Sunday, August 22, 2010

Drake Well Half Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 5; 26th Edition
733.6 miles raced; 350 yards swam and 9 miles biked in 2010

Race: Drake Well Half Marathon
Place: Titusville, PA
Miles from home: 1861 miles
Weather: 60-70s; Overcast and very humid

Click logo for full results.

If you wish to create suspense and drama, you can turn a one mile race into a 180 page book.   If you want to get to the point, a half-marathon can be summed up like this: 5th place in a time of 1:29:00.  That latter part is my place and time of my Drake Well Half-marathon in Titusville, PA today.  I wanted to place much higher and run much faster but neither happened.  However, even if they had, I want to speak about as many of the other participants as I can without turning this into laundry list.

David Terrill telling me in 2009 to turn the sauna off.
First, the big question for this race was the weather.  Last year, we had high 70 degree weather with sticky hot humidity.  Runners were far from pleased and I felt awful that it was so bad. This year, the temperature was 15-20 degrees cooler, with nice breezes and pretty much the same humidity.  Times should be better, right?  Well, wrong.  Besides the overall winner, Ben Ingram, who smashed the course record and ran a time of 2:45:33, many of the times were down.  Not to embarrass them at all but four runners who ran times of 3:03, 3:06, 3:45 and 4:07 ran respective times of 3:13, 3:19, 3:54, and 4:11.  Same runners, same course, supposedly better weather but slower times.  Very odd indeed.

The race was honoring the memory of Lisa MacDonald, who passed away a few months ago (I touch on that here.)  Running in her memory were four women: friends, Katie, Julie, Marianne and sister Stephanie.  Running in lockstep the entirety of the half-marathon and releasing brown and gold balloons (Titusville's school colors) at the start of the race, the women did their friend and family member one heckuva a tribute.

With the race featuring prizes including signed posters by local running legend and 1976 Boston Marathon Champion, it was great to have a local female, Jessica Zimmer (from nearby Meadville) win the women's full marathon. Misti Jesson from Hagerstown, MD took second overall while her training partner Angie Fuss finished just two minutes behind to round out the top three.

After Ingram's fantastic finish, 2009 3rd placer overall finisher Douglas Basinksi dropped 4 minutes form his 2009 time to take second overall in a time of 3:00:32.  Tim Snyder powered through for a third place finish just missing a Boston Qualifying time by 52 seconds.
Liz Hadfield rocking the New Zealand flag.
One of the furthest travelers, Kiwi Liz Hadfield who currently lives in Fort Lauderdale was nothing but smiles when she sprinted the last 400 meters around the Titusville High School track for the fastest overall finish from any runner from Florida!

Dana Casanave, who is attempting to complete 52 Marathons in a year's time, continued pushing through her year with one of her better times of the year by finishing in 4:37:40.  Check out her cause here.
The half marathon featured some amazing performances as well.  Jenny Fiscus, who finished second last year in the half, dropped 8 minutes off of her time from 2009 and won  the race outright. Jenny also has five children.  (The sound you hear is your excuses leaving the room.)  Coming back from a cycling accident just two weeks prior to the race forcing her to drop from the full, Minnesota Golden Gopher steeplechaser Dani Ashford came in second overall. Valerie McNelis from Irwin, PA finished third overall.

Terry's 1:24:48 at the Napa to Sonoma Half was stellar and kicked my butt.

On the men's side, Titusville native Jeff Nelson used the race as as tune-up for an upcoming 50k and took the lead late in the race for the overall victory and new course record of 1:23:30.  Youngster Tim Price just missed the previous course record as well with his second place finish.  However, it was ageless wonder, Terry McCluskey at age 62 whose third place time of 1:27:20 wasn't even close to the fastest time he has run in the past month!

The race had a couple of small snafus which are easily fixed but I heard next to no complaints.  one gentleman requested mylar blankets for runners but the absolute last thing one would expect to need in August in Pennsylvania would be blankets. (And it was like 70 degrees at the finish.)  Comments about the beauty of the course and the friendliness of all those involved warmed my heart - even though I know the marathon contained some tough hills in the beginning. The 13.1 miler was deceptively tough and often feels like you are running uphill both ways.

Changes are being made to add more races to the overall weekend, potentially moving start times of the two existing races around to have more finishers coming together at the end for more of a festival feel and many other things to continue to bring back runners to my hometown. While not officially confirmed, the date for next year should be August 21st and we hope to entertain and challenge as many runners as possible.  If the goodwill and comments from this race make it to the rest of the running world, we should have no problem whatsoever meeting our cap.  With ideas to create an even faster cut-off time, an overall faster median finish time will bring in tons of competition.  Now that Ben has thrown down a ridiculous 2:45, the challenge is set for those to try and best it.

Here's hoping we will see you next August in Titusville!

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