Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Clubs Preview: Pacers//GRC-New Balance Sends Talent, Depth to Florida for Clubs, Clubs, Clubs

If it’s December, it’s Clubs.

The Pacers//GRC-New Balance team will head to Tallahassee this weekend for the USATF Cross Country Championships to once again compete against the best club teams in the country. It's the eighth straight year GRC has sent a men's team and the third straight trip, and fifth overall, for the women's team.

“We take clubs very seriously,” said Coach Jerry Alexander. “This year our preparation has been outstanding.”

Every year “Clubs” is an important race for the team. As the focal team race of the year, it’s the premier chance for the team to go toe-to-toe with the best clubs across the country, showing off both the team’s individual talent and depth.

The emphasis on the Club Cross Country Championships starts in late summer. Due to the emphasis on the race and opportunity the race presents the team to compete on the national level, the race is not just referred to as “clubs,” by the team, but rather “Clubs, Clubs,Clubs,” providing the extra emphasis.

Clubs, Clubs, Clubs is a team goal and a topic of conversation all year, and this year is no exception. The team is as ready as it’s ever been to show the over-paid professional and club athletes how a team built on dedication, comraderie and talent competes.

The women’s team looks for its best performance yet at the Cross Country Championships. The team is talented and deep, and will be staring down a top-10 finish. They finished 10th in 2014.

Steph at the USATF East Regional where
 she took home the win.
The women’s “A” team looks to be led by Steph and Emily D, making a strong one-two punch. Steph has dominated her fall season winning the Army Ten-Miler by two-minutes, setting the team road 5k record, and cruising to victory in the USATF East Regional meet.

Emily D will be making her debut for the team. The former Princeton standout brings strong cross country credentials to the team placing second in the NCAA East Regional last year.

Frances hopes to make this not just a one-two punch, but a one-two-three punch as she’ll look to better her strong 70th place finish at the Cross country Championships last year. “She’s in PR shape and ready to improve on (last year's) 70th place finish,” Jerry said.

The women's team pre-race at the
USATF East Regional. 
Veterans Maura, Kerry and Hannah will add invaluable depth. Maura is in “the best shape of her life,” according to Alexander. Kerry is an inevitably strong runner and looks to dominate on her home turf of Florida, a state in which she once defeated Jenny Barringer for a state track championship. And Hannah is back in great shape and should have a strong showing at Clubs, Clubs, Clubs. 

Newcomers Elena and Elyssa round out the woman’s “A” team, running their first Clubs, Clubs, Clubs. Both looking strong, they’ll contribute to the team's pursuit of a top-10 finish.

The women will also field a “B” team which is strong in its own right. Liz, Alyson, Chelsea, Maggie and Lindsay B know how to compete and will add depth to the woman’s contingent.

On the men’s side, the team will brings firepower and a deep roster seeking to not just place its “A” team highly, matching or exceeding its ninth place finish in 2013, but to also show off its depth and strength of character by performing well with a B team .

Stewart has been nothing but dominant all fall, obliterating the competition every time he races. He cruised to victory in the USATF East Regional Championship in November and looks for another excellent race at Clubs, Clubs, Clubs during what has been nothing short of a breakout season.

Luke (right) and Phil (left) get rolling at the
USATF East Regional.
Phil, our top returning man from last year’s meet, looks to dominate in his own right. “He’s in better shape this year and will be ready to roll,” Alexander said.

Luke lives for cross country and is the healthiest he’s been in two years. He’s a perennial top runner and looks to show that he’s back and better than ever.

Rounding out the men’s “A” team is David M, Michael, Cabell, Witty and Paul "Chilly/Chili" Balmer.

David M is a strong cross country runner who produced well at regionals. The speedy Michael looks to extend his range at the 10k cross country distance.  Cabell is no stranger to running fast at cross country and is getting back into racing form. Ryan is one of the most talented on the team and knows how to put together a strong race. And Paul Balmer, who has contributed in previous clubs, is someone you always want on your “A” team because he knows how to compete and leave it all on the line.

