Prosperity Fire Department 5k and True to the Brew 10k double dip – Prosperity/Pomaria/Peak, SC – 3/30/19


Having died a thousand deaths in the last leg of the Palmetto 200 with the Van on the Run ultra team, I figured I’d take this week easy. I was signed up for the True to the Brew 10k, but at least it was flat, and hopefully I could throw down a decent time without exerting too much effort. Sadly, the Bunny Hop had moved their date to this weekend, so my tenure as the 7 foot rabbit had to take a hiatus. I was halfway into a week of half-hearted slog jogs and too much tennis when Roy Shelley, the newly “elected” dictator president, of the Columbia Running Club, messaged me. He had a double dip challenge for us, with a time window so small it would probably need 2 cars and possibly some executive favors. As it turned out, the Prosperity Fire Department 5k and 10k were starting their races early, with a 7:30 10k and 7:45 5k. True to the Brew started at 8:30. The races were about 15 minutes apart, give or take, so if you could finish the 5k in well under 25 minutes, hop in the car by 8:10ish, there was about a 5-6 minute cushion to make it to TTTB. As probably the most enthusiastic double dipper in the CRC, how could I refuse?? 

Probably by exercising good judgement,  but I digress. Let me say this, Roy puts way more effort in planning things than I do. Dude sends me an agenda, the USATF race routes, road maps. I’m surprised he didn’t get us a police escort. Speaking of executive privilege, one of the hangups  to our plan was the 1 mile shuttle from the parking area to the TTTB start, so we made a plea to Erin Roof for a special parking spot. It seems the Palmetto Conservation Society was being kind of strict, so there was some uncertainty about whether we could get near the start. I figured we would be so late that no one would stop us, but just in case, Pres. Shelley printed out an official “parking pass”. Apparently you can get away with anything if you act like you know what you’re doing.

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We had originally planned to meet at the Pomaria ball fields (official TTTB parking) at 6:45 to drop my car off, but typical of my planning style, I called Roy at 6:25 to change it to Peak. TTTB is a point to point race and requires a shuttle to get back to the start, so I figured we might as well use our 2 cars for some good and enable us to leave TTTB at our leisure.

We got to the Prosperity race about 7:05, and actually had to register on site since our plan was hatched so late. We already had the TTTB bibs from early packet pickup, a critical rule of double dipping strategy. I had half-hoped for a trophy hunt at Prosperity. I figured 4 races on the Tour, and this one had both a 5k and a 10k , and it was way out from Columbia. It fit all the Blue Shoes trophy hunting criteria. One snafu though. Apparently there was prize money, so the first thing I see are two local Kenyan guys, Harrison Kirigwi and Norman Maihathi, who decided to split the races and easily take the cash. DOH! Kenzie Riddle was racing for the first time in 2 years in the 5k, and Joy Miller was running the ten. So we had our overall winners set from the start line. Coach B would be racing with me in the 5k for second place. The whole Pearson clan was on hand with Tim, Edy and Tori representing. Ivery Baldwin, Thomas Outlaw, Gretchen Lambert and Tom Lance were some other familiar faces.


At the 5k line, I think the RD saw me taking pics and delayed the start for a minute.  Thanks to me, now things were really tight. I took off pretty hard from the gun but my legs were still hating me from the P200.  Harrison leaves us all immediately, and at the first turn onto Main St, Kenzie and Mark pass me. This course is super flat, and I think I’m giving a decent effort, but I have zero spring in my step. The police car is guiding Harrison, so they send out a 4 wheeler to be the lead “car” for the mere mortals, which is nice. Mile 1 is like 6:37, a good 20+ seconds off my typical 5k pace. I try not to think about the 10k in my near future, but it definitely sinks in as we hit a long stretch on highway 76. I keep Kenzie and Mark within about 10-20 meters for most of the race. There’s a turn around near the 2 mile mark, and Roy is not too far behind, so hopefully we can jump in the car ASAP. I briefly flirt with pushing in all the chips to try and catch Coach B, but he’s summoning his own kick and I got nuthin. Kenzie is right ahead and I almost catch her with the small hill up to the finish but end up a second behind her. 20:27.  Ugly time for sure, but good for 3rd male overall in this trophy hunt. I grab 2 waters from the cooler and Roy comes in a shade under 23 minutes. We both head to the car a sweaty mess and take off, right at 8:10 by my watch. There were a couple of ways we could have gotten to Pomaria, but we decide to go by the Google maps quickest version. Yeah, google maps didn’t adjust for morning 5ks with a bunch of walkers. We end up sitting on 76 staring at someone’s boat trailer for what seems like an eternity. Finally we turn off 76 towards Pomaria, but everyone and their mom is also going that way. As far as the rest of the trip, I would give you details, but per my attorney driver, we “proceeded cautiously, obeying all road signs and observing posted speed limits“.  Let’s just say I didn’t need pre-race warmups to get my adrenaline going.


