DARCARS Rockville Rotary Twilight Runfest 8K
Getting away at the 2014 race
By James Moreland
(l-r Edmund Burke, David O'Hara, Patrick Murphy, and Kevin Ford take the sharp turn to finish the first loop at mile 2)
This signature summer race always produces fast times. Well, last year the race was stormed out. This year there was a hint of rain but the usually steamy race, which once (1995) was turned into a fun race by the heat, was the coolest in memory. The race after 29 years is feeling a little crowded by the continuing remodeling of the town centre with new, massive structures. The course is famous for its double loop along North Washington Street and the charge around Montgomery College. At the college runners are directed from the lowest point at the duck pond to the highest point by the soon to gone track before charging back up North Washington Street to the finish. This year the course reverted to starting a few blocks further west because some businesses did not want to be blocked. That was strange as the whole street was blocked anyways.
Often the best 8K of the year for the age groups is run here and to be sure. This year even with the mild weather and the field of 1599 was somewhat smaller than usual and only four runners had 2014 age group bests. They were ninth place Trish Stone, 39, in 30:50 and Betty Blank, 61,(in photo) in 37:24 for the women and Mark Neff, 52, in 28:48 and Dennis Coleman, 56, in 31:12 for the men. Many of the eventís age groups winners already owned the Best of 2014 times on the faster, cooler courses run in March, St. Patrickís and Townbanke.
This takes nothing away from the marvelous 23:50 run by Diriba Yigezu to win the race. That was one of the top ten times for the event not far behind Pete Weilenmannís 23:39 run in 1996. He had run 23:42 in 1993 and been tied by Chris Fox in 1994. For the women, third place Christine Ramsey was a past winner and her 27:25 would have won it in many other years. Fourth place Waynishet Abebe outkicked former champion and former number one ranked runner Tezata Dengersa 28:39 to 28:55.
Spring Regional Runner Ranking champion Susanna Sullivan looked great charging to the finish in 26:43 for the third fastest time in the eventís history. The record had been held by Rosalind Taylor with a fine 26:40 in 1992. Tonight Etaferahu Temesgen would set a new event record with 26:34.
Masters legend Alisa Harvey, 48, reprised another triumph. She has conceded to a shorter racing season and spends much of her time coaching young runners hoping to accomplish even a small piece of what she has done. This former American master record holder in the mile finished tenth overall in 31:26. Ageless Cindy Conant, 53, is running faster than she did ten years ago, easily top grandmaster in 31:54.
As always the event had a lively band, with food and drink afterwards as runners filled the streets in downtown Rockville. Below Kara Rielty (center) leads the charge to the finish.