Led by the efforts of Chris McCormack, the Manchester Running Company men’s racing team took third place at the Danbury Half Marathon on March 29th. With the third place showing, the men’s squad took over first place in the Open Men’s standings of the USATF-CT Grand Prix Series.
The Danbury Half was run in unseasonably cool temperatures (40 degrees) with a steady wind in some parts of the course. The route is relatively flat for 8 miles before two miles of hills, a mile of downhill and a flat finish. McCormack set out with a 1:18 goal and was among the top ten runners in the field from mile 1 on. His pace proved even faster than six minutes per mile for the first eight before the hills forced a bit of a slow down. Chris was able to make up the time with a very fast 10th mile and continued to finish the final 5k in 17:30. McCormack was able to pass two runners in the closing miles to finish fifth overall in 1:17:35 and win the age group.
Greg Tutolo and Patrick Byrne were second and third for MRC, respectively. The duo ran the first 8 miles together in about 6:50 pace before hitting the hills and slowing down a step or two per mile. Tutolo kept a strong pace and finished just over the 1:30 barrier while Byrne came through the line in 1:32:02 after struggling on the hills. Tutolo was 39th overall and Byrne was 46th.
Closely behind was Dave Fusfeld who made his 2015 MRC debut with a five minute personal best in the half marathon distance. Fusfeld was just off the Tutolo/Byrne pace throughout the race and finished in 51st place overall in 1:32:49. The five-man squad was completed by Mark McCarty, who despite battling an illness for three days prior to the race, toughed out an impressive 1:41:14 to finish just outside the top 100.
The cumulative team time totaled 7:34:10, good enough for third place behind the winners from Brookfield Running Club (6:57:45) and runners-up Mohegan Striders (7:23:35).
The absence of a complete team (though their four runners were all in the top 8 overall) from SoundRunner Racing allowed MRC to take over first place in the Open Men’s division of the USATF-CT Grand Prix Series. MRC now leads the field with 26 points through three races. Mohegan Striders are just one point behind and SoundRunner dropped to third with 22 points.
The next race in the series is the Delaney Dash on May 23rd in Old Saybrook. For more information on how to join the club and the racing team for MRC please visit our team page!