Sunday, April 3, 2016

RESULTS: Cherry Blossom 10 Miler (UPDATED)

Running a race is not always about frolicking among spring flowers in ideal conditions. Despite its name and reputation, the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler is no exception. The 2016 edition of the race proved to be a grueling reminder of this fact.

Runners faced gusting winds and unseasonably chilly temps in the mid-thirties throughout the race. The forecast conditions prompted race officials to seriously alter the procedures and infrastructure of the event, which included minimizing logistical support structures, removing mile markers from the course, and cancelling the awards ceremony.

The following Instagram photo, courtesy of GRC's Lindsay O'Brien, sums up the conditions of the race pretty well:

A runner's nightmare. Photo courtesy of Lindsay O'Brien.
The conditions, however, did not deter GRC's finest and bravest runners from sending 'em in the wind around the Tidal Basin and Hains Point.


Carlos Jamieson led GRC on the men's side in a time of 51:17*, good for 14th place overall. The performance marks his official GRC debut. Carlos came ready to race, after withdrawing from an effort in the 5000 meter run on Friday night at the Colonial Relays in Williamsburg.

Coach Jerry Alexander offered the following insight on Carlos' debut performance: "Carlos is a tremendous talent and he showed some of what he can do today.  His plan was to stick with the leaders as long as possible, then regroup and finish strong, and that's exactly what he did, running with the lead pack for about 5 miles, and then closing hard the last mile.  He's got ambitious plans this spring, and today was a good first step."

Among the women, Kerry Allen recorded GRC's first finish in a time of 60:12, good for 15th. Maura Carroll followed closely behind, clocking a time of 61:23 for 20th.

"Kerry ran an excellent race, and continued her breakthrough season," said coach Jerry. "When the conditions cooperate, she will run a huge PR at this distance."

Dave O'Hara made his highly-anticipated master's debut on his 40th birthday with a fifth-place finish in his age group, clocking a time 57:41.

Jerry Greenlaw finished 27th overall on the men's side in a time of 53:26. Following closely behind was Evan Jurkovich, completing his return to form in a time 53:55.

Paul Balmer and Chris Van Es finished 41st and 43rd, clocking times of 54:22 and 54:29, respectively. Impressively, Chris's ran a personal best by 17 seconds. Seb Devlin-Foltz also continued his return to the racing circuit, recording a time of 54:50, good for 45th place on the men's side.

Also on the men's side, Matt Hassett and Charlie Ban ran 56:36 and 57:54, good for 57th and 71st place among the men, respectively. Lavar Curley ran 59:19, while Brian Young finished in a time of 59:56. Finally, Kieran O'Connor completed our men's finishers in his first appearance on the roads since the Olympic Marathon Trials six weeks ago, tempoing the race in a time of 63:43.

Full results here.

Times were significantly slower than in years past (not including last year's short course). However, as today's conditions reminded us all, they are just numbers that are not always indicative of quality of effort and performance.

In other notable news, Sam Chelanga became the first American in 26* years to win the race on the men's side in a time of 48:26. Chelanga, a Kenyan native, recently earned his American citizenship after graduating from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, where he was a multiple-time Big South Conference Champion, NCAA All-American, and four-time NCAA Division I champion (twice in Cross Country; twice on the Outdoor track in the 10,000 meter run). Meanwhile, DC metro native Christo Landry finished 10th overall, in a time of 49:05.

Veronicah Nyaruai Wanjiru of Kenya won the women's race in a time of 53:12.

*Corrections: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated Carlos' finishing time. We apologize to Carlos for the error. Also, Sam Chelanga is the first American male to win Cherry Blossom since Chris Fox, 26 years ago in 1990, rather than 33 years as previously stated. Special thanks to GRC's reputable and published historian Red Fox Klim for pointing this out.


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