Using frequent racing as a way to prepare for USATF Fall Cross Country Championships, Pat Ward raced yet again this weekend. This time, Pat was back on ‘home turf’ in a way, racing in New England. And as can often be found in New England, there was energy and excitement surrounding the annual B.A.A. Mayor’s Cup. Pat provided us with a full acount of the race. And since he was there, we’ll let him tell the story:
The course was a bit soft from some rain in the preceding days, and there were some strong wind gusts, but the tempeature was perfect and it was a sunny day. I have seen some faster days at the Franklin Park, but I’ve also seen days that were much slower. I would say it was an average, fair day for judging times.
I found the opening pace pretty quick for me, but I got out decently well (4:54, putting me around 80th). I then focused on moving up through the pack over the 2nd mile. After 5K, I pretty much defended my position through to the finish.
I’m happy with the race at this point. I went through 5K almost as fast as I raced the Parkway Run 5K a month ago. I seem to be improving with every race, and if can keep this up, I’ll be hitting my collegiate P.R.’s soon enough. I’m excited about the rest of the season, especially Club Nationals!
Saturday’s Olympic Trials Marathon is perhaps the most important race in American Distance running history. After spending years trying to get itself out of the doldrums of world distance running, USATF, USOC, and the NYRR are about to stage one of the most hyped races in memory. With an incredible grassroots push from websites such as Flotrack.com, Chasingglory.com, and phillytc.com the OT marathon has become the point mark where US distance running no longer talks about how we are coming back as a distance power, but shows that we are a distance power! The Philadelphia Runner Track Club is excited to be a part of the statement with two of its runners toeing the line in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Saturday morning.
Both Matt Byrne and Ted Callinan will be lining up for their second OT. This second go around was just as tough as the first. Ted, Matty, and several other PRTC runners lined up at the 2005 Twin Cities Marathon looking to get a qualifier from day one of the qualifying window. They, along with pretty much everyone else, were befallen by an untypical humid day for Minnesota. It was okay though, there were to still be other chances.
In January of 2006 though Matt broke his tail bone. He struggled and fought his way back to form setting his sights on the 2006 Steamtown Marathon to take a second shot at qualifying. A former winner of the race, and a hometown native, Matt had intimate knowledge of the course. He used it to his advantage and not only qualified for the Trials but also won the race! His 2:21:50 was almost a challenge to the rest of the team to join him in NY for the trials.
Three week’s after Matty’s romp through coal country Ted lined up at a very chilly Chicago Marathon (remember I said 2006, not 2007). Wanting to exact revenge for missing the trials by 2 seconds at the 2003 Chicago Marathon, Ted worked hard every step of the race to ensure he would qualify. He would need to as he only had 4 seconds left on the clock when he crossed the finish line. Watching the finish line on the internet, fellow qualifier Mike McKeeman said he “you are allowed to qualify for the Trials without giving yourself and the rest of us a heart attack the final 200m as the clock ticks toward 2:22.”
Mike joins several other local runners lining up for the trials this weekend. Jacob Frey, a frequent member of PRTC workouts will be lining up for his first trials. Bobby Cannon, a recent Haverford College grad, will join a long line of Tom Donnelly coached athletes that have lined up for an Olympic Trials race. New citizen Macharia Yuot will be returning to NY for the third time this year to race. .
PRTC and Puma are excited and proud to have Ted and Matt representing at such an amazing event. We wish them, and all the local qualifiers, the best of luck on Saturday!!