By Rick Platt
Williamsburg, VA
May 12, 2012
For the Washington Running Report

Bruton High School track and cross country coach and former Queens Lake 5K Run race director Mark Tompkins, 36, of Williamsburg was the overall winner of the 18th annual Queens Lake 5K Run, Saturday morning at New Quarter Park in Williamsburg, under ideal weather conditions (cool, race-time temperatures in the 50s, sunny, and little wind). Tompkins ran a winning time of 16:35, 16 seconds faster than his runner-up time from 2011.

Women’s winner Jennifer Quarles, 40, of Williamsburg, a 6-time Colonial Road Runners Grand Prix champion, ran her fastest time as a Masters runner, winning in 18:59.

But the race of the day, age-graded, was by Mercedes Castillo-D’Amico, 54, of Newport News, who was second overall for the women in a time of 19:50, a Queens Lake 5K age 50-54 record (bettering her own mark of 20:29 from 2009). On an age-graded basis, Castillo-D’Amico, age graded an impressive 89.7%, just under the 90% level considered world-class. An 80% age grade is considered national class. It was a lifetime best for Castillo-D’Amico on a certified course. The Queens Lake 5K Run is certified (VA-08008-RT) an exact 5K distance according to USATF course certification standards. The course starts and finishes in New Quarter Park of York County, but includes a loop within the Queens Lake neighborhood.

Two other Queens Lake 5K Run age-group records were set, both in the 80-and-older category, and both by 81-year-old race walkers–Tom Mills, who lives in Queens Lake (43:04 for the men’s 80-and-older record) and Pat Eden (49:26 for the women’s 80-and-older record).

The race was organized by and benefited both the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and the Colonial Road Runners Scholarship Fun, with race directors Soosan Hall and Jennifer Gardner of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the world’s largest volunteer-driven fundraising organization benefiting childhood cancer research.


By Brenda Barrera
Norfolk, VA
November 13, 2011
For the Washington Running Report

The Norfolk city banner flags were flapping with a breeze coming out of the southwest as 1,202 runners took off for the inaugural Freedom Half Marathon in ideal conditions on Sunday. Navy Lt. j.g. Erik Bates, 25, from Virginia Beach, VA won in 1:21:05 and Jennifer Quarles, 39, from Merrimac, VA was the first woman in 1:29:00.

It took less than a mile for Bates and Frank Sprtel, 39, from Silver Spring MD to separate from the field. Bates made a decisive move at mile 6 when Sprtel grabbed a drink from the aid station. That is when he threw in a surge and the race was in his command as he pulled away for the win.

It was a sweet victory for the Naval Academy graduate who competes on the All Navy Triathlon team. “I’ve been on a ship so it’s been hard to stay in shape,” said Bates, who serves on the USS Carter Hall.

Sprtel, a history buff, was looking for a November half marathon when he signed up for the race. It was an opportunity to bring the family for a weekend of sightseeing in Norfolk and also nearby Williamsburg.

“I’m interested in historical architecture,” said Sprtel. “This was a good mix with both interests.”

JP Botti, 26, from Norfolk finished in third place with a time of 1:23:37.

In the women’s competition Jennifer Quarles , a member of the Colonial Road Runners, achieved her goal of breaking 1:30:00 by exactly one minute.

Meghann Cook, 28, originally from Massachusetts and recently re-located to Virginia Beach took the runner up spot in 1:31:37. Third place went to a local standout Leisa Villani, 53, also from Virginia Beach who crossed the finish line in 1:32:33.

Jean Phelan, President of the Tidewater Striders, finished the half marathon in 1:59:24 and commented on the event that has a five-year contract with the City of Norfolk. “This really has potential to grow,” she said.

John Amoroso, 34, from Glen Allen, VA and a member of the Richmond Road Runners said he decided to do this race for three reasons: “It benefited a great cause, it was a new race and a flat course.” He finished in 1:54:51.

It was easy to spot Norfolk’s Diana D’Abruzzo who was literally covered in yellow ribbons.  Each ribbon had the name of a person who donated to her campaign to raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project in honor and memory of fallen Navy SEAL Chris Campbell.

In addition to the half marathon, there was a Two-Person Relay with 28 teams and the Wounded Warrior 5K, which drew 216 finishers.

Chris Phelan (no relation to Jean), 55, from Garland, TX  was in town for a reunion with shipmates and recovering from recent knee surgery. The Texas running and triathlon coach decided to enter the race not knowing what to expect. Sometimes racing in a city where you do not know many people or have any specific plans can yield surprising results. Phelan won in 18:18.

