Many new Raptors compete at Lake Merced Christmas Relays

Post date: Jan 18, 2013 2:51:10 AM

December 18, 2011

We've had new Raptors appear and run with us before, but Sunday's Christmas Relays were certainly a club record. Fully 50% of the kids competing were first-time Raptors!

Two new Raptors and two old ones. Sachi is on far left and Annie next to her. BTW, Max isn't bleeding. That's a temp. tattoo from the preceding night's party!

But that is not to say they were first time runners! The three new runners on the girl's team, Annie, Sachi and Rachel were the nucleus of the MLK girl's team that recently took the Bay Area Middle School Championship, and Jared, from the boy's team is one of the finest fifth-grade runners around and holds the all-time 10K course record at Lake Merritt for his age.

After the races. From left: Annie, Annabel, Sachi, Rachel, Jared, Nikhil.

So it was really just a matter of installing new race jerseys on established runners but at the same time I was hoping that all four would enjoy the club enough to come back and race/train with us again. These are four great kids!

Race morning dawned overcast, gloomy and cold. As I made my way out to my car, shivering, it occurred to me that it was perhaps time for a shout-out to all these kids who are willing to crawl out of bed at ungodly hours to go push their bodies really hard. Believe me, I've coached a lot of kids over the years and this kind of commitment is rare and it's what makes coaching so fun! So, good on all of you Raptors for being not only willing but in many cases, actually excited to go and compete.

Upon arriving at Lake Merced it became quickly apparent that this was not a small-time race. Jared's dad Gary had told us that many Bay Area clubs show up in force at this event and it is extremely competitive. That's for sure! There were over two hundred teams entered and many, many team shelters set up around the start area. One club (Empire runners) had even chartered a bus, one of those fancy ones like you go to Reno to gamble in.

In earlier Raptors days I might have thought :"Uh oh. Maybe we are in over our heads here." But we now have so many fast, experienced runners that, even at an event of this size and quality, the Raptors might not win but we know they will be right in the thick of the action.

And that's what happened! Out of eight entrants we had eight great runs! The idea of this race was that teams would consist of four runners, each of whom would do a lap of Lake Merced which is exactly 4.5 miles.

Max and Annie near the end of their relay leg.

The Raptors times for these laps looked like this:

Girl's team (in the order in which they ran):

Sachi: 33:43

Annie: 32:03

Rachel: 37:39

Annabel: 30:15

Boy's team (also in race order):

Jamie: 31:50

Max: 33:56

Nikhil: 37:24

Jared: 30:32

In the final scoring, the girl's team finished second to Lick Wilmerding and the boy's team finished third to Oak Hill and Empire. Excellent!

What was also cool about this race was that the boy's and girl's team basically ran together. Jamie got a two-minute lead on Sachi during the first leg, but Annie made the time up and caught Max (Max deserves all the credit in the world for this race! He had been up partying until very late at a friend's Bar Mitzvah. He only came to the race to cheer. But we were short a runner so he was drafted at the last minute and did a fabulous job.). At that point they hung together for the rest of the lap, as did Rachel and Nikhil. Jared and Annabel also ran together. Jared did everything he could to beat Annabel but she had just a little more speed at the end. The aggregate times for both teams?

Girls: 2:13.40

Boys: 2:13.42

That's right, two seconds difference after 18 miles of racing!

News flash:

I just heard from Gary and he passed along some very fun facts!

First, running as hard as he could trying to beat Annabel (he only missed by two seconds!) allowed Jared to beat his former Lake Merced PR by a staggering three minutes! Both Annabel and Jared's times for 4.5 miles, if extended to a 10K distance would bring them in under 42 minutes! And it turns out that the 10K course record at Lake Merritt Annabel just broke belonged to none other than St. Mary's runner Spencer Moore, rated by Dyestat (the go-too site for HS running) as the top Division 4 runner in the entire North Coast section. Spencer also holds the "nineteen and under" course record and it looks like Annabel could have a shot at that one if she so desires.

So, that was that. On the eve of our two-year anniversary, the club just keeps getting stronger but we've been incredibly lucky in that all the new people we add are so cool that the overall "feel" of the club stays the same. The emphasis has always been on having fun, friendliness and not being a poop! Gary and Jared personify this ethos and we are soooo happy to have them on the club! Jared was actually recruited by Oak Hill (no surprise--he's good!) and he and Gary debated but in the end went with Raptors because it seemed like it would just be more fun to run with us.

Gary and Jared. Gary holds the now-famous coffee cup on which he kept track of all the runner's times (see below).

<<image missing>>

The cup! Gary and Jared also brought two dozen Krispy Cremes and a large supply of hot coffee!