Roy tears into Pomaria, I mean eases into the town center, and as we randomly park.  I can hear Erin actually counting down to the start. I jump out of the car, hurdle over some grass, narrowly avoid plowing into Joe Roof , and somehow my Garmin miraculously finds a satellite in my 50 meter dash, as I hit the front of the pack just as the countdown hits zero. MADE IT! YAY!

But there was a price to pay. Apparently Thanos has exacted his infinity stone power on my colon because suddenly I don’t feel so good. 

Fifty meters in and I’m already scouting out the woods. Maybe it will pass. Maybe it was just the adrenaline of the start. Maybe if I pick up the pace it will go away. Negative, ghost rider. This was not going to be pretty.  First there’s a stretch of woods with barbed wire, then a swamp. Oh dear God. Then it goes away for a bit…then comes back with a vengeance.  Finally I come up with the bridge idea. I duck under a bridge at about 2 miles, have to climb down with gimp legs, watch for snakes, make 1000 percent sure there are no potential witnesses and sweet Jesus unspeakable horrors were then committed under that bridge. Thankfully there was also a stream there, also of questionable microbiologic content. I can hear everyone tramping on the bridge overhead, oblivious to the haz mat scene just under their feet. Finally, in what seems like ten minutes, but was actually about 4, I emerge like a enormous dazed troll from under the bridge.  And since I have completely blown any TDC points from this race, an enormous, dazed and depressed troll. I feel lighter though definitely with that not so fresh feeling. But there are 4 miles to go and this is not an out and back loop, so I push on. I at least try to maintain around 8 minute pace, because I’m just ready to get this thing done. For those not hampered by a distempered colon, it was a beautiful day on a flat trail through the forest. Just about perfect. I managed to catch up with a bunch of people who were thoroughly confused by my presence. It’s hard to find new ways to politely say I HAD TO TAKE A GIANT DUMP. The last mile or two I started catching some of CRC age groupers, so I picked up the pace to give myself a hell snowball’s chance of age group glory. Of course, I spotted Drew and Nance and Yerg and McGrievy at the start, so these guys were going to have to place and then go three deep masters for me to have a chance. I also forgot that my Garmin was stopped during my off road excursion, so instead of possibly breaking 50 minutes I was closer to 54. Still, there were a couple of middle aged looking dudes in the last mile and I took off , ending in a sprint on the bridge at the finish. Yeah, I should have saved my energy. 53:46, 7th in age group.


The finish line was awesome for this race as usual. There was a good band that actually played at a reasonable volume (as opposed to the occasional race DJs who think they’re at South beach at 3 am), subs,  and of course beer,  served up by the Craft and Draft guys. Weather was perfect too -70’s and sunny. There was a huge Columbia running club/Harbison Trail Runners/RWB/RUI contingent on hand with Brie and Matt McGrievy, Tracy Tisdale,  Bobby Scott, Sabrina Gandy, Ed Aufuldish, Pete O’Boyle, Winston Holliday, Naomi Rabon, Julie McKinnon, Ken and Sheila Bolin, Jen Clyburn, Mike and Pam Griffin, Mackenzie Wilt, Mario Alvarez, Matt Havens, Birte and Jeff Fretwell, Jim Williams, Jeff Longway, Lisa Powell, Ronda Sanders, Mike Ferguson, Renee and Patrick McCormick, Will Rowan, Joe and Janette Robinson, Betsy Long, Teresa Shelton, Lorand Batten, Michael Beaudet, Clara Nance, Lois and Bryan Leaburn, Teresa Harrington, Missy Caughman, Kara Clyburn, Bertha Woehl, Ron Hagell, Chesson Merritt, Maria Pray, Mike and Janice Compton, Sharon Sherbourne, Patti Lowden,  Harry Strick, and Shirley Smith. Amazing turnout for a day with so may other races going on.


