Prior to April 21, the fastest 5K time any runner in the men’s 75-79 age group had ever run in a Colonial Road Runners Grand Prix race, was the 25:20 run by Williamsburg’s Bill Fenwick, then age 77, at the 2010 Crapolfest 5K.
Having turned 75 a week and a half earlier, Ben Dyer of Toano obliterated that record at April’s Run the DOG Street Challenge 5K, with a time of 23:22. That time was also just five seconds shy of the Virginia state record for men 75-79, the 23:17 run by Cokey Daman of the Tidewater Striders back in 1996. State records must be set on a USATF-certified course, measured to exact standards.
Since then, Dyer has shown his DOG Street performance was no fluke, running a 23:24 on May 12 at the Virginia Regional Ballet 5K at First Colony, just two seconds slower, then breaking his own record last Saturday at the third annual Kingswood Klam 5K with a time of 23:12, ten seconds faster than DOG Street.
Although the time is superior, by five seconds, to Daman’s state record, the Kingswood course is not USATF certified, so Dyer will have to wait a few weeks in his quest to break that record. With new CRR course certifier Thomas Tate, the CRR plans to certify, to USATF standards. the course for the WISC Gymnastics Flipping 5K, scheduled for Saturday, June 23 on the new Billsburg Brewery/James City County Marina course, which is flat and fast.
That Dyer ran faster at Kingswood than at First Colony is surprising, in that the Kingswood course has three turnaround points, on Regency Court, West Kingswood and Oak Roads, within the scenic and shaded Kingswood neighborhood.
There are also three hills of note, in contrast to the flat and fast First Colony loop course, where Steve Chantry, 63, of Williamsburg broke his own all-time CRR record for men 60-64 with a time of 18:01. The course started and finished in front of the Kingswood Pool, event organizers.
There were 88 finishers in the 5K run/walk, and an additional 34 in the one mile fun run, the total of 122 exceeding the 99 finishers in the Kingswood 5K and one mile the year before.
Jason Bridges, 34, of Williamsburg had a successful debut to the CRR Grand Prix circuit, winning in his first attempt with a time of 17:33, and breaking the previous men’s course record of 18:02 by Cameron Wojcieszak, 19, of Williamsburg at the 2016 race.
In a highly competitive battle for second, four runners finished within seven seconds, led by Ryan Doupe, 32, of Newport News (18:30) and followed by Robert Whitaker, 59, of Yorktown (18:34), Chantry (18:36) and Greg Lynn, 44, of Hayes (18:37).
For the women, a newcomer to the CRR, Samantha Bradley, 30, of Newport News won her first CRR event with a time of 20:27 (Jessica Riggs has the women’s course record at 19:57, from 2016), and was followed by Nicole Pinder, 15, of Hayes (22:19) and Susan Hagel, 45, of Norfolk (24:30).
All three broke Kingswood five-year age-grade records, Bradley for women 30-34, Pinder for women 15-19 and Hagel for women 45-49.
Other age group records were set by John Roose, 25, of Williamsburg (21:41, men 25-29), Bridges (men 30-34), Josh Mathias, 36, of Toano (19:20, men 35-39), Lynn (men 40-44), Chris Robertson, 45, of Williamsburg (20:59, men 45-49), Robert Whitaker (men 55-59), Chantry (men 60-64), Dyer (men 75-79), Ernest Schillinger, 86, of Williamsburg (43:12, men 80-and-over), Sisi Roose, 24, of Williamsburg (26:34, women 20-24), and Katie Abelt, 26, of Williamsburg (25:09, women 25-29).
On an age-graded basis, as compiled by CRR statistician Jim Gullo, Chantry and Whitaker were best, just as they were a week before when the combined CRR-Peninsula Track Club team beat the Tidewater Striders age graded at the Elizabeth River Run 10K.
Those two broke the 80% national-class level, while an additional 10 runners bettered the 70% regional-class level.
Chantry was at 86.65%, followed by Whitaker (85.28%), Dyer (79.89%), Greg Dawson, 52, of Williamsburg (19:15, 76.19%), Bridges (75.21%), Paul Pelletier, 52, of Williamsburg (19:41, 74.51%), Lynn (73.95%), Jim Thornton, 64, of Toano (22:06, 73.53%), Harriet McCoy, 63, of Toano (27:32, 72.82%), Bradley (72.21%), Norma Phillips, 57, of Williamsburg (25:44, 71.31%) and Doupe (70.72%).
There was a second 5K in Williamsburg last Saturday, with the Run for the Bacon 5K at Eastern State Hospital having 71 finishers in the 5K and 20 finishers in the one mile. The top three men were Jackson Lloyd, 17, of Williamsburg (21:58), Eric Christianson, 38, of Petersburg (22:29) and Brian Monbeck, 40, of Fort Eustis (23:54).
The top three women were Lindsey Colburn, 13, of Williamsburg (26:31), Melissa Graham, 37, of Williamsburg (28:16) and Lindsey Backus, 31, of Portsmouth (28:43).
Other notes: After the Kingswood Klam race, the CRR held its annual picnic and pool party as part of the day-long open swim at the Kingswood Pool, a victory lap of sorts for last Saturday’s win over the Tidewater Striders. They left that race not knowing for sure they had become only the third away team to win in that age-graded competition, dating back to 2005. The final team tally didn’t come until several days later, as statistician Gullo had to age grade more than 100 participants from the Striders, CRR and PTC. The CRR-PTC did prevail, 76.68% average for their top 10, to 75.02% average for the Striders. Six of the top 10 from the CRR team to the ERR 10K also participated at Kingwood, and a total of 13 did both.
Platt is president of Colonial Road Runners.