Running is an activity for the whole Lovett family from Newport News, VA. On Saturday Jack, 41, ran the HCA Virginia 8K in Richmond taking 2nd in his age group. On Sunday, it was Pamela’s turn to test her speed. Retired after serving 23 years in the Army, she wanted to do this race to support the Wounded Warriors Project. She handily captured the women’s title in 19:50.

The post race festivities at Town Point Park began with an exhibition by the United States Naval Academy Silent Drill Team, a stirring way to close out the morning events and a weekend honoring our Veterans.


By Rick Platt
Williamsburg, VA
May 7, 2011
For the Washington Running Report

With just one third of the Colonial Road Runners Grand Prix schedule completed as of last Saturday’s Mental Health 5K in Williamsburg, the sixth of 17 races for 2011, the major contenders have emerged for the overall men and women’s titles. All were in attendance at the 16th annual Eastern State Hospital event.

Youth out sprinted age in both races as Todd Kessler, 28, of Newport News (17:12) out-kicked Stephen Chantry, 56, of Williamsburg (17:14) in the final 50 meters at the Mental Health race. The top two women have gone back-and-forth this year with Karen Terry, 22, of Hampton (18:55) prevailing this time ahead of six-time CRR Grand Prix champion Jennifer Quarles, 39, of Williamsburg (19:03).

Finishing shortly after Kessler and Chantry were Daniel Shaye, 42, in 17:21, Steve Menzies, 47, in 17:29, and Greg Dawson, 45, in 17:44. In the Grand Prix standings, Kessler has a commanding lead over Chantry in the Grand Prix, 42-28, mainly because he has done five of the six races, while Chantry has run only four. But they have developed a great rivalry, finishing one place apart in each race. At the Jamestown Swamp Run, Kessler was second in 17:40 and Chantry third in 17:47. Kessler (17:19) won against Shaye (18:21) at First Colony with Chantry absent. The very competitive Yorktown Victory Run 8 Miler had Kessler sixth (46:59), just six seconds ahead of Chantry’s seventh (47:05). Neither ran the Run the D.O.G. but came back a week later to place third (Kessler, 16:52) and fourth (Chantry, 17:07) at Queens Lake. The Mental Health 5K was the closest yet, just two seconds apart, but Chantry’s track speed was not quite enough.

Following in the men’s Grand Prix standings are Shaye (22), Menzies (21), Queens Lake winner Alexander Grout (18), 2010 Grand Prix runner-up Dawson (15) and 2010 Grand Prix winner Mark Tompkins (14).

For the women, Jennifer Quarles has an 11-point Grand Prix lead over Terry, mainly because she has run one more event. Terry (19:36) won by four seconds ahead of Quarles (19:40) at Jamestown, while Quarles reversed that order two weeks later at First Colony, 19:09 to 19:20. Neither ran Yorktown, but a week later Quarles won the D.O.G. in 19:19, with Terry not competing. Queens Lake had Quarles second in 19:06 and Terry fourth in 19:26. Saturday at Mental Health, Terry’s 18:55 was her best of the year, while Quarles also had a yearly best with her 19:03. Elizabeth Ransom, 38, of Toano was third at ESH in 20:21, with Connie Glueck fourth in 20:28.

Those four are dominating the women’s Grand Prix this year. After Quarles with 47 points, it is a tightly-bunched group of multiple Grand Prix runner-up Glueck (39), Ransom (38), and Terry (36). Far back in fifth are Queens Lake winner Heidi Peterson (18:42, the year’s best CRR time) and Yorktown winner Laura Shannon, each with 10 points for their one race.

The Mental Health 5K returned after a year’s absence, thanks to the efforts of new race director Robert Wilson, the CRR equipment manager, and an employee at Eastern State Hospital. The event had 141 finishers in the 5K run, and an additional 60 finishers in the 1 mile fun run, a total of 201 finishers.

Both Kessler and Terry coach at Smithfield High School, while Chantry coaches at Lafayette High in Williamsburg, and Quarles is a Bright Beginnings pre-school teacher at Norge Elementary.

Pat Eden, 80, of Williamsburg, set an all-time Colonial Road Runners record for women 80 & older with a time of 47:59, while competing in the race-walk category where she was fourth overall.

Two of the biggest races in the Williamsburg area are coming up in the next three weeks. The Run for the Dream races in Williamsburg as of last Friday had 2,569 entrants for the May 22 half marathon, and 1,431 entrants for the May 21 8K race, already the biggest running event in the long history of Williamsburg. If the entry limits of 4,000 (half marathon) and 2,000 (8K) have not been reached, entries will still be accepted at the expo and packet pickup on May 20 and 21.

