Look at a traditional analog stopwatches: one sweep hand ticks seconds away; another parses out tenths of seconds. It couldn’t be simpler; but the hidden in the gears beneath its face is the real magic.
On the surface, this past Saturday’s Cardinal Track Club’s annual Carrboro 10K looks awfully easy to operate. Wind it up, start it, and about a half-hour later, winning runners cross the finish line on the McDougle Middle School track.
Among this year’s top finishers was overall winner Brock Baker (32:21.46). Rounding out the top three places, all representing Fleet Feet, were second-place finisher Bobby Torphy (32:31.98) and Marc Jeuland (32:35.48).
Baker said an early lead was short-lived.
“Bobby actually caught me at around three-and-a-half miles,” Baker said. “He put around 50 meters on me, but I was able to come back. I was looking over my shoulder a little bit coming down onto the track, though, because I know Bobby’s a fast kicker.”
First-time finisher Marisa Ryan (36:32.71) finished first among females, beating Bull City Running teammate Heidi Bretscher (37:34.21) and Jennifer Woods (38:25.97) to the finish.
Ryan said she enjoyed the course’s long downhills, including one during the first 2 miles.
“I’m always pretty strong on the downhills,” she said, “and on the first two hills I was flying … but I think I got a little two comfortable thinking that was the pace I’d be running the whole race.”
Winning the masters men’s title, Holly Springs’ Derek Fenton (33:58.98), came in ahead of Chapel Hill’s Gary Slade (38:45.75) and Patrick McGahan (39:44.72). Carol Rowe (38:56.22) topped the women’s masters podium, followed by Leslie Morgen (41:25.73) and Jennifer Goldstein (45:45.47).
But a walk around the festival area near the finish line during the actual race while the runners are on the course yields a glimpse of the inner-workings of this precision mechanism. From timers to physical therapists, from food prep crews to children’s play area volunteers, it’s the gears ticking while feet are beating Carrboro’s pavement that make the event so magical.
“Organization has just gotten easier,” race director Sandy Padden said, “but just because of my amazing volunteers and community partners.”
Padden added that little on the surface has changed duirng the past decade about the race, the second installment of Cardinals annual Le Tour de Carrboro series.
“People like the consistency of these same three races,” she said. “They like the Le Tour series, and I want to keep it as the community event.”
Padden had high praise for the community support local police and public works personnel who make the event possible, including the recently retired Carrboro Public Works street superintendent director David Poythress, who was acknowledged prior to the race.
For Kidzu Executive Director Tina Clossick, it was the first time in years she’d been able to run the race, having been involved in a children’s entertainment center for years.
“This is the first time I’ve been able to run and not even think about how the kids’ activities were going,” she said. “I had volunteers from the Get Real and Heal organization, and they took charge right away. It was wonderful.”
The popular Gallop and Gorge 8K (5-mile) run will cap the Tour de Carrboro series on Thanksgiving morning, Nov. 28. Saturday’s race also served as the Southeast Regional 10K championship for the Roadrunners Club of America.
The Cardinal Track Club ( www.cardinaltrack.com) is a Carrboro / Chapel Hill-based organization dedicated to the enjoyment and promotion of running at all levels.
All three races in the tour series benefit the Optimists’ 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 TABLE. The runners Saturday will help build toward another generous donation to Cardinal’s partner organizations.
“We have 550 registered here today,” Cardinal Timing Services’ and Cardinal Track Club co-founder Dick Forbis said. “That’s really a good crowd for a 10K.”
Next up for both Baker and Torphy will likely represent Fleet Feet at the California International Marathon in Sacramento in December. Fleet Feet itself is moving ahead with plans for the opening of its new Durham store by mid-November, said co-owner Brian White, who added that the four Triangle stores are also sponsoring a joint website ( Fleetfeetrdu.com) which will be a hub for all-things Fleet Feet in the area.
Next up for Cardinal will be the last race in their Tour de Carrboro series, scheduled for Nov. 28.