DCRRC Burke Lake 12K
Burke Lake, VA
March 2, 2014
Above, runners collect their race tags and get ready for the race. Below, timers wait for more runner to get to the finish.
The seventh race of the DCRRC Snowball Series came during an island of time between the winter storms with the temperature soaring into the fifties. That indeed made portions of the cross country course that circles out and back along Burke Lake little islands among all of the puddles from the melted snow. The course was challenging to avoid the mud on the way out and it was even worse on the way back by the time all the runners had squeezed through.
Top master and seventh overall, Ted Poulos, 52, ran a very credible 50:30. Amazingly, he set his 12K PR on this course back in 2001 in 41:30 which would have hosed this year’s field. He was runner-up that year.
The course starts with a half mile roller coaster ride on the roads before snaking along around the lake on the dirt/mud path. Miles Aitken pulled away early and won convincingly in 43:47. Charles Love was the only other man to challenge him at all, finishing a strong runner-up in 44:58. Third place went to Claire Hallissey who is often a good bet to win it all, ahead of all the men as well.
Sunday, Hallissey raced home in a 6:05 pace more than two minutes ahead of fourth overall Nick Wong and a mile ahead of Bethany Fahey’s very solid 51:08 for ninth runner overall. As tiny as Hallissey is one would expect her to float along. Instead she punishes the course with powerful strides that make her one of the top ranked runners in the entire region. She was not thinking about being the top woman but had her eyes glued on Love and trying to take the race’s runner-up spot.
The course’s many turns and uneven ground belie the fact that it is basically a flat course. Thus the times are never sensational. Only ten of the runners had times fast enough to qualify for the Regional Runner Rankings. Five of those runners came from the 50 Plus Club. That club is mainly about quantity with it 118 members racing 4600 races in 2013.
Besides Poulos, who ran a world record 337 races in 2003, there is Bill Stahr, who is taking a shot at the record this year. His race was his 50th of 2014 putting him 8 races ahead of the pace Poulos had set. Tami Graf, 77, is still racing national class times more than fifty times a year. Mike Cannon, 56, seems to be getting faster and faster and for the first time cracked into the Ranked Runner category. Jay Wind, 64, one of the original seven members from 1997 has always been a Ranked Runner. This year Ken Krehbiel aged up and has built an insurmountable led in the series for the 60-64 age group.
Amiable George Getek has been the race director for many years now. He always makes sure that there is an abundance of food after the race. Indeed, all of the DC Roadrunner races have plenty to offer runners. The races are free to members and just $5.00 for others. There were $5.00 gift cards for age group winner, three deep. Everyone got a shot at the dozens and dozens of bagels with cream cheese/peanut butter/grape jelly, bananas, cookies, and Gatorade.
The permanent markers on the course are not so accurate and most GPS watches have lots of trouble in the woods, especially with lots of turns. One reading had the course .4 miles short but not to worry. It is a legitimate 12K course measured by a professional who takes accuracy very seriously.
The race started at 10:00 a.m. which is merciful for those who love their sleep and want to wait for the sun to warm things up. Not long after the race the skies did cloud over and the rain started. That evening the snow started and was followed by nothing temperatures…zero degrees. By that Sunday was a wonderful island of spring in the middle of on of the coldest winters of the century.
Below Karen Young wins her age group on her 27th race of 2014.
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