Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Go Bananas

When the Richmond Marathon comes around, you know they 'bout to go bananas!

Dubbed "America's Friendliest Marathon," Richmond never lets you down. It's quietly moved its way up as one of the fall's premier races for our group, and you can see why: 90% of those who participate set PRs there.*

* I pulled that number out of the air, but it's actually probably pretty close based on the last 5 years' of results.

This year was no different, as we had two huge performances in the marathon and one gigantic race in the half!

Sara Damiano ran 3:31:04 last year, which was a 5 minute PR and resulted in her first ever Boston qualifying time. This year, unbeknownst to the city of Richmond, former capital of the Confederate, Sara D was about to go...bananas. Like Sherman marched through Atlanta, burning it to the ground, so too did Sara D blaze Richmond. She ran 3:22:51 - an 8+ minute improvement. It was simply incredible. And amazing.

In her 5th marathon, Stephanie Granlund was looking to go...bananas. Stephanie has improved by leaps and bounds this year, getting her half marathon time down to 2:00, which gave her the confidence to go out and run fast at Richmond. She even split her way to a 4:23:58 – over 16 minutes faster than her previous best!

Running the half was a determined Lillian Pinault. For those of us who have seen her progress at TNT over the past couple of months, you just knew she was going to go - you guessed it - bananas. But remember that rinky dink 5k she ran the week before? Well she did something to her foot in that run, and wasn't able to run all week leading up to the race. She bit the bullet and went out with the 1:35 group, until mile 8 when she thought "this feels too easy, and if I'm injuring myself, I'm already going to be hurt - may as well let it ride." And ride she did, all the way to a 3.5 minute PR of 1:32:28! Her last 5k was faster than the 5k she raced the previous weekend. Incredible! And amazing!

The effort was good enough to earn Lillian the Purple Drink Athlete of the Week!

But there were a few other races that happened in the first half of November as well:

Downs Park 5 Miler has become a fall favorite. This low key event put on by the Annapolis Striders has produced a number of our fastest 5 mile times. We've had a grasp on the W here for the past few years, and this year it was Steve Febish's turn to get the win. He won in 26:51, ahead of runner-up Sean Caskey in 27:24. Nick Klastava was 6th in 28:27 and Josh Dawson ran 28:45 for 8th.

In the Rockville 5k, Tom Stott ran 19:28 for 10th, but it was wife Patty who stole the show, running one of her fastest 5k races in years, 24:01 for 9th. In the 10k, Dan Miranda and Sara Damiano were both first-losers (JK), finishing 2nd.

PJ Anderer ran the "inaugural" Across the Bridge 10k, which was really just the old Bay Bridge 10k making a return. Said it was a pretty good race, and he ran well, finishing 26th in 38:34. Fellow Penn State alum, Mike Mashner, finished 13th at the THON 5k in Happy Valley.

PJ and Bryn Burkholder also ran the Oktober Lauf Fest Half Marathon in Pennypack Park (outside of Philly), keeping that little tradition alive. In the first of his November 50 milers, Mr. Peck ran the Stone Mill 50 in 8:27:58, with Pete Mulligan coming in at 11:32:49. Josh Greenberg finished at 11:38:22. I also saw Jeff Rumbaugh ran the Rock n Roll Las Vegas Marathon (3:18:07) and Tristram Thomas (7th) and Jon Miller (8th) ran the Dustin Bauer Memorial 5k.

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