Potomac Valley Track Club Christmas Caper 10K & 5K

By James Moreland
Washington, DC
December 22, 2012

Runners line up for the start of the 5K

The weekend before Christmas is the slowest racing weekend of the year. Even with chilly 30 MPH winds close to three hundred brave souls from 8 to 81 took on the wind swept course. The race is the fifth in the ED Barron Holiday Series. The 5K race started ten minutes early to avoid confusion. Indeed, the 10K started behind the 5K starting line by 200 feet so that on their second loop they would turn around 100 feet before crossing the finish line. Just short of 7% of the finishers came from the 50 Plus Club.

The 50 Plus Club is a club that includes 120 members with the goal of racing 50 or more races in a year. At the race, the top masters finisher in the 10K was Ted Poulos, completing his 209th race of the year. Jon Palks made history in the 5K with his 156th 5K so far in 2012. Karsten Brown made a big move in the final mile to reach take the runner-up spot. He was just a long handshake away from the two runners in front of him. Not to worry, even with the different starting points and different turnaround split inevitably someone changes distances in a multiple distance event. These two were apparently not willing to take on the fierce winds in the second loop. Brown is one of 12 members with more than 100 races finished so far. The club is on pace to race more than 4,000 races in 2012.

Aaron Lozier, 24, of Guilderland, NY, one of five 10Kers in the top 11 from out of town, led the way from the beginning. Though he tired somewhat in the final mile he won with a speedy 34:57, a faster pace than anyone racer, including the 5K.

The Potomac Valley Track Club has long been the source of racewalking for the area with quite a few in both events. In the 5K Peter Blank, 58, (in photo) was second. Blank does not usually compete in such a long event, averaging just 1.62 per race in his 120 finishes this year. But if you have a mile race he will be there. He has participated in 250 mile races in the last three years.

Running down the channel side the wind was negligible but the half mile going north along the Potomac had runners moaning louder than the gusting winds. Only a dozen racers broke 20 minutes in the 5K. It was definitely a day to be little a duck behind the bigger wind blocking runners. LaShawn Smith ducked behind no one and triumphed in 18:19. He could never let up as Xavier Watson finished just five seconds behind him. Spider Rossiter, 61, had the best age graded time whipping round the course in 19:47. Before the race Larry Dickerson, 81, said he was just going to jog the course but at the end his competitive spirit pushed him to hold off Robert Gurtler, 77, by five seconds in 30:45. Gurtler has run 83 5Ks in his 120 races this year.

Lauren MacFawn won easily for the women in a swift 19:08, sixth overall. She was followed by a quick young runner, Gillian Livingston, 12, in 21:32. Next in line was Betty Blank, 59, who is warming up for her drive to the top of the 60-64 division in 2013. She is the odds on favorite for the coming division. Her time of 22:39 was only bested one time in 2012 by a runner from this region in the 60-64 division.

After the race there was hot chocolate and cookies to go with the bananas. The prizes started with age group with the overall winner being an age group winner. They included Christmas themed items such as scented candles, gingerbread houses, music boxes, and decorated kitchen towels.

The first race of the 2013 ED Barron Holiday Series will be the by George 10K & 5K in mid February.

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