Overall 5k winners were Harrison Kirigwi in 15:55, Coach B was second with the Sasquatch 3rd.  Kenzie won the women’s race, with Stacy Willard and Haley Thomason completing the podium.

5k age groupers were President Roy taking first in the 50-54. Tim Pearson took 3rd in the 55-59 with his new bionic knee.

In the 10k, Norman Maihathi took the win in 39 minutes, with Jon Lawson Cope 2nd and Ivery Baldwin getting third. Nice trophy hunt, Ivery!

10k  age groupers: Tori Pearson won the 30-34.  Thomas Outlaw (jr) won the 35-39. Gretchen Lambert took 3rd in the 45-49. Tom Lance won the 50-54. Edy Pearson won the 55-59, while Tommy Outlaw took the 60-64.

In the TTTB:

Mike Nance edged Drew Williams for the win in an epic showdown of Team Carebeers (our Ville to Ville relay team for April 13). Jeff Fretwell was 3rd.

Among the women, Birte Fretwell captured her second True to the Brew title after her half marathon win at Croft State Park last year. Sally Singleton and Jessica Weems were 2nd and 3rd.

Mens masters was won by TUS beast Ed Aufuldish, the YERG and Winston Holliday. Colleen Vowles, Jen Clyburn and Naomi Rabon swept female masters.

Female Age groups: Makenzie Wilt was 3rd in the 30-34.  Julie “2017 Scrotum of the Year” McKinnon and Brie McGrievy went 1-2 in the 40-44. Tracy “Jedi Runner” Tisdale was 3rd in the 45-49. Lisa Powell was 2nd in the 55-59. Lois Leaburn won the 60-64.  Sharon Sherbourne was second in the 65-69. Patti Lowden was tops in the 70+.

Male age groups: Beer mile director Bobby Scott won the 30-34. Matt McGrievy won the 40-44. Ken Bolin and Roy Shelley went 1-2 in the 50-54. Mario Alvarez and Jim Williams took the top 2 spots in the 55-59.  Pete O’Boyle and Jeff Longway were 2nd and 3rd in the 60-64. Mike Compton was 65-69 champ, while Ron Hagell won the 70+.

Prosperity Fire Department 5k/10k:

True to the Brew: Pomaria to Peak 10k;perpage:10

Alex’s true to the POO 10k:

Alex’s Prosperity 5k:





Lexington Race Against Hunger 10k – Lexington, SC – 2/23/13


The Lexington Race Against Hunger is now in its 13th year and has grown to be one of the largest 10ks in the Columbia area. Proceeds go to benefit five different charities that serve the homeless and the needy. Last years  event drew over 1300 people, 400+  in the 0k and 700+ in the 5k. The 10k has really nice awards, so the race usually attracts a pretty competitive field. The 5k is actually an timed fun run/walk and not a real race, per se.

I have a confession to make.

I hate 10ks.

With a passion, really. I have no sense of pace running the 6.2. I’ve gone out too fast and suffered death marches to the finish, and I’ve also phoned in the first few miles only to find out I can’t  sprint fast enough to make up the lost time. But I’ve never hit that sweet spot where I’ve actually run the race as fast as possible.  The McMillan calculator, using my most recent 5k (19:00)  says I can do a 39:23. My PR is exactly two minutes slower than that. I’ve wanted to break 40 forever in the 10k but I’ve wound up breaking 19 in the 5k first.  Funny thing is, this race is actually where my PR was set a year ago.

And its hardly a PR course. I’m sure Lexingtonians are great people, and most I’ve met are nice (except maybe for that Jen Hill character). But I hate running in that God forsaken town.  It may call itself part of the Midlands, but there are mountains there.  Case in point: Main Street. The LRAH course runs right up the thing, and man, does it suck.  Could be part of the Blue Ridge Relay. Brutal.

What’s even more fun than running up mountains in Lexington is if it was also really cold…and raining…hard….for the second weekend in a row.  41 degrees and a downpour. Needless to say, when I got to the race this morning the “Race Day Registration” desk was a ghost town. No one was getting out of their nice, warm, dry bed to run this thing unless they had already plunked down the cash to do so.  From the looks of it, a lot of people woke up, said “F#%  it” and went back to bed. One of those people was almost me. But if I dont get my weekly racing fix I’m one grumpy bastard – just ask my wife.

