TVR 2010 Race Reports

Congratulations to each of the 123 participants in the twelfth annual Titus van Rijn Distance Classic.  It was a fantastic year for racing around the track.  In the women’s field, Pam Smith defended her 2009 title and extended the women’s record to an impressive 14,578m (~9.06 miles), while Stephanie Snyder also surpassed the previous TVR record, establishing a new masters (40+) record for women (14,415m; ~8.96 miles).  On the men’s side, Erik Brooks ran 15,602m (~9.7 miles) to earn his fourth TVR title; Brad Mitchell, the top masters runner, was close behind at 15,500m (~9.6 miles).  Collectively, TVR participants covered over 1,200km, an all-time record.  Special thanks to everyone across the country who helped organize runs and report the results.

At the Tucson edition, one competitor wondered whether we couldn’t switch the numbers for her age and laps run.  As soon as Titus van Rijn race management opens our own off-shore, tax-sheltered bank account, we’ll be glad to accept “donations” to play with those numbers on your behalf.  In the meantime, we’ll look forward to another hour, next May.

Vivid race reports follow.

Andy Roth & Mike Persick, TVR directors

Meghan Hegarty (NC) reports:  TAF [The Athlete’s Foot] Racing dominated the track at Martin Middle School this morning (yeah, there were other people there at 7AM… who would have guessed?!?). Brad logged the most distance… perhaps this was because he flew past another runner doing a 5k time trial! And, Keith totally beat the random soccer player that decided to challenge him 50+ min into the run, sprinting to finish his 32nd lap (the soccer player stopped… Keith did 3 more laps)! Dave broke out his yellow mesh shorts from the bottom of the laundry pile for the occasion… guess he needed to match the parrot-foam hat he was wearing. Barry (Rusty), Rita, Erica, Robin, and I (and everyone else too) met our distance goals, earning our black cherry sodas. However, Sean was apparently the only one of us that actually “worked hard” for the entire hour (at least according to another 5k-er, but he might have just been grateful to Sean for “letting him use the track”). We had an AWESOME time running in circles for 60min (yup, we all met our “time goal” too)… thank you for organizing this Brad. Also, we learned an important lesson – if you want to look “official”, wear a hat, just preferably not a foam animal one (neon orange shorts don’t help either).

Hank Dart on the Sun Valley edition TVR, “A fun and brutal affair.”  The turnout alone was spectacular, add in sunshine, temps in the 60s, and relatively calm conditions, and it set up to be a great day on the Wood River High School track for the 2010 running of the Titus Van Rijn One Hour Distance Classic – Sun Valley Edition.  Nineteen stalwart runners toed the line in the 60 minute timed test, nearly doubling the combined number for the previous three years.

The early running played out pretty much as it does every year.  Jokes on the line and around the first corner. A little talking over the first mile or so, then just a silent dance with one’s aerobic threshold for the remaining fifty minutes.

Brad Mitchell (La Sportiva) took top distance honors making it 15,500 meters (9.63 miles).  Andy Jones-Wilkins took runner up (14,850 meters; 9.23 miles) in his now-storied fish shorts, the wearing of which caused Patagonia and La Sportiva to disavow any sponsorship ties (photos below).

On the women’s side, Liv Jensen took top distance with 12,960 meters (8.05 miles), which currently places her third on the all-time TVR list.  Julie Cord took second spot on the day, with a solid 12,429 (7.72).

In the end, no dreams were shattered, some PRs were set, and there was much rejoicing with Black Cherry Soda and lite beer.  A great time all around.

From Salem, OR, Pam Smith reports: This year I invited my good friend and training partner Steph to join me in my TVR attempt, both for her excellent company and because I knew she would push me to a strong effort. As a like-minded mileage junkie, she readily agreed, thus doubling Salem’s participation in the TVR over last year! The weather was also co-operative, registering nearly 20 degrees cooler than last year’s scorcher. Things were falling into place to be a fine day at the Charles Bowles Track at Willamette University.

We were the only runners on the track most of the time, but the infield was swarming with high school soccer players who would occasionally amble onto the track, oblivious to the two of us clicking off the laps. Steph had the great idea to trade off the lead after every mile which helped the first six miles pass quickly. The last twenty minutes we did our own thing. I was intently watching the clock and calculating distance because somewhere along the line, the idea of breaking nine miles had taken root in my head. I ended up making it with 47 seconds to spare (enough for another 178 meters in a “sprint” finish). Steph also surpassed nine miles for the hour! We celebrated with a couple of cans of black cherry soda.

Bruce “Balto” Hoff (WA) writes: Although I’m not really in shape right now for races like TVR, I didn’t want to let this year’s event pass by without participating.  So May 28 found me standing alone in the early morning rain on Rainier Beach High School track.  My dream would be to finish 36 laps (~9 mi) but I wasn’t counting on it.  When the first two miles went by in 6:55 and 7:03 I expected the rest of the hour to be pretty dismal.  Fortunately I perked up a bit after that and the rest of the miles were faster.  I completed 35 laps plus what I estimate to be 28 meters and change, for a result of 14028m, or 6:51 per 1600m.

