RRCA Club Challenge 10M

The 2003 Club Challenge was cancelled due to inclement weather.

RRCA Club Challenge 10M

2002 Club Challenge Overall Results

2002 Club Challenge Team Results (Summary)

2002 Club Challenge Team Results (Women)

2002 Club Challenge Team Results (Men)

Although they brought only sixteen runners to the RRCA Challenge 10-Mile race, the Falls Road Running Store made every one count and upset the defending champions from the Montgomery County Road Runners. Craig Morrell lead the charge for the ‘Store by finishing second overall in 55:59, although he could have easily wound up fourth because of a tight race against Howard County’s Dave Berardi and Montgomery County’s Rob Magin and Joe Abernethy. When the dust settled, the Running Store stood second among the seven men’s teams, only a few points behind Montgomery County. The Store spectacularly captured first among the women’s teams, an effort that put their team over the top. Melissa Rittenhouse and Denise Knickman finished first and second among the women and knocked out strong teams from Montgomery County and Howard County. Interestingly, the top three women from the latter club- Vanessa Cox (4th W), Pat Wilkerson (6th W), and Lisa Coleman (7th W) – are all masters and generated a team score only a few points behind that of the Store.

But there was no doubt at any time about the winner. Glen Mays of the DC Road Runners easily pulled away from the field at five miles and finished over a minute ahead of Mr. Morrell. “I ‘m a good downhill runner,” he commented about the numerous hills that runners negotiated on the tough course through the Columbia neighborhood of Clary’s Forest. “I hope all our fast guys get healthy [for next year]” lamented Mick Slonaker, president of the Howard County Striders, who hosted the annual RRCA 10-Mile Challenge. Indeed, Howard County’s Trey Cassidy, who placed fourth on his team and 25th overall with a sub-60 time, was ill from a bad cold and had to drop out of a training run several days before the Challenge. The Striders have often won the Challenge race in past years, but managed to finish only fourth overall in the team competition this year. “Wait till Cherry Blossom,” groused one Howard Countian about the next team race.

Jim Adams, himself an RRCA representative, assembled the Falls Road Running Store team, which has the official name of “the Baltimore Runner’s Coalition.”

The 23rd Annual RRCA 10 Mile Challenge took place under such balmy conditions that few runners noticed that it was February 24th. Many ran in t-shirts and shorts, and those who ran in tights were simply too hot! The water stops were busy. Perhaps because of the fine weather, the Challenge race drew a record field of 422 registered.

The Howard County Striders put on the race, which began and ended at the Howard Community College. Ken Dent directed the Challenge, with traffic control by the Howard County police, and support from dozens of Howard County Striders along the course. Dick George and Dave Tripp ran the finish line, and Jim DiScuillo and others completed the results before many had showered. Each finisher received a pair of painter’s gloves and their choice of bagels, apples, bananas, and donuts. The donuts proved especially popular; runners consumed all 25 dozen. The first place man and woman earned awards; otherwise only team awards were given out. At the awards ceremony, Delegate Elizabeth Bobo presented the Howard Counrty Striders with a proclamation from the Maryland House of Delegates, which was about the Striders’ only glory that morning!