The men’s “B” team looks to be right on the heels of the “A” team. Texas Paul, Blur, Greg, Kyle Wagener, Steve Soprano, Chris Van Es, Matt (Fridge), Brian (Breezy) and Evan Jurkovich have had a strong fall of workouts and will likely keep a tight pack throughout the race.

It’s also reported that the “B” team has been holding a series of secret strategy sessions on how it might leapfrog the “A” squad. This report has not been confirmed, however, by the time of this publication.

Last, but closer to first than last, is Dave Wertz running the Clubs Masters race. Last year was Wertz’s masters debut, placing 35th. This year, Wertz knows what the competition will bring and he’s had a strong fall of sharpening to improve on that.

With one of its strongest and deepest teams yet, GRC hopes to leave its mark at the 2016 USATF Club Cross Country Championships this weekend.

Monday, December 5, 2016

12/3 weekend results - holiday races and the opening of track season

We had some very nice performances this weekend as we tune up for Clubs.

Frances and Liz got a jump on track season, with Frances winning the 5000 at the Navy Lid Lifter in 17:18, and Liz winning the 3000 at the F & M Diplomat Open in 10:22. Frances led from the gun and ran it as progression, closing in 37 for the last 200. Liz's performance was not only a huge PR, it was arguably the best race of her life, and she felt like she had some gas left in the tank, so that bodes extremely well for a good run at Clubs, and an excellent track season.

On the roads, the women dominated the Pacers Jingle All the Way 5k, with Amy getting the win in 17:26, followed by Kerry in second in 17:38, a 20 second PR, and Elena in third in 17:53. The course may well have been 9 or 10 seconds long, but whatever the actual distance, Kerry and Elena showed that they are ready to get after it at Clubs. Jesse made her GRC debut in 19:58, and while 5k is well outside of her comfort zone, there is no doubt that Jesse is going to be kicking butt and taking names when she gets on the track.

On the men's side, Dickson was 5th in 15:56, and Chris was 10th in 16:08.

In the inaugural Jingle 15k, Kieran decided a couple of days ahead of time to jump in for what we expected would be a solo tempo, but due to the presence of a professional Ethiopian, Kieran had some company on his way to second place in the very solid time of 47:55. Charlie was 4th in a strong 50:27.

Last but surely not least, those irrepressible Reichs won the Frederick Candy Cane Dash 5k, with Stewart running a solo 15:23, and Steph following him across the line in 17:14. They both ran the race as a progression, and Steph's 5:18 final mile is a sure sign that she is ready to do something special in Tallahassee.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Turkey Trot Results!

As tradition holds, GRC athletes fanned out across the country this morning to compete in local Turkey Trots. Julie Tarallo netted the best prize of the year - her weight in turkey - by winning the Easton Turkey Chase five miler with a time of 30:02.



Although the prize was less desirable, Stephanie Reich set a club record at the Way Station 5k with an unbelievable 16:42. Husband Stewart didn't do so bad himself with his 15:02, good for the W.  And Stew wasn't the only winner. Maura, who has been on a tear on distances from the 5k to the HM, topped  the podium at the PNC YMCA Turkey Trot in Pittsburgh (17:54). Although nothing edible ensued, the race sponsors are mailing her a turkey trophy.  

In the Midwest, Kyle and Evan grabbed pumpkin pies (seen below) after finishing third (15:35) and eighth (15:53), respectively, in the Minneapolis Turkey Trot.  



The results of the Alexandria Turkey Trot are also in:

4. Luke 24:48
6. Steve S 25:49
8. Dangerous Dave 26:00
9. Charlie 26:04
11. Tom 26:30
13 Chris V 26:40
19. Tex Paul 27:20
25. Amy 28:17
27. Kerry "the banana" Allen 28:46
124. Lindsay B 33:40

Fulfilling a long-standing quest, Dickson "the Nazarene" Mercer broke the tape at the Nazareth, PA Run for the Pie with a formidable 16:19 on a fair course.  Meanwhile, in Fairfax, Dave O put in a 17:17 with Laura pushing the stroller in in under 22.  

Out west, David McKay gobbled up several local high schoolers to break the tape at the Missoula, Montana Turkey Trot 8k (26:16). His efforts were met with a gorgeous apple pie.  
 

