CRR reflects on Mann

By Rick Platt

Michael Mann lost his 2 1/2-year fight against lung cancer at age 38 Tuesday morning in Florida, while staying with his parents in Orange Park, FL, under hospice care. His funeral is Saturday morning at 10 a.m. in Jacksonville, Fla. Mann was part of the first inductee class into the Virginia Peninsula Road Racing Hall of Fame at a ceremony last December during the Colonial Road Runners Awards Banquet.

Mann was a three-time winner of the CRR Grand Prix men's overall title (2002-04), and despite his battle against lung cancer, was able to place second overall in the 2006 Grand Prix. His PRs are impressive: 15:18 (1994 Busch Gardens Drachen Fire 5K), 19:09 (2004 Cheatham Annex 6K), 24:58 (1998 Shamrock 8K), 31:20 (1997 Sallie Mae 10K), 44:14 (2005 Yorktown Victory Run 8 Miler), 48:49 (1997 Richmond Frostbite 15K), 51:43 (1996 Yorktown Battlefield 10 Miler), 1:08:32 (2005 Shamrock Tuneup Series 20K), 1:09:16 (1999 Philadelphia Half Marathon), 1:26:08 (2002 Shamrock Tuneup 25K), 1:43:19 (2003 Shamrock Tuneup 30K), and in his favorite race, a 2:28:28 at the 2004 Shamrock Marathon.

Mann still holds four course records for the CRR, a 15:41 at the 2004 Freedom Park 5K, a 33:04 at the 2002 Williamsburg Jaycees 10K at Newport News Park, a 15:50 at the 2004 York River State Park 5K, and his fastest CRR time, a 15:21 at the 2004 Heritage Humane Society 5K at Ford's Colony. As of the end of the 2006 racing season, Mann held a total of 16 age-group course records for CRR Grand Prix events, exceeded only by six CRR runners.

Those records include a 16:11 for the men's 35-39 age group record at the Warhill 5K in June, 2005, several days before lung surgery that removed one cancerous lobe of his lung (20% of his lung capacity) and subsequent chemotherapy, and a 23:01 for the '05 New Quarter Park 6K, while in the midst of chemotherapy. He also had age-group records at the '05 Yorktown Victory Run 8 Mile (44:14) and Ford's Colony 8K Run for Shelter (26:39), while with then undiagnosed lung cancer.

There will be a memorial run and breakfast for Mann on Sunday, Sept. 16, starting at 9 a.m. from the Activities Building of the Campsites section of Newport News Park, the location of the Bikeway where Mann ran countless miles in preparation for marathons and other races. The CRR also plans to name its scholarship fund in honor of Mann, and there will be a race in 2008 that will honor his memory.

After 20 years service, Master Sergeant Mann had a retirement ceremony from the Air Force at the U.S. Joint Forces Command, Joint Warfighting Center in Suffolk on Friday, Aug. 3, where he was given his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Information Systems, graduating with honors from Saint Leo University in April. He was born in Falls Church, moved frequently during his childhood, but graduated from high school in Great Britain. He started with the Air Force in 1987, moving back to Virginia in May, 1991, for an assignment at Langley Air Force Base, where he remained for the rest of his military career.

One of Mann's favorite races was the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach, and area runners excelled in the largest half marathon in the U.S. John Piggott, 42, of Williamsburg won the Masters title (ages 40-and-over) in 1:12:59, good for $500 in prize money. Steve Chantry, 52, of Williamsburg, was fourth Masters, but first for men 50-and-over with his 1:18:00. The race was agegraded, and Chantry was the top U.S. runner on an agegraded basis.

Area runners in the Top 5 of their age groups were Douglas Fenstermacher (1st, men 15-17, 1:19:18), Charlie Hurt of the Williamsburgbased Team Blitz (5th, men 18-24, 1:11:44), John Piggott (1st 40-44, 1:12:59), Steve Chantry (1st 50-54, 1:18:00), Rick Platt (1st, 55-59, 1:27:06), Emily Low (3rd, women 18-24, 1:28:30), Yorktown's Ellen Enoch (5th, 40-44, 1:38:45) and Williamsburg's Laura Shannon (3rd, 45-49, 1:32:23). Under 1:40 for runners from greater Williamsburg were Piggott (1:12:59), Chantry (1:18:00), Scott Call (1:20:42), Platt (1:27:06), Seth Barner (1:29:30), Joe Barrow (1:30:59), Ian Esmay (1:32:33), Scott Peto (1:33:50), Timothy Collins (1:35:36),Will Murray (1:35:50), Douglas Headley (1:35:57),Chad Aldeman (1:36:06) and Thomas Fugate (1:39:07). Yorktown runners included Nate Wallace (1:23:03), Alexandre Deur (1:26:22), Corey Showalter (1:37:20), Joe Day (1:38:55), Robert Whitaker (1:38:55) and Bryan Ruff (1:39:38).

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