Raptors have yet another growth spurt at "4th Sunday" race

Post date: Apr 28, 2013 10:11:02 PM

I usually start these reports by talking about the actual race, which I guess makes sense given that they are called race reports, but this time I want to start with the "after party." Traditionally after the Lake Merritt race we all trundle over to Fentons' for a mini-feast. Today was no exception but what was exceptional was the size of the group and the spirit of same. I suggested we sit outside, since the day was glorious and the aged coach (me!) has no high-frequency hearing left. Yes, I was warned not to get so close to the huge Marshall amps at 60s concerts and my riding friends think I'm a lunatic for riding w/o earplugs. And guess what? Everyone was right! My ears cannot separate the noises in a crowded room anymore so I spend an inordinate amount of time saying "Say what?" and other catchy phrases. I don't mind it but I've got a few deafish friends and I find them wildly irritating so I'd just as soon spare others that annoyance!

So yeah, the weather is great, I can hear. . .all is good! So I cast my eyes about and notice that we not only have a large group, we have a very happy group. At the three "kids tables" which have neatly divided themselves by approximate age (the elementary school table, the middle school table and the high school table), everyone I see is engaged. No one is sitting back in any kind of social agony waiting until they can go home. Everyone is talking, smiling, laughing and eating! At this point I am once again blown away by how warm and accepting our Raptor kids are. After a decade spending a lot of time around middle schoolers I can say with some assurance that kids this age are not prone to (or particularly nice about) bringing "newbies" into their already established groups. But Raptors runners are just amazingly good at this. Newbies become "oldies" in very little time and then they carry on the same tradition with other new kids. It's quite rare and its quite remarkable. And it makes me very happy! All praise to our Raptors parents on this! I'm sure every Raptor has outstanding DNA but the caring and kindness manifested by our runners doesn't happen by accident. I'm a parent! I know!

So, back to the earlier hours of the day!

The start. Notice the many Raptors!

I arrived at the race expecting a smallish turnout. There were only a few runners I knew were coming for sure. Instead I found what might be the largest club turnout yet. And did everyone look good! I gotta say that Raptors are not only smart, funny and fast but we have incredible taste. The new uniforms just totally rock! Kudos to all of us for choosing the colors and yet another shoutout to Allen for the great "claw" logo and to Kim and Max for the super-cool design. Our uniforms now stand with the best club togs and are far better than most.

Corina and I got a kick out of a mother and young son we overheard talking about the club. Seeing all of our members at the starting line, we heard the mother, obviously answering a question about us from her son: "They must be some kind of professional club." she told him. He answered: "Yeah, they must be. Look how organized they are!" I will pause here so we can all enjoy an ironic chuckle!

Daveon runs a sub-20!

Organized or not, no one ever accused Raptors of being slow and today was no exception. First Raptor to finish (as usual) was Daveon, whom I think was sixth or seventh overall in a sub-20-minute time. It turns out he had been at a party until 6:00 a.m., had gotten virtually no sleep and still ran that fast. Wow.

Corina finishes strong.

Not to be outdone in that respect was Corina, who had been at a sleepover the night before and had finally fallen into a fitful sleep at 3:00 a.m. Tired as she was, she was only able to win her age group (part of a Raptors sweep) and PR by two minutes! Ahh, youth. . .

Jared post-vacation.

The only "youngster" to beat Corina was Jared, who, after a cool two-weekish vacation in Orlando with no running came right back strong and ran only fourteen seconds off his PR for an age-group victory. Jared and Corina were so far ahead of every kid in the race it was rather astounding. But when the other kids started appearing they were Raptors! 'Belle PR'd (yeah!) and finished second to Corina in the age group and then newish Raptor Clara PR'd by something like four minutes to take third! Today was her birthday and that's a pretty darn good present she gave herself. Last of the Raptors but probably setting some kind of record for 8-year-olds was 'Belle's sister Lily who finished her third 5k! Well, the actually ran even faster last time but today she had decided not to race and only jumped in at the last minute when she suddenly got the spirit!

Lily finishes.

We had many other Raptors in the 5, 10 and 15K but I'm afraid the more folks we have the harder it is for me to keep track. While we are congradulating one person, two more finish! So I will have to wait for the official results to see how Abe, Krisna (oh wait, I do know that Krisna finished 2nd in his age group) and others finished.

I do know that Michala finished second in her age group in the 10K and that she looked fresh as the proverbial daisy afterwards! Also, some Raptor parent ran. . . so more info here when I get it.

Should we recruit her?