The largest race in the history of the CRR is the second annual Icelandic Seafood Fest 8K in Newport News, set for Saturday evening, June 4, and which had more than 900 entrants last year and is limited to 1,250 for 2011. As of Thursday, the Icelandic race had 446 entrants in the 8K and 106 in the 1 mile, a total of 552, but should approach the 1,250-runner limit by the entry deadline of May 27.



By Rick Platt
Williamsburg, VA
March 26, 2011
For the Washington Running Report

Performances by Jennifer Quarles, Ann Manciagli, Ann Hirn, and Ken Mitchell highlighted the action at the 16th annual Housing Partnerships Run for Shelter 5K. The race was held for the second year on a very flat and fast loop course through the First Colony neighborhood. It is the second Colonial Road Runners Grand Prix race of 2011.

In a mild upset, Williamsburg’s Quarles beat Karen Terry of Newport News by 11 seconds, just two weeks after Terry had won the Jamestown Swamp Run 5K over Quarles, 19:36 to 19:40. Last year Terry won easily over Quarles at the Crapolfest 5K, 19:01 to 19:42, and Terry then improved to a CRR best of 18:56 at Governor’s Land in November

Quarles, 39, is a six-time CRR Grand Prix champion, and has had similar yearly bests the past three years—19:09 in 2008, 18:50 in 2009 and a 19:03 in 2010. That she is down to 19:09 already for 2011 bodes well for the year, where her goals include the Run for the Dream Half Marathon in May and a sub-19-minute 5K. At First Colony, Quarles and Terry ran side-by-side for the opening mile, a 6:14, when Quarles pulled ahead slightly. The second mile was a 6:13 for Quarles and she kicked in to extend the margin, winning in 19:09. Terry was second in 19:20, while Elizabeth Ransom, 38, of Toano broke 20 minutes for the first time in years with a 19:52. Quarles was just short of her own First Colony course record of 19:03, set in 2010, her fastest time last year.

Terry was one of five women who broke age group records at First Colony, her 19:20 a minute faster than the previous 20-24 mark. Also breaking records were Thea Ganoe of Hampton (24:20 for women 50-54), Ann Hirn of Portsmouth (24:57 for women 65-69), Pauline Ely of Hampton (34:42 for women 70-74) and Ann Manciagli of Williamsburg (35:25 for women 75& older). Manciagli’s time was also the all-time CRR record for women 75 & older, the previous mark was her 37:53 at the 2011 Jamestown Swamp Run.

Manciagli moved to Williamsburg with her husband in 1994, but had never run or been particularly athletic except for aerobics classes. In 2000 she decided to run the Cheatham Lake 6K at Cheatham Annex. She joined the CRR in 2002, at age 66, and said “I was hooked on the sport from the very first race.” Her fastest time running came in 2003 with a 31:29, but she then moved to the racewalking division, placing second in the CRR Grand Prix walk in 2008 (best time of 37:10), then first in the Grand Prix walk in 2009 (best time of 38:15). Last year Manciagli got down to another 37:10 in the walk, before switching back to running in October, running 35:39 at William and Mary Homecoming and 35:54 at Governor’s Land, both at age 74. Her 75th birthday in February allows her the opportunity to break all of the CRR records for that age group, starting with Jamestown. As with Quarles, her goal race is the Run for the Dream Half Marathon.

For the men at First Colony, the top three overall were Todd Kessler, 28, of Newport News (17:19), Daniel Shaye, 42, of Williamsburg (18:21), and Gregory Adams, 33, of Fort Eustis (19:06). The strongest age group of the day was the men’s 55-59, with Jim Goggin (19:32), Will Murray (19:55) and Wyatt Cutchins (20:12) fourth, fifth, and sixth overall for the men, although an impressive four women placed in the top ten overall combined (Connie Glueck, 46, of Williamsburg was fourth for the women, and 10th overall in an impressive 20:40).

The best men’s age-graded performance, however, was by Ken Mitchell, 66, of Williamsburg, whose 20:52 was a PR (his first time under the 21-minute barrier). Mitchell also age-graded a lifetime best of a national class. 80.6%,.

In the race walk, Rich Higgins (31:32) won ahead of Jeff Fry (32:50) for the men, while Kelly Crumpler (36:46) beat Sylvia Garcia (37:31) for the women.


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