Matt Hassett received a well-earned "Top-100" finisher ceramic coffee mug for his efforts of 26:25 at the Ashenfelter 8k in New Jersey.

This author had a forgettable performance in the Southborough, MA Gobble Wobble, but his wife set a "pregnancy PR" for the 5k.  Our efforts returned no prizes after some rapscallion absconded with the Dunkin' Doughnuts cache reserved for rewards shortly after the gun went off.   

We are awaiting the results for Jake Klim's Thanksgiving athletic activities. Patrick Murphy has also been known to hit the roads on Turkey Day, but no results for him have surfaced.  

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

FLASH: KEELY OBLITERATES SUB 3 IN PHILLY

Keely Eckberg smashed her sub-3 goal this morning at the Philadelphia Marathon running 2:56:18, a 5 minute PR. Keely executed a strong, smart race nailing even splits en route to a 16th place finish among women. Keely's run is all the more impressive considering conditions were less than ideal with strong winds, and she's battled a cranky Achille's the last few weeks. Keely revealed her secret to success to be chowing down on eight servings of rice on marathon eve, but this blogger thinks Keely's immense dedication and unfailingly positive attitude were strong contributing factors as well.

Keely en route to big PR in Philly

On Saturday, Elena Barham made a very strong half marathon debut in Philadelphia, placing 11th in 1:21:14. This was Elena's first race over 10k and only her third road race. Look for Elena to continue to roll at clubsclubsclubs and on the roads for years to come.

Baby Wiggy!

Six years ago to the day, Jake Klim predicted that GRC ex-pat Joe Wiegner would "meet a babe" whom he would "make love to," which would result in the birth of a "beautiful baby wiggy."


Well, folks, it happened Friday when Wiggy and his wife brought a wonderful Baby Wiggy into the world. Congratulations Joe and family!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Vet's Day and RNR Vegas Results!


Vet's Day 10k Results

Phil 31:26
Whitty 32:17
Dangerous Dave 32:31
Kyle 32:33 - HUGE PR!
Charlie 32:43
Chilly Balmer 32;53
Evan 33:03
Blur 33:47

Frances 36:37
Elena 37:28
Elyssa 37:50
Liz 38:49



RNR Las Vegas

Both Reichs sent 'em in Sin City with wins in the RNR Vegas 10k with Stewart and Steph in 32:07 and 36:31, respectively.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Maura - 1:19:44!

Maura Carroll had a major breakthrough in Richmond this morning, breaking 1:20 in the Half. This is a big PR, which Coach Jerry Alexander described as the best long road result of Maura's career. Carol has been increasing her race distances incrementally and, as someone whose half marathon PR was also set in Richmond, I will attest that the course is more than fair. Julie (Half) and Greta (full) had solid results with 1:23:11 and 3:01:56, respectively.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

FLASH: Pacers GRC Men Capture MCM Open Team Title!

The Pacers GRC men took top honors in the Marine Corps Marathon men's open competition, with an average time of 2:34:34 for the top three scoring runners. This result bested the Greater Boston Track Club, which finished with an average of 2:44:27. GRC's team result would have earned its squad second place in the Armed Forces Challenge Division by finishing behind only the U.S. Army squad, which posted an average of 2:29:51 (including a 2:23 by the first place finisher). Notably, Jake Klim's time (reputed to be in the high 2:20's) was mysteriously excluded from the GRC's average. Sean Barret's impressive 2:34:04 was good for first scorer on the all Marine team.

A look at the numbers reveals that this successful result was achieved by fielding a team of substantial depth for which every runner went to the well. This was a model of disciplined running. Every runner formed a race plan and stuck to it, which allowed every member of the team to finish in the ballpark of what we knew was possible. Although one would have expected more carnage given the raceday conditions, smart running enabled all five men to finish with commendable results. And this depth is the key to winning team competitions at major marathons -  all three of the GRC's scorers were within 3:30 of each other. That each runner on the GRC's roster got out and competed and put in a very strong result on a tough course on a hot day is the headline.

