Strong Individual & Team Performances
Golden Gate Park; San Francisco, CA
After months of training, planning and anticipation, 6 members of PRTC (Charlie Murphy, Kevin Brandon, Geraint Davies, Paul Matuszak, Nathan Ennist and Justin Simard) competed at USATF’s Club Cross Country National meet. The race marked the end of a productive cross country season for the team.
As in years past, the field included many of the best cross country athletes and clubs in the country. Running legends Alan Webb and Nick Symmonds mixed with other top harriers and Olympic trial qualifiers. The 10k race was held in San Francisco at Golden Gate Park. For PRTC that meant a journey in excess of 2,000 miles. The arrival of all club members on time, healthy and housed was an accomplishment in itself.
In true San Franciscan fashion, the team arrived at the course via ride sharing service Lyft after spending the night at an AirBnB rental property. All club members were pleased to awake to near perfect racing conditions. Due to recent rain, the terrain was wet in parts but largely presentable. The team previewed a few miles of the course for warm up while admiring the fresh scent of eucalyptus prevalent throughout the park.
The race began at 12:30 sharp. On the start line, Charlie remarked that PRTC’s positioning was not ideal. A large mud puddle presented itself directly in front of the team’s assigned box. Nevertheless, the team reviewed the race plan one last time before the gun. As predicted, the start brought trouble. The muck claimed the balance of a runner positioned in the adjacent box to the club. Fortunately, all PRTC runners stayed on their feet, dodging, leaping or otherwise avoiding the downed athlete.
Geraint paced the majority of the club through the first mile perfectly. Collecting into a pack proved difficult in the field of over 400 runners. Around the polo field, various members of the team sought each out in the crowd. Pack in place, the team stuck together for the first 5k.
At the halfway mark, Kevin and Charlie began to move up in the field. Working together, the pair passed numerous runners over the remainder of the race. Geraint closely tailed the duo. Paul and Nate followed, fighting to keep their position in the field as low as possible. Justin rounded out the team in good time.
Approaching the finish, Charlie edged Kevin to place first for PRTC. He also earned a spot among the top 100 finishers. Kevin finished one second later placing 103rd overall. Geraint cruised in soon after at 119th. Paul arrived at the line in 163rd. Nate came in ten spots later at 173rd. Justin soldiered through significant foot pain to place 282nd.
The race and weekend were enjoyed by all. The club is already planning to attend next year’s national meet in Tallahassee, Florida. Given the gains PRTC has made in the last year the club expects to send competitive male and female teams. Returning to Philadelphia, the team will enjoy a well-deserved rest before gearing up for various track and marathon goals.
Team – 22nd of 59
Competitors – 411
Charlie Murphy: 31:40 (99)
Kevin Brandon: 31:41 (103)
Geraint Davies: 31:59 (119)
Paul Matuszak: 32:32 (163)
Nathan Ennist: 32:39 (173)
Justin Simard: 34:15 (282)
- The after-party at The Factory was well attended, if understaffed.
- Charlie led PRTC in both the race and post-race power hour.
- Geraint and Paul managed to find a bar owned by a Buffalo Bill’s supporter in SF. Waking up for the 10am kickoff; the pair was pleased to receive free drinks for customer appreciation day. Geraint in particular may have taken solace in this as his hometown Bill’s fell to the Eagles.
- Justin and his sister led an excursion to Japantown. Interesting sights and quality food were enjoyed there.
- Aliah Molczan generously shared her culinary and photography skills with the team over the weekend.
- Nate, Kevin and Aliah took full advantage of the race’s location. The trio made their way over the Golden Gate Bridge (Kevin overcoming a slight fear of heights), to famously crooked Lombard Street and then took in a choral performance by the renowned Chanticleer outfit.
Special thanks: To Ross and Philadelphia Runner for long sleeve club t-shirts and entrance fee assistance. Also, to USATF for travel grant money. All help was greatly appreciated!