You Can’t Spell “Strawberry” Without a “W”
By Thom Trimble
Strawberries, which are known for reproduction by way of “runners”, reproduced yet another stunning victory in the PA Long circuit. Despite notching our sixth (count ‘em – 6!) race victory in a row, there was little time for victory dances or chest bumps in the chute; it was not until days later that we learned, by the skin of our stems, we had nipped three other strong teams by less than a minute. Fate was on our side, but she did not score (no PA card).
A masterful time by Darrin Banks made up for the lack of two of our top four guys from the last race. His mid-42 was good enough for 6th in the over-40 dudes and 2nd 45-49. Behind him on the scorecard were the event’s top two seniors – Tim Keenan, winning his first PA title ever, and Ironman Barry Smith. Barry’s efforts were all the more amazing as he had just run a trail half marathon the DAY before! Does this man know the meaning of “tired”? Don’t he know he be 52 …and a half! Two marathons of life!
The club’s second-of-three 52-year olds came in for the next spot on the team. Jeff Teeters, who had an uncharacteristically off day, struggled to a 46 minute effort. That was over a minute slower than last year, despite a nice tailwind through most of the course. Our last scoring old guy was a bit of an surprise. Bill Salacuse, last man at the previous PA event, had no excuse to complain about this effort. After throwing down (and stomping in anger) a slothlike 70+ minute 10 miler at NorCal, Bill got his legs and lungs together big time. Thom Trimble’s “48-or-bust” pre-race prediction for Bill was dead on for the 44 year old. Bill snuck in at 47:57, which was not only a high-fiver of a time, but was also ahead of both guys who hammered him two weeks ago, by over 3 minutes. Nice.
Sixth and seventh guys for the team were Mike Singleton and Thom Trimble (the slowest of the cincuenta-y-dosers) who both came in with times in the 48s. Two other Berries also competed for the club – Christoph Wanner (30) who had the fastest time of the day for the club with his 42 flat, and Milton Lorig (59) who earned the “I ran under my age” award, with a time of 57:27. Unlike NorCal we were unable patch together the “remnants” to score another squad.
Early estimates of our team finish had us placing either 2nd or 3rd. Wrong. River City had a strong 5-man contingent, but that contingent was contingent on all five having valid PA cards. One little piggy did not, and we know what happened to that 5th piggy! No score for YOU! The evil Converse-Reebok-Asics-ShoeTBD Aggies also had a fab-five at the starting line, looking like the clear #1 seed. But, that seed did not sprout; the Ags pulled a “Missouri” (NCAA hoops reference) and did not pull through. This was mostly due to Jose Aispuro’s pulled hammy from NorCal. So, the Ags, sans Jose, piled up a few too many ticks of the clock to surpass the efforts of the Berries and had to settle for #2.
New Balance Excelsior was back from the dead with their strongest team since the Cretaceous period. Led by Usain’s older and slower brother – Richard Bolt – along with new-master Dan Rhodes, the New Bs threw a scare into the field of old uns’. But again the quality dropped off before their last man hit the chip mat and they settled for third, only 32 seconds down on us. The Pamakids were not kidding around either, as they threw down a AAA effort with Andy, Anthony and Adam all under 45 minutes. Their 4-5 guys were no slouches either, as they tallied only 52 seconds more than SCTC for fourth. Four teams within one minute! A reminder to lean at the tape and not leave anything on the course (unless you’re the 5th piggy). Yaaay us!
Results can be found here.