The Colonial Road Runners will be celebrating their 40th anniversary next month. During that time, with the “modern era” of current CRR races beginning in 1993 (with the founding at that time of their fastest and most competitive races, such as the Queens Lake 5K, the Vineyards 5K and the Governor’s Land 5K), there never had been a race filled with as many superlatives as last Saturday’s 12th annual Run the DOG Street 5K.
It started on Prince George Street and finished on the historic Duke of Gloucester Street in Colonial Williamsburg. The race was the sixth CRR Grand Prix event for 2021, a Hampton Roads Super Grand Prix event, and the second of three races (Yorktown, Williamsburg, Jamestown) in the Historic Triangle Triple Crown.
The race director was Jim Elder of Colonial Sports, which did the race chip timing. Elder was the founder of the race in 2010, the first competitive running event ever to use the historic roads of Colonial Williamsburg.
After all 428 runners and walkers had officially finished (and the race was restricted in numbers by COVID regulations and wave starts, with many runners turned away after the entry limit was reached), there was one Virginia state record for men 65-69, an all-time CRR women’s overall 5K record, five all-time CRR age group records, and nine all-time DOG Street 5K age group records.
A sixth CRR all-time record was missed by just one second, and a seventh was missed by just 10 seconds. The race course had recently been certified an exact 5K distance (VA-21008-RT) according to USATF certification standards, by Terry McManus of the CRR, therefore eligible for state and national records.
Starting with the state record, Steve Chantry, 66, of Williamsburg consolidated his three age group records. Previously he held the all-time CRR men’s 65-69 record and the DOG Street men’s 65-69 record of 18:58 from last September’s twice postponed (due to COVID) Run the DOG Street 5K, but on an accurate but uncertified course (a last-week course change after the traditional course through the campus of William and Mary was not permitted, did not allow enough time to recertify the course used since 2010).
The fast runners actually prefer the current course, which goes down Richmond Road to Harrison Avenue to Lafayette Street, returning via Scotland Street to CW and the tour of the Governor’s Palace and the Capitol Building, before a half-mile sprint up DOG Street, finishing just past the Bruton Parish Church.
A full 15 months since his 65th birthday on Christmas 2019, Chantry finally was injury free and had the opportunity to break the 19:53 Virginia state 65-69 record at the USATF-certified Queens Lake 5K on March 27. He responded with a time of 19:04, good for the state record, but six seconds shy of his time from DOG Street 2020.
With a frantic finishing kick (that left him a second shy of teammate and rival Rob Whitaker, 62, of Yorktown) Chantry had a time of 18:46, which broke his previous state record and the all-time CRR and DOG Street age group records. He already holds the DOG Street age group records for men 55-59 (17:32) and men 60-64 (18:21).
Although happy to consolidate his records, Chantry emailed that “I’m still looking forward to faster times and getting up over the 90% age grade mark!” Chantry age graded 89.17% at DOG Street, just shy of the 90% world-class level.
Despite that lofty age grade for Chantry, he did not have the best age grade of the day. That honor went to Susanna Sullivan, 30, of Reston, the winner (by more than 4 ½ minutes with a time of 1:17:55) of February’s Colonial Half Marathon, and who had run a 2:33:27 marathon PR last December in Arizona. Sullivan age graded a world-class 90.02% at DOG with her time of 16:22.
That time broke by five seconds the previous DOG Street women’s overall and women’s 30-34 records, both also all-time CRR records, the previous mark a 16:27 by Susan Jerotich, 31, of Chapel Hill, N.C. and Kenya at the 2018 Run the DOG Street 5K. Sullivan has a 5K PR of 16:00 from a 2016 race at UVa. and had also run a 16:22 that year at a 5K in Arlington.
She emailed, “I wasn’t aware of the records going in, but I knew the Run the DOG had seen fast times in the past, so it was a pleasant surprise to learn I’d set a new [race and all-time CRR] record. It was encouraging, but a great course and great weather certainly helped!”
The top three women overall each broke all-time CRR age group records. Sullivan’s friend and training partner Bethany Sachtleben, 29, of Falls Church was second overall in 16:33, which smashed the previous DOG Street women’s 25-29 record of 17:18 (by Kenyan Zipporah Chebet in 2018), as well as the all-time CRR record for women 25-29 (a 17:11 by former W&M All-American and coach Kathy Newberry, 27, of Williamsburg at the 2006 York River State Park 5K).
The third-place overall women’s finisher, Ann Mazur, 35, of Charlottesville ran a lifetime PR of 17:10 to break Jennifer Quarles’s DOG Street women’s 35-39 record of 19:19 (from 2011), and also the all-time CRR women’s 35-39 mark of 17:51 by Claudia Kasen, 37, of Williamsburg at the 1994 Governor’s Land 5K.
Mazur loves running CRR races (she does the Colonial Half, the Victory at Yorktown 10K, and DOG Street every year), and this month joined the CRR as a member. Mazur emailed, “I was super pumped about my time at the Run the DOG as it is now my overall lifetime 5K PR, for both the roads and the track! My previous lifetime 5K best was from the 2006 Big East Indoor Championships when I was a 20-year-old junior running at Notre Dame. I ran a 17:11. My previous road best was 17:26 [from a 2019 5K in Charlottesville]. I am very excited to have broken my 15-year old 5K PR (!!!). I am looking forward to break 17:00.”