After waiting inside until the last second, the Code , Trophy and I did a “warmup”,  aka freezing our collective asses off for about 10 minutes and making sure there was no part of ourselves that wasn’t completely and utterly soaked. Luckily the rain let up just before the start, and hey – no portapotty line!

There were a lot of fast people at the start.  Returning champ Justin Bishop and the Plex were on hand to compete for the win. Amy was there with practically no competition for the women’s race. Drew Williams was helping guide her and unfortunately (for me) was also wearing a bib.  That left me, Flicker, Code and Trophy to pick up the rest of the 35-39 scraps.  Paul Reardon semed prime to pick up the masters win. Geary and Billy were there, which I hoped would help me pace. James Hicks was back from a prolonged work and newborn baby induced sabbatical. Ponamarev, Gasque, Valerie,  Henry Holt and Cheryl Outlaw probably run as many races as me and of course were on hand for this one.  CRC presidential alumnus Steve Rudnicki continued his comeback.  Blue Ridge Relay teammate Winston Holliday was back again after crushing the Make my Day a week ago. Kristin Schmitz was there to test the bikram yoga as training for running theory. Both Diesels were hiding behind their children instead of racing.

With the start, my goal was to hit mile 1 in 6:30 and see if I could hold this for the first few miles. The first mile is pretty flat on highway 378. The wind and cold definitely sucked but I felt pretty good at the mile marker, which was unfortunately 6:39. OK, not too bad. The Code was running slow apparently, because I stuck right behind him. Billy was pretty far ahead already. Mile 2 is pretty rolling but probably more downhill than up until…right turn into hell. Just before the mile 2 marker comes Mt. Main street. I try and power up it hard, but when youre carrying a liter of water in your shoes, this tends to slow you down a bit. I feel like a champ because I’m catching up with Code…then he pulls off to the side and starts trying to stretch or something.  I thought I picked up the pace in the second mile but apparently the 200 meters rapelling up the main street monster leaves me over pace again at 6:35.  I was under the impression the worst is over by the time you reach the top of Main. Comlpetely delusional.  The next mile is actually more rollercoaster-esque. It gives you a tour of roads haunted by Lexington races  like Jailbreak and the now defunct Kiwanis 5k , reminding you of how much misery they’ve brought.  Speaking of delusional, I’m under the distinct impression I’m holding this 6:30ish pace pretty well. Mile 3: 6:54. WTF? Apparently I’m just destined to suck today. (Remember this is relative suck. I’ve heard Bishop and Plex complain about how bad 5:40 pace sucks. ..Cry me a river dudes.) Anyway, running a 6:54 pretty much crashes any grandiose thoughts I had about sub 40’s and PRs. Add that to my numb, freezing feet and having no one to pace off , and my motivation is crap. I do hear someone tracking me down, and I’m pretty sure its Geary. Turns out it was Travis Moran, who I met after the race. He was using ME to pace off. Sorry I let you down, man.

I’m nearing the mile 4 mark and I figure I need to start kicking it in to save some pride and to make absolutely, positively sure I don’t get Trophied. That shame would be too much for my fragile ego to bear. Just as I pick up the pace, I realize all my debbie downer self talk has given me a 6:57 fourth mile. Nice half marathon pace, bro. You do realize this is a 10K, right? I look ahead and I can still see Flicker and Billy, so I try to use them as motivation to go faster. I am picking it up some, but damned if I just can’t kick it into another gear.  And I’m actually making up ground…but apparently I’m not willing to suffer like I usually do. Last year Code and then Flicker were in the crosshairs in mile 6  which led me to a 6:09 last mile. Not this time. I do hit mile 5 in 6:35, but I had planned to have dropped it down to 6:20 by now.  The last mile is the same pretty flat stretch on 378. I’m tracking down Flicker as best I can, and I’m slowly reeling him in, but not before he kicks it in himself. Somehow I know thats my precious age group placement going down the toilet too.  Finally after the mile 6 mark I do break into something resembling a kick. I make out the clock in the 41’s and throw in enough of a burst to make sure I’m under 42 minutes. Finish is 41:51. 16th overall, and sure enough 4TH IN AGE GROUP.  Damn that Flicker.