Emily Berriochoa reports from Nampa, ID:  Our Nampa edition of the Titus Van Rijn was an undisputable success. We were up to 21 runners this year from 9 runners last year. Many runners from Team CFC showed up, but the lure of the oval was clearly overwhelming, as we were blessed by many of our non-Team CFC friends and their friends. The presence of UltraBen “Trail Thrasher” Blessing was most entertaining and amazing. Following the race, we celebrated with a bunch of schwag from Shu’s Idaho Running Company and some of our own runners, and we enjoyed chocolate milk and Hansen’s black cherry cream soda. Good time!

Special thanks to some of our track-side support: Pastor Monty Sears, Heidi, Scott Bowman, Mercedes Concepcion, and Wayne Ebenroth. And all our kids, of course.

Pictures at

Sean Foley on the Richfield MN edition: The TVR returned to the Richfield High School Track for the first time since 2005.  We moved our start time up an hour because of the warm forecast.  Even with the heat, we were able to double our participation from 2 to 4.

We started at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday May 29 with a temperature of 69˚.  There were a couple of small spots of shade on the backstretch that quickly disappeared.  The temperature had risen to 73˚ by the end, although it felt about 20˚ warmer in the sun.

Sean Faulk (37), fresh off a 50K trail race 2 weeks ago, repeated his site win from last year, clipping off very consistent splits on his way to 14,350 meters.

Sean Foley (38) faded badly the last couple of miles and compiled 12,654 meters.  He was happy to best his 2008 performance by 5 meters.  Even with good hydration during and after the race, Sean lost 4 pounds.  He is thinking of marketing some sort of TVR Fad Diet.

Murray McCartan (9,203 meters) and C.L. Delfs (8,803 meters) were first time TVR participants.  They arrived at the track having already put in 11 miles and used the TVR to put together a nice long run in preparation for a fall marathon.

After the race, we discovered that in my pre-race excitement I had grabbed 3 bottles of Black Cherry Soda and 1 bottle of Summit Great Northern Porter from the fridge.  Given the lack of a bottle opener, there was no arguing about who had to break with tradition.  We even “shared” some BCS with a passing dog who knocked over one of the bottles.

Looking forward to next year!

Pat Foley on the Northfield (MN) TVR: On May 15th, The Band of 10,000 Aches (BOTTA) had a record 17 people participating in the hour run/walk.  60 degrees, sunny and no wind made for a great run.  The following weekend six of the runners ran the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim over 2 days.  They did quite well so it seems running on a flat surface is good preparation for canyon running.  BOTTA has now run nearly 800,000 meters in TVR so next year we hope to hit 1,000,000 meters.

James Umbanhowar, out of NC, reports: I could not raise any co-racers this year as it seems that North Carolingians are weak in the mental strength necessary for TVR.   I think this year was the worst I’ve ever felt, and I blame the weather.  I was hoping to break 15k again this year and selected a day with, what I had hoped would be conducive for comfortable running.  The 100% chance of rain meant that it stopped raining minutes before I started and the sun came out halfway through meaning that I only attained supersaturated warm air.

After I passed 5k in 20:30 and I was not feeling great, I realized my initial goal was a bit optimistic and I gutted it out and was rewarded by the UNC track team arriving to watch me struggle to run the final four laps.  They exiled me to lane 8 and I finished 36 1/4 laps with the last 4 in lane eight, hence the precise 14720 m finish.

Erik Brooks on the Winthrop (WA) edition TVR: On a sunny eve, with temps in the high 50s and ominous clouds too close for comfort, a stalwart crowd of Methow Valley Titans strode fourth.  Twenty-three total participants (plus one dog), aged 3-76 began their tour of the Liberty Bell High School Track here in Winthrop, WA. Sixty minutes later, the race was run and Hansen’s Natural Black Cherry Soda flowed fourth.

With more timely reporting than I have provided for you, we even made the local news —

[Race Directors’ note:  ‘Tater Kuperberg (F, 19 months) ran every step of every lap with Dan Kuperberg, making her the top four-legged competitor in this year’s TVR.]

From Tucson (AZ), Andy Roth reports:  A group of 24 gathered at Catalina High School on 22 May.  We ran in two shifts beginning at 6am or 7am, depending on which sounded less irksome, the early start or the later temperature.  In 2008 & 2009, I ran exactly the same distance, so during track workouts this spring I visualized passing that spot before the clock struck 60 minutes.  Off a faster earlier pace, I managed an additional 140 meters this year.  It’s a toss-up whether that improvement is due to better fitness or my fellow runners’ encouragement and good cheer, though the latter certainly helped.  Although I didn’t carry any documentation of citizenship with me, I boldly took kilometer splits: (4:19/4:15/4:15/4:15/4:16(25:21)/ 4:17/4:17/4:20/4:20/4:21(42:56)/4:26/4:25/4:29+900m).  It helped to have an intermediate 12k time goal.  In previous year’s I’ve lost focus over the last 10-12 minutes.  Even though I was slowing down, hitting 12k under 52-minutes encouraged me to push the final laps, knowing I could surpass my 08/09 mark.

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