Monday, April 2, 2012

40th Cherry Blossom Ten Miler

I'm pretty sure this picture says it all.  Running icon Joan Benoit Samuelson stride for stride into the finish with our own Meg McNew. Photo via Clay Shaw.  Meg (and JBS) recorded the same gun time (1:02:30) but Joanie was given the nod on chip time, 1:02:27 to 1:02:28.  The time was a 4 minute PR for Meg.

The Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Miler has not historically been a race we focus on, but this year it seemed to be a popular pick among the group.  The results spoke for themselves: 3/4 of you ran big time PRs, and you all raced the race.

The results are below, so I won't rehash times, but rather speak about the races.  For PJ Anderer, it was a 2 minute PR, and the fastest he's run at Cherry Blossom since before he was a teenager.  Kris Simms has finally broken through at the 10 mile distance, recording two sub 60 minute races this year, his 59:06 this weekend a new PR.  Mike Mashner has run faster, but he ran this one evenly, and it was by no means a bad race.  Tim Parker literally lost his shoe in the first quarter mile, had to stop, go against the tide, get it and put it back on, and continue.  And it was still the fastest he's run in a few years.  Tim pulled a Dejen Gebremeskel on that one!  Becky Parks had an amazing race, shaving 2 minutes off of her Club Challenge time, and this was after falling in the first mile.  She arrived at the finish with bloody knees, but wore a big smile after with a great result.

Christa Wagner PRd in every distance along the way to a huge 10 mile PR, and looked super serious coming into the finish, but afterwards was all smiles.  Chrissie Ramsey didn't have her best day, but the time would have been a PR just a year ago, so I think that's a good compromise.  Seth Tibbitts has an impressive string of PRs going.  In the last 20 or so races he's run (all distances) he has recorded a personal best.  He kept that string going this weekend, breaking the 57 minute barrier.  Terry Decker took 2+ minutes out of his CC time, which was already a very good time for him.  Denise Knickman clearly had a rough day, but she's a champ and will bounce back.  Jen Koshy made her return to competitive racing, and was only a minute off her time from a number of years ago, which is pretty good!

But the race of the day - and was our clear Purple Drink Athlete of the Week - went to Dustin Meeker (aka Dusty Merker, according to the Red Fox).  To say Dustin has been a great leader lately would be an understatement to his influence.  Dusty has seriously been on a roll since really early last year, but I'd say the turning point was his incredible Columbus Half Marathon in the fall.  Since then he has continued to develop his aerobic base, his strength, and his racing acuity.  He ran 53:37 - a 25 second PR - at Club Challenge last month, so a 52:30 seemed like a reasonable goal time for CB.  On Friday, he said his legs felt heavy, but by Sunday, all systems were go for a peak performance.  He quickly found allies in a pack that consisted of Carlos Renjifo, Jake Klim, Karl Dusen, and Patrick Reaves, all great competitors, all great rivals. 

The group passed 5 miles in 25:50, which made Dustin think that running under 52 was realistic.  He missed an opportunity surge with Karl and Carlos, but kept them in range, and as they came up the final hill to the finish, it was a great sight.  Dusty crossed the line in 51:53, a monster 1:45 faster than his previous best for the distance, and finished 21st.  Carlos was about 10 seconds ahead, another beast of a performance for 'Los, and Klim made a great return to the long distance. 

I love this event.  It showcases DC at a great time of year for visiting, and is obviously a race built for speed.  This year's winner, Allan Kiprono, was just one second off the US all-comers record for the distance (45:14, Broad Street 2007).  Yesterday was not a great day for spectators, as it was cold and overcast, and the Blossoms had already...blossomed, but it was a terrific day for racing.  I hope we can see many more races like this in the months to come! 

Becky and Christa with their mugs

The gang Tebows, Faith Hills and Taylor Swifts the Capitol

1 comment:

pepperjackb said...

what is becky looking at?