It has been a profitable early season for CRR Diane Kukich, who has been targeting Delaware age-group records since she turned 70 this past February.
Having already eclipsed the 5K and 15K records in March and April, respectively, Kukich completed her trifecta within the 70-74 age group on May 14 by setting a new state record in the 10K at the St. Michael’s (Md.) Running Festival. Her time was 53:25, smashing the 2016-set mark by 55 seconds.
Kukich now holds four of the 17 state age-group records that are held by Creek Road Runners and admits that “three records in three months was intense.”
Next, she’ll be setting her sights on and training for her first marathon, which she wants to run and “just finish” on November 3.
This year’s Broad Street Run—the popular net-downhill, ten-mile, straight-down-Broad-Street run in the heart of Philadelphia—drew more than 20,000 participants. Among the masses at this May 1 run were two Creek Road Runners from Newark—CRR Flora Poindexter, who ran a 1:49:34 (1:47:07 chip), and CRR Shawn Alexander, who ran 1:56:48.
Congratulations to both of you for competing in this unique race.
Patriots’ Day in Boston, the third Monday in April, brings with it the famed Boston Marathon. One of our own ran this year and fared quite well.
CRR Clark Ridge (son of CRR Doug Ridge), who grew up in Newark and lives in College Park, Md., completed the 26.2-mile course—from Hopkinton, Mass., to the finish line on Boylston Street in Boston—in 2:51.37. This was a PR for Ridge at this distance by an astonishing 10 minutes. An interesting thing about a big marathon like Boston with seeded starting is that in order to run a big personal best one has to pass a lot of other runners. In Ridge’s case he had to pass more than 4,500 runners along the way and finished 1,602nd overall out of tens of thousands.
Whenever Ridge is home visiting his parents, he heads to Creek Road for a nostalgic training run.
Locally, the Delaware Running Festival was held on April 24 in Wilmington. There were a few standouts among the Creek Road Runners in the Half Marathon and 10K races.
In the Delaware Half Marathon, 40-yr-old CRR Andrew Weber finished 2nd overall and top master’s runner in a blistering 1:22:15. Weber always seems to do very well at this distance. He has won this race in the past.
Of particular mention is CRR Martha Narvaez. While she marked a major personal achievement by finishing this race (placing 11th in the 45-49 age group in 2:03:49), her 12-yr.-old son, Lincoln, won the 19-and-under division outright, completing the race in 1:35:50 and finishing in the top 30 overall. That’s 7:19/mile pace for 13.1 miles for a 12-year-old, and it was his first half marathon! Watch out for this young runner over in the next several years and when he gets to compete in high school.
In the 10K, 61-yr.-old CRR Bruce Weber (no relation to the aforementioned Weber) placed 3rd overall and was the top master’s runner in an impressive 41:26. Dover’s CRR Holly Scott was the 11th overal female finisher and placed 2nd among the 60-64 women in 58:22.
The Delaware Mile Challenge was a unique event, to be sure, on the recently renovated track at The Tatnall School. On Saturday evening, April 9, runners of all ages took to the track to challenge the mile distance. Well after dark, the excitement had built to a crescendo, as the elite men and women took to the oval to compete.
“Homefield” advantage theoretically should have meant nothing, as among the field of 13 elite men there were four runners who had already broken the 4-minute-mile barrier at least once. One of those competitors, however, was CRR Sam Parsons (son of CRR George Parsons and CRR Christina Parsons), who grew up in Newark and ran track and cross country for Tatnall during his high school years.
It appeared early on in the men’s elite feature race that Parsons, who trains with Colorado-based Tinman Elite, was ready for the challenge. Through the initial lap, he was in good position in fourth. Moving up, he took over third during the second lap, staying close to a 60-seconds-per-lap pace while battling with three professional runners from Baltimore’s Under Armour club—two in front of him and one right behind him.
By the back stretch of the final lap, Parsons had moved up and positioned himself right behind the race leader, Casey Comber. With just a half lap to go, both were right around 3:30, setting up what would be a frenetic sprint finish.
With the volume increasing to a roar from the hundreds who lined the track to cheer him on, Parsons out-sprinted Comber on the final straightaway and, in doing so, eclipsed the 4-minute mark—the first time this had been done on Delaware soil. Parsons clocked in at 3:58.17; Comber finished just 0.27 seconds behind, also going sub-4. The previous best mile run in Delaware had been run 50 years ago, indoors, at 4:01.1.
While not taking a victory lap, Parsons did take the mic to thank the crowd for helping to make The Delaware Mile Challenge such an energy-filled and memorable event. He also thanked his high school coach, Pat Castagno, who is Tatnall’s track-and-field and cross-country coach and whose own coach while at the University of Delaware was Delaware’s legendary CRR Jim Fischer, who presented the master’s mile race during the event.
By winning the elite race, Parsons bagged $2,500 in prize money. By breaking the 4-minute mark, he also walked (or maybe ran?) away with a $500 bonus, making it a very satisfying (and profitable) trip home!
The elite women’s winner, Molly Sughroue, of the Colorado Springs Track Club, ran away with the race, a new in-Delaware women’s record, and the same prize money.
Collectively, Creek Road Runners congratulate one of our own. Way to go, Sam!
Of local note is the fact that CRR Jim Bray, a Newark High School alum, once held the Delaware high school mile record for 28 years before it was broken in 1999.
The world record in the mile is still a mind-boggling 3:43.13, set by Morocco’s Hicham El Guerrouj in 1999.
About every five years, CRR Diane Kukich hears opportunity knocking at her door—specifically, looking at the age-group state records that may be within her grasp. Well, it didn’t take long for Kukich, who turned 70 in February, to take aim at and break a couple state age-group records.
On March 5 at the Attack Addiction 5K in New Castle, Kukich placed first among the 70-and-overs, finishing as the 25th female and 103rd overall out of the massive local field of 1,567, with a 25:08. Her time eclipsed the old 70-74 state record by 47 seconds.
Perhaps even more impressive was the most recent record she broke, which had stood for 31 years. At the Hot Chocolate 15K in Philadelphia on April 2, amid 1,779 runners from all over the East Coast as well as a few other parts of the country, Kukich smashed the Delaware 70-74 age group record for the 15K (9.3-mile) distance—a long race for her—by a whopping 6:05! She crossed the line in 1:28:13, finishing as the top 70-and-over female and placing 305th among all women and 549th overall.
Five years ago, Kukich broke and still holds Delaware’s 65-69 age-group record for the five-mile distance as well. For a time, she held the 10-mile record in the 50-54 age group, and, until last year, also held the 20K record in that same age group.