2014 Titus van Rijn Reports

The sixteenth annual Titus Van Rijn Hour featured 125 participants, ranging in age from 3 to 73.

Pam Smith (15,279m) returned to claim her fourth TVR title, breaking her own women’s record by 189 meters in the process. On the same track, Dan Gallogly established a new personal best to claim his second men’s title. His mark (16,675m) is now #10 on the all-time TVR performance list.

Additional 2014 TVR performances deserving special recognition:

  • Trisha Steidl (Seattle, WA) ran 15,179m to surpass the previous women’s record.
  • Dan Mereis (Salem, OR) elevated his own M50-59 record to 15,450m.
  • Diego Lopez boosted the M19 & Under record to a lofty 15,100m.
  • Salem, OR, men took the first three spots: After Gallogly, Josh Zielinski (16,481m; #6 all-time, M30-39) and Mike Tyler (16,000m; #7 all-time, M40-49) completed excellent runs to complete an impressive sweep.
  • The Band of 10,000 Aches, out of Minnesota, continue to be a wrecking crew when it comes to the M60-69 category. Dean Christensen (12,300m), Bob Aby (12,300m), and Eric Bergh (12,080m) each added marks to the all-time M60-69 list this year. Once again the BOTTA men own every one of the top-10 all-time marks in the M60-69 category. (BOTTA runners also hold four of the top-10 M50-59 all-time marks.)
  • Women in the 30-39 bracket established four of the top-10 marks this year: In addition to the aforementioned performances by Smith and Steidl, Alicia Longyear (13,875m, Claremont, CA) improved on her previous TVR best, and Annie Stanley (13,360m, Charlottesville, VA) joined the F30-39 top ten.

Collectively, 2014 TVR participants covered 1,210,498 meters (~752.3 miles). Cumulatively, TVR participants have strode over 8.88 million meters (~5,521 miles) since 1999.

Congratulations to every one who participated this year. Special thanks to the folks who organized TVR events across the country and reported the results. We raise a glass of black cherry in salute to all of you. And we hope you’ll join us again next year.

Andy Roth & Mike Persick, TVR Meet Directors

*         *         *         *         *

John Douglass writes from Tucson, AZ: A small but hearty group of Old Pueblo folks met at Catalina High School on Saturday, May 10th at 6:45 for this year’s TVR run. Like at least one past year, we did not let locked gates stop us. Unfortunately, the past option – hopping the fence – was not possible due to newly-installed barbed wire. I don’t think it was in direct response to TVR attendees hopping the fence, although you never know. In the end, we found someone opening up the main gate to the High School to let us in and we began our run a bit after 7 AM, with a cool 64 degrees.

Due to assorted non-TVR-related injuries, many of us were a bit slow this year, but we all had a good time, and the 10 of us TVR-folks (minus Kevin Koch, who didn’t fill out the sheet) went a total of 66,148 meters. Emmy (age 8), Rainyr (age 10) and Mostyn (age 12 11/12) all challenged the rest of the runners with their energy and cheerfulness. Sadly (to some, at least), Ash did not get nearly naked and run around the track this year. It is rumored that Ash and Doremy talked the night before about coordinating their outfits for the event, as demonstrated by one of the attached photographs.

Sean Foley reports from Minneapolis, MN: This was the 10th running of the Minneapolis chapter of the TVR. Over the past decade, it seems to have gotten harder and harder to find a track open to the public around the metro area. This year we secured what we thought to be exclusive access to the Minneapolis Washburn High School track. We arrived at 7:30 a.m. on a Sunday morning to find two Lacrosse teams warming up for an 8 am game. On a Sunday!! We did not want to be the first running of the TVR to feature a serious head injury, so we moved on to the Minnehaha Academy track (also in Minneapolis).

Thankfully, Minnehaha Academy has good old fashioned grass on their infield instead of artificial turf so no Lacrosse (or soccer teams) were to be seen. The change of venue just pushed the start time back 30 minutes or so. Minnehaha Academy is a repeat venue for us, having run there in 2012. Thankfully the temperature was about 40˚ cooler this time. It was about 44˚ at the start with a 10 mph wind (in our faces down the homestretch). The adults started running at 8:30 and we were ably cheered on by the kids. The kids followed with a 9:40 start. A special welcome to the Hanson family — first time TVR participants! Black cherry soda was, of course, enjoyed by all after the race. TVR continues its hold on the best value in racing today!

