Now in its 25th year, the Yorktown Battlefield 10-miler is one of the most competitive races on the Peninsula. The Nov. 3 edition was the 10th of 12 races on the 2018 Peninsula Track Club Grand Prix schedule. It was also the 12th of 15 races in the Hampton Roads Super Grand Prix, a series of the best races of the PTC, Colonial Road Runners and Tidewater Striders.
In addition, it was one of the three annual races where a combined CRR-PTC team competed on an age-graded basis against the Striders, and where an historic upset occurred this year.
And finally, the Yorktown race has had an unusually high percentage of Virginia state records set on the scenic USATF-certified course, and this year was no exception, with Ben Dyer, 75, of Toano adding the sixth record to that collection, running a 1:25:52 to smash by almost two minutes the previous record of 1:27:46 from 2009.
The other five Virginia state records still standing are those by the late Tom Ray of Kitty Hawk, NC (1:13:55 at age 70 in 2003), Barbara Mathewson of Virginia Beach (1:10:32 at age 55 in 2004), Rose Crist of Lanexa (1:16:01 at age 62 in 2017), Barbara Biasi of Yorktown (1:29:43 at age 66 in 2013) and Betty Brothers of Virginia Beach (1:22:59 at age 70 in 2017).
Brothers and Biasi both ran this year, placing 1-2 in the 70-and-over age group with times of 1:26:34 and 1:41:21, respectively. Mathewson was also in attendance, but recent injuries limited her to the accompanying 5K, where she was third overall in 26:16, at age 69.
The top three men in the 10-miler were Roger Hopper, 27, of Norfolk (55:33), John Walker, 22, of Norfolk (56:03) and Stacin Martin, 49, of Chesapeake (1:01:38), all three important names in the HR Super Grand Prix.
Hopper has run nine Super GP races this year, and has scored a perfect 20 points in all nine to clinch his third consecutive overall men’s Super GP title. He hasn’t necessarily won all nine of those races, but has been the first runner to finish who has registered for the series (online at no charge at hrsupergp.com).
Walker, who has been Hopper’s main competition all year long, comes close, but has not beaten him, and will be runner-up in the 2018 Super GP. Martin is also the race director for the Seashore 50K, the final race in the series.
The only other remaining race on the 2018 Super GP schedule is the Dec. 1 Run with the Son for Haiti 5K in Yorktown, the replacement for the Hurricane Florence-canceled Mulberry Island Half Marathon, a PTC race.
For the women, the top three were Dani Springfels, 31, of Fort Eustis (1:06:43), Lania Herman, 36, of Norfolk (1:11:19) and Shelley Horner, 36, of Pflugerville, Texas (1:15:45).
The Masters (ages 40-and-over) first-place winners were Steve Speirs, 52, of Virginia Beach (1:02:38) and Carolyn Harrison, 62, of Virginia Beach (1:21:49). Harrison is the 2018 women’s overall winner of the Super GP.
There were 186 entrants in the two races, with 129 finishers in the 10-mile and 38 finishers in the 5K. Both races started at the historic Surrender Field and finished nearby under the Route 17 overpass, and were entirely on the Yorktown Battlefield tour roads.
The races were organized by the Yorktown Lions Club with assistance, finish line and results by the PTC. The weather this year was perfect, cloudy and cool, turning sunny, with a temperature of 56 degrees and occasional light breezes.
The 5K was won by Jamestown High freshman Glenn Glass, 15, of Williamsburg (19:56), followed by Wyatt Scates, 16, of Frederick, Maryland (22:02) and Brandon Krall, 13, of Williamsburg (22:07).
For the women it was Samantha Scates, 14, of Frederick (22:43), Jessica Anderson, 37, of Williamsburg (25:09) and Mathewson.
Prior to this year, in the age-graded team competition that started in 2005, only twice had the away team won in the rivalry between the combined CRR-PTC team vs. the Striders team, each away win by the CRR-PTC.
In May at the Elizabeth River Run 10K in Portsmouth (the home race for the Southside-based Striders) the CRR-PTC team prevailed for the third time as an away team, upsetting the Striders, 76.68% to 75.02% for the top 10 scorers from each team. In age grading, 80% is considered national class and 70% regional class.
Never had the Striders beaten the PTC-CRR on the Peninsula, until this year. But that changed Saturday, when the Striders team, led by coordinator Gene Edwards, age graded an average of 76.37% to the CRR-PTC team’s 74.95%. The Striders were led by Brothers (86.54%), Speirs (81.29%), Martin (79.02%) and Walker (78.50%).
The top 10 scorers (of 29 finishers) for the CRR-PTC team were Rob Whitaker, 60, of Yorktown (1:04:34, 83.43%), Harrison (80.08%), Hopper (79.21%), Paul Pelletier, 53, of Williamsburg (1:04:53, 77.91%), Dyer (74.11%), Biasi (73.92%), Patricia Travis, 67, of Williamsburg (1:38:34, 71.44%), Greg Lynn, 44, of Hayes (1:06:45, 70.16%) and CRR-PTC team coordinator Rick Platt, 68, of Williamsburg (1:23:18, 69.91%).
Platt is president of Colonial Road Runners.