Competition bountiful at Run for the Hills Fall Fest

Special to the Gazette

It is a truism of running that the longer the race, the slower the pace. Runners competing in a half marathon (13.1 miles) may have a mile pace a full minute slower than when doing a 5K (3.1 miles). Last Saturday at the 8th annual Run for the Hills Fall Fest event at James City County’s Sanford B. Wanner Stadium, there were three races: a one-mile fun run at 8 a.m., a 5K run at 8:30 a.m. and a 10K run at 9:15 a.m.

In terms of turnout, the 5K clearly won the contest, with 228 timed finishers, as compared to 97 finishers in the 10K and 24 finishers in the one miler. But in terms of competition, as well as mile pace, the 10K was the clear champion, in part because that event was a Colonial Road Runners Grand Prix event, as well as a Hampton Roads Super Grand Prix event.

All races were organized by the Here for the Girls organization, the non-profit group supporting the fight against breast cancer, and “improving the lives of young women affected by breast cancer through Beyond Boobs! and Pink Link” and with Vicki Vawter the race director. Timing was by Jim Elder and Colonial Sports. The founders of Beyond Boobs, Rene Bowditch and Mary Beth Gibson, were there to hand out the race awards.

The top two times in the one-mile fun run were 7:50 and 8:41. In the 5K, the top three men (and their pace per mile) were Jonathan Torres, 27, of Toano in 20:21 (6:34 per mile), Ryan Jacobs, 16, of Williamsburg in 21:41 (6:59) and Steve Seiler, 32, of Williamsburg in 21:55 (7:04). The top three women were Ashley Bruce, 23, of Yorktown in 22:52 (7:23), Claire Bridgeforth, 25, of Richmond in 25:31 (8:14) and Sarah Rubenstein, 38, of Williamsburg in 26:18 (8:29).

But the fastest paces, and the best competitive races, were in the 10K. Greg Dawson, 52, of Williamsburg won his second consecutive CRR Grand Prix race in 38:17 (6:10 pace per mile), followed by Logan St. John, 23, of Williamsburg in 39:25 (6:21), his second straight runner-up finish, and Robert Whitaker, 58,of Yorktown in 39:53 (6:25). The two had placed 1-2 at the Sept. 30th Greensprings Miles for Smiles 8K, and are also training partners.

For the women, it was Emily Honeycutt, 26, of Newport News winning in 44:36 (7:11 pace), followed by Michelle Ballin, 35, of Williamsburg in 47:31 (7:39) and Rose Crist, 62, of Lanexa in 47:51 (7:42). On multiple levels, Crist had the race of the day. She was one of three runners to break race age group records, her 47:51 over 3.5 minutes faster than the previous record for women 60-64, her own 51:23 from the 2016 Run for the Hills 10K. The time also bettered by over 1.5 minutes her own all-time CRR mark for the 10K distance, the 49:24 she ran at the 2017 Jamestown 4-H Discovery Run 10K in March. Crist now owns the all-time CRR marks for women 60-64 at the 5K distance (22:27 at the Run for the Bacon 5K in June), the 8K distance (37:18 at the Greensprings Miles for Smiles 8K two weeks earlier, and now the 10K. In all three cases, the previous records were held by Joan Coven, who was inducted into the Virginia Peninsula Road Racing Hall of Fame in 2006, its first year.

The other age group record breakers were Patricia Travis and Judy Stewart, both bettering their own marks. Travis, 66, of Williamsburg, ran a 58:50 for the women’s 65-69 record, over 2.5 minutes faster than the 1:01:25 she ran in 2016. And Stewart, 78, of Williamsburg ran a 1:16:32, some 27 second faster than the 1:16:59 she ran in 2016.

On an age-graded basis, Crist again led the way, as one of two runners over the national-class level of 80 percent. She age-graded 83.52 percent, followed by Robert Whitaker (80.74 percent), with Greg Dawson just missing that national-class recognition at 79.80 percent. The remainder of the age-graded top 10 were Patricia Travis (71.90 percent), Isaac Lamprecht, 11, of New Kent (43:47, 70.16 percent), Bill Price, 58, of Chesapeake (46:12, 69.70 percent), Nancy Weaver, 54, of Williamsburg (51:56, 69.29 percent), Rick Platt, 67, of Williamsburg (51:11, 68.48 percent), Emily Honeycutt (68.01 percent) and Jason Miller, 40, of Williamsburg (40:42, 68.01 percent).

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