A change of pace at the Lake Samm. race

October 25, 2009

At last fall’s 8K cross-country race at Lake Sammamish State Park, I went out at my usual conservative pace and, after the initial traverse of the beach, got trapped behind dozens of runners as the course narrowed. Yesterday found me at a similar course, but one advertised as only 5 kilometers in length (and then made even shorter to avoid trampling the attendees of a wedding in the park). I started aggressively to get ahead of the congestion of the 100-plus-runner field, and that seemed to work out pretty well. I hit the course-narrowing area in about 10th place, fell back a couple of spots in early-race jockeying, and then moved up gradually until getting outkicked for 3rd by my Seattle Running Club teammate Destry Johnson.

Upon finishing, I looked back and was a bit surprised to see 47-year-old Tony Young right behind me. Tony is really a miler, but he can still fake his way through cross-country races quite well. And just behind him was Mark Davies, a much bigger surprise.

Mark and I have been racing together for about 15 years, with both of us representing Club Northwest in the late ’90s and the SRC more recently. Though Mark did a lot of triathlons and I considered myself a marathoner, we always seemed to wind up near each other in cross-country races. And then Mark developed a mysterious unilateral weakness in his leg. That was several years ago; he’s been battling it ever since, enduring numerous rounds of physical therapy and countless frustrating races. Through it all, he’s remained a loyal and uncomplaining SRC supporter, adding depth to the cross-country roster while volunteering frequently at store-sponsored events. Mark is one of those quiet, reliable types whom every organization benefits from having, and it was great to see him running strongly again.

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