Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Something to Believe In

Sunday's Club Challenge race will go down as one of the most memorable for me, as we took a lean but feisty group down to Columbia and for the 4th straight year claimed the Overall Team Championship. But, as we all know, it was close. Real close. We scored 557 points to the very motivated Howard County Striders' 559. It was pretty incredible.

Jim Adams did a little research and found that in the past 10 editions the cumulative overall point totals stand at 6935 to 6950, advantage Falls Road. Amazing! Now that's some competition!

Here's a brief write-up from Washington Running Report about the race.

There were some really amazing performances and while each of you got a shout in the email I'm going to limit it a little here. Once again I'll start with the ladies. Last year we had 11 ladies under 70 minutes, this year we had just 8 women in the race. I knew 6 had a chance to break 70, and 6 did. They were led by race winner Melissa Majumdar, whose return to competitive racing has been nothing short of astonishing. This victory is her biggest since she's been in Baltimore, and it was 8 seconds faster than she ran in 2010. She ran a smart race, starting out a little slow and building throughout. Pumped up by Chrissie Ramsey, the selfless teammate, the duo lit up the field and put nearly 2 minutes between them and 3rd place. 

Suzanne Hurst ran a PR and finished 8th, and Carly Page came up big as our #4, running faster than she did last year. Jackie Range wasn't far behind Carly, finishing under 1:08, and big D Denise Knickman was our 6th, coming in just under 70 minutes. Suzanne Andrews ran a terrific first CC race, finishing in 1:11:46.

For the men we were once again led by Dave Berdan, whose 3rd place finish came as I'm sure a bit of a surprise. Very competitive up front this year, with a new course record set (51:00). Nate Brigham was running CC for the 2nd year now, and once again was one of the playmakers. Last year he earned a PDAW for his big finish, and this year was just taking it as a tempo run. Fortunately for us, his superior fitness means that even a tempo run yields a 6th place finish. Dustin Meeker was just one spot and 150 meters behind. 

Our 9-12 guys were really critical on Sunday, as Matt Franco and Patrick O'Rourke tied at 59:43, and then Arjun Majumdar and Joel Gladfelter came through just over an hour. I was really happy for Joel, who not only ran a huge PR but achieved one of his long-standing goals, which has been to be one of our top 12 at this race. 

PJ Anderer was one of our two Purple Drink Athletes of the Week (Suzanne Hurst was the other) because he ran 7 minutes faster than he did in 2012, and a 10 mile PR at 1:05:10. Now we just need to get him to stop doubting himself during the race!

Gone, but certainly not forgotten, were our ladies (and gent) down in New Orleans. Megan DiGregorio led the girls in 10th place, running a PR of 1:21:53. Amy Horst and Meg McNew finished at 1:23:07 and 1:23:10, both PRs, and for Amy, truly a testament to her diligent work this winter to prepare for this race. Sara Breedlove also ran a PR, 1:27:28. So they pretty much all kicked ass. And in the marathon, Cory Donovan went out a little fast, slowed down, ran 3:39, but had a good time.

Moment of the Year may go to Meg D, who got to run a brief cooldown with Kara Goucher after the race. "How do I get faster?" she asked.

So great job to all, and for those of you who helped our team keep the trophy (and for those who came out to support - the Stotts, the Conrads, Steve, Emily, Kip and Brian), THANK YOU! I'm so proud of all of you!

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