Justin set the “A”  Standard again, winning the race in 34:56. A guy from Boiling Springs , Matt Henderson, finished a surprising second ahead of the Plex , who had an “off day” with 36:02. I hate when I have off days and run 5:40 pace.   Drew Williams finished 4th overall  (1st in 35-39). Amy finished first in the women’s race by over 4 minutes, rocking a 39:23. Where are all the other elite women these days? Paul Reardon finished 6th overall in a really close masters race..just edging a Charlotte Running Club guy (the other, less cool  CRC)   Jonathan Halter,  by six seconds.  Winston Holliday continued to run strong and finished in tenth place at 40:49, second in AG. Billy Tisdale and Geary McAlister finished 1-2 in the grandmaster division on either side of me. I saw Tim Reese and Scott Brewer challenge Billy with a sprint to the end, and both got a taste of the brutal Tisdale kick, though Tim did edge him out. To Billy’s credit, he’s got 25 years on him.  Sadly I was just a little too far back to give them all a blue shoes blast.  I don’t know Kenneth Ebener, but I saw the dude ran like a 3:07 marathon last week and comes right back and does 42 minutes at this race. Impressive. Travis Moran, who was pacing off me, won second in AG behind Tim. Just wait to these guys age up to the real competition!  Trophy ran a strong race in 43:33, and then announces he’s going to run the 3rd race of my triple dip next week in an effort to break the 4 year Blue Shoes 5k losing streak. Bring it, dude. The shame will be all yours.  Kristin Schmitz ran an easy 48 minutes and still placed 2nd in AG. Brady Ward continued his under 14 world domination tour by winning 1st, even his dad tried to outkick him in the end.   Rudnicki made the real CRC proud with a 3rd in AG, as Larry Bates did as well with 1st in his. Cheryl Outlaw and Valerie Selby rocked the 55 -59. And Henry Holt, 77,  not only won his age group but was the only person over age 63 to brave the brutal conditions. Take that all you youngster slackers.  Speaking of youngster non-slackers,  Brooke Ward , age 10, completed her first 10k in 1:26 , outkicking Jennifer and taking the AG win after an official coaches challenge by the Diesel.

Jingle Bell Run 5k – Lexington,SC – 12/15/12

Lexington 5k Rudolphs Rampage 2012 005

The Jingle Bell Run 5k  is a brand new race held in Lexington to benefit the Arthritis Foundation. I think this one of a series of races across the country  as a fundraiser for the foundation.

What drew me to this race was a) a little bit of trophy hunting and b) a totally new race and certified course. I had originally wanted to make this a crazy double dip, by doing this race at 9 am and the Rudolph’s Rampage 10k or half in Harbison at 10 am. Between Rudolph’s jacking up the late fee 10 bucks and perhaps a small bit of rational, non-obsessional thought, I decided the night before just to do this one.

Angel and I carpooled to the race and got there an hour early. The race director said they had over a 100 signed up, so some part of me was glad there would be a decent crowd.  Sometimes my dual role as president of the Columbia Running Club and insatiable trophy hunter creates a conflict of interest. Still I’m not going to promote a race for weeks and hope for it to fail just to possibly win a shiny golden running man.  Plus, I was transporting a faster age grouper to the race, so definitely not the best trophy hunt move there either.

As a warm up Angel and I decided to run the out and back part of the course. From the map it was basically just a run out of the Moore Orthopedic parking lot, straight on Ginny Lane, a brief loop to the right, back on Ginny Lane, turn around at a cone and head straight back. Lexington is definitely known for its hills (see the Lexington Race Against Hunger in February) but the area around Moore Ortho seemed pretty flat. Or so it seemed…

One turn onto Ginny Lane and it turns out Ginny is an evil, vindictive woman.  The first half mile is plunging down a cliff before the right hand turn at the bottom. Once you do the loop (which we didnt do on the warmup) , its mountain climbing time. Soul crushing hill. Then another just when you get your wind back. They put the turnaround just over the crest of the second hill, bringing you to a stop and making you try to regain momentum on an incline back.  Then do those 2 hills again in reverse and climb back up the cliff to the finish. Good times. At the end of the warmup, I wasnt sure if it was good to know what I was facing or bad knowing what misery awaits. I figured this course might be a full minute slower than my usual times.