Weekend Events: Apples and Bananas

This is a big weekend of racing for Pacers GRC. On Sunday, Kerry "the Banana" Allen will hit the streets of the Big Apple to contest the eighteenth running of the New York City Marathon. Temps look quite favorable for marathoning while winds will be breezier than optimal. "Kerry is in great shape and looking for a PR," says Coach Jerry Alexander. While the rigors of the NYC course and the likelihood of winds may take fast times off the table, this race will provide an excellent opportunity for Allen to get in there and beat as many other runners as possible. If she stick to her plan and runs her race, she is sure to be part of a small and select group of finishers.

GRC harriers will also traverse hill and dale at the USATF East Regional XC meet up in Philly this weekend. Our runners are looking to test their mettle on this challenging course against the Garden State Track Club, which is a formidable adversary.  The lineup for the men is Phil, Luke, Stewart, Michael P, Cabell. David M, Sean O, Kyle W, and Fridge.  Steph, Elena, Elyssa, Frances, Chelsea, Liz, and Lindsay B comprise the women's' team. Alexander is looking for big results from Phil, the defending men's champion, and Steph, who is on a hot streak.

Check back for results!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Marine Corps Marathon Recap






Coach Jerry wrote an excellent report of the Marine Corps Marathon and St. Rita's 5k, here it is below:

RACES

I am extremely proud of our performance at the Marines Corps Marathon.  It was a very warm and humid day for a marathon, and the course was even more difficult than normal because of the extra distance and turns in Virginia, but that did not prevent our guys from turning in an excellent morning of racing.  Jerry Outlaw led the way, finishing 6th in 2:33:14, followed closely by Blake in 8th in 2:33:52, Sean Barrett in 10th in 2:34:02, Graham in 14th in 2:36:34, and Breezy in 76th in 2:55:10.  Outlaw ran a superb tactical race, going out relaxed and picking up steam in the later stages, and he went from outside of the top 10 at 20 miles to 6th at the line.  For a reason that we've yet to determine, Outlaw did not feel wonderful from the start, and he even considered dropping out in the middle miles, but he hung tough, and showed why he has a great future in the marathon.  To my way of thinking, Outlaw is a legitimate contender to make the Olympic Trials in 2020, and as he improves steadily each successive training cycle and continues to fine tune his approach to marathon training, we are going to see some fast times from him in the near future.  Blake made an outstanding marathon debut, competing the entire distance, and finishing strong.  Blake ran stride for stride with an Army athlete for the final 18 miles of the race, and Blake and the eventual 9th place finisher dueled it out all the way to the tape, with Blake going past him for good up the final hill.  Blake has great potential in the marathon, and while his medical school schedule will be an obstacle to his immediate progress, I am sure we will see more from Blake in the this event in the future.  Graham had an outstanding training cycle, and I would not have hesitated on October 1 to deem him our top entrant, but he developed a hip issue that prevented him from doing more than a couple of runs in the last 3 weeks.  If that wasn't bad enough, the anti-inflammatory he took before the race caused him to have stomach problems that mandated a pit stop on Hains Point, ruining his chance to compete for a top 5 finish.  But despite those considerable obstacles, Graham fought all the way to the tape, and produced a very solid time on a difficult day.  Graham is a great talent, and we will see some outstanding performances from him in 2017, and beyond. 

