Archive for October, 2008


Another National Champion

In the majestic Appalachian Mountains in Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, the Tussey Mountainback 50 Mile served as the USATF 50 Mile National Championship for the 4th consecutive year.  The race started in the morning chill of mid-October in the pre-dawn hours and headed out for 50 miles of asphalt and primarily gravel access roads on Tussey Mountain.  A lead pack developed early, clicking off splits that only 3 of the athletes dared to attempt.  After 15 miles, Eric Grossman (Emory, VA) established himself as the lone man able to survive the hilly terrain and the stiff pace as he led the charge alone to the finish.  Eric won his first National Championship in 5:48:34.  His time bested the next competitor by 15 minutes and set a new overall course record by nearly 5 minutes, a new master’s course record by nearly 31 minutes, and a PR by nearly 18 minutes.

Eric finished 2nd last year and wasn’t happy about it.  Guess he revenged his loss in spades.

Hot Run at Steamtown

On a perfect fall day in central PA, Helene Strutko (Harvey’s Lake, PA) ran the first 15 miles of the Steamtown Marathon in Scranton with a friend.  At that point, Helene felt so good and was enjoying the course and the beautiful day and the simple act of running so much that she left her friend behind and did what she called an “unbelievable push” to the end, passing scores of runners who had gone out faster.  While they slowed toward the finish, Helene increased her pace and ran strong all the way through.  She said she “could have run a five mile warm down” at the end.  Her time was 3:49:45.

You saved too much!

Way to Be Tough

Stacey Vidt (Blacksburg, VA) ran the Baltimore Marathon in Baltimore, MD on Saturday.  For 15 miles, she cruised along on PR pace when she developed stomach cramps which lasted for nearly 8 miles.  Despite the burning pain of the cramps in addition to the building pain from running long and hard, she hung in and finally shrugged off the cramps to finish with another 3 strong miles to finish in 3:04:29 as 10th place female overall, just off her PR.

That Was Flat!

The New River Trail State Park in southwest Virginia runs 52 miles from Pulaski to Galax on the old train grade paralleling the New River.  It is amazingly flat with the only “hill” being a short stretch to cross a road every now and then.  This was the site for Saturday’s New River Trail 50K with start/finish in Galax, VA.  Nick Whited (Raven, VA) finished 4th overall in 3:38:09.  Nick used the race as one of his long runs in preparation for the JFK 50 Mile which has hills early followed by a similar style long straight stretch before another rolling hilly section.  Combined with the brutally hilly area of southwest Virginia where Nick lives and normally trains, he should be well prepared for the upcoming race.

Happy Birthday Leo

Leo Lightner (Rocky River, OH) finished ahead of his goal of 6:00 for the Towpath Marathon in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park between Akron and Cleveland, OH in  5:17:52.  Leo was 2nd in the 70 and over division.  Had there been a division for his new age group (Leo turned 80 in late September) he’s have won by over an hour.

No Problem Here

Brian Coughlin (Riverside, CT) ran 3:52:42 at the ING Hartford Marathon in Hartford, CT.  Brian agreed to run the race to pace a friend and in doing so found the early pace quite comfortable and ran along urging and providing inspiration to his buddy.  Around the 20 mile mark, while much of the field started to falter, Brian actually threw in a few strides, while waiting as his buddy caught up.  At the finish, Brian was strong and fresh, feeling like he could have added on many more miles.  It turned out to be an excellent long preparation run for JFK 50 Mile.  I’ve got a feeling Brian’s marathon PR is in trouble next time…

They Didn’t Know What Hit Them

Mike Cox (Princeton, WV) has been busy over the past few months.  After his two marathon PR’s within 27 days of each other last fall (Chicago Marathon and U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon) he resumed his duties as head men’s and women’s cross country coach at Concord University, then got married in December, then coached his Concord University men’s and women’s track teams through their indoor and outdoor seasons while fitting in training between recruiting, traveling, team workouts, and spending time with his new bride.

Well, when summer started and Mike was able to concentrate on training again, he’s been able to get back at it.  Saturday October 4, Mike  headed down to the coalfields of Welch, WV for a 5K test of his fitness level.  His questions were answered quickly as he ran 15:14 over a hilly road course to win by over 4 ½ minutes.  You’ll be fit soon, Mike.

Now I Know Why I Do This

Lin Gentling (Rochester, MN) is excited again.  You can hear it in her voice.  You can tell in the words she writes.  It’s been a while since she’s been so excited about running.  After getting in a rut of similar repetitive runs with a purpose she had begun to question, Lin got a new training program.  She was hesitant at first because it was a new style of work she wasn’t familiar with.  But she embraced it and bought in completely and the farther she went into the training schedule, the more she realized why she was training again.  She realized she loved running still.

It paid off once again on Sunday’s Twin Cities Marathon in Minneapolis, MN, which served as the USATF Marathon National Championship.  In a cold, driving rain, Lin ran 5 minutes faster than her goal, running a 3:45:00 good for 2nd in the Female 50-54 age group.