Shooting Starr 6K
January 12, 2013
Runners crest the final hill.
The Shooting Starr has been around for some twenty years. It got its present name as a memorial for one of MCRRC more flamboyant members. Jim Starr was more than just a runner. He was interested in triathlons and wrote a regular ‘Tri-Umphs’ column for the former Washington Running Report in the 90s through 2003. Many of us remember him from the lively discussions on running and more that he led at regular weekend bagel and coffee repasts that followed the Kengar workouts. Often the brunch lasted longer than the run. Jim's family was on hand again this year and his son Andy ran in the race as well.
The race starts at the Sligo Middle School just down the road from busy Georgia Avenue but the setting is bucolic as the race always spends in the woods. In the early years the course was a double out and back going both south and north from Dennis Avenue along the Sligo Creek Trail. Then the race was five miles but it shrank and continues to shrink as time goes by. First it was a four mile double loop that started in the woods. Trouble was that the 2-mile mark was at the school and to finish the first loop was a 250 meters run down to the original starting line. In the late 90s they worked it down closer to a real 4 miles. In recent years the course avoided running along University Boulevard and runners were turned back just before the road to test a significant hill in the second mile. The next time through the course skips the tail and head back up the hill, making the course a 6K. Many runners have GPS devices and the course appears to be right on.
Long time prolific racer and one of the top volunteers in the area, Julie Trapp noted happily what all could see and feel: the weather was definitely not winter-like. She remembers thick ice on the ground were a narrow single track was carved to run on. With an out and back course with two loops the trail was definitely crowded and footing could have been potentially iffy. Not today with only a few wimps bothering to wear mittens. Still it was nice that the post race refreshments were indoors.
The field grew to 348 finishers. Last year’s champion Edi Turco, of the Italian Army, had gone home. He had won the race in a nifty 20:50 with Steven Moore a mere second behind him. If Moore, now a sub master, thought it was going to be easy he had another think coming. We slower runners got to watch him racing neck and neck with Gareth Peters as they reversed course for the first hill climb. Moore was declared the winner in a photo finish at 20:37. Billy Kirk, 15, had a sparkling 20:48 for third. Last year three masters made the top five. This year only Doug Woods, 43, returned and he was faster finishing fourth overall in 20:57. Ted Poulos, 51, was the top grandmaster in 22:45. In 2012, Poulos raced more than 200 events for the seventh time in his illustrious career. The men’s field had 15 runners 70 and older, including Lou Shapiro, 71, in 29:39. In photo, second in that division Warren Prunella watches others finish with his wife Priscila.
Anna Holt-Gosselin, 24, of Vienna is one of the top open runners in the area. She a very solid 23:51 but she was not a sure thing till the very end. Kellie Redmond, 43, was a mere ten seconds behind her. The course lends itself to catching runners. With a mile to go runners climb a tough hill and they can see if a leader is wavering. Then all but the last 100 meters roars down a hill so even without the dotted line in the road, there would be some passing. Another six seconds back grandmaster Cindy Conant was pushing after them so there could be no letting up on the final charge up Dennis Avenue to the school. After the race top senior Alice Franks, 64, discusses the race with her daughter Kelly. Alice has been racing longer and though still at the top of her game has a tougher time getting the elusive PR. Kelly with just a half dozen finishes still has the joy of fresh PRs.
With the uncommon distance (6K) it is harder to judge pace and the uneven course does not lend itself to super fast times. Still, no one in their right mind would stay inside on such a wonderful day to run.
Karen Harvey is one of 14 runners from the 50 Plus Club to finish the race. The club with 122 members raced 4200 races in 2012. The Club is planning a 5K ace for early February in Kensington. Check our calendar for updates coming soon.
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