York High and Lynchburg University grad Andrew Osborne, 23, of Seaford had quite the race last Saturday at the third annual World Class Freedom Run 8K, starting and finishing at the Lois Hornsby Middle School, and running an out-and-back route through the adjacent Freedom Park.
What Osborne did was impressive, winning the 4.97-mile race in 26:15, some 46 seconds ahead of two-time defending Colonial Road Runners Grand Prix champion Roger Hopper, 26, of Norfolk (27:01), and almost two minutes ahead of third-place Max Weidman, 22, also of Seaford (28:06). All three bettered the previous men’s course record of 28:41 by Hopper in the 2016 event.
Osborne also broke by 16 seconds the all-time CRR 8K record for men 20-24, the previous record 26:31 by Richard “Skeeter” Morris, 23, of Williamsburg, at the inaugural 2010 Busch Gardens Christmas Town Dash 8K. Morris, a 2010 William and Mary graduate now living in Richmond, turned into quite the distance standout himself, with a 30:34 best for 10,000 meters, a 1:08:52 half marathon personal record and a 2:23:50 marathon PR. And finally, Osborne was one of 10 men (and six women) to set five-year age group records for the Freedom Park race, his 26:15 almost nine minutes better than the previous mark of 35:08. Osborne is now teaching fourth grade in Hampton, while training 70-80 miles per week. After graduating in May, Osborne had placed second by seven seconds, 27:13 to 27:20, to Williamsburg’s Adam Otstot in the Memorial Day Yorktown Freedom Run 8K.
So was Osborne’s 8K the most impressive race of the day? Not even close. In a remarkable display of age group excellence, the World Class Freedom Run 8K had five runners better the 80 percent age-graded level, considered national class (including Osborne), and had 19 total over the regional-class level of 70 percent. Osborne had the fifth best age graded score (80.76 percent), trailing world-class Masters runner Steve Chantry, 62, of Williamsburg (86.36 percent), 2017 CRR phenom Rose Crist, 62, of Lanexa (84.99 percent), Greg Dawson, 52, of Williamsburg (81.79 percent) and Robert Whitaker, 58, of Yorktown (81.75 percent).
Both Chantry and Crist, like Osborne, broke all-time CRR age-group records for the 8K, in each case bettering their own marks. Chantry ran 30:43, breaking by over a minute his previous all-time record of 31:48 from the 2017 Toano Icy 8K. He currently holds the all-time CRR marks for both the men’s 55-59 and 60-64 age groups for the standard 5K, 8K and 10K distances (his 55-59 CRR record of 16:57 is also the Virginia state record).
Crist is running the best times of her life at age 62, starting her dramatic breakthrough last fall, and is undefeated for women 60-64 during that time. Her CRR 8K record time Saturday of 36:58 bettered by 20 seconds the 37:18 she ran three weeks earlier at the Greensprings Miles for Smiles 8K. She already had set the all-time CRR 60-64 marks for 5K (22:27 in June) and 10K (47:51 the week before at the hilly Run for the Hills 10K). Her times are not too far off the Virginia state age 60-64 records of 21:55 (5K), 36:04 (8K) and 46:51 (10K).
Dawson won the inaugural Freedom Park 8K in 2015 in 29:50, and improved that time by five seconds this year for his age graded 81.79 percent, barely holding off Whitaker, who ran a 31:19 at age 58 for his 81.75 percent age grade. Osborne trailed them both with his 80.76 percent.
The women’s top three overall were Thorin Jean, 17, of Williamsburg (32:34, breaking Jessica Riggs’s course record of 33:07 from the 2015 race), Emily Honeycutt, 26, of Newport News (34:37) and Kim Decker, 36, of Williamsburg (36:44).
There were 133 finishers in the combined 8K/5K races, and an additional 26 in the one mile fun run. The 8K (which was a CRR Grand Prix scoring event) and 5K started and finished together, with a 5K turnaround in the middle of Freedom Park, and the 8K turnaround at the far end of the park entrance road, closest to Centerville Road. Under the leadership of race director Karen Schenck, the races benefited the World Class Gymnastics studio in Newport News, coached by Schenck’s sister Tami Elliott. Of the finishers in the 8K, there were just over 30 percent scoring over the age-graded regional level of 70 percent, perhaps the highest percentage ever for a CRR race.
After the five 80 percent runners, the others over 70 percent, according to CRR statistician Jim Gullo, were Jim Thornton, 63, of Toano (33:30, 79.90 percent), Hopper (78.47 percent), Mike Kidd, 62, of Williamsport, Md. (33:59, 78.08 percent), Weidman (75.44 percent), Steve Menzies, 53, of Williamsburg (32:43, 74.99 percent), Paul Pelletier, 52, of Williamsburg (32:28, 74.95 percent), Thorin Jean (74.82 percent), Isaac Lamprecht, 11, of New Kent (33:15, 73.33 percent), Langston Shelton, 70, of Williamsburg (39:28, 72.59 percent), Rick Platt, 67, of Williamsburg (38:47, 71.64 percent), Jason Miller, 40, of Williamsburg (31:02, 71.36 percent), Paul Glass, 16, of Williamsburg (30:22, 71.25 percent), Ann Hirn, 72, of Portsmouth (51:37, 70.29 percent) and Logan St. John, 23, of Williamsburg (30:23, 70.16 percent).
Breaking race age group records were Paul Glass (men 15-19), Osborne (20-24), Hopper (25-29), Ryan Doupe of Newport News (30-34, 31:34), Timothy Decker of Williamsburg (35-39, 32:54), Jason Miller (40-44), Dawson (50-54), Whitaker (55-59), Chantry (60-64), Platt (65-69), Cannon Jean (women 14-and-under, 43:02), Thorin Jean (15-19), Honeycutt (25-29), Crist (60-64), Hirn (70-74) and Judy Stewart of Williamsburg (75-79, 1:00:14).
Both the men’s and women’s 5K winners broke race records. Will Tikiob, 15, of Jarrettsville, Md. ran an 18:20 to better the previous mark of 19:57 by Conor Sokolowsky, 15, of Williamsburg in 2016. Laura Nielsen, 39, of Yorktown ran a 22:32 to better the old record of 25:35 by Brynn Torry, 9, of Yorktown in 2016. The 5K race walk winners also broke records. George Fenigsohn, 69, of Poquoson walked 36:48 to break his own walk record of 37:00 from 2015. And Jocelyn Lamprecht, 12, of New Kent walked a PR 34:24, a national-caliber performance for her age.