Tuesday, March 20, 2012

2nd Annual Forget Towson Invite Recap

The 2012 edition of the Forget Towson Invitational could not have been more different from the 2011 version.  Last year it was a week later, but cold and windy.  There were just a handful of people running a 5k or a 1200m on the track at UMBC.  This year, thanks to an abnormally warm winter, the shining sun made it feel like South Beach on the track, as nearly 20 athletes ran a 3000m race, and the first ever Baltimore vs. DC 4x800 relay took place (not totally sure that's true, but we'll go with it).

Prior to the 3k, the trio of Tristram Thomas, Ed Aramayo, and Arjun Majumdar raced a 1200m time-trial of sorts, running some great early season times: 3:08.5h, 3:12.8h, and 3:22.4h, respectively. 

Then it was time for the day's main event: the 3000m.  We were excited that our friends from the Georgetown Running Company were amenable to competing in an event like this, and they brought a crack crew of speedy tracksters to participate.  Also joining the mix were a couple of Howard County's finest, and of course a few of our own.  A few of us were counting laps and giving splits, and the race had a feel of an actual meet.  From the word GO, Tristram helped set a pace of 68sec/400m for GRC's Sam Luff, who was looking to evenly split the first 2k before dropping the hammer.  And he did just that, running 2:50/km for the first 2k, and crossing the line at 8:24.91.  Ryan Hanson (GRC) gave chase as best he could, but finished nearly a straightaway behind, finishing 2nd in 8:39.24.  The battle between Karl Dusen (GRC) and Carlos Renjifo (HCS) was a great one to watch.  Carlos, looking straight out of the 70s, and coming off a great win/PR last week at Shamrock, led Karl for much of the race, before Karl powered down the final straight, running 8:42.17 to Carlos' 8:46.68.  For Carlos, it was a huge PR! 

Then a pack of 3 GRCers came through in the span of 1.5 seconds.  The trifecta had run the race together, and only in the closing meters was their order determined.  It was Luke Albertson (8:52.97) ahead of Jason Myers (8:53.68) and Sam Boimov (8:54.30).  Not far behind was our first finisher, Nate Brigham, whose 8:58.13 was good enough to take out Justin's TWSS 3k record.  Dustin Meeker finished ahead of his seed time, running 9:00.05.  If we had automatic timing, I'm sure he would have been under 9, but it's still an emphatic result!  Alex Battaglino was next up, running 9:11.27.  The two Tims did battle to the end, with Tall Tim outdistancing Tim Burns, 9:24.40 to 9:25.74.  And our final finisher was Kevin Ford (HCS), who ran a great 9:39.35.

I'll be anxious to see the results of some of the upcoming college meet 5000m races and see how our field would have fared.

Following the men's race, it was the women's turn.  There were 3 harriers on the line, accompanied by 3 gentlemen pacesetters (Andy, Ed, Arjun).  The young phenom Meghan L., led by Andy Sovonick, cruised to a 10:24.73.  Then Sara Breedlove came rolling through, with the help of Ed, to an 11:22.86 finish, beating her seed time.  Melissa Tanner, still feeling the previous weekend's effort, coasted in at 11:34.64. 

The day's final event was the 4x800m relay.  GRC had 8 runners, 7 of whom had run the 3k, and their 800m ace Chuck Kascur.  There were 7 of us, plus Carlos, so we had enough to field two teams, but in the end, we opted to put in our 4 with the best shot at being able to compete (and then Arjun/Tim ran a modified 2x800 to continue their workout).  I can't remember the order now of the GRC squads, but Chuck did have a terrific lead-off leg for "Team Marren", splitting something like 1:57.  But "Team Ernst" wasn't far behind, and thanks to Tristram's 2:03 split, all the teams were fairly close at this point.  As the race progressed, Team Marren proved its strength, and cruised to an easy win in 8:05.8.  But, there was a great battle for 2nd and 3rd between Team Ernst and us.  Carlos, not known for his blazing speed, split 2:03 on the 2nd leg, and handed the water bottle to Dustin in 2nd.  Andy remarked that Dusty was holding the bottle the wrong way, that he should have held it upside down so it wasn't catching the wind, but I don't think it would have made much of a difference.  Dustmaster Flex fought valiantly to a 2:12 split, but by the time he handed off to Ed (The Anchor), there was significant work to be done.  Fortunately, Ed was up for the task, and caught - and then passed - Team Ernst, and we finished 2nd in 8:17.6 to their 8:20.0.  Ed split 1:59. 

The meet was a ton of fun, and a trip back in time, to an era when that's what racing was about - lining up some fast folks, and telling them to go.  There was no $100 entry fee, no corrals, no bibs, no shirts, no charitable cause.  Gone were the recreational runners wearing headphones and Gallowalking their way to the finish.  Just some men, some women, and a race.  It was beautiful.

It would be easy to name the Athlete of the Meet: hands down that would go to Sam Luff.  His performance in the 3k was textbook, and watching him run a leg of the relay, he made a 2:00 look easy.  Sam's got a big schedule coming up, starting with the 10k at Raleigh Relays in two weeks.  We wish him all the best, and we thank the GRC, Coach Jerry, Carlos, the Howard County Striders, and the host of others (Conrad, Andy, Mark, Andrew) for coming out to support/time/help out. 

This is part 1 of the weekend recap, part 2 will come out later!  And you can see full results here.


i said...

Thanks for the recap, RM! Have you posted any photos of this awesome event? :oD

RM said...

Oh! I forgot to mention that Conrad literally took 400 pictures with my camera during the race! I have to upload them to the computer, hope it doesn't crash from the volume, and then sort through them and figure out what delivery method I'll use (picasa, whatever). Once I get that done I'll send it out!

c-rad said...

About 390 or more of them are just photos of me making weird expressions posing near the UMBC team house. But I'm sure I accidentally caught a few people running in the background of a few.