For last Saturday's eighth annual Run the DOG Street Challenge 5K, with 1,500 entrants and 1,276 official finishers, the men's winner — Robert Reynolds, 26, of Mechanicsville — was an overwhelming favorite and did not disappoint with his 15:14.
However, the women's winner, William and Mary track and cross country runner Kathryn Eng, 20, of Arlington was a major surprise, coming in as only the third seed, but running a breakthrough 18-flat for the women's title. Both winners received $350 in prize money, from a total prize purse of $1,500.
This year's race was the Road Runners Club of America Virginia State 5K Championship, the fourth race in the 15-race Hampton Roads Super Grand Prix, and the sixth race in the 2017 Colonial Road Runners Grand Prix, ensuring excellent competition. After Reynolds were Adam Otstot, 34, of Williamsburg (15:44), Roger Hopper, 26, of Williamsburg (16:10), Andy Goodstein, 25, of Charlottesville (16:18) and W&M runner Jack Ehlenberger, 19, of Williamsburg (16:53). The men's course record remains the 14:13 run by former W&M All-American Ed Moran in 2010, the inaugural year of the race.
For the women, one of the two pre-race favorites, Greta Sieve of Williamsburg, was called into work at the last minute for a patient evaluation, leaving the favorite's status to Ann Mazur, 31, of Charlottesville, who was second at DOG last year in 18:10, had won the Victory at Yorktown 10K the previous Saturday over Sieve, and had a college 5,000-meter PR of 17:11.
Eng came into the race with a 5,000-meter track best of just 18:29, from 2016. Mazur had a pre-race goal of breaking 18 minutes, but could only manage an 18:36 under the warm and humid conditions. Eng's winning 18 was not too far off the DOG Street course record of 17:43 by former W&M runner Kathleen Lautzenheiser of Midlothian back in 2014. Third and fourth places for the women were Octavia Rinehart, 27, of Virginia Beach (19:15) and Thorin Jean, 16, of Williamsburg (19:26). The top three men and women received $350-200-100.
After placing second overall at DOG in 2014 with a 14:55 (the race record for men 20-24), Reynolds had a pre-race goal of 14:50, and was on target with an opening mile of 4:43. After passing two miles in 9:37 (short of his 9:30 target), the high humidity affected his breathing. He said, "By the time I had about a half a mile to go my breathing became very labored, so the strong finish I had planned didn't unfold."
Runner-up Otstot added, "Unfortunately the race up front wasn't too exciting. Robert pulled ahead almost immediately and held a 3-4 second gap on Andy Goodstein and me before we reached the Richmond Road intersection and entered William and Mary."
By his mile split in 4:48, Otstot was solidly in second, and the top three continued to spread out, Otstot coasting in to his 15:44. "I'm just bummed the race wasn't two days later, as I turned 35 on Monday, and my time would have destroyed the 35-39 age group record!" His focus will now turn to triathlons until the fall.
Hopper ran a smartly-pace race, with mile splits of 5:11, 5:12 and 5:08. He passed Ehlenberger around the mile mark, then caught Goodstein for the final half-mile sprint up historic Duke of Gloucester Street, holding him off by eight seconds. "I was hoping to break 16 but I guess it was a little more hot and humid than ideal. Running against all that great competition and having people to chase down throughout the race really helped me run as fast as I did."
W&M sophomore Eng was fifth for W&M at the CAA conference cross country championships last fall, and 17th overall, then sixth for the team at the NCAA regionals. She is red-shirting both indoor and outdoor track this year. From Washington & Lee High in Arlington (with modest PRs of 5:15 for 1,600 meters, 11:20 for 3,200 meters and 19:22 for 5K cross country), she was a walk-on for the Tribe. After a foot injury in indoors, cross training helped her to a outdoor 3,000-meter PR of 10:15.95, but her DOG Street performance, and her 30-second improvement in her 5K time, was still a major improvement.
In the Masters (ages 40-and-over) competition, the top three men were Mark Tompkins, 41, of Williamsburg (17:35), former W&M runner Kevin White, 49, of Virginia Beach (18:03) and John Piggott, 51, of Williamsburg (18:21). For the female Masters the top three were Mercedes Castillo-D'Amico, 59, of Williamsburg (21:46), Karla Havens, 55, of Plainview (21:54) and Pamela Lovett, 54, of Yorktown (23:00, after taking a fall).
Reynolds and Eng were given the overall RRCA Virginia state championship awards. The other RRCA awards went to Tompkins (men 40+), Piggott (men 50+) Steve Chantry, 62, of Williamsburg (men 60+, 18:53), Castillo-D'Amico (women 40+), Havens (women 50+) and Rose Crist, 62, of Lanexa (women 60+, 24:07).
Crist was one of four runners to break Run the DOG age group records. The others were Judy Stewart, 77, of Williamsburg (women 75-79, 35:57), Pat Eden, 85, of Williamsburg (women 85-and-over, 51:43) and Ernest Schillinger, 85, of Williamsburg (men 85-and-over, 39:36).
In the team competition, the fastest Williamsburg runners split into multiple teams. Otstot led the Colonial Road Runners team to first place with a combined time of 1:10:55 for the top four runners (also including White, Piggott and Ryan Doupe); Hopper led the "We Run This Town" team to second place with a combined 1:13:15 (also including Robert Whitaker, Greg Dawson and Paul Pelletier); Goodstein led the two-time defending champion W&M student Team Blitz team to a third place 1:16:27, and Tompkins, the coach of the Greater Williamsburg Distance Running Club, led his GWDRC team to fourth place and 1:19:57 (also with Paul Glass, Aaron Nau and Glenn Glass). The Largest Team award went to 757 Swim for the second straight year, with their 75 participants. They also edged out Henderson Inc. for the Largest Donor team award.
Race director Jim Elder of Colonial Sports awarded Timex watches for the fastest School Health Initiative Program participants: Cannon Jean (age 12, 24:45) and Davis Trogdon (age 10, 21:41). The fastest non-SHIP youth (ages 15-and-under) runners were Will Plante (age 15, 17:35) and Kristen Long (age 15, 21:00), also winning Timex watches. The race benefited the Angels of Mercy Medical Clinic, with over $18,000 raised.