USATF Club Nationals 2014

USATF Club Nationals 2014

Pregame at the Long Swamp Tavern.

Beer & Glory. It has been the Roadkill Racing creed since we began competing in 2010. It seems however that some of our competition only see the Beer and not the Glory. One of our members was told by the president of the other Rochester team “we are going to club nationals, Roadkill is just going to be sitting around drinking beer.”

Showing up.

Yeah… not so much.

Roadkill Racing brought 9 runners to Bethlehem, PA to compete in the USATF Cross Country Club National Championships. The 2014 championship was the largest in the events history. Thousands of runners from hundreds of teams descended on the Lehigh University campus to compete for local, regional and national bragging rights.

Claiming some space right along the course.


Our masters team was made up of Joe Williams, Josh Williams, Jim Park, Derrick Jones and me. Juan Martinez, Dave Rappleyea, Mike Insler and Matthew George Roberts were there representing the open men. Trying to settle on goals for this race was difficult. Looking at last years results wasn’t much help because the field was 50% bigger and the nature of cross country courses makes it difficult to tell where you should stack up against people when you haven’t raced the same course. For our masters team top 10 seemed like a good goal and personally I was hoping to be in the top 50 or the top 10% at worst. Since the open team as short 1 runner they were focused on having good individual performances and getting the most out of the race.

Jim, Joe, Derrick, Josh and Josh

Pre-race announcements confirmed that this was to be the largest masters field in USATF history. Almost 600 runners from 40 to 82 years old lined up at 11:30 am Saturday morning. Looking up and down the line from our cramped starting box gave me chills.

580+ masters runners toe the line

The course was basically to big loops, with a nice long hill at 4k and again at 8k. There were spectators spread throughout the course and more than enough competitors to keep you working hard. I knew I was close to my goal of top 50 because Dave was giving me updates as I ran by him both at 2 miles and 4 miles into the race. The second time he told me I was in 51 and I immediately put in a surge and passed someone. Unfortunately I would pass and be passed by a number of people during the final 2 miles and ended up 1 shy of my goal finishing 51st.

Fighting off Pete Magill
Fighting off Pete Magill

I didn’t know it at the time, but the pack of runners charging up behind me at the finishing included masters ace Pete Magill. The fact that he is 14 years older than me did not take away from my excitement over having beaten him. It isn’t everyday you get to race against a running legend let alone beat them. As a team we finished in 14th place out of 40 teams, so a bit off what we hoped. We did however finish ahead of all the other teams from New York including beating some of the larger clubs from the NYC area. It was a great first showing for our team and gives us a great point from which to build from.

14th Place. 455 points Roadkill Racing ( 36:30-average 3:02:27-total 4:44-spread)

1 43 Joshua Perks 40 34:32
2 53 Derrick Jones 43 34:57
3 80 Jim Park 48 36:00
4 121 Joshua Williams 40 37:42
5 158 Joseph Williams 41 39:16

Dave Rappleyea led the men’s team with one of his best races of the year. In an insanely fast field where the winners ran 29 low Dave finished 288 out of 570 with a great xc time of 33:16. Next up was Matt Roberts who ran 35:08, almost a minute faster than his time at the PGXC Championship. Mike Insler and Juan Martinez rounded out the Roadkill open team, with Juan making his Roadkill debut and Mike making his official Roadkill return.

Top of the hill… the first time.

It was fantastic to be apart of such a special event. Being able to compete at the national level with some of the best runners in country was both humbling and inspiring. While I am out fighting the wind and snow this winter, the thought of missing my goal by 1 second/1 place will keep me out there for that extra mile. I can wait for the the USATF Road 10k Championship this April and more xc next fall.

Men’s open results

Men’s masters results

And the winner is…

And the winner is…

OK So I don’t know who the winner is yet, but as soon as there are official results I’ll get them posted along with all the details of USATF Club Nationals. For now just enjoy some pictures.

Roadkill Rebirth of Slick (AKA Cool Like Dat, AKA PGXC Series 2014)

Roadkill Rebirth of Slick (AKA Cool Like Dat, AKA PGXC Series 2014)

I have been struggling to write this post. I am torn between my excitement for how much the team has grown, how hard everyone competed all season and the final results. There were so many positives for Roadkill Racing this fall and I want to make sure I celebrate and share them all without tainting them with my own unrealistic expectations. So let me get the unrealistic expectations out of the way then we can move on to the celebrating of everyone’s accomplishments.

The Roadkill Masters team finished second to GVH in the series scoring after leading in points the first 4 races. We actually ended up tied in points because of an early season drubbing GVH took, but GVH owned the tie breaker with 3 wins to our 2. Considering I didn’t even think we would have a masters team a week before the season started I should be thrilled we came so close, but perhaps the closeness is what made it such a bitter pill to swallow. I’m proud that we pushed a team that has dominated so thoroughly for so long the brink, and I have high hopes for next season. We have a great team of masters runners and we only look to be better next year.

1st GVH 24 – 2,6,4,6,6
2nd Roadkill  24 – 6,4,6,4,4
3rd High Noon AC 13 – 4,3,3,3
4th Syracuse TC 9 – 3,2,2,2

Our individual masters runners all had a stand out series. With 5 finishing in the top 10 of individual points.

1st Joshua Perks     
2nd Derrick Jones
3rd  Mike Nier
4th Brian Lazzaro      
5th Alex Colvin
6th Joseph Williams
7th Jim Park  
8th Scott Bickham
9th Jamie Hobbs
10th Thomas Mullins

Last year we did not have men’s open team. This year we fielded a team at every race. We returned a few runners from last year (Matt, Drew, Kenny and Brett) added a few new members (Dave, Kraig, Andy, Mark and Dan) and we saw the return of Pete from the injured reserve. This season the open men were lead by Dave Rappleyea who started the season fighting back from injury and raced himself into the top 10 finishing 9th overall in series points. Dave was followed closely (and sometimes led) by Kenny who finished 10th in series points despite running a marathon mid-series.

The team finished 3rd behind STC and GVH, beating out Cornell Running Club and Checkers.

I’ve saved the most surprising team for last. The Roadkill ladies.

As of last March there was no Roadkill women’s team, but under the dedicated leadership of Ashlie Roberts a team quickly coalesced. By the first race in the series the women had done a few months of weekly workouts and were ready to race. By the end of the series 14 women were racing for Roadkill.

The ladies ran hard all fall both in the series races and on the roads with many of them running PR’s in distances from 5k to the marathon. They are fired up for next year and are also on the lookout for a few 40+ year-olds to join Heather on a masters team.

I can’t help but think that it was the addition of the women’s team that helped spur the growth of the men’s open and men’s masters team.

IMG_12147755864520Here’s to a great cross country series and looking toward many more!