The 2016 Pike's Peek 10k in Review
Suleman Shifa and Julia Roman-Duval bring home victory along with their mason jars
April 24th brought crisp, clear weather to the Pike's Peek 10k finish line on Marinelli St. Known as a PR course, Pike's Peek features a point-to-point downhill sprint along Rockville Pike. In the women's race, Julia Roman-Duval of the Howard County Striders cemented her dominance on this course finishing first in 34:22 (19th overall) while, in the men's race, Suleman Shifa of New York, New York finished first in 30:04. 2,143 runners crossed the finish line Sunday, trading in their Ipico timing chip for a commemorative Pike's Peek mason jar, while Shifa and Roman-Duval left with $300 each as well. Cash prizes were awarded to both overall and age group winners.
By Chris Leyen
Rockville, MD--Twenty-two year old Ethiopian-born Suleman Shifa cruised to victory in the 10k at a comfortable (for him) 4:51 min/mile pace outdistancing the other sub-five minute mile finisher, Andrew Weaver of Baltimore, MD (30:39) by 35 seconds. He was followed by his friend, fellow Ethiopian, and sometimes translator, Girma Bedada who finished in 31:00. Very accustomed to this distance, Suleman boasts a 28:15 personal record, and praised the course as "good and flat". However--as he described in a mix of Amharic and English often relayed through Bedada--due to a malfunctioning Garmin and the relaxed atmosphere created by having a comfortable lead, he was unable to sustain a PR pace. Justifiably confident, he assured that, had he been fully-equipped, he would have PR'd today--"definitely." When asked what his strategy was coming into this race Suleman replied in a matter-of-fact tone "It's fully conditioning. Before I start, I know how I will finish."
This year, she had a little help improving that time. With less than a mile to go Julia was "not feeling so good", but in a moment that is a true testimony to a race produced by and for local running club members, Erik Anderson of Baltimore, MD (27, 34:15) called out "Come on, Stay with me!" and took the lead for the last ¾ of a mile, serving as a pacer to lead her in to victory and a new personal best time. RacePacket asked how she prepares for 10k's vs the shorter 5k distance, to which she said: "Training for 5k and 10k is pretty similar, just a lot of work on the track, so V02 max, intervals, and then kind of threshold work, mile repeats at goal pace, that how I do it, seems to work." With two consecutive first place finishes, we have to agree.
Elite runners prepared in a variety of ways for the race, and for MCRRC-member Exavier Watson (36, 34:58) of Germantown, MD this means feeding the soul as well as the body. When asked about his pre-race routine that he relied on to break the 35 minute barrier this year, Watson admitted to devouring 4 Krispy Kreme donuts to carbo-load before the start of the race. A Myrtle Beach native, Watson loved the sugary snacks growing up, and despite spending the race trying to keep them from "making an appearance" during the race, the part-time runner, part-time martial artist was more than happy to allow the sugary treats to make a post-race showing as he made his way to the check bag station to get the remaining donuts that he packed.
MCRRC was incorporated as the Upper Montgomery County Road Runners Club (UMCRRC) in February, 1978, with "the prime object of the association being the promotion and encouragement of long distance running." The club boasts an established tradition of hosting over 30 low-key, high-quality races a year, enabling MCRRC to continue to provide "a place for every pace." Learn more at mcrrc.org.