Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Captains Awards

2007 RTB – Mine Falls Milers - Captains Awards:

The Degree of Difficulty Award –
Steve Tomasi
Nobody had more obstacles to overcome than Mr. T. First, he was the “New Guy” that only knew the “Fast Guy” (Mark). Second, we put him on the opening leg where he had to actually race “live people” while the whole team watched. Third, he started his second leg only after some Captain induced panic/chaos at the VTA. Finally, he had to run his last leg completely blind since it was the only leg that was not provided with an updated elevation profile after the last minute course changes. Of course, all his pain & suffering was rewarded when he clicked off a sure-to-be RTB record 52 road kills on his journey over Mt. Delight!
The Hand Grenade Award – Mark Wimmer
Our team owes a debt of gratitude to Mark for his leaping on the hand grenade that was Leg #3. Mark really took one for the team on this one as he powered his way 8.0 miles (not 7.7 as originally reported) up the toughest part of the Kangamangnus. For most of us, this one devastating leg would have been enough for us to quit or feign injury. But, not for Mark. Despite this punishing start to his RTB, he pushed through and ran very impressive times on some of the hardest terrain in the state. The overall success of our team was a direct result of Mark’s personal sacrifice!
The Hammer Award – Raelyn Crowell
5:13. Period. There’s really not much more that needs to be added to describe how hard Rae put the hammer down on the race (and her competition) this year. Except to say that her phenomenal first leg was just the beginning as she cranked out a team leading 6:13 average pace on her 16 mile journey through the New Hampshire woods. A few hours before the race began, in true Raelyn fashion, she pulled me aside and said that I shouldn’t expect too much from her this time. Of course, since I’ve captained at least 8 of Rae’s relay teams over the years, I knew that this was just her way of saying she was ready to kick some ass!
The Shadow Award – Kerry Litka
Kerry was put in the unenviable position of having to follow up one of the toughest acts in relay racing. When the teammate that runs immediately before you is putting up some jaw dropping times it can be easy to wilt under the pressure. But, Kerry proved she was up to the challenge as she put it all out there and matched Raelyn step for step. On Leg #2 Kerry followed up Rae’s 6:50 with a 6:46 in the torrential rain. And, when Rae ran a stunning 6:22 on her final leg, Kerry calmly step to the line and cranked off a 6:21. Of course, if she knew that her van mates had committed the winner of their Leg #3 duel to run an extra leg if needed, she may have backed off :02 per mile. Nah, probably not!
The Mr. Cool Award
– John Green
Nobody made it look easier than John Green. He didn’t make a peep all relay long as he quietly ran his appointed legs in a cool sub 6:42 pace. John was relaxed and ready for this year’s RTB and he took a whopping 35 seconds per mile off of his pace from last year. In addition to running some fast times, John unselfishly spent a good portion of time behind the wheel while his captain was in the back seat licking his post-run wounds!
The Attitude Adjustment Award – Denis Tranchemontagne
Despite his well-known penchant for pre, post & mid-race belly-aching, Denis shed his “Chardonnay” moniker and became one of the most useful members of Van #2. Not only did Denis run more miles than any of his van mates (17) he ran them at a very quiet and respectable pace (6:38). In fact, Denis was so accommodating this year, that his overall actual pace was the closest of anyone’s to their pre-race predicted pace. Now that’s a team player!
The Comeback Kid Award – Steve Delahunty
Yeah, Steve was a pain both before and after the race. And, his “Did anyone blow-up yet?” comment after the first leg didn’t win him any fans in Van #1 either. But, you gotta’ give credit where credit is due. After his total meltdown in last weeks ½ marathon, Steve pulled it together and ran the second fastest overall pace on the team with a very impressive 6:24. So, I’ll rephrase my pre-race prediction by saying, “Wow, from 2nd, to 7th, to 12th, and back to 2nd again!?!? Has anyone in RTB team history fell so far, & recovered so fast?” How’s the whiplash treating ya’ Steve?
The Most Improved Award – Ryan O’Hara
While his van mates might credit this award to his inordinate amount of back seat napping and even vote him “most useless”, there is no denying that Ryan was this year’s biggest surprise. Heck, just having him with the team prior to the start of the race was a big surprise. All joking aside however, it was clear to me from the start that Ryan came to this RTB on a mission. And, his 37 second per mile improvement over last years pace certainly proved that!
The Lonely Heart Award - Brian Coates
We know it must have been hard for Brian to see his girl fraternizing with another van. Surely if his Captain had realized that this was the first time in RTB history that the Coates/Crowell combo had been split apart, he would have made some adjustments. But, to Brian’s credit, there was no vengeance in his eyes when he saw Rae and her van mates at the occasional VTA. And, thankfully the only carnage was out on the course as Brian ripped off 6:35’s and accumulated some tasty road kills!
The Mr. Consistent Award – Steve Wolfe
Steve could have easily won a truckload of awards this year. He could have won “Comeback of the Year” after his multiple knee surgeries, months of rehab and slow but sure return to form. He could have won “Sandbagger of the Year” since his overall actual pace was the furthest away from his pre-race predicted pace. And, he could have won “Best Actor” when he showed no signs of wanting to choke me after my VTA debacle. However, this year, Steve has won the “Mr. Consistent” award for running nearly the exact same pace two years in a row. Last year he ran 6:33 pace, and this year he did it one better by running an even 6:32!
The Patient Saint Award – Molly Zahr
Molly is deserving of this award for two reasons. Firstly, as the last runner in the last van she had to wait the most amount of time before her 2007 RTB actually began. Molly had to sit around and hear stories of how everyone’s first leg went before she had her “opportunity” to run at 9:30pm (more than 12 hours after she left her house that morning). Secondly, Molly had to wait the most amount of time after finishing a leg before the next runner showed up to take the baton. I’m sure 5:13 never felt so long. Of course, 24 hours in a van with Delahunty couldn’t have been a bargain either!

The Self Restraint Award – Kevin McIntyre
As the teams first alternate, Kevin took his "Last Kid Picked" status in stride. Despite the fact that Kevin trained with most of the runners on the team leading up to RTB, he never once tried to trip any of us during a group run, or poison our water bottles, or even casually mention that we'd "lost a step" in hopes that we'd lose heart and drop out of the race allowing him to jump in and save the day. Stuck on the outside looking in, Kevin had to endure countless emails from excited runners looking forward to an awesome team event that he knew he had no chance in hell of participating in. Of course, it was probably a wash since the team did have to endure Kevin inviting himself to the various group outings. Fortunately for the team, no one got injured and everyone got to run. Well, everyone but Kevin, that is. Better luck next year Pal!

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