Thank you to everyone who came out on Sunday and made the 39th Annual Metric Running Festival such a success. Here are your official results. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did and look forward to seeing you again next year! Please remember to share your thoughts and photos from the day with us on Facebook!
If you received an award and were not present to claim it, you may retrieve it from Feet First Sports during normal business hours.
If you forgot your bag at bag check, you may retrieve it from Feet First Sports during normal business hours.
Awards and bags may be claimed after Sept 24th, 2014 and must be claimed prior to Nov 2nd, 2014. After this time, physical awards are forfeited and items are donated.
Results will be updated with split times no later than Friday, Sept 26th, 2014.
Any questions should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to everyone who volunteered and participated on the Metric Running Festival!
Metric Running Festival Article by Jim Carbary:
The Howard County Striders staged the Metric Running Festival (26.2 km and 5km) last Sunday. Under new race director Grace Tran, they put on the most lavish Metric in the 36-year history of the event. Metric marathon runners received an American Apparel California Fleece jacket as the race premium while 5km runners received a SportScience nice gender specific T shirt. Runners enjoyed the post-race finish festival beside the Kittimaqundi lakefront with croissants and OJ from La Madeleine, coffee, bananas, bagels, donuts, and cookies from Wegman’s, an assortment of Popchips, beef-tips and mashed potatoes from the Ale House Columbia and pizza from Three Brothers. The Still Point Wellness Spa was on hand to soothe aching muscles with massage and acupuncture, along with TheraPearl with product giveaways. Many sponsors contributed to the random drawing with generous support from Feet First of Columbia, TheraPearl, Ale House Columbia, La Madeleine, and Nic Ebright Sports Massage as random awards. Pepsi Cola company sponsored the Pepsi Pacer team and was the premier beverage for the Metric Run Fest with Gatorade, Aquafina and soda for on-course and post-race support. Grace and helper Keith Levasseur began setting up at 2 am in the morning. “The auxiliary sheriff dropped by to check us out,” Keith explained.
Before all of this, though, the Metric runners had to cover the challenging distance from Columbia to Ellicott City and back. In the men’s competition, the lead pack raced through the first two miles in 12:30, which is pretty good, but that pace was too slow for David Toller so he increased speed and took over sole possession of the lead. “I wanted to run about 6 minutes per mile,” he said. “I went through 10 miles in around 60 minutes. It was just me and the guy on the bike.” He finished alone in 1:38:27.
Toller attended Oakland Mills High School and ran on the cross country team for Salisbury State, and his parents were on hand to witness his great victory.
Early in the race, a minor brush occurred between the top two women, Alyssa Hogan and Robyn Humphrey. When Robyn slapped hands with a friend along the course, she inadvertently cut off Hogan, who objected loudly. They soon settled down to racing, however, and Humphrey even apologized. Hogan settled the issue by pulling away after a few miles and cruising to a win in 1:54:19. Last year’s winner of the women’s race, Grandmaster Donna Wecker, finished third among the females.
Some of Metric Marathoners, like Mick Slonaker, had registered for the New York City Marathon the weekend before. When Superstorm Sandy forced cancellation of the New York Marathon, the marathoners descended on the Metric Marathon. “We had to use all that training for something,” Mick said.
For the second year, the Metric also featured specialized pacers running at strictly even paces of 7:45, 8:00, 8:15, up to 11:00 per mile.
Runners could ensure they would run these paces simply by associating with the orange-shirted Pepsi Pacers (sponsored by Pepsi Cola, see?). “We attempt to run within a few seconds of the appointed paces,” explained pacer Jeff Garstecki (8:00 per mile), “regardless of whether we’re going up or down or flat.” Pacers received free entries to the race, including the fleece jackets and those orange t-shirts.
Overall winners received unique, hand-crafted awards from Robert Rhoades Wood Works, in addition to massage gift certificates from The Still Point Wellness Spa. Age group winners received plaques or mugs with yoga gift certificates from The Still Point Yoga.
Those not ready for the grueling 26.2 km race (or those with better things to do on Sunday morning) could run the accompanying 5km. This shorter event started 10 minutes after the 8:15 Metric start and ran around a course local to Lake Kittimaqundi. Scott Trama overcame local runners Shanon McIntyre and Hafiz “Coach Pain” Shaikh, while Kelly Westlake beat Jess Ivy by two seconds to win the women’s race.
329 finished the Metric Marathon, and 276 completed the 5k.
For the first time its 35-year history, the Columbia Metric Marathon(26.2 km) featured pacers and pace groups, with paces from 7:45 per mile to 10:30 per mile in 15 second per mile increments. Just a couple weeks shy of her 50th birthday, Donna Wecker decided she would tag along with the fastest pace group, lead by Keith Levassuer and Len Supsic. Donna had finished third at last year’s Metric, and decided a more conservative approach this year was warranted. She also wore a camelback loaded with those expensive carbo-fluids guaranteed to get you through long distance events. “I didn’t want to stop at the water stops,” she explained. And the pacing thing didn’t last more than three miles. “They were going too slow.” Since there were no women going as fast as Wecker, she began running with Hafiz Shaikh, organizer of the Bagel-to-Brew Marathon. Hafiz proved a worthy pacer, and though he wound up finishing ahead of Donna, she succeeded in breaking two hours (the only woman to do so) and winning the whole race. “Those carbs really helped, too,” she said. Her pace was vastly faster than 7:45 per mile, so she really was wise not to go pacing.
There was no thought of pacing among the men. Mark Buschman bolted to an early lead and left in his dust the race favorites Peter Keating (second in 2010) and Karsten Brown (first in 2010). “Mark outclassed the field from the quarter mile mark,” Karsten said. The greatest danger to Buschman’s lead was that he might venture off the Metric course that winds through Ellicott City and then into the warrens of Columbia’s bike paths. Happily, lead biker Bill Brandenstein kept him on course. “The biker was a nice guy,” Mark said, “and I didn’t go off course.” Buschman finished over two minutes ahead of second (again) place Peter Keating. “I didn’t get lost either,” Peter said, “but I was hoping Mark would.”
