26×1 Relay Race Report – What Drama!

This was what the people came to see…

This Saturday’s 26×1 Relay at the Tufts Ellis Oval was one for the record books. First off, it was a beautiful day to click off some fast splits. The event was well attended, with 23 total teams and 2 teams fielded by CRC (Scully and Mulder). Captains Landis Huffman and Jon Puz deftly handled some last minute switches, subs and drop-outs which is inevitable for this race.

The Greater Boston Track club brought their A team, but as we later learned, also brought too much testosterone. They were DQ’d for not having the requisite female representation.

So, with rival SRR falling back early, November Project and CRC Mulder were left to battle it out for the cup. NP led early but CRC began to catch up thanks to the CRC women who threw it down something fierce. With three legs to go CRC took the lead, though by the time the baton got passed to our anchor leg (and Captain) Landis, it was neck and neck with NP and CRC.

Right away we could tell the NP anchor was holding back – sticking to Landis like white on rice. (and if my eyes didn’t deceive me, he had a smirk on his face you wished his mama would slap off)

Cut to Landis’ brain…

“All the great energy from the crowd! I thought it was humorous hearing the contrast between the cheers from my supporters, and the cheers for November Project: “Yaaay Landis! Go, go, go!” versus a drill-sergeant-like “ANDREW, HOW DO YOU WANT TO REMEMBER THIS WHEN YOU GET HOME?! MOVE!”

“I was worried from the get-go that I was outmatched by November Project, and thought my best bet was to hang on a hard pace early to hopefully burn him out. Clearly ineffective, but that’s all I had. Drill Sergeant also yelled to the other guy “HE’S TRYING TO BURN OUT YOUR KICK. YOU STAY ON HIM! YOU OWN THS!”

“I was totally unaware of the stakes until afterward (I guess these things were announced while I was running?): I didn’t know that GBTC was DQ’d and that we were racing for 1st. Also unaware that the NP dude was the current meet record holder. I wouldn’t have raced any differently knowing these things, but the drama was lost on me”

Despite Landis turning himself inside-out to the finish line, November Project triumphed in the end – besting CRC Mulder by 16 sec in a 2+ hour race (the NP anchor ran a 4:31). However I think we can claim the best club award as a result of CRC Scully’s performance (we had the best combined times of 2 teams).

Some highlights:

– Bernadette Stapleton running after working an all-night shift at the hospital

– Heather Hammel and David Loutzenheiser running two miles apiece, and putting in solid times for each

– Matt Baron’s smoking 600m, and both he and Cris Popa managing fast miles even on their 600-worn legs

– My wife, Meaghan Gravina (still weird to see in print), busting out a huge PR of 5:19 (officially)

– Marcia Gookin rocking a PR of 7:47

– Sarah Gabriel beating her seed time by over a minute

– Rachel Coogan ran 5:20 in her first ever mile race

– Beer out of a trophy. ‘Nuff said.

Thanks to Landis and Jon for captaining, all of the runners for getting “out of their comfort zone”, and all those who came to cheer us on!

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