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(Official results forthcoming)
There are time trials and then there are TIME trials. The Cal Cross Country/Strawberry Canyon TC time 2012 version was a rip-roaring TIME trial thanks in part to a steady drum-beat of promotional interest on its facebook page (fear of failure-induced, I might add). The turnout of nearly 60 athletes for a three-event hand-timed impromptu track meet was quite impressive. In fact, it kicked…tail.
There were some highs and lows on the newly resurfaced Edwards Track, but the majority of the response was overwhelmingly positive. In addition to the athletes, at least 150 people attended the meet to watch the fleet participants in the late-summer mini-meet, many repping the Cal cross country and track teams as well as the Cal Triathlon Club. There were also the hapless fitness and conditioning class participants, who probably came away a bit buffaloed by Coach Carl trying to clear the track for the next scheduled event.
By far the biggest contribution to the meet’s success was the hard work of the Strawberry Canyon finish chute volunteers (Sean McFarland, Eva Stuart, Bruce Thrupp, Cameron Bronstein, Erik Gullikson (primary timer), Joseph Doetsch, Carola Conces and Art Martin. Some excellent pictures were captured by the talented Ian MacLeod, along with some handy finish-line camera/timing work by Nathan Leefer.
The first race of the day was the first heat of the 400 meter event, made intriguing by the addition of three Oakland Tech high school runners. Newly minted (or is it berried?) Strawberry Canyon TC club member Justin Lee won the 400 pressing home in a strong time of 65.8 seconds at age 47. He was followed closely by Jessica T. from Oakland Tech in 66.8. The tenacious Carola Conces of Strawberry Canyon TC came in 3rd in her first 400 since middle school in 67.4. Maya Hinkston of Oakland Tech was 4th in 69.0-flat, while her teammate Kanukai Chigamba was 5th in 72.2.
The second heat of the 400 was for faster-seeded runners and former Brown University standout Matt Duffy ran 53.8 to claim the 400-meter event. He pulled Strawberry Canyon Track Club master’s ace Chris Dodge to a superb new master’s 400-meter record of 54.3, breaking his own record of 55.09 set last February on the same track. Chris was followed by a hard-charging Brian Gillis of Transports in 54.8, and Torrey Olson, also with Transports, who coasted in the last few meters in 60.7.
Next up was the first heat of the 5000-meter/3200-meter time-trial. It was a see-saw affair which turned into a spirited duel between Strawberry Canyon Track Club runner Jeff Teeters and former Cal runner (now masters runner) Steve Zirklebach (oh how they grow up so soon!). Zirklebach prevailed over Jeff with a very strong kick in 17:47.0 to 17:53.0, but Teeters was very happy to break 18:00. Following the two fast oldsters was a great run from Erika Erickson of the Cal Triathlon Club, who threw down a college-worthy time of 18:14.1. She pulled Alberto Bonda, an exchange student from Italy, to his time of 18:16.0. Kevin Jude was next at 6:00-flat pace in 18:37.2, and he was followed by Dan Riffe in 19:23.0.
New Strawberry Canyon TC member Mei Tung-Chen finished in a strong PR of 20:18.0. She was followed by SCTC masters runner and core guru Steve “Sandal Man” Trutane in 20:31.5, who edged out Jason Lowe (20:33). Kelsie Clausen, who runs for Tamalpa Racing, came in next in 21:24.2. New Strawberry Canyon TC member Katrin Cox came in after that in a 53-second 5K PR in a solid finishing time of 22:22.
In the 3200, Oakland Tech had two girls entered: Fiona Gregg (15:20.0), and Tiffany Huang (15:22.8). Chico TC masters runner Art Martin, who came to help out with the finish-line work, got through seven laps at about 6:10 / mile pace in his first hard run in many years.
The second heat of the 3200/5000 featured nothing but 5000-meter runners. It was still a little warm for a distance race but the bouncy, fresh gold track seemed to be agreeing with people. The first five runners were all Strawberry Canyon Track Club runners who tempo’d the race as a workout. Kyle Braam (16:27.4), Dayo Tao (16:29.0), Jack Wallace (16:42.0), Irtaza Haider (16:48.8) and Chris Goioa (16:51.9) all enjoyed the experience, helping to pull the next three runners under their goal time of sub-17:00. Tim Comay (16:55.9), Jonathan Nolasco (16:59.4) and Strawberry Canyon TC runner and Swiss rock climber extraordinaire Thibault Hottelier (16:59.8) all dipped under 17:00.
Chris Everett (apparently not a famous tennis player) was next in 17:21.0, followed by Strawberry Canyon TC senior’s stud Tim Keenan, who missed some time with a stress fracturebut celebrated his 51st birthday with a strong time of 17:33.4. Strawberry Canyon TC master’s runner Bill Salacuse ran a 5000-meter PR in 17:44.3. Mr. Reliable Barry Smith, fresh off his Pike’s Peak double marathon and the 18:00-flat pacer, finished in 18:00.2.
Two women hoping to walk-on to the Cal track team faded a bit toward the last mile and fell just short. Both were understandably a little saddened, Kelly Garton (18:23.7) and Elizabeth Scott, a Cal senior who runs for the Impala Racing Team and held high 17:00s pace for nine laps (18:44.2).
A nervous energy swept over the crowd as the sun dipped behind the west stands for the third heat of the 3200/5000-meter event, which seemed to have a little bit of a magical quality to it. Its race field was impressively loaded as some very serious runners toed the line, including Cal volunteer assistant track coach Bolota Asmerom, a 2000 Olympian in the 5000-meters. The pace was quick from its outset as several runners blew through the 400 in 67 seconds and another pack trailed them in 71-72 seconds.
Six runners opted to run the 3200 in this particular race, allowing for a fast start for a bigger group of guys than normal. Matt Duffy gapped Bolota at 1.5 miles and added the 3200 title to his 400-meter title as he blazed across the line in 9:04.3, nearly breaking the 9:00-barrier. Following Matt was Brian Gillis of Transports who in his finishing kick, keyed off of former Harvard University standout Chas Gillespie who loomed just ahead of him, to finish in a very impressive 9:26.6. Chas was continuing the race and completing over four more laps. Nate Beach was close behind in the 3200 in a strong time of 932.9.
Torrey Olson (9:44.8) and Sam Robinson (9:47.9), both of Transports, rolled in next, and they were trailed by an unidentified New Balance Excelsior runner in 10:20.0.
Those finishing the 5000-meter event found the track clearing out in front of them as the 3200 runners stepped off. Bolota Asmeron cruised to an unchallenged 5K time of 14:25.6, while Chas Gillespie surprised himself with a very impressive 14:44.4 mark after a long lay-off from hard training or racing. Following Chas were three aspiring Cal walk-ons who had to attain the 15:00-flat standard. Seamus Land made good and battled across the line in 15:00.7, garnering himself a walk-on spot to the Cal track team. Andres Diaz (15:09.7), and William Chen (15:17.8) narrowly missed on the team, but posted impressive marks which put them on Cal’s radar in the future.
Francis Corrigan, a New York Athletic Club runner who recently moved back to the Bay Area, notched a time of 15:36.9. He was followed by Chikara (Chow Hound) Omine of New Balance Excelsior, who placed in 15:50.4. Cal Triathlon Club member Lauri Takasi (15:55.9) cracked the 16:00 barrier thanks to some fine pacing by Strawberry Canyon TC members Rory Runser (16:00.1) and Christoph Wanner (16:05.8). Shinji Nakadai, a Strawberry Canyon TC member who is also an ultra-runner from Japan, closed out the meet with his time of 16:12.3.