A couple of highlight items for the last week. Last Saturday (2/28/10) was the 31st Annual Snow Joke 1/2 Marathon in Seeley Lake. In some less than typical winter weather, it sounded like it was a pretty pleasant day for a run around the lake. Work has it that pretty much all of the course was in good condition and that most of the back side of the lake was pretty clear.
On the men's side, it was the Muddy Buzzard's 2009 runner of the year Jimmy Grant with a fast February 1/2 getting the win in 1:12:51. That gave him almost 2 full minutes over runner up Mike Wolfe's 1:14:39. Next in was Joel Pellegrino in 1:16:11.
In a close race for 4th and 5th between Kyle Strode and Andrew Drobek. With only 7 seconds separating the two at the finish, Kyle got the 4th place overall finish (1:17:30 to 1:17:37) to top off his overall master's win. A pretty solid range considering that Kyle ran a 4:48.98 mile (4th place at the Montana Men's Master's Mile) just 2 weeks prior. Kyle is definately setting himself up for a great 2010 season.
On the women's side, Trisha Miller set a new women's course record with her 1:24:59 for a 5:25 win over Darr Trucknott. On the master's side, there was a close race for the top 3. Debby Gibson prevailed in 1:37:30, with Julie Gilchrist in second at 1:38:47 and Mary Dean in 3rd at 1:38:57. Pretty impressive running across the boards on the women's side.
A week after their standout performances at the Big Sky Conference Championships, Nick Atwood and Patrick Casey of MSU headed east to the Alex Wilson Invitational at Notre Dame this past Saturday (3/6/10). Atwood just missed the provisonal qualifying standard for the NCAA indoor championships at the 3,000 meters event. Finishing 4th overall, he ran at fantasitc 8:05.60 (missing the standard by less than 1 second).
Patrick Casey continued his amazing season winning the mile. He got the win; but, missed the magic mark of the sub-4:00 mile (remember that I don't buy into the altitude adjusted nonsense). Yet, he was oh so close. Running 4:00.19, he led a pack of 4 under the 4:01 mark. It also got him another mark under the provisional qualifying standard. Will it be enough to get him into the NCAA meet? Let's hope so. With the season he's having, combined with his racing savvy - anything is possible once the gun is fired.
On the bigger picture - there seems to be very little doubt that he'll be the 2nd person on the native Montanan sub-4:00 list. (Joining the ice breaker Scotty McGowan his own self.) It's pretty much a matter of when (passing right over the if).
Coming up this next weekend is a busy one on the racing scene. With St. Pat's races in Anaconda (the grand master of the St. Pat's day races), Missoula, Polson, Billings, Bozeman and Great Falls (at a minimum) - there's more than ample opportunity to get your racing season started this weekend.
See you on the roads, tracks and trails (wearin' the green no doubt)
The Muddy O'Buzzard