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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.