The fall season will begin in earnest this weekend, when GRC athletes will compete in three races. On Saturday, a large contingent will contest the Run Geek Run! 8k on the Tidal Basin. On Sunday, GRC will have athletes running the Philadelphia Rock and Roll Half Marathon, as well as the inaugural Navy-Air Force Half Marathon in Washington.
Run Geek Run! 8k
The "Run Geek Run! 8k" will be held on Saturday morning on flat, fast Hains Point in Washington DC. The women’s team will be led by Michelle Miller, who has put her recent injury woes behind her. “Michelle is in great shape,” said GRC coach Jerry Alexander. “Even though it’s early in the season, Michelle is well-capable of running a PR on Saturday, and she’s just going to keep getting better as the season goes on.” The 8k will also be Catherine Campbell’s GRC debut. Catherine, a 2012 graduate of Dickinson, was a Division III All-American in the indoor 5,000, and has track PRs of 17:11 for 5k and 35:58 for 10k. “Catherine is a great talent, and I look forward to great things from her, this fall and beyond,” said Alexander. The 8k crew will also include GRC 5k club record holder Maura Carroll, GRC mile club record holder Susan Hendrick, and Harvard 1,000 meter school record holder Hilary May, making her 8k debut. The men’s team will be led by Ryan Witters and Jake Klim, both of whom look to contend for the victory. The 8k will mark the GRC debut of Alex Benway, as 2012 graduate of Clarkson University. Alex qualified for the 2011 Division III NCAA cross country championships, where he finished 47th. “Alex is a true diamond in the rough,” Alexander said. “Like Ryan Witters, who joined us last year, he has a limited background in the sport because his college did not have a track program, and like Witters, he has the ability to be a major contributor for us in the months to come.” The 8k squad will also include the ageless Dave Wertz, Jason Myers, who is making his fall debut after having a breakthrough outdoor track season, where he ran PRs at 800, 1500, and 5000, and GRC newcomer JR Roberts, who will look to build on his solid debut at the Kentlands 5k.
Navy-Air Force Half Marathon
On Sunday, GRC men and women will go to work at the inaugural Navy-Air Force Half Marathon. Tracing much of the popular Cherry Blossom route, the half marathon promises to be a fast course. The men’s squad will be led by Dave Burnham, who is looking to return to the form that produced PRs of 14:14 for 5k and 29:41 for 10k during his stellar career at Dartmouth. “Dave has been training very, very well this summer, and he will likely be in contention for the win on Sunday,” Alexander said. Matt Hassett, as 2012 graduate of Loyola, will make his GRC debut, as well as his half marathon debut. “Matt has a lot of potential, particularly in the longer distances, and I expect that this first half marathon experience will be a positive one,” said Alexander. Dickson Mercer will look to shake off the bad luck he experienced last spring, when his excellent fitness was thwarted by extremely hot weather at the Boston and Cleveland Marathons. For the women, Lauren Woodall will be looking to run a big PR. “Lauren has been running stride for stride in workouts with our top women, and I expect her to crush her current PR, which she ran before she started training with GRC last spring," Alexander said.
Philadelphia Rock and Roll Half Marathon
One hundred and fifty miles away, in the City of Brotherly Love, the Philly half will showcase the 13.1 debut of Lindsay O'Brien (nay Donaldson). Lindsay, a 6-time All-American at Yale, will be in uncharted territory past 10 miles, but according to Alexander, her training indicates that she is ready for the challenge. “Lindsay has hit every workout on the money, and while she has a healthy respect for the distance, I expect her to run a very strong second half of the race.” Laura O’Hara, Drea Garvue, Beth Young, and Teal Connor are also running Philly, and Alexander anticipates strong performances results from all of them. “Drea had an incredible spring, running PRs of 35:46 for 10k at Penn Relays and 58:50 for 10 miles at Cherry Blossom, and she is ready to pick up where she left off. Laura ran a 10K PR of 35:51 on the roads, and she is training well, and poised for a big fall. Beth has run into tough conditions in her last few halfs, and with good conditions expected for Sunday, she has a great shot at a major PR. Teal is coming off a big marathon PR of 2:53:10 in the spring, and after an excellent summer of training, she is set to lower her half marathon PR by a significant margin.” Sean Barrett will represent the men at Philly. Sean is an active-duty captain in the Marine Corps who is sharpening up for the Marine Corps Marathon, and he’s looking to build some confidence with a PR at the half. “Sean’s training could not be going better, and sub 1:07 is a real possibility for him,” Alexander said.
- GRC Wire Service