|Photo by Bill Green, Frederick News-Post|
After a long week full of rain and gray skies, the GRC took to the local tracks and roads to shake off the blues and heat up the DMV! The track crew opted for a "quick" metro ride to College Park, Maryland, seizing every possible chance to ride the metro in a predictable way before SafeTrack rears its ugly head, while a half marathon in neighboring Frederick, Maryland was a lure as well. Nothing like home sweet home for these runners!
Friday's race conditions during the Jim Kehoe Twilight Meet at the University of Maryland did not deviate from the week's trend of cold, rainy weather, but GRC athletes were not deterred as they toed the line in several events. Everyone was hoping for evening climate conditions conducive to fast times and the typical roaring crowds in the stands (just kidding about that last part), but since they've followed Coach Jerry's advice, they were prepared to tackle the inclement weather. Despite these oppressive odds, the GRC had several strong showings as well a few brave fans in the bleachers. Results are below.
4. Steph Reich 4:32.01
7. Frances Loeb 4:37.89
11. Liz Tawa 4:51.87
9. Stewart Reich 3:57.74
13. Luk Olenginski 4:01.01
15. Stewart Reich 1:57.14
2. Kyle Wagener 15:07.43
6. Cabell Willis 15:33.21
7. Chris Van Es 15:38.87 (PR!)
Just as April showers bring May flowers, Sunday's dawn brought respectable weather back to the area. Steph Reich, after racing the 1500 on Friday night at Maryland, decided to throw her adoring public a bone and run in her hometown Frederick Running Festival half marathon. Her fans were expecting to see her triumphantly conquer the race's notorious hills which would be familiar to the resident Frederick runner, and thought she'd maybe demonstrate a tempo-type effort, which would be an accomplishment in itself after a fast race less than two days prior. No one expected an event record, the fastest (by over two minutes) half marathon performance by a woman in a GRC jersey in a decade, and an almost Olympic Trials-qualifying level performance in her first attempt at the distance, but that's what happened. We should have known to never doubt Steph!
She got the win (and 5th place overall!) in 1:15:44.33.
According to Coach Jerry: "If there was any doubt that Steph is a national caliber runner, that doubt is now gone. To put this performance into context, Steph has been training for 5k/10k on the track, she ran a hard 1500 on Friday night at Maryland (where she ran an 800 PR of 2:20 on route to a 4:32.01), and she did not decide to run the half until after what she considered a disappointing performance on Friday. Moreover, Frederick is a challenging course, and her mindset going into the race was just to have fun with it. That Steph could get within 45 seconds of the Olympic Trials standard in a race she was not training for, and which she was not even planning to run hard, tells us everything we need to know about her potential in the longer road events."
The Frederick News-Post wrote a thorough article about the race, complete with a clever title that makes this author wish she had thought of it first.
The Reich Stuff: Local runner bests women's field at Frederick Half Marathon by Bill Cauley
Let us also not forget that the married Reich duo turned in four separate race performances this weekend, which equates to 40% of the weekend's results. Where would we be without them!