2018 Titus van Rijn Reports
The 20th edition of the Titus Van Rijn Hour featured 72 participants from ten states and ranging in age from six to 77. Congratulations to all who participated, and a special thank you to everyone who helped organize Titus hours of your own!
In Claremont, CA, Alicia Longyear and Emma DeLira covered 12,940m (8.04 miles) to share the 2018 TVR women’s crown. This was Alicia’s third TVR title. This was Emma’s first TVR hour; she’s another in the event’s tradition of ultramarathon trail runners who seem to thrive on the track too. On the men’s side, Joel Wegener (MN) ran 14,900m (9.26 miles) to claim the men’s title for 2018. (TVR history buffs may recall that Wegener ran 16,650m in 2006, when Greg Crowther set the event record and Chris Lundberg took second.)
In a dramatic example of the virtual “racing” that TVR can produce, this year Wegener barely held off Dan Meireis (Salem, OR), whose tremendous 14,814m effort (~9.21 miles) established a new record in the M60-69 category.
In addition to Dan’s new M60-69 record, the following participants established Top 10 TVR marks in 2018:
- Bob Aby: 10,9515m, #4 M70+
- Dick Daymont: 8,510m #6 M70+
- Lyn Roth: 3,440m #8 F70+
- Perry Kemper: 11,263, #8 F19&U
Collectively, this year’s TVR participants covered 679,215m (~422 miles). Cumulatively, TVR participants have strode over 12.68 million meters (~7,884 miles) since 1999.
One demographic note: This year we had only 8 participants aged 30-39 and just one in the 20-29 age group (thanks for running, Perry Tetreaut!) Like TVR itself, we’re getting older. We hope you’ll help us to encourage more 20- and 30-somethings to join us next year.
For now, as always, we raise a frosty glass of black cherry soda in salute to each of you. Race reports from a number of TVR venues follow, below.
Andy Roth & Mike Persick
TVR Meet Directors
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Kirk Reynolds reports from Claremont, CA: Three of us (plus a kid, temporarily) ran the Titus van Rijn run today on Strehle Track on a coolish May-gray Southern California morning on Sunday, May 20. The light mist had made the Pomona College track wet, but the falling mist stopped just before our start time and the track dried out. Alicia, Emma and Kirk all ran together, which made the hour fly by much more quickly than if we had run solo away from the track, or solo on the track. The first mile was the slowest, and we all agreed that the older you are, the longer it takes to get rolling.
Beyond the slow opening, warm-up mile, the person in lane 1 set the pace. Kirk and Alicia held pretty firm in the 7:20s/mile range, but Emma hammered away at 7:05/7:09 during her time in lane 1 since the track was flat and there were no 30-mile rolling trail sections.
We were also rabbited early on by a bicycling kid who weaved ahead of us and set a tough pace for 30 meters, only to slow and get swallowed up by our three-pack — followed by another 30 meter burst. Then he spent a few laps riding back and forth over the inside aluminum rail in front of us because, I believe, Titus would have appreciated the challenge therein. Then his mom called him over because it was time to go, and we were left with empty stretches of blue track ahead of us.
Cooper Longyear also joined us at the start, putting in a strong four laps, followed by a stop to see Dad Dave using his foam roller trackside, then he put in three more laps, then looked for his baseball glove, then put in a final 400m finish. Meanwhile, a horizontal Dave hollered unconditional support: “You look slow, Reynolds!”
We hit stop at the 60-minute mark, and popped open some bottles of blackberry soda (closest we could find) within 60-seconds of completion. Then we looked at our phones and posted to Strava and other social media.
Elizabeth Niemeyer reports from George Stielow Field, Henry Sibley HS in Mendota Heights, MN: It was a hot and sultry Minnesota morning, with a heat advisory in effect. Nevertheless, three of us headed out to my old high school–named after a former governor with a sordid history (more here!). We even had a big money bet on the way whether the Titus van Rijn run has been around for 20 years. There was a Lutheran church service being held in the parking lot when we started, so we knew we had God on our side. After circling the track for an hour, we shared a mildly cool black cherry soda and were glad to have continued the tradition of excellence that is the TvR run.
Katie Galdabini reports: I was excited to be able to run with my husband and sister-in-law at their old high school alma mater in Minnesota. It was neat seeing where they had gone to school, and definitely great to have company. As my sister-in-law shared, there was a church service taking place in the adjoining parking lot, but otherwise the only sounds were snippets of The Clash that my husband had playing from his phone to inspire us. We didn’t talk much, but shared high fives with each other as we passed by, and of course the best part was sharing the black cherry soda at the end!