From Nampa, ID, Emily Berriochoa (Pickled Feet Ultra Running) reports:

Lone Star Middle School Track, Temperature: 70s and partly cloudy; beautiful night for running. The evening was pleasant and the perfect temperature, with overcast sky. Nineteen adults and fifteen kids took to the oval for the sixth annual Nampa, Idaho TVR run, and it was fun as usual. Shirtless Shorty Shorts Sean Olson cranked up the pace early and held on for the men’s win for the second year in a row, with The Ryans following closely. Christie Ebenroth captured the women’s title, with Julie Tinney and Francie Hill shortly behind. Francie ran her own version of the race earlier in the morning by herself, making her result even more impressive.

The post-race celebration included an assortment of sodas with ‘cherry’ in the name, along with chocolate milk. All runners received schwag cleaned out of the Pickled Feet Ultra Running and Final Kick Events directors’ garages. Looking forward to next year already!

Pam Smith (Salem, OR) reports: Salem, OR sits smack between two of the most venerable Track and Field sites in the US, with “Track Town USA” Eugene, with the hallowed Hayward Field, about 50 miles to the south and Portland, with its fabled Nike campus and the Project Oregon team, about 50 miles to the north. Salem has almost no track claim to fame, with the exception of Nick Symmonds, a Willamette University graduate. But there are a few dedicated runners who are doing their best to bring track glory to Salem, at least in the small and obscure world of the Titus van Rijn One Hour Distance Classic.

Last year Salem did not participate because our group could not find a mutually agreeable date. Things hadn’t changed much in a year: two people were gearing toward a marathon; another wanted to fit it around a 50k; there were a few vacations and other life events. Basically there was no good week that suited everyone. It was decided that interested runners could turn our usual Monday morning track session into their 1-hour time trial, so Salem’s event actually took place over three different weeks. At the conclusion, black cherry soda was awarded to all participants. We also upped the ante by providing “incentive beverages” (ie. beer) for those exceeding the 9.5 and 10 mile marks. I had a personal TVR best, but I missed my free beer by 21 meters. I maintain that if the incentive had been free cheesecake, I would have made it. 😉 Maybe next year!

Andy Jones-Wilkins reports from Charlottesville, VA: June 11, 2014 – 7pm; rain, wind, lightning, skunks

The skies were grey an hour before the scheduled start of the Titus Van Rijn Run Charlottesville edition.  The Black Cherry Soda was chilling and the track was clear.  Unfortunately, approximately 20 minutes before the start, the skies opened up, the wind increased, and lightning coursed through the air.  Nonetheless, the show went on.

Twelve intrepid souls braved the elements (as well as the father/daughter skunk team that hung out around turn one throughouthe Hour) to complete some very respectable times in spite of the conditions.  While these were certainly not PR type conditions, the rain, lightning, and skunks served to make this a memorable day, indeed.

Andy Roth writes: The Claremont branch of TVR spanned multiple days and took place on three different tracks. A festive group circled Strehle Track at Pomona College on June 1st. Meet officials, including Tatum Longyear, Cooper Longyear, and Benjie Palmer, kept runners informed of how much time was left and protected us from marauding squirrels (“It looks like they’re finding the perfect tree to build… a nest!”). Meanwhile, two blocks east, Alicia and Dave Longyear completed their hour on the Zinda Field track, at Claremont McKenna College, to avoid any “out of season” infractions involving the cross-country runners Alicia coaches at Citrus College. When the hour was over, we all enjoyed multiple brands of black cherry soda. Kirk Reynold’s short video, posted on the Titus van Rijn Facebook, aptly captures some of the spirit of the morning.

Those Citrus athletes made the early pace feel easy and I ended up running too fast, slowing drastically over the last 20 minutes (despite the great encouragement from the aforementioned race officials and others), and falling well short of my goal. So, I took to the Claremont High School track the following Wednesday, where the plovers and an early morning PE class made for surprisingly inspiring company. A few days later, when a group of us found ourselves once again at the big blue track, Cooper doffed his meet official’s cap and busted out 8-laps to complete his own TVR. Congratulations to all the runners and thanks for your good company.

Trisha Steidl, Seattle (WA), reports from the Garfield High School track:

I heard about this event one week ago, thanks to Patrick Niemeyer.  Getting back into training, I was excited to have something to focus on rather than just go do a regular, Saturday tempo run.  So I did a little research (meaning I read the TVR website), saw what the women’s record was and decided to go for it!  I knew what I needed to do.  Until Greg Crowther informed me that Pam ran it again on Monday.  I read her report and saw that she had improved upon her record, which gave me a new goal to pursue.