Her first mile was a fast 5:15, not too far off her mile PR of 5:08. “I felt awesome the whole time I was running: my legs felt great, the weather felt great, I was just happy to be alive and running the Run the DOG 5K! Williamsburg is always such a pleasure to visit.”
Not to be overlooked were the top three overall men of Adam Otstot, 38, of Williamsburg (15:17), John Vogel, 19, of Williamsburg (15:29) and six-time defending CRR Grand Prix champion Roger Hopper, 30, of Chesapeake (15:30).
At age 38, Otstot is running at the same level as he did at age 25 when he ran lifetime best road times and course records of 15:13 at the 2007 Mental Health 5K and 15:14 at the 2007 Cheatham Annex 5K, and at age 27, with a 15:27 course record at the 2009 Sentara Sleighbell 5K.
A W&M grad, Otstot has an indoor track 5,000 meter PR of 15:03 from a meet at Christopher Newport in 2002. Otstot also broke by one second the all-time CRR men’s 35-39 age group record, the previous mark 15:18 by Thad Jones, 38, of Richmond at the 1994 Governor’s Land 5K.
While Otstot broke the men’s 35-39 record by one second, Jamestown High grad Vogel just missed the all-time CRR men’s 15-19 mark with his 15:29. That record remains at 15:28 by another Jamestown High grad, Bryce Ruiz, 19, of Williamsburg at the 2002 Vineyards of Williamsburg 5K.
Vogel is now a freshman at Virginia Tech, still being coached by his Jamestown coach Mark Tompkins, while hoping to walk on for Tech. Vogel emailed, “I am really excited about my new time. During the race my goal was to break 16 so I am super happy with the 15:29. My race strategy was to just run with Roger and Adam and just hang on. It worked out pretty well.”
Last December at the Sleighbell 5K, the same trio were the top three overall runners, with Otstot winning in 15:37, followed by Hopper (15:43), and Vogel (16:00). Vogel broke the DOG Street 5K men’s 15-19 record of 16:08, set in 2011 by former Lafayette High great Kurtis Steck.
Although placing third, Hopper set a lifetime PR with his 15:30, his previous best a 15:36 at the New Year’s Day Resolution 5K, all this just three weeks after his debut marathon of 2:31:29 at Dismal Swamp in Chesapeake.
Vogel’s coach Tompkins, 45, of Williamsburg, himself also excelled, winning the men’s Masters title with a time of 16:20, followed by Lee Lindsey, 46, of Sandy Hook (17:01) and Andy Riley, 42, of Toano (17:14).
Tompkins broke Keith Schumann’s DOG Street men’s 45-49 record of 16:48 from 2016 and was also just 10 seconds shy of the all-time CRR men’s 45-49 record, a 16:10 by James Coombes, 45, of Norfolk at the 2008 Vineyards 5K. Tompkins has a Masters (ages 40-and-over) 5K best of 16:07. He ran with and outkicked women’s winner Sullivan for his 16:20.
Also setting a DOG Street age group record was Isaac Lamprecht, 14, of New Kent (a freshman at New Kent High), with a time of 17:36, breaking by six seconds the previous mark by Konrad Steck, 13, of Williamsburg at the 2012 DOG Street 5K.
Konrad Steck still holds the Virginia state record for the age 10-14 age group with a time of 16:18 from the 2013 Governor’s Land 5K, that time breaking his brother Kurtis’s previous state record of 16:42 from the 2009 Governor’s Land, both while at age 14. Both Steck DOG Street records were broken this year, by Lamprecht and by Vogel.
The other race record broken was in the women’s race walk, by Marie Price, 52, of Chesapeake, who walked 35:00 to erase the previous mark of 36:09 by Dawn Weideman, 51, of Williamsburg in 2016.
On an age graded basis, as compiled by CRR statistician Jim Gullo, an unprecedented eight runners bettered 85%, and 15 were above the national-class level of 80%. An additional half dozen came close, over 78%. Gullo emailed, “That had to be the fastest runners by age grade that I have calculated! Great field.”
Sullivan led the way with her world-class age grade of 90.02%, followed closely by Chantry (89.17%) and Sachtleben (89.02%). Also above 85% were Otstot (87.24%), Mazur (86.41%), Robert Whitaker, 62, of Yorktown (18:45, 86.13%), Tompkins (86.02%), Rick Samaha, 63, of Williamsburg (19:05, 85.41%), Steven Kast, 56, of Yorktown (18:20, 83.64%), Lindsey (83.15%), Vogel (82.99%), Hopper (82.90%), Jim Duffy, 69, of Poquoson (21:13, 81.23%), Toby Worm, 48, of Smithfield (17:48, 80.81%) and Jon Leiding, 58, of Virginia Beach (19:30, 80.00%).
Just missing 80% were Richard Grant, 67, of Suffolk (21:08, 79.97%), Bethany Spector, 31, of Virginia Beach (18:27, 79.86%), Riley (79.69%), Jacob Warner, 22, of Staunton (16:11, fourth male overall, 79.40%), Maria Spady, 30, of Yorktown (18:44, 78.65%) and Tom Clark, 66, of Williamsburg (21:24, 78.19%).
Platt is president of Colonial Road Runners.