2017 Titus van Rijn Reports

The 19th annual Titus Van Rijn Hour featured 98 participants from twelve states and ranging in age from seven to 76. Congratulations to all who participated, and thanks to everyone who helped organize Titus hours of your own!

Pam Smith of Salem, OR ran 15,370m (9.55 miles) to claim her fifth TVR title, breaking her own women’s record by 91 meters in the process. Josh Zielinski covered 16,335m (10.15 miles) to capture the men’s crown. His mark is #7 on the all-time list for TVR men, aged 30-39. Josh was closely chased by Mike Fox of Virginia, who ran 16,237m. Mike’s mark ranks #9 on the all-time list for TVR M30-39.

Dan Mereis (Salem, OR; age 59) claimed the men’s masters (age 40+) title yet again, with a run of 15,190m (9.44 miles). That result is #4 on the all-time M50-59 list, surpassed only by a trio of Dan’s efforts from previous years. We’ll look forward to his debut next year in the 60-69 age group. On the women’s side, Pam Smith also claimed the women’s masters title, followed by Annie Gorski’s 13,000m and Simone Senger’s 12,200m.

After nineteen years of performances, it takes a special effort to establish a mark that ranks among TVR’s all-time Top 10 age-group performances. In addition to the marks noted above the following participants established Top 10 marks in 2017:

  • Bob Aby: 10,900m, #2 M70+
  • John Roth: 6,140m, #6 M70+
  • Kelly Fredgren: 11,520m, #7 F50-95
  • Tammy Gray: 6,400m, #8 F60-69
  • Lyn Roth, 3,200m: #10 F70+
  • Luka Van Der Pluljm: 12,500m, #10 M19&U

Collectively, 2017 TVR participants covered 1,002,417 meters (~623 miles). Cumulatively, TVR participants have strode over 12 million meters (~7,461 miles) since 1999.

As always, we raise a frosty glass of black cherry soda in salute to each of you. And we hope you’ll join us again next year for the twentieth edition of the TVR Hour.

Andy Roth & Mike Persick, TVR Meet Directors

* * * * *

Five Questions for TVR Record Holder Pam Smith

  1. How did you find out about the TVR Hour?

Greg Crowther was my college classmate and I followed his running when he was in his prime. He participated several times in the TVR (and still holds the men’s record). I read about his experiences on his blog and thought it’d fun to try.

  1. You’re best known as an ultra runner. How does a hard hour on the track relate to your primary racing focus? Does ultrarunning experience help your TVR performances? Does TVR experience benefit your ultra performances?

TVR is a great long distance speed workout and I think marathoners and ultra-runners can always benefit from that. I use TVR as a strategically planned hard workout similar to a tune-up race, which I do think benefits my ultra training and race performances. On the other hand, I think being an ultra runner helps with the mental aspect of TVR as ultras make you focus and push hard for long periods of time. And when you have done races that last 8, 12, or even 24 hours, one hour doesn’t seem that long!

  1. What is the hardest part of the hour for you? What do you do mentally to meet that challenge?

My first year I ran the TVR by myself and did WAY worse than I expected. I found it was mentally tough to motivate myself to keep pushing hard with no other frame of reference or incentive. So my second year I recruited some friends to run with me. Working together or at least being on the track together helps me stay focused and engaged enough to keep working hard the whole time. I have never run it alone since! I think our group has all been able to help each other and several other Salem runners have put up some great results.

  1. Racing flats or training shoes for TVR?

I wore the Nike Zoom Pegasus 33 this year. It is a lightweight trainer and my go-to for weekly track workouts.

  1. If you could become any kind of (non-human) animal, what would you pick and why?

One of my mantras for running is “Be the zebra” because a zebra’s will cannot be broken (and thus zebra’s have not been domesticated). In running you can’t let the lows break you, so I guess that is the animal I relate to the most. But I would probably choose to be an eagle because I would love to soar through the air and see the world from above.


John Douglass writes: The Tucson edition was presented May 6, 2017. After logistical challenges at our traditional venue, Catalina High School (locked gates and razor wire), we regrouped at Alvernon Park and ran the perimeter for an hour (a 0.3 mile circuit, rather than a traditional 0.25 on a track). Another great turnout from Himmel Athletics for the Tucson edition of the Titus van Rijn One-Hour Distance Classic Invitational! The 12 of us ran a cumulative total of 60.9 miles, which is an impressive 98,025 meters. I might also add that folks from Himmel Athletics have been doing this as a group since 2009, so that’s quite a tradition!

