Ithaca Runners Battle Cold and Snow in PGXC Championship

Written by Adam Engst, High Noon AC team captain

Remember that snow last Thursday? You know, the white stuff that’s still covering the ground everywhere in Ithaca? Well, they had it in Syracuse too, and it made for a memorable 2018 Pete Glavin Cross Country Series finale. The course was covered in three to four inches of ice, snow, and slush — in that order — as 205 runners turned the lollipop course with two loops of the candy part into a disgusting mess of  slipping and sliding. Some people did better than others depending on their footwear choices or by just being lighter of foot. In the end, a good time was had by all, and it was capped off by an awards banquet where High Noon and FLRC individuals and teams placed well. (Series recap and awards for our local runners.)

On the individual level of podium finishers, Adam Pacheck took second overall in the race, Ian Golden was third in the Masters division, Adam Engst was second in the Vets category, and Deb Bliss won the Ultra Vet division. On the team side, the High Noon men’s teams took a strong second in every category they competed in — Open, Masters, Vets, and Super Vets — and the FLRC women’s teams took fourth in Open, third in Masters, second in Vets, and third in Super Vets. (Full results are available here.)

In the team competitions, the High Noon Open team couldn’t compete with the Syracuse Track Club team that dominated every race. High Noon did manage to hold off Checkers AC (Buffalo) in fine fashion, thanks in part to a particularly nice race from Sean Dunn.

The heartbreak race of the day was the Masters category, where High Noon had gone into the final race tied with GVH for the lead. They had won two races, and we had won two, with the other taking second each time. We pulled out all the stops, recruiting Ian Golden for another race and running all their top Vets down to Masters. However, GVH did the same, putting their top four Vets onto the Masters team and almost losing the Vets category in the process. Even though Ian came through for with a strong third overall, it wasn’t enough and GVH took the victory.

After Casey Carlstrom’s third place Vets finish at the Taughannock race, I decided to run him down in an effort to win Masters in this race, and that decision came back to haunt us in the Vets category. Because GVH stacked their Masters team so deep, if I had left Casey on the Vets team, we would have beaten GVH in the race, though we still had no chance in the series. Nevertheless, our Vets team was only four points out of first.

Finally, although our Super Vet team had no chance against a powerful Syracuse Track Club, they ran well to stay ahead of GVH.

On the women’s side, the FLRC Open team toughed it out in the cold and slush for fourth place, led by Amanda King.

Thanks to Nancy Kleinrock, who was running with the Masters team down from the Vets and running with a broken wrist, FLRC was able to field a three-woman Masters team that took third, led by Julie Barclay’s fifth place finish.

That left just three women for the Vets team, but they posted some strong times, taking second to a Checkers team that has dominated the series.

And finally, FLRC’s Super Vet team, led once again by Ultra Vet Deb Bliss, ran well to take third.

That’s it for the 2018 season! If you didn’t run this year but have enjoyed reading these race reports, consider joining us next year. A number of our teams could use some more depth to be able to compete against clubs from much larger cities. Ithaca has the talent; we just don’t have as large a
pool to draw from. Stayed tuned next summer for announcements about joining our teams in 2019!