The Manchester Running Company Club team got off to a great start to 2014 at the USATF-CT Road Racing 5 Mile Championships on Sunday, Jan. 26th in Milford. The five mile championship was hosted by the Milford Road Runners at the Jerry McCluskey Memorial Winter Wonderland 5 Mile Road Race.
The MRC men took the team championship while the women were third overall. MRC took a pair of individual victories as Jake Gurzler and Carrie Corbett were overall winners.
Conditions were less than ideal as an overnight snowstorm left about a 1″ coating of snow and ice on back roads where much of the race took place. The temperature was a tolerable 15-20 degrees but the conditions were slick through about 4 miles of the course. Much to runners’ chagrin, the only blacktop found throughout the course was uphill during the 4th mile.
The race was won by Gurzler who was sporting some YakTraks for extra grip; it proved helpful as he opened up a 10 second gap during the second mile and New Haven’s Tom Holowka couldn’t close the gap as Gurzler held on for a 17 second victory in 27:21. Gurzler was second a year ago, but took home the victory in 2014 and the sweet trophy it came with.
Supporting Gurzler for the team victory was Steve Clayton and Garrett Ash who took 5th and 6th, respectively, overall. Clayton was clocked in 28:41 while Ash was just five seconds back. New Haven’s Eugene Douglass broke up the MRC pack to take seventh but Chris McCormack came through as the fourth MRC’er in eighth place overall in 29:27. Rounding out the scoring for the men’s side was Matt Maynes in 13th place and a time of 30:05 to seal the victory.
The Manchester Running Company men took the team title with a cumulative time of 2:24:52 to better New Haven by just over two minutes and the Milford Road Runners took third. The MRC squad is currently riding a three-race win streak in USATF-CT Road Racing competition and will look to defend their Connecticut Cup title at the Colchester Half Marathon in February.
The women’s squad saw a debut of a trio of ladies running under the Manchester Running Company name for the Grand Prix Series. Corbett ran a conservative race at the start opening up with a 6:10 mile, and began picking off the leading ladies during the second mile. Corbett clocked a 6:18 second mile and was in second before catching and passing the runner up half way through the race. Corbett held a 6:20 pace through the rest of the race to comfortably win in 31:46, about 35 seconds ahead of the runner up.
Corbett was followed by Mary Bugbee who made her season debut with a solid time of 36:42 and was the 13th overall female. Just behind Bugbee was Lanham Marks-Hamilton in 37:09 and 14th overall.
The pack running of Bugbee and Marks-Hamilton helped the MRC ladies open the 2014 season with a third place finish in 1:45:37, a solid two minutes in front of the Mohegan Striders. The New Haven Road Runners took the win in 1:42:33 while Milford Road Runners were just out of reach of MRC in 1:44:32.
Congrats to all the MRC runners, scoring and non, on an excellent debut to the 2014 season.