by Jim Carbary

RRCA Club Challenge 10M

2001 Club Challenge Overall Results

2001 Club Challenge Team Results (Summary)

2001 Club Challenge Team Results (Coed)

The Howard County Striders had not lost the 10-Mile Challenge race, an official Road Runner Club of America championship, in five years, but they knew they were in trouble when eight of their top runners didn’t show up last Sunday for the 2001 edition of the race. The Montgomery County Road Runners took full advantage of the situation and overwhelmed not only the defending champions but the four other clubs who posted racing teams. “This year we put the Challenge on our racing schedule, not our training schedule,” said Montgomery team coordinator Bill Riggs. Montgomery County dominated both the men’s and the women’s teams, and easily won the overall team championship. Buoyed by a strong showing on the women’s team, the Howard Countians did manage to pull out the second place overall. Rob Magin led the Montgomerians 55:15, as they placed four runners in the top 10 to Howard County’s three. Master runner Dave Berardi (age 40) and Oakland Mills High School runner Izudin “Izzy” Mehmedovic (age 16) paced the Howard Countians with times under 58 minutes. Dave had done a hard track workout the day before the race and “really didn’t plan to run faster than 65 [minutes],” while the 10 miler was Mehmedovic’s first race of that distance. Calling the hilly 10 mile course “the toughest race I’ve ever run,” Montgomery County’s Patty Fulton won the women’s race in 1:03:51. Howard County’s first women, Vicki Lang, finished the race over a minute faster than last year and claimed fifth place among the women in 1:06:32.

In spite of not having its top runners as team mates, a number of Howard Countians succeeded in setting personal records in spite of the hilly course. These included Lisa Coleman (1:08:26), Dorothy Beckett (1:11:39), Bill Arbelaez (1:09:29), and Len Guralnick (1:13:12). The race served as a Maryland State Championship team event for the Road Runner’s Club of America. RRCA President Freddi Carlip and Eastern Representative Jim Adams were on hand to hand out the team awards. The men’s, women’s, and combined teams won polished pewter plates, and for its overall championship the Montgomery County Road Runners also received the travelling trophy, “the second ugliest trophy in the world,” and will return it next year to the new champions. The first place runner, Craig Morrell, who ran unattached, also won a pewter plate, as did Ms. Fulton for winning the women’s race. All runners received complimentary runner’s gloves as well as bagels, fruit, and water refreshementsafter the “no-frills” race. A total of 305 runners finished the race, and six teams fielded full racing teams consisting of the top 12 men and three women. Ken Dent debuted as director of the race, which takes place every February. Howard Community College generously allowed runners to use its gymnasium as a staging area before the race and for the awards ceremony after the race. Howard County police provided traffic control throughout the 10-mile course, which runs mostly through the several hills of Clary’s Forest. Dozens of Howard County Striders marshalled the course early on Sunday morning, providing water and directions to the runners. Morning rains held off until many of the runners returned to the shelter of the college’s gymnasium, but many runners (and most course volunteers!) got caught in the drizzle. “People who ran fast and got in before the rain started [at 8 am] didn’t have nearly as much fun!” quipped race announcer Miles Wiegold.

by Jim Carbary

RRCA Club Challenge 10M

2000 Club Challenge Overall Results

2000 Club Challenge Team Results

The Mongomery County Road Runners made a concerted effort to beat the Howard County Striders and win this year’s 10 Mile Challenge, a road race in which competed the local chapters of the Road Runners Club of America. To that end, the Mongomerians held special winter track workouts for their runners to build “depth up front.” Montgomery County’s Steve Smith explained, “We knew Howard County would have their ‘stud-runners’ up front,so we had to improve our ‘B-team’,” which would simply outnumber the Howard Countians. In the actual event, held last Sunday on the hilly streets of Clary’s Forest, the strategy almost worked.

As expected, the core of Howard County’s men’s and women’s racing teams dominated the top positions. Columbia’s Mark Gilmore out-kicked Montgomery’s Rob Magin and won the overall race in 52:55, and Strider men took three of the top five places; while among the women, Howard County’s Vanessa Cox placed second to Marine Corps Marathon winner Donna Moore, and Strider women took three of the top five places among their gender and handily won the women’s championship. But after these speedsters came a flood of Montgomery County “depth” runners that seemingly tipped the score in favor of their team. The first compilation of the points from seven clubs (based on scoring the top 14 men and 3 women from each) had Mongomery County winning the overall team race, and at the post-race ceremony Montgomery County actually received the championship prize, an engraved pewter plate. However, Phil Anderson of the Renaissance All-Sports Athletic Club explained to race scorers that he had actually dropped out of the race, which altered the scoring qualifications to the top 13 men and 3 women on each team. This displacement still left Montgomery County with the men’s championship, but gave the overall championship to Howard County by a margin of only three points.

