Marty Mazur on the Track Club's first indoor race -- a "Marquee Event" -- at the new indoor track.
A modest group of 13 NVTC runners showed up at the new Multi-Sport Facility for the first of two indoor mile races held as part of Penn State track meets. It was a great opportunity to run in a wonderful new facility.
The group was a bit overwhelmed as we first entered the facility. Even those of us who have been regularly showing up for Thursday Track were quite taken aback by the atmosphere of the place. It was full of young collegiate athletes warming up for their races, spectators, officials, coaches, volunteers. We felt a bit intimidated; although no one there was out to make us feel small, we were all second-guessing ourselves. But once we got signed up (and Rachel Smith took a little extra convincing), warmed up, and stretched, we were ready to take on the world.
The ages of the participants ranged from early 20s to mid-70s. The talent was spread over quite a range as well, with times from sub-4:30 to mid-7's registered. Each runner picked his or her own milestone for performance: "I will break 6:00", "I will NOT get lapped", "I WILL lap Marty" were among the muttered promises I heard before the race, the last one numerous times.
There was a bit of fun with the numbering system at the starting line (now which hip does this sticker go on?), but then the gun went off. Karl Shellenberger took control of the race early and finished in 4:28. Denny Simonetti ran a torrid race to just break 5 minutes. Denny improves every year and should be an awesome Masters runner (Is it this year, Denny?). Sandy Gregorich was the first woman finisher in 5:45, continuing her streak of improving 1500 and mile performances. Bill Bahnfleth, a new track club member, came in just ahead of Sandy in 5:43. Mike Dooris continued HIS streak of slam-dunking younger runners in photo finishes. Mike, who has been, shall we say, a regular at the Old Main Training Table, was not expected to do much more than test the hydraulics of the track banking system. He put on a fierce kick and just nipped Jim Moore, both in about 5:35. But Jim was quite happy with his time, as he had been expecting to run about 15 seconds slower. Tom Cali, sandbagger extraordinaire, beat his predicted time of 5:30 by 10 seconds and lapped Marty Mazur by a hair. Marty Mazur shaved a second off his own prediction. He didn't quite go sub-6 (6:02; sub-6 will be next time), but stoked the fire of his rivalry with Morgan Wasikonis by catching her on the last lap.
In the 70+ age group, Truman Hershberger put on a strong show with almost no warm-up, clocking 7:34, and denying Bill Smith the best age adjusted run. Bill showed us all that runners in the 50+ category can run WELL under 6 minutes (5:37). Rachel Smith also put in a good run of around 6:30. Jenny Zilberburg showed that she can run well at both ends of the distance spectrum (she ran her first Half-Marathon last month), finishing in 7:15.
When the race was done, we all got to review our performances on the big-screen TV on the scoreboard, with our names and times prominently displayed on the marquee. We each found a way to claim a Multi-Sport Facility record for our ourselves. Until Ken Forstmeier runs an official timed event, I'll hold the Clydesdale mark!
A good number of my Thursday Track Crew were present, and acquitted themselves quite well. Sandy, Tom, Mike, Jim, Jenny, myself and honorary member Morgan all ran well. One of the Crew, who has been running VERY well lately but needs to show his stuff at the next race, was a spectator today: Bob Cornwall was sitting next to Jim Myers, whose knee still needs some TLC.
Thanks to all the volunteers from the track club who helped out at the meet. Thanks to Morgan and Greg Fredericks for helping to set this whole thing up. Thanks to the Penn State coaches and staff who let us break in the track for their athletes. Congratulations to all on overcoming your "stage fright". See you again on February 11th!
1 Mile, Penn State Multi-Sport Facility,
1.Karl Shellenberger 4:27.9
2.Denny Simonetti 4:59.7
3.Tom Cali 5:20.0
4.Mike Dooris 5:35.5
5.Jim Moore 5:35.7
6.Bill Smith 5:37.8
7.Bill Bahnfleth 5:43.0
8.Sandy Gregorich 5:45.0
9.Marty Mazur 6:02.6
10.Morgan Wasikonis 6:04.2
11.Rachel Smith 6:33.6
12.Jenny Zilberberg 7:14.8
13.Truman Hershberger 7:33.8