Two CRRs receive high honors


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photo of Flora PoindexterCRR Flora Poindexter has received one of the University of Delaware’s highest honors, the Excellence in Teaching Award. Poindexter, a senior instructor in languages, literatures and cultures, is one of only four to receive this award at UD in 2019.

Of her craft, Poindexter says, “Teaching is a true passion for me. I enjoy watching my students discover the French language and francophone culture. I try to make my classes as enriching as possible and I am constantly looking for new ways of teaching to different interests and learning styles. As an educator, my own learning is a crucial part of my practice.”

In addition to being a great French teacher, Poindexter likes to run longer distances, including half and full marathons.

photo of Roberta GolinkoffCRR Roberta Golinkoff, one of the earliest members of Creek Road Runners, was also honored by the University of Delaware with the inaugural Faculty Excellence in Scholarly Community Engagement Award. Golinkoff, the Unidel H. Rodney Sharp Chair in the School of Education, was one of two individuals to be so honored.

A pioneer in research in young children’s learning, Golinkoff says, “It is amazingly gratifying to be recognized for my attempts to improve the lives of children and families around the world! The University has been a tremendous support for my efforts.”

Creek Road Runners congratulates both of them on their achievements!


CRR relay team repeats as champions


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photo of Katarina Smiljanec finishingThe CRR Delaware Marathon Relay team roster changed from last year. Due to a schedule conflict, CRR Bill Farquhar was not able to run, and CRR Mark Deshon had gone into “relay retirement.” So, team captain CRR Bill Rose injected some “younger blood” into the team, recruiting newbies CRR Luke Nigro and CRR Katarina Smiljanec to join him and CRR Bruce Weber. This strategy paid off smashingly on April 28 in Wilmington, as the team turned in a stellar 2:49:23, winning the team competition by a mile (actually by more than three miles) and defending CRR’s relay championship from last year.

photo of Andrew WeberIn the Delaware Half-Marathon, though 39-year-old CRR Andrew Weber (no relation to Bruce Weber other than serious speed) was not able to repeat his championship performance of last year, he ran a faster time by 23 seconds and finished second overall (out of 785 finishers) in the Delaware Half-Marathon, in a time of 1:22:11. CRR Kevin McCooey ran a 2:05:11.

photo of 2019 CRR marathon relay team

2019 relay team—Bruce Weber, Luke Nigro, Katarina Smiljanec, and team captain Bill Rose

The brand new marathon course took advantage of the Jack A. Markell Trail. A bicycle rider accompanied the lead relay runner, and the CRR team led the entire way. Legs were not exactly equal, unlike previous years’ four-lap course, and the 1-2 exchange ended up being 0.3 mile farther than the course map indicated.

Leg 1 (Rose) was net uphill, leg 2 (Nigro) was net downhill, and legs 3 (Weber) and 4 (Smiljanec) were flat, each with a small rise/fall going past the DuPont Environmental Education Center at the south end of the Wilmington Riverfront. Legs 3 and 4 were scenic but rather lonely for Weber and Smiljanec over much of the route, out and back along the Markell Trail.

Here’s how Rose described the race:

photo of relay team with plaques

CRR relay team with their first-place plaques

By the time I handed off to Luke at about 6.3 miles, there were four (full) marathoner competitors ahead of me. Luke chased down three of them on leg 2, leaving only one runner ahead of Team CRR. Bruce put time between him and all the relay teams and marathoners behind him. Therefore, Bruce was the second runner to arrive at the 19.6-mile point (3-4 exchange), preceded only by the eventual (full) marathon winner, and 2:05 ahead of the next fastest runner.

Kat ran the final 6.6 miles in 40:21, which was 4:37 faster than any other runner on that leg, relay or full! She finished in 2:49:23. Kat’s run was [basically] a solo time trial, since she was out of sight of anyone going her way, ahead or behind. Somehow, the race organizers had not had time or forethought to set up a tape for her to break, so Wayne Kursh asked Kat to re-enact the finish-line crossing, this time breaking a tape.

Split times were as follows: Rose (44:36), Nigro (42:00), Weber (42:26), and Smiljanec (40:21).

The reward for CRR was a nice set of plaques and a free relay-team registration for next year!

Fast pair shine at Five and Wine


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Of the 654 finishers in the third annual Five and Wine 5 Miler in Newark on March 30, two Creek Road Runners imprinted their credentials onto the central-Newark loop course.

photo of Emma Beisheimphoto of Andrew WeberCRR Andrew Weber continued his success in local races, finishing third overall and winning the 35-39 age group in 30:03, just a hair above 6-min./mile pace.

CRR Emma Beisheim crossed the line as the second female and 12th finisher overall in 34:25 (6:53/mile) and winning the 25-29 age group.

A fast pair indeed.

Farquhar fascinated by another’s speed


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photo of Bill FarquharPretty fast in his own right at age 50, University of Delaware professor and CRR Bill Farquhar has followed his kinesiology and applied physiology research into the realm of a world-class septuagenarian runner.

On April 15, Gene Dykes, at age 71, became a record-breaker in his age group at the Boston Marathon again this year, clocking an absurd 2:58:50. Back in December, he had ran an even faster marathon—2:54 and change.

CRR Bill Farquhar (left) observes Gene Dykes pushing himself to exhaustion on the treadmill during a research session (UD photo).

Funded with grants from NIH and the American Heart Association, Farquhar and his colleagues at UD and the Mayo Clinic began physically investigating Dykes to find out how he’s managing to run this fast at his age. Their findings were recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

One basic assessment from treadmill sessions is that Dykes has an abnormally high VO2 max, a measure of the facility with which the body processes oxygen during exercise. “Most people get to 75, 80, 85 percent of that physiological ceiling. He seems to be chugging along 90 percent the whole way,” Farquhar said. “He is able to get closer to and hold his max. Most people get closer and fatigue.”

Farquhar now has a good personal target goal for a couple decades down the road.

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> For the technical stuff, see NEJM article

The soil beneath his shoes



photo of Vic KakiakinYou’ve heard of the song, “The Wind Beneath My Wings.” Well, this isn’t what we’re talking about here. Let’s just call it “the soil beneath his shoes.”

CRR Vic Kaliakin, a civil engineering professor at the University of Delaware, was recently honored with an award for the best technical paper in 2018 by the journal Transportation Infrastructure Geotechnology for his contributions to the research of soil modeling.

No doubt, having put in thousands of miles on Creek Road, Kaliakin has seen lots of soil on the road after storms. He’s also picked up a lot on the soles of his shoes over the years of running at Fair Hill on Dec. 31 and portions of the Pen-Del trail north of Creek Road in neighboring Pennsylvania, where he lives. Of course, this has little to do with his geotechnical expertise… or does it?

Kudos to you, Vic.

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