As impressive as those performances were, to me the big story of the day was Sean's race.  As you all know by now, Sean is deploying to Iraq tomorrow, and it took a good bit of negotiating for Sean to obtain clearance from the Marine Corps to even get on the starting line.  Despite having his training interrupted by a site visit to Iraq last month and a demanding series of field exercises to prepare him for the daunting challenges he will face overseas, Sean got in a reasonable buildup, and even though he knew his training wasn't ideal, he was determined to take a shot at a top 5 finish.  Sean's plan was to go with the lead pack early, bide his time at the back of the group, and make a move when the opportunity presented itself.  Sean executed the plan perfectly, and by the time we got across the 14th Street bridge (and I say we because I rode my bike with Sean from the Key Bridge to the finish--and don't think I'm not sore today from the ride), Sean had moved into 6th place, and was well clear of the chase pack.  At around mile 22, I thought Sean was ready to take a shot at catching the runner in 5th place, and he was running strong and controlled.  And then at around mile 24, seemingly all of a sudden, he was not.  The lack of long runs due to weekend exercises and dehydration from the heat conspired to put Sean into a dark place that none of you ever want to experience, and by mile 25 Sean was "seeing black stars" and barely moving.  He had built up enough of a gap on his pursuers that I thought he might be able to hold on for 6th place, but the finish line could not come soon enough, and in the last 800 meters Outlaw went by him, followed by another athlete, and by the time Sean turned for the final hill, Blake and his Army travelling companion were approaching fast.  I hoped that Sean could hold on, but the hill was too much, and Sean literally walked up it, and it was all he could do to stagger across the line in 10th, completely and utterly spent.  I've seen a lot of runners run a lot of races, and I don't know that I've ever seen anyone fight as hard with as little in the tank as Sean did those last 2 miles.  I couldn't be more proud of Sean's effort, and I eagerly await his return to competition after he finishes his tour in Iraq. 

Not to be ignored in all of the excitement over MCM is the fact that we had some strong performances at St Ritas 5k on Saturday.  Amy L ran an excellent 17:20, which ties her for 4th on the GRC all-time list.  Amy's performance is particularly impressive because she had a nasty illness earlier this month which disrupted her training.  Elyssa ran approximately 18:20 (the results are inaccurate), and she will run much faster in the weeks ahead.  For the guys, Ryan ran 15:40, followed by Wertz in 15:42, and Evan in 16:14.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

FLASH: Four (?) in Top 15 at MCM

On a morning better suited to spectating a marathon rather than running one, GRC piled at least four men into the top 15 at MCM. Temperatures remained in the 60's throughout the race, but the humidity wreaked havoc on the field in the latter stages.

Numerous eyewitness reports indicate that Jake Klim was in the lead pack through at least 18 miles. While race officials deny participating in a conspiracy to remove Jake from the runner tracking system, the e-mail thread released by WikiLeaks with the subject line "the fix is in" raises serious questions. Anyone with photographic evidence of Jake finishing is encouraged to come forward.

6 Jerry Greenlaw 2:33:14
8 Blake Taneff 2:33:52
10 Sean Barrett 2:34:02
14 Graham Tribble 2:36:34
76 Brian Young 2:55:10

Jake cruising around mile 14

Saturday, October 29, 2016

GRC Marine Corps Marathon Crew is Ready to Dominate

Coach Jerry previews the Marine Corps Marathon below!




Our crew is Sean Barrett, Jerry Outlaw, Blake, Graham, and Breezy. The marathon is an unpredictable event, and you never know who is going to show up ready for a big breakthrough, but I think Sean, Outlaw, Blake, and Graham all have an excellent chance to place in the top 10, and quite possibly in the top 5. If one of them has a really good day, it's well within the realm of possibility that a GRC athlete could get the win. A case could be made for each of our athletes as our leading contender. Sean is the clear sentimental favorite--not only is he an active duty Marine, he is deploying to Iraq next week, and it would be an amazing story if he were able to run well while facing the incredible pressure and stress of an imminent deployment to a war zone. Outlaw has trained exceptionally well for MCM, and has logged lots and lots of miles, and done many marathon-specific workouts. He is an expert tactician, and in his previous attempt at the distance, when he ran his PR of 2:26:50, he ran precisely even pace for the two halves of the race, and he will look to move up in the latter stages of the race on Sunday. Graham's training was going extremely before a recent hiccup, and he's fully rested and feeling good. At his best, Graham is a formidable marathoner, and he is in PR shape. Blake is an intriguing newcomer to the marathon who has run very fast at shorter distances (29:12 track 10,000), and while he lacks experience, he is a dogged competitor who has run some outstanding workouts in recent weeks. Breezy could be critical to our attempt to win the team competition, in which the top 3 score. Because Sean is running for the Marine Corps team, if one of our top 3 struggles, Breezy will be the safety valve, and he is taking that responsibility seriously, and will give it everything he has.