By Joanna Harper
A few months ago I read a story on Nolan Shaheed. In the story, he said that his two favorite invitational races to attend were the Hartshorne mile indoors and Dave Clingan’s mile in Portland. When I read that quote, I hoped that someday, someone would make a similar statement about the 3000 meter race that I put on opposite Dave’s race. It sort of happened last night.
This was only the second year that I have put together a high level race for master’s women as part of the Portland Track Festival. But I still managed to get 17 runners entered into it and many of them are very, very good. But beyond that, it was also a way to spend a wonderful weekend among several new friends.
For me the fun started on Thursday evening. Sabra Harvey had flown into town and she and I went for a run in Mt. Tabor Park near my home. After the run, I tried out a new recipe on her and she pronounced it good.
I next got to interact with Trina Painter on Friday evening. The open distance races were held that night. I was officiating and she was coaching, so we didn’t get to spend too much time talking, mostly just waving and smiling at each other.
When I got home from the meet, Lisa Valle was waiting for me. This wasn’t a surprise as she had planned to spend Friday night at my place. We talked for a little while and then went to bed.
Saturday morning Lisa and I went for separate short runs and then reconvened in front of my TV to watch the NCAA track meet. We then had lunch, did a little shopping at a vintage store and got to see a sight that makes my neighborhood so unique. A dozen or more naked cyclists came riding past as we exited the clothing store. Lisa was surprised but I just shrugged and said “well that’s Hawthorne Blvd for you”.
After a little bit of the addidas meet on TV and a nap, we were ready to head to the track.
A friend of Lisa’s from New Mexico was there to meet her. As they reunited, I saw the Club North West contingent. I sat and talked with Karen Steen and Dave Cannon for a bit.
Karen was amazed at the size of the field. She said that this might be the biggest and best field she had raced in. I just smiled. She hoped that her recently injured hamstring would hold up and I told her that Christine Olen had scratched due to illness.
After attending to a few official duties, I went for warm up with Jeannie Groesz. We ran through the beautiful Lewis and Clark campus and out into the surrounding affluent neighborhood. The houses and yards were amazing and one place had a tree house that must have had several hundred square feet in it.
Jeannie and I came back to the track and put on our racing shoes. We then joined the rest of gals for picture before the race. I definitely want a copy of that picture.
The gun sounded and Trina took off. Last year she had waited until half way to take the lead but not this year. She had obviously decided to make the race fast from the get go.
She quickly opened a gap over Lisa, Tania Fischer, Carmen Troncoso, and Kirsten Leetch. Karen let go early and soon dropped out.
A second pack formed behind them led by Kelle Taylor and including Tatyana Pozdnyakova and Sabra Harvey. Sabra was a lock to break to the 60-64 AR and was going out at a pace that would give her the WR too. I was glad to see that she was going to have company as one my biggest fears was that she would run alone.
Up front Trina continued her relentless push. She wound up finishing in 9:49 for a new meet record. Tania let go of the chase pack and drifted back. Kirsten moved up and actually gapped Lisa and Carmen. It looked like she might hold on, but a big kick by Lisa brought her past Kirsten and into 2nd place. Both she and Kirsten broke 10 minutes. Carmen held on to run 10:06 and break the 50-54 AR.
Sabra followed Kelle for the whole race and finished in 11:11 breaking the old AR by 41 seconds!! She just missed the WR by 5 seconds. Tatyana faded a bit but still ran 11:19 for a 92 age grade. Not bad for someone who says she runs for fun these days. She was one of eight runners to top the coveted 90% AG.
After the race we got to watch the master’s men run. Jim Sorensen won and Rich Burns broke the 55-59 WR. After warming down and handling a few official duties, I got to sit and talk to Tatyana and her family. She wanted to make certain that I’d look her up when I was down in Eugene for the Hayward Classic in a couple of weeks.
After the meet Lisa, Carmen, Karen and I went to a nearby pub and hung out with some of the master’s men for while. Karen was amazingly upbeat for someone with an ice pack on her hamstring. And it was there in this nondescript place that I got my validation.
I’m sure that Carmen gets plenty of offers to race. But she told me that my race was the one she had been pointing for this spring. She also said that she and Trina had tried to talk Joan Samuelson into coming to next year’s race, when they saw her at Freihofer’s 5K the week before. Of course, we’ll see how that pans out.
This morning Sabra and I went for a run in forest park and she was suitably impressed. Forest park should be on the agenda of every runner who visits Portland. After the run, we hugged each other and made plans to meet in Sacramento.
It might be possible to put on a better race next year. However, I can’t imagine that I could possibly have a better weekend with a finer group of women. And actually this is all the reward that any race director could ask for.