Sunday, November 18, 2012

Louisville

The NCAA Division 1 Cross-Country Championships were held yesterday in Louisville, Kentucky.  While my own participation in college sports has long since expired, it was fun to fly out with Saucony to watch the races and join Flotrack for race analysis and tailgating.  The races were moved from their long time home of Terre Haute, IN for a new venue spread throughout the Tom Sawyer park in Louisville.  The men’s 10k and women’s 6k courses were flat, firm and promised fast times.  After working with Flotrack  in their pre-race show and race analysis, I hung out with the Saucony crew grilling up burgers and handing out freebies for thousands of spectators.  Once the races began, my attention turned to cheering on the two Dartmouth affiliated athletes who were competing in the women’s race.  Abbey D’Agostino and Lexi Papas (a Dartmouth grad, now running for Oregon) were both highly ranked and promised great results- they did not disappoint.  Abbey finished 2nd, narrowly missing becoming the first Ivy League XC champion in history, and Lexi finished 8th, helping her new team, the University of Oregon, win the overall women’s team championships.  It was a great showing for the Dartmouth girls, although both came with much anxiety.  Abbey’s finish came down to a photo finish with third place, and Lexi’s Oregon Ducks were originally (but incorrectly) announced as finishing second (behind Providence), and only after many protests, review of finish line video and recalculating positions, was the error found and reversed.  The men’s race showed an impressive battle of the Kenyans up front, with multiple undefeated runners meeting for the first time.  Only after they crossed the finish line in a new course record- and fastest championship time in history- did the dust settle with Kennedy Kithuka declared the winner.  Being able to watch and cheer on such a talented group of runners was not only entertaining, but the excitement and camaraderie of the championship atmosphere only boosted my own love of the sport, sparking extra motivation into my own training and reassured time and time again that I have a wonderful job.

Until next time,

Ben

Pre-race filming with Saucony and Flotrack

Grilling for the hungry spectators with fellow Saucony athlete Ashley Higginson 

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