Moving objects follow the path of least resistance: basic physics and recent torrential rains make this clear.
But while water runs where it will, runners typically run where water won’t. Brock Baker skillfully demonstrated this at the Cardinal Track Club’s Four on the Fourth, plodding through puddles, skirting streetside streams, and braving the humidity to a new course record 19:48.76.
“It was like running in the shower,” Baker said, laughing.
“It took (race director) Sandy Padden three or four days to find enough of the course dry to mark it,” said Dick Forbis, cofounder of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro track club, who praised Padden and her race committee, including Joan Boone, Christine Cotton, John Blunk and Meredith Bolon. This year’s race drew more than 800 registrations.
The Four on the Fourth marked the initial event in another round of Cardinal’s Tour de Carrboro three-race series. Oct. 5 will see the Carrboro 10K (6.1-mile) race, and the popular “Double B” (Bobby Biles) Gallop and Gorge 8K (5-mile) run will be held on Thanksgiving morning, Nov. 28.
Rounding out the top three overall places were Thomas Graham of Cary (20:11.75) and Chapel Hill’s Marc Jeuland (20:28.25).
Finishing first among the women was UNC grad student Kristin Sellers (24:41.75), with Rachel Bell Kelley second (24:58.27) and Alison Klaitman third (25:15.77).
“The humidity was just crazy,” Sellers said, “especially on the hills where the sun would peek out. But I ran here last year and knew the course, so I tried to be a little more conservative over the first mile knowing that the third and fourth miles had uphills.”
Among the masters, Colin Jones finished first (22:28.76) followed by Craig Heinly (23:24.76) and David Dunson (23:45.77).
Leslie Morgan (26:02.50) claimed the top prize for the second year in a row among masters women, followed by Ilona Jaspers (29:13.85) and Doris Alexander (29:17.61).
Baker’s run wasn’t the only record-setting performance, as new age division marks were set by 9-year old Lucas Daley (28:38.1), 12-year old Gracie Morris (28:38.86), and 62-year old Helen McAdams (32:09.6).
All of the impressive performances weren’t necessarily reflected on the race clock, however.
For Women’s 50-54 division winner Kathy Matera, there was a victory in losing to her daughter, Chapel Hill High runner Elise Matera.
“Last year, at least it was close, but this year, she beat me by like a minute,” Matera said. “She was being really nice to hang with me through two-and-a-half miles, and then I told her, ‘Just go.’”
For the nearly 100 runners representing Fleet Feet Carrboro’s No Boundaries training program, simply finishing was reward enough.
“It’s my first race in 11 years,” Jill Hennin said. “But I finished standing up, and that was my goal. I also wanted to run it in under and hour, and I made my goal time.”
“We had 137 runners out here, including about 35 that are mentors,” No Boundaries mentor / coach Paul Atherton said. “I think the runners were excited – it’s been eight weeks of training. If anyone was nervous, they weren’t showing it.”
All three races in the Tour series benefit the Optimist Club of Chapel Hill, the Arc of Orange County, the Orange County Rape Crisis Center, the Get Real and Heel Breast Cancer Program, the UNC Wellness Medical Fitness Scholarship, and the TABLE hunger-relief program. In 2012, the Cardinal Track Club distributed $45,000 among its partner organizations.
Next up for many runners will be the Race for Sustainability 6K trail run on July 27 in the Carolina North Forest, featuring a post-race celebration catered by Crooks Corner.