Three others started with me, with only one planning to run the whole time.  My husband, Uli Steidl, is no stranger to this event, though always as a pacer.  Today was no different.  I was happy to have him there because it was windy and my legs weren’t feeling good.  I managed to run further than the current record, but came up 101m short of what Pam ran on Monday, so will have to settle for 2nd furthest.

I learned two main things from this event:  a) I have some pretty awesome friends, and b) I shouldn’t run this at the end of my 3rd week of the highest mileage I’ve run in months.  That does not make for even somewhat spunky legs.  Live and learn, right?

My running this event seems to have inspired others to want to take on the challenge next year (I’m pretty sure that’s mostly due to the offering of black cherry soda to everyone afterwards).  I’m excited that others are interested in taking on this challenge and hope to have a group together next year!  Uli will likely show up for pacing duties again, too….

James Umbanhowar reports from the Durham School of the Arts track, Durham, NC:
Huggins and Morris (TVR virgin) showed up undertrained but enthusiastic.  We had a two lap warm-up around 1:44 per lap and then the business started with consistent 1:40-1:42 laps for the rest of the race.  Huggins charitably ran on the outside of lane 1 for the first half hour until he cramped up and started yelling out splits that were 2 seconds faster than reality.  Morris, who I knew had 4 beers and a giant hamburger the night before bravely hung on through 45 minutes and then I, who had actually been training,  tried to hang on for fifteen more minutes and exceed 9 miles.  Sadly that goal was not attained, but we all agreed the most difficult task was drinking the Knudsen’s Natural Black Cherry Soda. Congratulations to all finishers!

Mike Persick reports from the Haverford College track, Haverford, PA: We had hoped to run on the full moon, Friday the 13th, but heavy thunderstorms were predicted, so we postponed until today.  Flag day was well served with a strong wind, but it was a beautiful, clear morning.  Andy [Bove] ran strong and quickly lapped me one, two, four, six times before I stopped counting (must have been 9 or 10 by the end).  He kicked hard over his final 3 laps.  We shared Stewart’s Black Cherry Wishniak afterward.

Alan Kim reports from the Port Jefferson HS track, Port Jefferson, NY:

Although I ran from 8:30-9:30 AM, conditions were already very humid, and so the thing was a struggle. That’s what I get for not trying earlier on a cooler day! A local man, even older than myself, helped pull me through one of the final laps. PS I will enjoy black cherry soda with my family this evening.

Patrick Niemeyer reports from the University of Iowa’s Francis X. Cretzmeyer track, Iowa City, IA: We had a good time with the event this year. Having completed it last year I got a few recruits to join me, and a lot of blank stares. We were in Iowa City for a family event and completed our run on the track dedicated to my grandfather who competed for and coached the Iowa Hawkeyes for many years.

Dan O’Connell reports from Boulder, CO: This was a special year at our house as Liam (age 13) joined me for the first time. We put in our hour on the track at scenic Boulder High School on the banks of a very swollen Boulder Creek. An afternoon thunderstorm cooled things off and we got started about as late as possible for a TVR outing– 6:00 PM on Flag Day itself.  How’s that for procrastination?
For Liam this was the longest run of his life, both in terms of duration, and distance covered.  After the run we went searching for black cherry soda, unfortunately, without success. Still, it was an hour very well spent.

Liam started out fast (8:30 for the first mile) but didn’t stop moving after hitting a few barriers of discomfort.  For my part, I found it interesting that I began the run with the thought of sticking to 7 min pace, then, after five miles at that pace, I shifted my attention to
counting down the number of laps I would have left to run.  I found it so much easier to focus on the positive frame “only about 14 (etc) laps to go” than on the negative frame “don’t let your pace go above 7 min/mile.”

Pat Foley (Band of 10,000 Aches) reports from Minnesota: We had a record 17 runners this year.  Unfortunately, a big motivation to partake was to pay tribute to one of our runners, Larry Betcher, who was killed in a farm accident on May 23.  Larry ran the TVR three times and was a very accomplished runner with a marathon PR of 2:41.  More importantly, he was a great husband, father and friend.  He is greatly missed.
On a more upbeat note, we had a first for the hour run….Mark Z ran on the morning of his daughter’s wedding, not particularly well, but he ran. 🙂  Justin London once again left the country to run the TVR; this time Finland, the last time England.  Most profs have sabbatical every 7th year, Justin seems to teach every 7th year.

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