Although the fiercest competition was between the Howard and Montgomery teams, five other local running clubs participated in the 10-Mile Challenge, which the Howard County Striders host every February. The entire field numbered 360 runners, the largest contingent of which came from Montgomery County. This year a conflict with a swim meet at the Howard Community College caused a change of the race venue, with the course beginning at the Florence Bain Senior Center and ending at Swansfield Elementary School. Nevertheless, runners had to negotiate many of the same Clary’s Forest hills for which the race is famous. “Survive the hills” was how Baltimore’s Dave Brendle (5th overall) entitled the race. Paul Goldenberg directed the Challenge race with the help of the Howard County Police and an outstanding volunteer crew that roused themselves on a damp, foggy morning to cone and marshall the course. The Striders especially wish to thank the Florence Bain Senior Center, which provided facilities for pre-race registration and post-race ceremonies.

by Jim Carbary

RRCA Club Challenge 10M

1999 Club Challenge Overall Results

1999 Club Challenge Team Results (Summary)

1999 Club Challenge Team Results (Women)

1999 Club Challenge Team Results (Men)

1999 Club Challenge Team Results (Coed)

The Strider men’s racing team crushed the competition at the Annual RRCA 10-Mile Challenge race last Sunday and more than made up for a poor showing by a women’s team decimated by illnesses and absences. When the smoke cleared, the Strider combined team had compiled an overall total of 823 points, well ahead of the second-place Baltimore Road Runners who had 1073 points (low score wins).

Howard County’s Mark Gilmore seized the early lead in the race and never looked back. “I never had to look back,” he said, “because I could see my competition at the turn-arounds.” By four miles, Mark had a lead of 100 yards, and by six miles the race was his. He finished over a quarter mile ahead of the second place runner with a time of 53:39. Gilmore’s effort set the tone for the Strider Men’s Racing Team, which overwhelmed teams from Baltimore, Montgomery County, Annapolis, and DC. Striders Dave Berardi, Tony Basile, Jon Shuskinsky, and Faisal Hasan followed the lead of Gilmore and all broke into the top finishers (and all of them broke 58 minutes, too). The Strider men enjoyed a point total of 571, nearly 400 points better than the nearest men’s team (from Baltimore).

The story in the women’s team race was exactly the opposite, however, as illnesses and absences decimated the Strider Women’s Team. Baltimore’s Denise Knickman, an Olympic Marathon trials qualifier and Baltimore Road Runner Women’s Runner of the year for 1998, easily won the women’s overall race (1:02:55) and lead the her women’s team to the women’s team championship. Without Strider women such a Bea Marie Altieri and Vanessa Cox, she confessed that the race “was not as competitive as in years past.” The Strider women sank to fourth place behind teams from Montgomery County and DC as well as Baltimore. Pat Keating, the top Strider woman, ran with the flu and still managed to place eighth among the women (1:08:41).

The Strider Men so dominated the scoring, however, that the local Striders won the overall team challenge by a significant margin of over 200 points. The top 19 men and the top three women on each team scored, as Howard County won its third Challenge Race in as many years. The overall men’s and women’s winners and each team won an engraved pewter plate, but there were no other awards. “If you finished second, you lost,” explained race director Paul Goldenberg. After the Challenge awards were preents, RRCA Eastern Representative Jim Adams distributed awards to winners of the 1998 RRCA Championship Series.

As usual, the Annual RRCA Challenge 10 Miler took place on the hills of Clary’s Forest Neighborhood in Columbia, MD, and most runners had more trouble with the hills than the seasonably cold temperatures. The out-and-back course visited several steep uphills twice. “If you didn’t like the hills the first time, you got a second chance,” said one runner. The 30F temperatures did not seem to bother the runners as all. “It was only a two-gloves day,” said Jim Moreland, who also ran in shorts and a t-shirt.

