Houston, TX; New York City, NY; Philadelphia, PA
ON THE ROADS – Ross took part in Greg McMillan’s Elite Development program to help men and women qualify for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials (www.youcanqualify.com ). On race day in Houston, the runners at the Chevron Houston Marathon awoke to overcast skies and a decent temperature – 55 (although the humidity was surprisingly high – 94% at the gun, rising to 97% by 8AM). Ross was off to a speedy start, passing the halfway mark under 70 minutes. During the second half of the race, Ross kept his splits within qualifying range through mile 18, although he recalls feeling that he was close to on edge with regard to his splits. “I was soaked right from the start,” Ross recounted. “It wasn’t hot, but it was humid. I kept telling myself that I could still do it. When I hit mile 22, I started running 5:30s, so I knew it wasn’t going to happen.” Still, despite a tough last 10k, Ross was able to record a PR! Considering the tough conditions for a marathon he found on the day, Ross ran a great race. Afterwards, he put things in perspective, noting that he is “inching ever closer to the time.”
MEANWHILE, our athletes that were taking part in the Aramco Half Marathon that morning, were facing extremely tough competition, as this race was host to the 2007 U.S. Half Marathon Championships.
In the women’s race, our very own Michelle Lilienthal followed up her 4th place finish at the 2006 Marathon Championships with a 3rd place finish at the 2007 Half Marathon Championships! Michelle vaulted herself on the awards stand by running a super fast (and obviously club record) 1:12.46. Michelle said ” I knew I was fit to run 5:40 pace, which would put me at 1:14. I knew that won it last year. So I knew that if I ran that, it would put me in the top three. But I didn’t expect to finish there!” Michelle’s unbelievable race should secure her spot on the short list to make the U.S. for the upcoming World Marathon Championships! That would make the second U.S.A. team a member of the club has made!
In the men’s race, Matt Byrne led the way for PRTC, averaging 5:02 miles for a half marathon, and establishing a new club record of 1:06.01. This time slashed the club record held by Bill Frawley by a clear half minute. Ted never ran quote with Matt, but kept close contact through almost eight miles. “I definitely ran poorly over the last four miles,” Ted said however. Like Ted, Tim also struggled late in the race and was certainly looking for more on the day. Tim tried to keep a positive outlook on the day, noting that “the race organization was great!” ON THE TRACK – Renee Gunning made a speedy return to racing after taking some much needed rest during the month of December. But her first race of the Winter had her looking like she didn’t take a break at all!
Renee headed up the NJ Turnpike to take part in the Gotham Cup at the Armory. The race looked promising, as the track at the Armory is fast, and Renee would be racing her long-time rival Clara Peterson. This time, Renee got the scalp. But Renee’s performance held even more surprises. Renee ran a ridiculously fast time for 3000m – 9:20.83! This time qualifies Renee for the USATF Indoor Track National Championships to be held in Boston! The club has been proud to send athletes to the Cross Country National Championships, and PRTC has sent runners to every distance road national championship except the 25k. But Renee’s qualification for Indoor Nationals secures the last piece of the puzzle – the first PRTC athlete to qualify for a USATF Track National Championships! This is a great race for Renee and shows how hard she has worked. It is also great for the team, as it shows how far the team has come.
Speaking of how far the team has come….
IN THE OFFICE – The administrators of the team have worked hard, and that hard work has truly paid off. Now a full six years in to the development of the club, PRTC boasts Olympic Trials qualifiers, placers in national championships, and selections on to U.S.A. teams. USATF has recognized this hard work, accepting the team’s application as a national Elite Development Club. This title is a designation provided by USATF. Here is a selection from the letter PRTC received from USATF:
“It is my pleasure to inform you that our Application Review Subcommittee has approved Philadelphia Runner Track Club to receive USATF Elite Development Club designation. We congratulate the Philadelphia Runner Track Club for helping the USATF Club Council to pursue its mission to enhance and expand opportunities for USATF open level, club-based team competition in track & field, cross country, long distance running, and race walking. We welcome the Philadelphia Runner Track Club to the USA Track & Field Family of Elite Development Clubs !!”
We won’t stop training and racing hard. Make sure you don’t stop either.