By Rick Platt
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.