Thursday, September 12, 2013

GRC Races into Fall Season this Weekend

The GRC Race Team last weekend at the Lauren Woodall Roady Memorial 5k
PHOTO - Peter Silverman

Although autumn won't officially start until September 22, the Georgetown Running Club's fall season will begin in earnest this weekend. After a long summer of build-up and workouts, the GRC will finally race in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. 

In downtown Washington, David Burnham aims to defend his title at the Navy-Air Force Half Marathon. Last year, the Dartmouth graduate won the race with a time of 1:10:10, nearly 3 minutes ahead of the next closest competitor, GRC's Matt Hassett. 

"(Burnham) better keep an eye out for young Hassett, who is very fit, and looking to move up to the top step of the podium this year," said GRC Coach Jerry Alexander. "If I were a betting man, I'd call this one even money." 

Also running in 2013's edition of the race is Dave O'Hara, who underwent surgery on a pair of hernias in June as well as all around good guy Brian "Breezy" Young. 

In addition, a handful of GRCers will be racing Navy's 5 Miler, including Michael Franklin, who will be making his debut in the blue and white singlet. Last spring, Franklin turned heads after he won both the 5,000m and 10,000m at the Heptagonal Outdoor Track & Field Championships. 

"I'm really excited for Michael Franklin's GRC debut, said Coach Alexander. "Mike is a superb talent who will continue his meteoric rise in a GRC singlet. Mike has already made his presence known in workouts, and having him around has already made the other guys better." 

Middle-distance specialist Ryan Witters will also be racing on Saturday. Like Franklin, "Witty" has the potential to better the course record of 25:13. 

GRC Runner of the Year (2011 and 2012) Sam Luff will race for the first time this fall after a nagging injury precluded him from training earlier in the summer. He's now healthy and hopes to return to the racing scene with gusto. 

Also racing Saturday's 5 miler will be Brian Faherty, Paul Balmer, "Texas" Paul Guevara and Charlie Ban. Hilary May and Maura Carroll will represent the women in the 5 miler. 

On Sunday, a trio of women will descend on the City of Brotherly Love to race in one of the most ballyhooed half marathons around - the Rock n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon. 

"If the weather cooperates, we could see some big PRs in Philly," boasted Coach Alexander. 

Distance runners Beth Young, Kerry Allen and Julie Tarallo, who all ran marathons this past spring, will aim for personal bests this weekend. 

Said Coach Alexander, "Beth is in the best shape of her life, and she's looking to have a breakthrough in the half commensurate with her huge marathon breakthrough in Eugene in the spring. Kerry and Julie also look great, and are ready to build on their success in the spring." 

Catherine Campbell, who recently left the Washington-area to pursue an education in dentistry, will run her last race in a GRC singlet. 

Sean Barrett, a Captain in the United States Marine Corps, and Dickson Mercer, a speechwriter for the Department of Transportation, will also lace up their flats for the half. Later this fall, Mercer will head out west to contest the Twin Cities Marathon. 

"Sean has been training extremely well, and if all goes well, he will be ready to challenge his personal best," said Alexander. "Dix will be running his final tuneup of the US Marathon Championships in 3 weeks, and he's ready to run PRs in both the half and the full." 

It will undoubtedly be a big weekend for the GRC. Stay tuned to the GRC blog, GRC Twitter handle and/or the GRC Facebook page for breaking news updates. 


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