Pat Foley reports from MN: The Band of 10,000 Aches (BOTTA ) ran its 14th Annual Titus Van Rijn One Hour Distance Classic. We are struggling to get to the level of “classic”, but we continue to try.

Seven BOTTA members gathered at the Carleton track in Northfield on May 20 with a temperature of 42 degrees, rain and light wind. So overheating was not an issue.  Three others (the smarter ones?) ran at later dates.  Of course, at the conclusion we quickly had some black cherry soda and Girl Scout cookies (our tradition, as my granddaughter is a Girl Scout).

BOTTA has now reached 1.94 million meters (over 1,200 miles) so we look forward to reaching the 2 million mark in 2018.

From the Twin Cities, Sean Foley writes:

The number of competitors for the Twin Cities Chapter of the TVR was down this year, but that didn’t dampen our enthusiasm. This was the 4th year in a row and 5th out of the last 6 that we ran at Minnehaha Academy in south Minneapolis.
It was a sunny, relatively warm (mid-60s at start) race on Sunday, May 14, 2017. The kids and adults ran in separate heats. Nathan Campeau (easily) repeated as Twin Cities champion. Ava Hanks had an impressive TVR debut.
There was some mild controversy when one runner claimed that a competitor had taken more than 3 consecutive strides inside the line while running the curve, but there was no video evidence, so we avoided the first ever (??) TVR disqualification.
We, of course, celebrated with Black Cherry Soda. This year, in honor of the fact that we raced on Mother’s Day, we added a variety of pastries to the festivities.

The aforementioned Nathan Campeau recently wrote an article for the Run Minnesota magazine (Mar/Apr 2017 issue, p12) about how to measure the “value” of a race.  Lots of good analysis and calculations comparing various races in Minnesota, but TVR was a glaring omission.  🙂  For my money, even with the cost of the donuts factored in this year, TVR remains the best value in racing today!

From Conestoga High School in Berwyn, PA, Mike Persick reports:

I ran 13,708m, which was very satisfying after several years of poor results or not even running.  I made a point of starting out slowly and then fell into a decent rhythm.  I enjoyed taking kilometer splits, which are just short enough to keep my attention and give good in-race feedback.

Jenna walked 5,850m and reports that she spotted a turkey vulture sitting atop the school building, apparently hoping she would keel over by the side of the track.  Jenna remained upright for the full hour, and the turkey vulture went hungry that evening.

In the interest of economizing my budget but not my calories, I went with the large but inexpensive 2-liter bottle of Canada Dry Black Cherry Wishniak, which we enjoyed for the rest of the week.

From Facebook: On a lonely wind-swept track in the northern Rockies, Hank Dart laid bare his frailties as tribute to the 2017 TVR One-Hour Run, covering 13,490 meters (Age 49, male). Though the TVR is never really fun. It’s always empowering.

From the Lower Woodland track Patrick Niemeyer reports: Conditions were pretty good in Seattle for the last day of the 2017 TVR season: overcast with temperatures in the 60s. I returned to the track at lower Woodland Park where I’ve run dozens of workouts and my first TVR, but I hadn’t set foot there in years. It was great to be back! I hoped to be able to run at least a 7:30 pace and wound up running pretty consistent 7:14 1600s. It was tough and the black cherry soda was as delicious as ever. Thanks for continuing to make this a thing!

Josh Zielinski writes: A late and last day entry from Salem, Oregon (SSHS track). I missed the group run last week so I decided to go alone (as I did last time I did a TVR in 2014). I had Otis Redding blaring on the headphones and started the phone stopwatch timer around 4:30AM. I used its lap feature to count laps and maintain some loosely controlled splits as it has been 2+ years since I last ran more than a couple laps on the track. Weather was cool and overcast with a slight breeze on the west facing straightaway. Finished the hour about 65 meters from 16400 so 16,335 it is. Now, I just need to find Pam Proffitt Smith for my black cherry scone… thanks to all who host this site and participate, it’s inspiring!







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