Todd Callaghan planted the seed in August. “We have to get a team down to XC Nationals.” Six masters runners from the Central Mass Striders including myself committed to the December 10th race in Tallahassee, FL. Todd, Joe Shairs, Greg Putnam, and I touched down in Tallahassee the day before the race. Arthur Besse was already in Florida with his family in Jacksonville. Tim Van Orden was on his way via Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Our hotel shuttle driver, a local student, hit it off real well with us tipping us what to check out and what to avoid in terms of pub and grub. We got a little history of the local academia (Florida State University, Florida Community College, Florida A&M University).
We checked into the Four Points, welcomed by the USATF race
promotion and schedule of events in the lobby. We got a shuttle in a five
passenger golf cart up to the race HQ hotel about a mile away to get our race
numbers. The driver smiled when I asked he ever had the thing on two wheels
before? Once we were back at our hotel, we hit up Birds Aphrodisiac OysterShack next door, because it was steps away and our shuttle driver claimed the
best burgers in town. Oysters mean burgers in Tallahassee…..dozens of Oysters
were followed by burgers or Grouper sandwiches. Tim arrived after dinner after
a 2.5 hour drive from Jacksonville.
|Voted best burgers in town?|
|Joe questioning the "texting while driving permission" golf cart law in Florida|
|Raw Oysters before a race is always a good idea|
It was thrilling to watch John Barbour (GLRR) duke it out stride for stride, sharing the lead with Brian Pilcher from California. John would come up short by a few strides in the end. His age grade effort was the best of the day for the 8K. We checked in as team and got onto the course minutes before our 9:45 start. Just enough time to do a few strides and our Jameis Winston crab leg chant.
The race took off, down a good wide stretch that was sure to thin out the mass of 190 runners.
|Hats and gloves in Tallahassee|
CMS masters team: Todd Callaghan, Jim Pawlicki, Tim Van Orden, Joe Shairs, Arthur Besse, Greg Putnam
We had four loops waiting with something called “the wall.” It was a two stage hill with the 2nd being a steeper stride breaker. I glued onto Arthur Besse as soon as I could for company. The course rolled and swung us past the finish line area several times making this a great course for photographers and spectators.
I hung with Arthur for about 3.25 miles before fading like a Florida Oak tree. The 5K split was around 17:45. Arthur kept pace and passed several over the next few miles. I battled out with a few other guys in fade mode. One guy with a backwards facing hat got some cheer support. “Red,” Matthew Whitis’ presence and local pace kept me going in an otherwise dismal wrap up. Read about Matthew and his second chance. I finished up in 74th place (6th man on the team) with a time of 36:28 (5:53 pace per mile). Arthur finished in 35:50 and 64th place.
|Several loops at Apalachee resemble a whale|
The team placed 7th out of 16 teams, just 3 behind Cal Coast and 7 behind Bull City TC. In order: Tim Van Orden, Greg Putnam, Todd Callaghan, Joe Shairs, Arthur Besse, & I.
|Tim reaching for an Orange|
Please check out Greg Putnam’s recap of the end to end CMS trip to Tallahassee on LevelRenner.