Raptors once again rule at Brazen Coyote Hills races & Skyline All-Comers Meet & New MLK Runners

Post date: Nov 21, 2012 6:42:55 AM

January 2011

As Max and Annabel came into the finish, the announcer said, in the most matter-of-fact fashion, "Here come a couple Raptors." It was like "Of course they would be up near the front and naturally everyone at the Brazen races knows this club well." And they should! Saturday's race was maybe a bit more spectacular in terms of the kids finishes (and Kim's!) since the fields in all the races were huge.

The 5K has 450 entrants. It took seemingly forever for the entire field to stream under the starting banner! Of course it didn't take forever for the Raptor's to start. Not wanting to bother with getting stuck in the crowd, Max, Annabel and Nikhil simply started right at the front. Did they hold up any fast people? Um. . . they are the fast people. As the racers wound their way downhill from the start, the three Raptors were all in the top ten overall!

The start. The guy in blue is the race leader. Note guy in red looking at Max flying by and doing a basic "WTF?"

And they didn't drop that far down after that. In this huge race, full of serious adult runners, Max finished 25th overall, Annabel 26th and Nikhil 44th! That's astounding! Max and Annabel beat 95% of the folks in the race and Nikhil about 90% (I'm sure he can tell me in an instant exactly what the percentage is--and will!).

Annabel flying. She's a living, breathing advert. for the fun of running. Come to think of it Max and Nikhil are too!

Annabel also finished fourth woman overall. I'm thinking that perhaps, if she does all the races, she might have a very good shot at being 2011 Brazen Women's 5K Champion! Think about it, Annabel.

Of course Annabel took her age group once again. Max, however ran into some stiff competition from a Los Gatos runners name of Alex Sokol. Alex got a bit anxious and jumped the start but even so, his 5th overall finish relegated Max to only second (aww, gee. Only second!). Nikhil, who I don't think has been working out other than Raptors and was wearing his Mom's shoes (don't ask!) took a great third in his age group.

So, of course more medals for the kids too add to their weighty collections. Soon extra rooms will have to build to hold all this loot!

All this and we haven't even touched on Kim! After months of hard marathon training, this was her first test. The half marathon. And she succeeded! This despite some hip pain a few days before. Kim finished sixteenth in her age group and 216th overall in the Half marathon with a time 2:15.26. Congrats Kim. Great job! Now on to the marathon.

Kim crosses the line looking strong and with style in the new Raptors running shirt.

Oh! Saturday also saw the debut of the new Raptors shirts (see Kim picture above) and the Raptors sweats (see pic below). They both look great!

Raptors and MLK travel to Skyline All-Comers meet

Annabel sets a stunning P.R.!!!

January 15, 2011

Wow, what a nice day! It was so. . . I dunno. . . liberating?. . . to be running around in the sunshine in a t-shirt again! Skyline HS must have one the nicest settings for running in the Bay Area and the warm weather made it almost perfect.

Annabel waves goodbye to her days as an an over-six-minute miler. Varya blisses out.

Before we get to anything else, props to Annabel, who set a fabulous P.R. today. She ran the 1500 meters in 5:40. That translates to a 5:59 mile! So Annabel joins only sevenother girls who have gone-sub 6 minutes in the mile at AMS in the last decade. And, as we know, she is only a 7th grader. She was, needless to say, extremely happy! That is so impressive. This is the first meet of the year and she hasn't done that much running other than Raptors workouts since XC. And she's P.R.ed already? Yipes!

The other Raptor in the 1500 was Varya, complete with a new uniform, thanks to Kim! Varya looked great the entire way and ran what would be a 5:45 mile so she was happy too, feeling that was a good time for this early in the season. I agree!

This was a very small meet which was fine since it was less intimidating for our new-to-track runners. Well, actually even with the small crowd, a few of our MLK runners got a bit freaked! Poor Julia, Emilie and Rosa just found the prospect of running with some bigger kids a bit too much so we let them forego racing and just do the long jump. This paid off! We already know these girls can run but we actually ended the day with a passel of excellent jumpers. I'm doing this from memory so I might not get it exactly right but Chamren jumped 12" plus, Emilie, 10 plus. . . Mayou (hope that's spelled right!) 10 plus, Dash 11 plus. . . and these were legal (non-foul) jumps in competition. As the kids practiced afterwards (they had the pit to themselves. . . how cool!) we had many jumps in the twelves and low 13s!

Rosa jumping!

To put this in perspective, these distances would put all these kids in contention for a win in all our league meets. And today was the first time most of these kids have ever seen a proper jump pit much less leaped into one! Oh yeah, we also have done zero work on technique and none of these kids set their "step." In fact they still don't even know what "setting your step" is yet.

Julia flies! Or perhaps more aptly, Julia lands!

In my HS coaching I was a sprint/relay and jump coach so I actually know what I'm looking for in jumping ability, I'm not just going "rah-rah" and blowing smoke! We have some talented jumpers.

Emilie. Nice form!

On the running front, Dash got to the track a bit too late (not his fault--since the meet was so small some races were not run and thus they were way ahead of schedule) so he doubled in too back-to-back races, the 400 and the 800. I'm not sure what his time were yet but he looked good!

Dash. Terrible picture but the only one I got!

Claire (also a Raptor!) came to the meet today right on the heals of running a tough series of repeats on the track yesterday evening and just flew in the 800. Her first lap was absolute poetry (she is so FAST!) and she hung in on the second lap to run her fastest 800 ever, a sparkling 2:49.

Claire on the first lap of the 800. Her form is so good that's she's a fun runner to watch.

So, if anyone is ready to come back (and maybe run? hint, hint) and try it all again, there is another one of these meets--same track, same time of day, etc., on Saturday, January 29th. Also the meet organizer said the meet will be bigger next time. As in more runners. . .

For the $3 entry fee for runners (which allows kids to do any/all events they desire) and $5 for spectators it's a pretty good deal and a fun morning. I'm hoping we can at least double the size of our Raptor and MLK teams next time.

Raptors grow with addition of MLK runners

We put an informal poll asking original Raptors if they wanted to stay small or take the next step and grow as a club. Growing got the nod as the way to go so we began to recruit kids from the MLK XC program. So far this has worked quite well and we have picked up some excellent runners (many of whom were part of the Championship-winning MLK 6th grade boy's team) and some nice kids and parents! If we keep growing like this it will allow the Raptors do do exciting stuff that our lack of size has prevented in the past--like relay teams! Additionally, given the incredible successes of Annabel, Max and Nikhil, it should be fun to unleash all of the old and new Raptors talent at local 5K's!

The new and the old.

Also, now that we are gaining the size to make it worth their trouble, I'm beginning to recruit "guest runners" to lead our road runs. Our first guest runner was my son, EO, a top XC athlete in his days at Albany HS. He graciously agreed to lead a run before dashing back to Santa Barbara, where he attends college. For the next workout (Nov. 29th) I'm hoping to have Varya Federova, Berkeley HS's top varsity girl XC runner lead the run.

Leaving for a road run with EO.

A nice goal at this point would perhaps be to field a snappily well-dressed and competitive youth team at the UC Berkeley all-comers meets which are coming up in January and February. So far we are on target!