Sponsored by the Pepsi Cola Company, the Pepsi Pacers brought home a number of Metric Marathoners on course and on schedule. There were two pacers for each group. “That’s in case one of them conks out, the other can take over,” explained veteran pacer George Orlean. In addition to Keith Levassuer, who had just won the Rosaryville 50k race the day before, the pacers included Strider President Dwight Mikulis (10:15 per mile) and Strider membership chairman Donnie Chapman (8:45 per mile). Mr. Chapman was particularly proud of bringing his group within two seconds of the appointed time (2 hours 23 minutes). To ensure the proper pace, Pepsi Pacers employed every trick in the book from simple watches to carrying lists of split times to advanced GPS tracking.
A total of 383 finished the Metric Marathon. Overall winners received plaques and certificates for Asics shoes. Age group winners received medals. There were a number of random prizes of gift certificates & merchandise.
For those not up to running a Metric Marathon, or those wishing something to do while their spouses did, there was the accompanying Metric 5k, which started a few minutes after the Metric. Atholton High School’s Gary Smolyak had run the Maryland State Cross Country Championships the day before, but he still have enough left to crush the men’s field in the 5k with the only time under 18 minutes. “I didn’t do so well at States,” he confided. In the women’s 5k, Eileen Fleck and Rebecca Parks raced neck and neck for the whole 3.1 miles, but finally Eileen edged Rebecca by two seconds for the win. 310 runners finished the 5k, some of whom were quite speedy. They had no pacers, but they did have first options for the Ledo’s pizzas and warm biscuits from Copeland’s of New Orleans.
John and Ann Worley directed the Metric Marathon and the Metric 5k, which is staged each autumn by the Howard County Striders. The race date was recently moved from December to November in the hopes of more favorable weather, and this year the weather was breathtakingly nice. The Striders wish to thank the vast number of course marshals and water stop volunteers along the course, and particularly the Howard County Police, who regulated traffic at key intersections.
And there was enough pizza left over that some people wound up taking home whole pizzas. “Just in time for the Ravens game,” one of them said.
— by Jim Carbary
14 November 2010
“The leader was some guy in a blue shirt,” Karsten Brown observed about the first several miles of the Metric Marathon (26.3 km). Karsten and racing team mates Jason Tripp and Peter Keating all held back while the blue-shirted harrier expended himself in the initial going. But Brown and Keating passed him when they reached the hills of Ellicott City around eight miles. Karsten knew he had the race won when Keating almost veered off course when they entered the bike paths in Long Reach village. “I had to wait for Jason,” Mr. Keating lamented, “although Karsten would have beaten me anyway.” Brown continued hammering and won in 1:35:21. “I never take a day off,” he said. He had run a 50 km (31 mile) race the day before the Metric Marathon, which he regarded as “speedwork.” “I didn’t run as hard [in the 50k]”, he said. Brown said he expects to run a 50 miler next week!
Ellicott City resident Kara Waters handled the women’s competition with ease, although she too had some trouble staying on course in the twisty bike paths of Long Reach. “The guy behind me kept telling me which way to turn,” she said. After finishing (1:46:20), she admitted the Metric was a hilly, difficult course. “It’s best that I didn’t review the course beforehand.” Her four (!) daughters greeted her at the finish line. “She’s stinky!” Lila noted. Like the men’s winner, Waters is no stranger to long distance racing. In the weeks before the Metric Marathon, she finished the Baltimore Marathon and the Marine Corps Marathon. Maybe she’ll take a break now.
A veritable new-comer to racing, Donna Wecker amazingly finished third among the women (1:55:42). She had never run 16 miles before except in a training run the week before, and Clyde’s 10k in the Spring was the first 6.2 mile race she had ever run. “I never got into the lead,” Donna said, “but I was in second for a brief time when the other woman went off course.”
The Metric course was marked in red and black arrows, and a biker did lead the race, but the top runners lost him on the bike paths. Understandably, they might have been a little rusty at navigating the Metric route because the race had not been run since 2007. Snow and ice had forced cancellation of the event in 2008 and 2009. Anyone who registered for the race in those two years got a free entry this year, any many took advantage of the offer. The race was moved up a month from December to November to prevent a third catastrophe. The weather cooperated this time. It was sunny and pleasant, and the race sold out for the first time in its 34-year history.
The Metric 5k was also staged for runners who couldn’t spare two or more hours to run the Metric Marathon. In the shorter race, Harry Colby and Gary Smolyak clobbered the men’s field (18:08 and 18:10, respectively). Leading from the start, they talked to each other during the competition. In the women’s 5k, 46-year-old Robyn Humphrey beat 17-year-old Julie Gessler, but they had quite a battle. After finishing (19:18), Robyn left for yoga and massage.
All finishers received a pair of gray painters gloves with the Metric Marathon logo, as well as all the Ledo pizza they could eat. Post-race refreshments also included Bagel Bin bagels, Overall and age group winners received wooden plaques and gift certificates from Feet First of Hickory Ridge. 485 completed the Metric, while 182 finished the 5k.
The Howard County Striders put on the Metric Marathon to commemorate the linkage between the old city of Ellicott City and the new city of Columbia, and the course threads both. John and Ann Worley directed the Metric Marathon and 5k. They have directed the race for many years, and were relieved (along with most of the runners) to finally have some good weather. The Striders wish to thank the Howard County Police for providing traffic control and dozens of dedicated volunteers who served as course marshals and water dispensers.
by Jim Carbary