The Manchester Running Company racing teams opened the 2016 USATF-CT Road Racing Grand Prix with record numbers and five scoring teams. Twenty three MRC runners hit the pavement in New Haven at the WPLR ShamRock ‘n Roll 5k on Sunday, March 6th.
The men’s open team led the way with a second place finish, the women’s open earned third place, the women’s masters team was 4th while the men’s masters and grand masters teams grabbed 6th in very tight competition.
The men’s open team was led by Morgan Kennedy who started conservatively and picked off runners as he went to finish third overall in an impressive 15:38. Kennedy was followed by 7th place finisher Jake Gurzler (15:56) and ninth place runner Brian Nelson (16:10). Adam Gootnick made his MRC team debut and came through fourth on the team with a 17:06 clocking (24th overall) and Shizhong Yang set a personal best with a 17:22 showing. The top five runners’ cumulative time is compared to the other teams and MRC trailed SoundRunner by just under two minutes but was over 3 minutes in front of third-place New Haven Road Runners.
In the women’s open division, Melissa Stellato led the team as the sixth female across the line in 18:28. Stellato was followed by Ashley Gurzler in 19:07 and Brianna Demers made her team debut running 19:57 to close out the scoring. The MRC ladies finished just twelve seconds out of second place with a team time of 57:37, edged by Milford Road Runners’ 57:25 and SoundRunner took the victory in 55:18.
For the first time, MRC featured a women’s masters team which turned some heads and earned a fourth place finish. It should be noted, that the ladies would have easily taken third but a scoring technicality prevented that. (The rules of the scoring take gun time, not net time, so by following race etiquette and lining up according to ability, the team was actually punished and cost us a solid minute – Michele Kay ran an impressive 24:47, but her time for scoring purposes was 25:35 (her gun time), we aren’t bitter though, rules are rules, I guess).
The masters ladies were led by Kathleen Shaw’s personal best 20:17 and Shaw was backed up by MRC first-timers Sarah Ferrero in 21:53 and Michele Kay in 24:47. The MRC squad finished fourth, just 27 seconds off of third, and two minutes behind first.
In an incredibly contested men’s masters division, the MRC fellas (that’s slang for fellows) were led by Suresh Jatti (18:22), first-time master Dave Fusfeld set a personal best in 19:02 and Joe Hallisey closed out the scoring in 19:38. Hallisey also led the grand masters division and was assisted by Tom Soisson in 21:55 and Tony Torsiello, who just ran a marathon the week before, in 22:20. Both men’s masters and grand masters teams finished 6th.
The next team event for MRC is the Middletown Half Marathon on April 3rd. If you are interested in joining the club, please click here!