A total of 341 of runners turned out for seven RRCA club teams on the cold, clear February morning, many of them registering at the last moment. For the first time in a decade, the DC Road Runners Club posted a full racing team in the Challenge. Organized by team captain Mark DeAngelis, the group indicated they had been “re-invigorated by team racing.” In addition, for the first time a “Goat Runners” team from the U.S. Naval Academy participated but did not score because of their non-affiliation with the RRCA. Had the goats been an official team, they would have done well because two of them placed among the top ten.

The Howard County Striders host the 10 Mile Challenge every year, using the Howard Community College as the start and finish. Striders coned much of the 10 mile course, and Howard County police imposed a strict traffic control to ensure runners’ safety.

by Jim Carbary

RRCA Club Challenge 10M

1998 Club Challenge Overall Results

1998 Club Challenge Team Results

The Annapolis Striders’ Bob Marino just turned 40 years old, and he celebrated in a big way by out-duelling Westminster’s Scott Frampton, 13 years younger, to win the 10-Mile Challenge Race in Columbia, MD, last Sunday. Marino and Frampton took off at the start of the race, passing through the first mile in 5:03 and quickly established themselves as the undisputed leaders. The two ran together for the entire 10 miles with no more than a few yards ever separating them. The battle came down to the final quarter mile through which Marino managed to hang on and win in 54:13, a scant seven seconds ahead of Mr. Frampton.

Howard County’s Bea Marie Altieri shattered the women’s field with a personal 10-mile record of 59:47, which is amazing considering the hilliness of the course. Ms. Altieri seized the lead at the very beginning of the race and left Baltimore’s top women, Stacey Nicholson and Denise Knickman, far behind her wake. “I don’t know what’s gotten into her,” said George Altieri, Bea Marie’s husband.

Although Marino and Frampton made outstanding efforts, their individual performances had little effect on the outcome of the team challenge competition. For the second year in a row, the Howard County Striders team defeated six other local teams put up by Road Runner’s Club of America (RRCA) clubs. Striders accounted for 11 of the first 30 runners to finish, including Ms. Altieri. In addition to the overall Team Challenge competition, the Striders also won both the Men’s and Women’s Team competitions. Gerry Clapper spearheaded the Strider effort with a 55:17, good for third place overall, with Tony Basile, Paul Bourg, and Dave Berardi also finishing among the top ten men. On the women’s team, Bea Marie enjoyed strong support from Suzy McCulloch, who ran a personal best 1:03:45 and placed fourth among the women, and Vanessa Cox, who was the sixth woman. The local RRCA clubs sending teams to the 10 Mile Challenge included perennial rivals such as the Baltimore Road Runners and Montgomery County Road Runners. Each team consisted of the top 16 male finishers and the top three women finishers. Strider Vice President and masters racing team captain Mick Slonaker accepted the team awards from RRCA representatives Dave Cooley and Freddi Carlip at a post-race ceremony in the gymnasium of the Howard Community College.

The Howard County Striders have hosted the 10 Mile Team Challenge each year since 1980 (although snow cancelled the race one year) and had previously won the team competition 11 times. Paul Goldenberg served as race director this year, and he enjoyed the support of numerous Strider course marshals as well as the Howard County Police, who tightly controlled the Sunday-morning traffic along the race course. The 10-mile RRCA-certified course begins and ends at Howard Community College in Columbia and follows pleasant but hilly suburban roads through the Hickory Ridge neighborhood of Columbia, MD.

A total of 349 runners finished the race. All finishers received a commemorative key-chain and a peanut-butter PowerBar. The Howard County Striders received engraved pewter plates for winning the team championships. The plates will be displayed at Feet First in Wilde Lake Village Center.

by Jim Carbary