A baker’s dozen Strawberry Canyoneros rolled out to the hills of Hayward and took on Garin Park’s very challenging 3.15-mile course. It’s always a bit of a crapshoot trying to convert cross country courses to PRs, but finishing times were 1:15-1:45 off of track 5K PRs across the board, depending on the overall pace.
The masters men’s race was a decidedly mixed bag and the team finished fourth by a narrow 1 pt. margin behind the West Valley Joggers & Striders crew. The best masters news of the day was the electrifying performance of Nick Bingham, a fairly new Strawberry masters runner training with the Jeff Mann crew out of Reno. Nick drilled the course in 17 minutes, 10 seconds, and notched a rousing victory, also turning heads with a nine-second win over the formidable Jaime Heilpern of the ASICs Aggies.
Following Nick was Chris Dodge, who had his best race as a masters runner. His 18:51 mark was good for a strong 21st-place showing. Following Chris was an irked Jeff Mann (26th – 19:18), whose uncooperative back has been his long-term bane on these more jarring race courses. Dan (Mr. Consistency) Sivolella was next (28th) in 19:24. It should be noted here that he has shown up for the most cross country races of any of our masters runner this fall so great job Daniel! Coach Carl Rose jumped in so the club could field a scoring team but he didn’t help out much. He was way out in 64th in 21:56, representing a huge drop-off in fitness, something which was expected given he has not run a serious workout since last fall. (Thanks bum achilles!!).
The open men all ran very good to stellar races at Garin, though they were a bit undermanned and thus narrowly edged by the West Valley Track Club for second place by two points. Pacing them was the Strawberry Canyon juggernaut Greg Timblin, who continued his assault on the PA cross country grand prix. His time of 15:56 was just seven seconds off the old course record, a record which was broken as he pushed a resurgent Neville Davey to break it by nine seconds.
Fourth overall for the Berries in 16:08 was Tom Haxton, who may have run his best race yet for the Strawberry Canyon crew–he will be quite the sledgehammer in November. Behind Tom was Sean McFarland who ran a very solid 16:14 and appears to be coming back well from a bit of a general fatigue deficit. (This is good news for the Berries and bad news for the un-Berries). Dan Chebot (17:08-14th) is just coming back after missing a huge amount of training, and was satisfied with his effort, and Jack Wallace (17:27-16th) rounded out the scoring with a strong close at the end. It should also be mentioned this was a 21-second Garin Park PR for Jack, who’s been running on it since his days as a harrier at Albany High School.
Former Bates College decathlete Andrew Tibbetts was out of the scoring but not at all dissuaded as he continued to demonstrate great improvement as an endurance athlete. His time of 18:11 was good for 26th place. Following Andrew was former Swarthmore College sprinter Keith Gilmore in a strong race (18:38-30th-place). Joshua Seeherman, the former Penn University 800-meter runner, has shown good endurance improvement this fall, and sliced roughly 30 seconds off his former Garin XC course PR. He steamrolled across the line in 19:24 in 35th place.
Sadly, though three of the Strawberry Canyon women (Elizabeth Ottenheimer, Carola Conces, and Christine Bowlus) made the trip to the race, errant directions caused them to arrive only seconds before the start. They opted to salvage the morning with a scenic long run in the park.