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Downtown Temple,NH

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ultimate Runner Night

Last night was Ultimate Runner Night (results) at track, a GCS only event that is both competitive and fun. Ultimate Runner is a multiple event competition which includes the 400m, 800m, 1 mile and finally a 5k trail race. Ah you say, the fast guy wins, end of competition. How is that fun for the rest of us? Well not so fast. On this night we used age-graded timing which is a way of leveling the playing field regardless of age or sex. Runners would be ranked based on their age-graded times for each event and the runner with the highest rank after 4 events would be named the Ultimate Runner.

Although most of us train at these distances regularly, not many of us actually race at these shorter distances. Trying to figure out how fast to run each event without blowing up in the next was a popular topic all night. When you add in the mystery of age-graded timing, all of a sudden how old you were was important again. The problem was I never really knew how close I had to be to the young guns or how far in front (if possible) I had to be to our senior runners, hence the mystery. That was the fun part.

The events:

Due to the record number of participants this year, the 400m was run in 3 heats and I was in the last heat. My heat had a bunch of familar faces so I had an idea where I should fit in, theoretically. I quickly tucked in behind Mark Wimmer and decided to just pace off of him, finishing one second back in 67 seconds. Oooh, this would be a long day. One event down and my hammies were screaming already.

After one event my age-graded time (60 sec) placed my 4th overall. Hmm, not bad.

This time we had 2 heats and once again I ran in the last heat. Same cast of characters though. Half way thru the 800 I could already feel the effects of the previous 400 event and slowed more than I had hoped and couldn't stay with the group in front of me, finishing in 2:31.

My new best friend age-graded timing mercifully adjusted my time to 2:16, 7th overall. This was not a good run. The 800m is my favorite track distance (in training, not racing) and I felt I should have done better. On to the next event!

(photo credit: Rich Blake)

1 Mile
The mile would be a mass start of all participants. This was easily my least favorite distance of the night. I'm a distance man (aka slow and easy!). My mistake on this one was going into the race without a plan. I had no idea what pace I was going to run, had no idea what splits I should check for, nothing. I was all over the board on splits, well not really all over, more like a steady decline as in crash and burn. Did I mention I hated this distance? Finished in 5:35, should have been closer to 5:20 in my little mind.

I placed 7th overall with an age-graded time of 5:05.

5k Trail
Finally, the last event. Going into the 5k I believe I was in 5th overall (combined events) but the top 5 were all pretty close in rankings, or at least that's what Steve Moland had us believe :-)
The 5k was a nearly pancake flat course in Mine Falls along the canal, finishing with one lap on the track. I was actually a little surprised that it didn't suck as much as I thought it would. I had some problems with footing (still had my racing flats on) on the trails but felt reasonably strong considering we'd already raced 3 events prior. My splits were ok as well (for me anyways):
mile 1 5:57
mile 2 6:18
mile 3 6:11
finishing in 19:05.

(photo credit: Dave Delay)

For the 5k my age-graded time was 17:44 placing me 5th overall in this event.

Ultimate Runner
So who was named the Ultimate Runner for 2009? Congrat's to Tim Burke with his come from behind win!

The top 5 runners were:
(Name, age, age-graded %)

1. Tim Burke 46 74.41%
2. Dan Moriarity 40 74.32%
3. John Lewicke 61 73.87%
4. Mark Wimmer 38 73.15%
5. Steve Wolfe 45 73.06%

Note on what the percentages actually mean:
These percentages can be interpreted as follows:
100% = Approximate World-Record Level
Over 90% = World Class
Over 80% = National Class
Over 70% = Regional Class
Over 60% = Local Class
One final note: 3 of the top 5 runners (Tim, Mark and myself) are all on the same Reach the Beach team this year.