Patrick Niemeyer adds: I joined my wife and sister at the track from my old high school. I ran about 4 miles in about 30 minutes and thought “Good gravy it’s hot—I’ll walk a lap and then keep running.” I walked a lap, ran ~100m and renegotiated with myself, “OK, I’ll just try to keep moving” and I guess I accomplished that. This was not my proudest TVR—but I pounded that black cherry soda like a boss!
From Northfield, MN, Pat Foley reports: The Band of 10,000 Aches (BOTTA) had their 15th annual hour run May 19th at the Carleton College. We had the best weather in a few years. It was dry and 50 degrees. In addition to the 12 runners on May 19th, three others ran on their own. The fifteen runners ran/walked over 150,000 meters which pushed the group’s 15 year total to over 2 million meters. As is our tradition, it was followed by black cherry soda AND Girl Scout cookies.
Sean Foley reports from the Twin Cities: It was a smaller group than normal, but 5 hearty souls kept the Twin Cities TVR tradition alive. This was our 14th year overall and 5th year in a row at Minnehaha Academy in south Minneapolis, MN. We were a little worried about the weather given that we waited until June 10th to run, but it worked out fine. Temperature was in the mid-60s with a light breeze, clouds, and a bit of humidity. Because of the smaller group, we ran adults and kids in one heat. One non-TVRer joined us on the track for about 15 minutes, pounding out some impressive looking 200 and 400 repeats. A couple past TVR participants joined us at the end for Black Cherry Soda. A good time was had by all.
Netta Vogt reports from the Science Hill High School track in Johnson City, TN: This was our 3rd year doing it and it has now become an annual tradition!! Yesterday, we started running in the heat and ended in a crazy downpour!
From Conestoga HS in Berwyn, PA, Mike Persick reports: It was a bit warm and humid by the end of our hour. Jenna had a great run, totaling 8440m. Her splits show that after a conservative start she settled into a steady 11:15 pace, only slowing a bit near the end in the bright sun. My result was 12740m, a disappointing effort. Last year I ran a full kilometer farther with a smart, conservative early pace, but this time I was much too ambitious from the start and then completely blew up just short of 30 mins. I’m disappointed that I backed off much too abruptly when I lost confidence in my ability to hold on. If only it were the TVR 1/2 Hour Distance Classic! Our black cherry soda was Hank’s Wishniak. (That’s Hank’s, not to be confused with the classic Frank’s!) While warming up, Jenna had pointed out two hawks moving from tree to tree around the track area. It seemed likely that one was scouting and the other following. Not knowing their habits, I can only speculate. Jenna also spotted one or two turkey vultures while running. Considering my result, I’m lucky they went hungry this day!
From the Richfield High School track, in Richfield, UT, elevation 5400m, Ryan Thalman reports: Had to wait for all of the youth football players to leave, so I started at 9pm on the night of a new moon.
Alan Kim reports from Port Jefferson, NY: I began running around 8:30 PM, at nightfall. I was the only person on the track. A deer watched me for about five laps and lost interest. Driving back, the radio played Boston’s “More Than a Feeling” followed by a Yuengling commercial. Clearly a sign. The family was asleep when I got home, so I had a black cherry soda at the kitchen table and went to bed.
Pete Nichol reports: I live in California now, but a family visit placed in Little Falls, Minnesota today, so I went over to the Little Falls HS track where I had last raced just over 27 years ago. I found the track locked behind a tall chain link fence. I have to confess a bit of relief at maybe being able to forestall my first TVR attempt until next year when the middle school track coach appeared (at 6:30 a.m.!) with a key to let me in. Conditions were nearly ideal, so I am deprived of all of the excuses I might like to muster to explain my performance.
From Northfield, MN, James Umbanhowar reports: Originally scheduled to take place in Kenyon on the Kenyon-Wanamingo dirt track, we had a late change of venue due to the whole track being excavated (curse us Google Streetview!). The weather was simultaneously unusually cool (for NC resident) and uncomfortably warm (for a LA resident). Objectively, it was mid 70’s, overcast with a dewpoint in the 60’s. John was lapped 4 times, but swears he was catching back up on the last lap to finish with 11400 m. We broke tradition a little and shared a Mollusk Cherry Sour beer.
From Seattle, WA, Andy Roth reports: I ran a solo TVR hour on the dirt track at Green Lake on a cool, cloudy morning. Though I ran alone, the infield was abuzz with activity as the entire student body from a local elementary school partook in some sort of field day that featured lots of running, some singing, and a bewildering game played by tossing a giant stuffed animal frog. The east end of the track is shaded by trees that made it feel almost like a forest trail. I ran steady most of the way and picked up my pace over the last kilometer in an effort to reach the 12k plateau. I came up just short, but was satisfied with the effort anyhow. I almost skipped this year. Reading other runners’ reports encouraged me to get out for an hour of my own.