By race time, there was a small crowd of mostly unfamiliar faces. The Columbia Running Club people were mostly the diehard 20+ races a year types: Gasque, Henry, Pete Poore, Rocky, Ponamarev.  I didn’t recognize any of the women. There were a fair amount of teens and a few in-shape looking younger guys. No clear elites and I figured Angel would probably win this thing unless one of the high schoolers was some cross country stud. I liked my chances to get in the top 10 and score some open points.

With the start I charged out hard and led the race for 20 feet or so before Angel , a teenager and 4 twenty somethings blew past me. We quickly separated out and Angel and the kid were the lead duo. We all went flying down the hill, which is strangely one of my weaknesses.  Guiding 190 pounds down a cliff is like controlling the freefall of a boulder.  As I’m blasting down the cliff I’m already dreading a) the mountain right ahead and b) how unbelievably bad this thing is going to suck going back up at the end. But at least we get a little respite with this unknown loop in the valley, right? Um, not so much. Turning right, we descend a little further until we basically march right back up a hill that parallels the cliff. Lungs and legs are protesting the abuse already. The hill does take out one of the dudes ahead of me and I power past him. One of the benefits of being obese by distance running standards is developing superhuman quads to carry all this weight around, which comes in handy on hills.

Angel and the kid are still running in tandem, and I wonder if the teenager is just biding his time before he takes the win. He’s basically drafting off him. The other 2 guys are spacing out but they’re both pretty far ahead.  There’s a cone turnaround at the top of this miserable hill, signifying the end of this side loop from hell. Plunge back down. I catch an evil glare from the guy I passed on the hill. Being passed by an albino sasquatch must be pretty shameful. Mile one 6:07

Turn back on to Ginny lane and we finally face the mountain we saw from the start. Soul crushing, but apparently its really kicking the ass of blue shirt guy ahead of me. I draw closer on the mountain. Mile 2 in 6:30ish thanks to the three hills. The turnaround is miserable since you have to put on the brakes from the start of a downhill and then get going again on an incline. I’m pretty beat but I finally catch up and pass blue shirt guy to take over fourth place. Angel is up ahead doing a good job holding off the kid.

We then have a long downhill before climbing the cliff back to the start/finish area. #3 guy is way ahead, so I figure no shot at catching him. I start figuring age group and open points at this point as I start slogging up the cliff…until..hold the phone,  I’m starting to make some headway into the giant gap between me and 3. Still, doesnt seem likely I’m going to catch him, he looks too young to be in my age group, and it would only be one point in the open division. Then he looks back… blood in the water. Its a quarter mile to the finish, and he’s at least 20 meters ahead, but F it..I’m going for it. I start throwing down as hard as I can. If thre’s anything I’m good at its the willingness to endure a great deal of pain for ridiculously small rewards.  #3  looks back again and sees what must be a scary sight..some frenzied pasty clydesdale bearing down on him like a runaway freight train. He’s still ten feet ahead as we make the last turn into the parking lot, and I’m at an absolute sprint.  Its going to be close ..real close. Then suddenly ..he coughs, and then pukes as I blast by just past the 3 mile mark. EPIC BLUE SHOE!  I assume normal people might feel bad for the guy, but normalcy is not my strong point. I’d be lying to say I didnt love it. I round the corner in the parking lot, see the clock,  and push it just hard enough to also score a sub 20.  19:57 officially, 3rd overall. 3.16 miles by Garmin.

I’m very happy with the result despite the slow time. I figure this course will take away at least 45 seconds to a minute off your usual road times. And of course there’s nothing I like better than a good blue shoe. This one has to be in the top 5, though I’ll take the Tigs takedown at the Turkey Trot or the 2010 Race to Read win over Greg as my favorites. The two guys I passed were very nice and thanked me for a good race, which was cool. Angel was awesome in blasting down the home stretch and holding off the kid for the win.  John Gasque won his age group then had to run to his car to pull off the double dip I decided against – he actually wore two shirts with the next race bib pinned to the shirt underneath.  He then finished a brutal 10k in Harbison. Awesome! Pete Poore, Rocky, Henry and Ponamarev all placed in their age group. The 70+ category had a real beast, David Jeffrey,  who ran just over 22 minutes at 70 years old. Impressive.