Roadkill Racing has always made the USATF Championship races a priority in the past. These are terrific opportunities to get everyone together for a puking good time, as well as a chance to win money, which as everyone knows, can be exchanged for goods, such as beer and burgers. Typically, we have had good showings and usually end up top three at these races.
This year, USATF Niagara is changing things up a bit, and turning the series of championship races into a Grand Prix series. Rather than offering prize money at each race, teams will earn points based on their finishing place, and the top three teams with the most amount of points at the end of the series will win money.
The first three races have already occurred, with RKR sitting in third place for both the men and women. With five more races ahead of us, there is ample opportunity for RKR to really show its strength on the roads and trails this year. Wish us luck as we continue to race for beer and glory!
I had heard there would be a lot of people at the 2019 Boilermaker, but nothing prepared me for the actuality of it all. I’m a small town kind of person, this was very much out of my realm! From the expo on Saturday, to the start line Sunday morning, crowds, and nerves, were high. As I did some random stretching outside of our corrals, my anxiety about the task at hand grew.
Fortunately, I managed to come in contact with the great contingent of Road Kill members who decided to take on the legendary event. This lessened my tension greatly, surrounded by some great people, just having fun. Time ticked on as the start loomed near. A delay, some friendly banter, and a team cheer later, we were off! The first 5k went by very quickly. The crowd, and support on the course was unlike anything I’d ever imagined. Signs, bands, excessive water stops, the energy on the course was palpable. Despite a decent amount of uphill running (more gradual than anything), I was ahead of where I planned to be pace wise.
The second 5k was the breath of fresh air I had been waiting for. The uphills ceased, and the downhills took their turn! Gravity was not only on our side, but the crowd, as well! They cheered us on as we continued to grind, getting ever closer to the post race party. It was around 4 miles that I found another runner, who was interested in working together to move up. We traded the lead a few times, breaking the wind for one another. He eventually dropped me (soon after 10k), but I’m very grateful that we got to help each other for a while.
The last 5k, while elevation friendly, was rough for me. I had passed the 10k mark a mere ~20 seconds slower than my flat out personal best. My legs stopped firing as quickly as they had 6.2 miles before, and I was wondering if I had written checks my body couldn’t cash. Mentally, I just needed to make it to the eighth mile. I figured after that, any kind of crash wouldn’t be too bad. Mile 8 came, and went. Before I knew it, the ninth mile reared it’s glorious head. My legs found new life, as I made a sad attempt at a kick to get through the finish line.
Despite not regrouping with my teammates after the race, I had nothing to regret on that day. I went out harder than I felt I should, and it paid off (in this particular case!). The team as a whole had a stellar showing, and enjoyed some beer, and glory after their races! The Boilermaker is a staple race in not only New York, but the country as a whole. It’s a bucket list race that I feel all runners should experience, at least once in their lives. Great showing, Roadkill! On to the next one! For Beer, and Glory, Dave
Matt’s note: Roadkill Racing had a great contingent with lots of stellar performances on Sunday! Here are the results I know about:
Dave Herbert – 54:16 Matt Palmer – 58:05 Matt Roberts – 58:15 Kraig Connor – 1:02:15| Ryan Sullivan – 1:02:26 Dan Sackett – 1:11:58 Lindsay Rynders – 1:17:04 Davida Graham – 1:31:40
Living in Pittsburgh now, I’ve unfortunately been mostly absent from Roadkill events and shenanigans over the past two years. However, I saw a Facebook post by Lindsay in December saying that she was looking for “fast men” to fill out the Seneca7 team. I saw how much fun the team had last year, and I had never gotten to jump in on a relay like this. It was a great opportunity to see old friends while chasing everyone around a lake.
