On December 31st, we renewed a yearly Creek Road Runners tradition that we had to pull the plug on in 2020. Sixteen participants and two dogs showed up to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather. We managed to get a decent group shot and keep a reasonable social distance.
Last month, CRR Sam Parsons ventured to Cambridge, Mass., and hooked up with the Harvard University men’s running team. So, why was the Newark native and Tatnall School and NC State grad with the Crimson? Well, it probably had something to do with Harvard’s recent (and not-so-recent) Delaware connection.
In the above photo (submitted by CRR George Parsons, Sam’s dad), Parsons is kneeling, front and center in the gray hat and bright red shirt. Behind him and to his left, sans shirt, is Andrew Avila, a Harvard sophomore from Newark, who ran for the Charter School of Wilmington.
Parsons, a professional runner with Boulder, Colo.–based Tinman Elite, knows former Harvard runner and Charter School of Wilmington standout Kieran Tuntivate (not in the photo), who now runs for the Bowerman Track Club in Portland, Ore. No doubt Parsons and Tuntivate had kept in touch while Tuntivate was running for the Crimson.
CRR Bruce Weber, a Harvard alumnus and local ambassador for the school, helped Tuntivate familiarlize himself with Harvard and its running program several years ago as he was making up his mind where to do his college running. Weber submitted his own archival tribute to the Crimson runners of yore, of whom he was a key player when he was an undergrad. In this photo from 1984, Weber, who is Dean of the Lerner School of Business at the University of Delaware, is second from the right.
Nice Blue Hen synergy, eh?
CRR Barret Michalec touched based recently, sending in some of his thoughts and experiences from living and running in Arizona, where he moved about a year and a half ago.
I’ve been running here and there since moving to Arizona. I live in an area called Fountain Hills. It gets its name from the famous Fountain, and, of course, [there are] rolling hills…which I have learned about first-hand in my running. The heat is the kicker, can’t really get out any time after 9 a.m. in the summer and even late spring, but during the “winter” and “fall” it’s pretty fantastic running.
I haven’t been training or anything but saw a run that looked fun. It was a trail 15k in the local mountains…AT NIGHT! I hadn’t done much trail running because of the snakes and wildlife and fear of getting lost, but I figured I would be able to see all the other headlamps of fellow runners at this thing. It was super awesome. A bit scary, a bit like “They allow us to do this?!”
I ended up finishing in 1 hour and 20 minutes and came in 3rd [among] all men (4th overall out of 60+ [finishers]). What struck me was the age of the top—all over 40. Trail running must be something different out here—different crowd, different techniques/tactics. I couldn’t use my long strides because of the rocks and loose-footing areas on the uphills and downhills, and there are a lot of twists and turns, so you have to really focus…especially at night.
There were folks there for a 75k, 50k, and a 25k! NUTS! Maybe [I’ll do] the 25k next time though….
Barret, thanks for the update, and stay cool out there.
There are many who relish the accuracy of chip timing, as a measure of exactly what their time was for a particular distance. Indeed, the technology that has become commonplace in competitive running is a great thing. For many purists, however, trying to compare races run “pre-chip” with those using chip timing is an undeniable mystery—very much like comparing apples and oranges. Both are fruit but very different from one another.
Creek Road Runners, from its earliest days (“prehistoric” in terms of timing technology—e.g., the use of a stopwatch), has held to a standard of posting “gun times,” as opposed to “chip times” for just this reason. It is fair to compare gun times over the years, though they don’t necessarily reflect accurate time over the stated distance. Who’s to say what one’s chip time would have been in a race of tens of thousands back in the day, if it took up to a few minutes after the gun went off just to get to the starting line?
Today, nearly all race organizers/timers do what is easiest and most efficient in posting results, i.e., using chip times, which is totally understandable. However, how do race directors decide who earns awards in various competitive categories? This can be quite paradoxical.
Speaking of paradox, CRR Bill Rose competed in the Grape Stomper cross-country 5K this summer at Paradocx Vineyards in nearby Pennsylvania. Finishing eighth overall, Rose won his age group. The paradox involved here is that Rose’s chip time was actually faster than the competitor who finished just two seconds ahead of him and who walked away with the award for fastest men’s masters runner—a more prestigious accolade, to be sure.
Upon further inspection, there were a number of inconsistencies in how runners were ranked—most placed strictly according to chip time, and yet some weren’t, like Rose, who turned in a 23:13.
CRR Mark Deshon remembers a 5K several years back, at the finish of which he was certain to have won his age group, having not seen his main rival at any point during the race. Upon checking the results board, he had placed second, not first. How might this have happened? Well, he found out that his competitor, who gladly accepted the age-group win, actually had a faster chip time but had spent too long in the Porta-Potty and had gotten to the starting line about 45 seconds after the gun had sounded.
So, this illustrates a problem with competitions, which are essentially what “races” are. One can complain about Creek Road Runners’ stance with respect to not posting the faster (i.e., chip) time in its race results articles, but we’ll argue that when the gun sounds, the official clock begins, no matter where you are in relation to the starting line—even if you’re still in the Porta-Potty!
The 2020 pandemic Olympic Games came to a close on August 8, 2021. Now we can look forward to the 2024 games in just three years!
For many, the extra year of training and preparation for these games was a hindrance; for others, it was a blessing in disguise. There were certainly a lot of surprises along the way. It seems the rest of the world is catching up with the USA in many sports.
In particular, the men’s track and field team, with a few notable exceptions, did not have the broad success that most of us expected. The USA women’s T&F team performed better, relative to their competition.
Champion gymnast Simone Biles brought a stark new awareness of the mental aspect of this level of competition, dropping out of the gymnastics team competition and a few of her individual-specialty apparatus events due to her unreadiness mentally.
How difficult, both physically and mentally, it is just to get to the Olympic stage was highlighted in a pre-Olympics article in the New York Times, which focused on this subject and featured CRR Sam Parsons.
Parsons, who trains with Colo.-based Tinman Elite and was competing for a spot on the German national team in the 5,000m (his mother CRR Christina Parsons is German), had been battling a nagging injury leading up to the German trials. Unfortunately, with little more than a lap left in his quest to qualify, he had to pull out of the race—his Olympic dream deferred.
The good news, father CRR George Parsons tell us, is that his son is recovering well physically and is staying positive, despite the disappointment.
> See New York Times article
Another almost-made-it was Michaela Meyer, who won the NCAAs this year but finished fourth at the Olympic trials. Meyer was a former UD student of CRR Bill Rose.
Yes, the world does seem to be catching up to the USA in many respects. Could this be the natural evolution of globalism, or is there something behind this?
We’d like to think that the efforts of (self-proclaimed Creek Road Runners CEO) CRR Matt Robinson are making a difference for other nations that may not have the coaching expertise that we enjoy in this country. He literally coaches Olympic coaches.
This effort is funded by the International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Solidarity Fund, which designates money generated from Olympic broadcast rights to sport development and education programs around the world.
In the runup to the Olympic Games this summer, Robinson was interviewed by a University of Delaware UDaily reporter for the following article.
> Read “Going for Gold”