CNW vs. SRC: the rivalry continues

November 11, 2009

My undergraduate school, Williams College, has a great rivalry with Amherst, its Massachusetts neighbor to the southeast. The historical basis for this animosity is that in 1821, the president of Williams left town with a majority of the school’s students, faculty, and library books and used them to found Amherst. Stuff like that isn’t forgiven quickly.

The rivalry between Club Northwest and the Seattle Running Club has a bit of the same flavor. Although SRC owners Scott and Leslie McCoubrey did not set out to lure athletes away from CNW, some of our early men’s squads could have been mistaken for CNW “B” teams. Even at last Sunday’s PNTF cross-country championships, many SRC people could be recognized as former CNW runners: Ben Sauvage, Mike Bailey, Dan Salazar, Quoc Tran, Uli Steidl, me, Chris Charles, and Mark Davies, just to name a few.

To be honest, CNW may not see the SRC as a foe worth worrying about, since CNW almost always beats us. Since the SRC started fielding cross-country teams in 2003, the only SRC squads to defeat CNW at the PNTF meet (in cases where both had full teams) have been the open women in 2004, the open men in 2005, and the masters women in 2007. From the SRC side, though, I can attest that we are always hoping to add to that list.

We almost did it on Sunday. Our masters men — led by Ben Sauvage (3rd), Blair Cossey (4th), Glen Weisman (5th), Dan Salazar (8th), and Mike Bailey (10th) — lost to CNW by a single point, 29-30. The joke afterward was that Ben cost us the title by failing to outkick CNW’s Tony Young, Young being the fastest 45-and-older miler in the world.

Inspired by the masters, we younger guys did what we could, but our scoring quintet of Uli (3rd), Ben Mangrum (4th), me (5th), Destry Johnson (7th), and Ben Haber (12th) was defeated 26-30 by a set of CNW harriers including Mark Mandi (1st) and Joe Gray (2nd). Likewise, our masters and open women’s teams were vanquished despite strong individual performances by Lyuda Vasilyeva (1st in the masters race), Jeanine Stewart (5th in the open race), and several others.

Despite these setbacks, I feel optimistic about our chances against CNW next year. If we can just steal a few more of their athletes….


  1. Well, it's not that SRC is stealing CNW runners.In the case of Trisha and myself, it's that CNW shot itself in the foot. I had been a CNW member since I moved to Seattle in 1997. Trisha joined in 2001, and shortly after became a board member. Then she qualified for CNW's XC team to go to nationals, but a certain executive director for CNW didn't take her, but took someone named Liz Stahl (I think you know her) instead. (He said he did put the list together from memory and thought Liz had been ahead of Trish at the PNTF meet when it was the other way round)The following year Trisha again qualified for CNW's XC team, told the exec. dir. that if she gets left off the team again this year she will quit CNW. 5 days later the team was announced and Trisha was not on the list, but some woman from Portland who had never run for CNW before was.So what did fellow CNW board members do about it?Right. Nothing.So Trisha left CNW and joined SRC.The funny thing was that the executive director (and some on the board) was surprised that I quit as well.CNW has a lot more financial resources, mainly from Northwest Runner. SRC has a driving force behind it (Scott McCoubrey) who puts a lot of time and energy into the club and does so much for the running community in Seattle.In any case, I think the SRC – CNW rivalery is good for the sport in Seattle. Before there was an SRC, the PNTF XC race was more or less a CNW time trial for the prize money and the spots on the team that goes to nationals.

  2. Uli, since you have offered a spirited defense of your spouse, I will do the same. By naming Liz as the athlete who went in Trish's place, you imply (intentionally or not) that Liz was partly at fault. Liz worried a LOT about whether it was OK to accept the spot, but she eventually accepted it because Trish had (more than once, I think) declared her lack of interest in going to nationals until after PNTF, when, upon racing well there, she realized that she might have a claim to a spot on the team. So some CNW confusion regarding her intentions was understandable. Also, in both years (2002 and 2003), Trish trained for and competed in the Seattle Marathon, which was held the weekend before cross-country nationals, further muddying her commitment to cross-country. I'm not saying that CNW treated her perfectly fairly — as a former CNW board member, I know that the club is not immune to favoritism. However, the story is not as simple and one-sided as you're making it out to be.

  3. Greg,I'm sorry for the misunderstanding. I did in NO WAY try to imply that it was Liz's fault Trish got left off the team the first time. It was all Brad's fault. I know that Liz felt bad about being thrown in the middle of this, and if I remeber correctly she even offered not to go and let Trish go instead.Trish was not happy when it happened the first time, and she gave Brad the benefit of the doubt. (As I said, he claimed he didn't have the result list from PNTF with him when he put together CNW's team – at least that's what he told Trish and I)It wasn't until the next year, when it was an intentional disregard of CNW's written qualification criteria by Brad that left her off the team, that she (and I) quit CNW. She had told Brad after the PNTF meet that year that she has a group project presentation the weekend of Club nationals, but that she would talk to her professor if there is any way she can miss that and go to nationals. 2 or 3 days later she sent Brad an e-mail (to both his e-mail addresses) telling him that she worked it out, that she can go and that she wants to go, and if she doesn't get to go this time she will quit CNW. 5 days later Brad sent out an e-mail with those who are going, and she wasn't on that list, but some woman from Portland who had never run for CNW before was.This had nothing to do with Liz whatsoever. It was all Brad trying to get rid of Trish as she was the only one on the board who questioned Brad's performance as executive director, especially since he was paid $1000 a month and did MAY BE $300 worth of work.So after she was left off the team Trish wrote to the board and demanded that Brad be fired or she'd quit CNW. The only one on the board who did anything was Saul Kinderis, who offered to pay for Trish's ticket to nationals out of his own pocket, but she would have been on different flights than the rest of the team. And it didn't solve the Brad issue.Noone else did anything. (I don't think you were on the board any more at this time.)About 6 months after this incident the rest of the board figured out that Trisha was right all along and Brad was fired. Or "let go".Again, I probably shouldn't even have mentioned Liz's name as she was not at fault in any of this.Uli

  4. Dude, you rock! Congrats on your JFK finish. Can't wait to read all about it.

  5. Scott should have bought Brad something REALLY nice (maybe a big, fancy mirror?) for all of his fine work in making SRC the club it is today.Great job by your master's guys out there the other weekend.

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