Fast forward a few months to April 28th, and Roadkill had a formidable team of George, Ashlie, Marie, John/Lindsay’s Dad/Mr. Rynders, Chad, Lindsay, and myself for the 77.7 mile journey around Seneca Lake. We came into the day slightly battered (Marie having run the 18 mile Rally Round the Valley the day before, George and Ashlie deep in the meat of their own marathon training, and Lindsay and I still recovering from the Boston Marathon). However, we were ready to race for beer and glory and ice cream and effort and everything that represents the Roadkill way. The day started out chilly and breezy in Geneva, but that didn’t stop George from sneaking his short orange shorts that Ashlie REFUSED to let him wear. Soon enough, 9 o’clock rolled around, and George was on his way, starting towards the back so he could get a headstart on roadkills early (roadkill, in this sense, meaning any runner you pass in your travels).
The race has twenty-one legs, with each team member running three legs of varying distances, in the same order. I was given the seventh leg, with George, Marie, John, Lindsay, Chad, and Ashlie preceding me. After George set off, we hung our Brazilian flag (the official mark of a “passing” vehicle) and Roadkill banner off of the Splatmobile and bolted south. The first few checkpoints were mostly empty; the earlier-starting teams were already long gone, and it was mostly a race for the best parking to make a quick escape. Towards the end of the first seven legs, however, we started to come up upon some earlier teams and gaining roadkills. (The Splatmobile passengers had a side-competition to make the greatest number of dad jokes for the day, and with a grand total of one, I think I lost that game). A little before noon, though, Ashlie hit me with the slap band and I was finally off on my first leg, a mostly uphill 4.1 miler. It was an odd combination of freshness and stiffness as I tried to get to the next checkpoint as quickly as possible. Around 22 minutes later, I attempted to hit George with the slap band, missed, then got an accelerated cooldown as we hopped into the car into the oblivion of inevitable stiffness the next time I tried to run.
Fortunately, there were no snowflakes to be seen, but as we approached the southern shores of Seneca Lake, the breeze had picked up, and checkpoints were becoming more and more crowded. Nevertheless, we braved shorter and shorter warmups and tight muscles as we repeated the pattern of collecting a tired runner and driving quickly but carefully to the next checkpoint. I don’t remember much about my second leg, a slightly downhill 5K, but I think I finally got the hang of hitting George with the slap band.
The last few checkpoints began to be a cacophony of relay teams of all backgrounds as well as spectators enjoying a delicious Sunday afternoon brew, which became more and more tempting at this point. We never were in danger of missing a runner at the next checkpoint, a distinct possibility with crowded roads and parking lots, but we were still cutting downtime pretty close. Spirits were still high as roadkills kept accumulating. Soon enough, we made it to the final leg with the possibility of finishing in under 9 hours! The sun was finally shining, and as I made it back into Seneca Lake State Park, the team joined me to cross the finish line, although I bolted not realizing I still had a couple minute buffer. In retrospect, I probably could have made it a little less fanfare-like. Sorry, guys.
Although we were cold, hungry, and tired, it was a successful day for Roadkill. We ended up 9th overall and 6th co-ed in a time of 8 hours, 57 minutes, and 33 seconds. Personally, it was a much-needed catch-up day with my old team, and if the stars align, I can’t wait to join them again in a future year.
Roadkill Racing’s bravest turned out in 30-degree temperatures and strong winds on March 16th to partake in the Running of the Green, the unofficial start to the racing season in Rochester. Despite the less-than-optimal conditions, the team saw many terrific performances, as seen below.
Brett Smith – 3rd overall (27:46)
Mark Streb – 6th overall, 3rd AG (28:35)
Matthew Roberts – 16th overall, 1st AG (30:11)
Marcus Gage – 18th overall, 1st AG (30:23)
Joel Nowatchik – 21st overall, 3rd AG (30:37)
Jeremy Cook – 33rd overall, 8th AG (32:01)
Erin Caffrey – 97th overall, 5th AG (35:59)
Ashlie Roberts – 100th overall, 6th AG (36:09)
John Rynders – 158th overall, 14th AG (38:26)
Lindsay Rynders – 178th overall, 9th AG (38:54)
Marie Davis – 434th overall, 18th AG (44:34)
Valerie Vermeulen – 479th overall, 4th AG (45:33)
Martha Doody – 631st overall, 39th AG (48:31)
Above photos by Alex Tong. More photos available from: