yeah, I got nothing. In my mind I had hoped to blast past Christa, Jen and Chris in that last half mile, but that most assuredly was not happening. Plus, who knows what danger lurks behind me. I try and make a final surge in the closing stretch but I’m just dying. Chris informs me “NOT TODAY, DUDE”. He’s right.I hit the final turn and have to ugly sprint to get under 19:30, 19:22 officially. Not my best, but I was glad I din’’t bail. I salvaged 2nd masters and another addition to the Chicken Man installation in my office!
(Note – the timing company results had categories set up as if there were cash awards – I’m going by standard CRC Tour de Columbia rules)
In the overall, Shelby nipped Purity by one second in the women’s race 17:39 to 17:40. Looking at other results, Shelby ran a 5:15 mile on Friday in Greenville and got up at 3 am to come down and race in Columbia. Nice double dip! Shawanna took 3rd in 18:54. On the men’s side, 19 year old David Williams took the win in 17:25, with Robert McBee 2nd and Regan 3rd. Regan crushed an 18:54 even while dealing with some recent injuries – pretty impressive. Female masters had a top 3 of Christa Collins, Ivanka Tolan and MC Cox. Chris Branham took male masters, with The Sasquatch and Duane Kimball 2nd and 3rd.
Male age group honor roll; Danny Vowles was 2nd in the 15-19.. Parker Roof took the 20-24 win, while Ian Loughlin claimed the 25-29. Seth Lapic, Westley Mckinney (pacing MC) and Brian Aplin swept the 30-34. Antjuan Seawright and Chris Reed were 2nd/3rd in the 35-39. Brendan Holman was champ of the 40-44. Randy SILENT H Hrechko took the 50-54 with Jonathan Kirkwood 2nd. Ed Aufuldish, Clay Ham (with a 22:12 PR) and Mark Gallagher swept the 55-59. Dave Hale and Patrick McCormick were 1-3 in the 60-64. Ron Lipe and Harry Strick took the 65-69. Alex Ponomarev and Bill Iskrzak were first and third in the 70-74. Ron Hagell was 2nd in the 75-79.
Female Age group honor roll: Evelyn Holman won the Under 9 with an impressive 24:26. Lilly Holman was 2nd in the 10-14. Sally Davidson took the 20-24 crown in 19:47. Jessica Weaver was champ of the 25-29. Jen Davis, Jennifer Lybrand, Kara Stevens (PR in 21:57) and Lauren Lapic swept the 30-34, while Ashley Holman, Brittany Jones and Megan Duffy did the same in the 35-39. Mc Cox, Shannon Godby and Colleen Quarles placed in a brutally competitive 45-49. Missy Caughman was 2nd in the 50-54. Renee McCormick, Kelly Danias and Greta Dobe won the 55-59. Melody Kreiling and Mary Gallagher took the 60-64, while Helene Lipe and Margie Shelburg did the same in the 65-69. Total beast mode for Lynn Grimes, as she won the 70-74 at SIO and was the only TDC double dipper, driving to Sumter and winning her age group there too. WOW.
Other notable finishers: Jamie Duke, Nick’s mom and race founder. Joe Roof, Jonathan King, Phil Smith, Rebekah Robertson, Eliere Tolan, Patrick Hall, Stephanie ‘Stevie Dee” Dukes, Stephanie Williams, Gretchen Lambert, Son Nguyen, Jessalyn Smith, Deanna Rennick, Pete Poore, Jennifer Norris, Lynn Kramer, Kat Hudgins, Maria Pray, and Ken Lowden. Kerry Stubbs competed virtually.