At Monday's seventh annual Yorktown Independence Day 8K Run, held on the Yorktown Battlefield tour roads adjacent to York High, the men's overall race was tight and competitive, with four runners all finishing in the 28-minute mark.
Trevor Cable, 33, of Williamsburg, finished first, and the women's race was a runaway, with winner Jessica Riggs, 39, of Williamsburg, over 2.5 minutes ahead of second place.
There were 410 entrants in the 8K run, with 398 finishers on the recently USA Track and Field-certified 8K (4.97 mile) course (VA-16022-RT). At the 8 a.m. start time, the weather was good for distance running, cloudy with a light rain, and a temperature of 70 degrees.
The race was part of the annual Yorktown Fourth of July festivities, benefiting the York County Historical Museum. Besides being a Peninsula Track Club Grand Prix event, it was one of the four PTC races in the 2016 Hampton Roads Super Grand Prix series. Besides the 8K, there was a non-competitive 5K walk, starting 10 minutes after the main event. The races started and finished at the historic Surrender Field, a short distance from the York High location used for parking, registration and awards. The 8K was a large loop, while the 5K was an out-and-back.
Women's winner Jessica Riggs said, "It is an honor to be able to run through Yorktown Battlefield on the Fourth of July. This race has more meaning as one realizes the sacrifices that were made on that field so we could be a free nation. Thanks to the PTC for putting on a fantastic race."
Riggs, the 2015 Colonial Road Runners Grand Prix women's champion, has dramatically improved in the past year. At the 2015 July 4 race she was second place overall in 34:02, which then tied Toano's Elizabeth Ransom (from 2009) for the women's 35-39 age-group record.
This year, Riggs ran a personal record 31:47 to smash that time by over two minutes, and to set one of five new race age group course records. The next two women across the finish line were Bethany Spector, 27, of Yorktown (34:26) and Lacey Balliet, 30, of Virginia Beach (35:27). Riggs's previous 8K PR was 31:51 from February's Toano Icy 8K. After running a 3:19 at April's Boston Marathon, Riggs has run just three races, a PR 40:58 for second place at the May 28 Elizabeth River Run 10K, a winning 19:57 the next Saturday at the Kingswood Klam 5K, then Monday's Yorktown win. She is training for November's New York City Marathon.
For the men, the four in the 28s were Cable (28:00), Mark Tompkins, 40, of Williamsburg (28:04), Drew Midland, 29, of Virginia Beach (28:23) and Cameron Wojcieszak, 19, of Williamsburg (28:42). For Cable, it was his first race of the year, and he has been training lightly, just 20-30 miles per week. He graduated from William and Mary in 2005, where he ran 25:00 for the 8K cross country distance, and 15:00 for 5,000 meters on the track. His best marathon is a 2:28 at Shamrock. He and his wife, Jenny, bought a house in the Croaker section of Williamsburg last July.
Trevor has worked the past eight years for the James City County Fire Department as a firefighter and paramedic. He wants to become a physician assistant, and is now taking prerequisite courses at Thomas Nelson Community College, to prepare for that in January 2019.
In Monday's race, Cable went out conservatively, and had negative mile splits of 5:49, 5:46, 5:31, 5:27 and 5:24. He was in ninth place at the first mile, moved into third around 3.5 miles, and passed Tompkins and Midland (another former W&M runner) after the fourth mile.
Tompkins hung tough and was just four seconds behind at the finish. His 28:04 time was a major improvement from May's 29:39, which won the Mustache 8K at Ford's Colony. Tompkins turned 40 last October, and his focus this year will be at national-caliber road and cross country races, preparing for his first marathon, the Newport News One City Marathon next March. Tompkins set a new 40-44 age group record, bettering the previous mark of 29:50 from 2012.
John Piggott, fifth overall in 29:28 bettered the previous men's 50-54 age group record of 30:18, which he set at the Yorktown Freedom Run Memorial Day 8K, another PTC race held on the same USATF-certified course. The other two age group records were by seven-year-old Dacia Flynn Portnoy of Corpus Christi, Texas, whose time of 46:44 bettered the previous mark of 49:26, by Sydney Garrett (daughter of PTC vice president Pam Garrett, who also measured the certified 8K course), of Newport news in 2010 (then age nine); and by Norma Phillips, 55, of Williamsburg, whose 42:10 bettered the previous mark of 42:31 set by Helen Worthington of Bena, back in 2010.