Molly Huddle’s inaugural PVD Fall-Comers 5k XC Team Challenge proved to be a huge success as a total of 179 runners participated in the race this past Sunday. Another 20 or so kids took part in the kid’s 1 mile fun run while a handful of little ones did the Tot’s 100m race! In addition to all the participants, there were countless more spectators in attendance who came to support their family and friends and the NE Distance organization. After assuming the role of race director for the first time ever, Molly Huddle had the following to say, “Thanks to everyone who came out to run or volunteer at the first PVD Fall-Comers 5k XC! My hope was for it to be a day of family fun, fitness and fundraising ! We look forward to growing and improving the race for next year!”
With some wicked good team prizes on the line, and a plethora of additional prizes up for grabs in the post-race raffle, it was no surprise that the event drew in some of New England’s top runners. The top two men’s individual finishers both came from the Ocean State Athletic Club – a newly-formed Providence-based post-collegiate club sponsored by New Balance. Julian Oakley took the victory with a time of 14:53 while teammate Shane Quinn was a few steps back in 15:03. Rounding out the top 3 for men’s individuals was another local athlete, Bronson Venable, who competes for the Western Mass Distance Project and is sponsored by rabbit. In the women’s individual competition Rosie Donegan of the Boston-based Battle Road Track Club took the title in commanding fashion as she finished 13th overall with a time of 17:13. Finishing 2nd and 3rd overall for women were Molly Evak with a time of 18:11 and Carolyn Nye with a time of 18:57.
In the team competition, the mixed-team title (and highly coveted grand prize of 4 round trip airline tickets to Ireland) went to Battle Road Track Club. Their team included Craig Robison (5th – 15:52) and Francis Cusik (8th – 16:15), Rosie, and Kate McCormick (31st – 19:48). In the all men’s and all women’s team competitions, both titles went to teams from the Brown Running Club. The winning men’s team consisted of Will Brockmueller (7th – 16:11), Adam Janki (10th – 16:48), Trevor Houchens (16th – 17:33) and Isaac Oda-Bayliss (18th – 17:43). The winning women’s team consisted of Amy Hollshwandner (39th – 20:16), Casey Nelson (41st – 20:38), Violett Sackett (47th – 20:55), and Julia McClellan (117th – 25:22). And in the family team competition, the fittest family award went to the McDermott family team which consisted of Ben McDermott (56th – 21:32), Chris McDermott (27th – 21:33), Maggie Reade (101st – 24:19) and Meghan McDermott (154th – 30:11).
The team aspect of the race proved to be a big drawing factor as over half of the race’s participants competed as part of one of the 27 teams that registered. Teams were comprised of all sorts of different people. There were teams made up of members from the same running club: Battle Road Track Club, NE Distance Community Running Club, Ronald McDonald House of Providence Running Club, Brown Running Club. There were family teams, like the McDermott family, the Ides family and the Healey family. And then there were the All-star teams. There was Team Gold, which was comprised entirely of Olympians, and included Craig Kinsley (2012 – Javelin), Roisin McGettigan (2008 – 3000m Steeple), Kim Smith (2008 – 10,000m, 2012 – Marathon), and Geoff Smith (1980 – 10,000m, 1984 – Marathon). Team Sub 4, the highly touted team consisting of all sub 4:00 milers, included Kurt Benninger (3:56.99), overall race winner Julian Oakley (3:57.22), and the incredible father-son duo of John “Johnny” Gregorek Jr. (3:53.15) and John Gregorek Sr (3:51.34). However, this dream team was unfortunately unable to score as Kurt got stuck in an airport late Saturday night while traveling home from the NCAA DI XC Pre-National Invitational with the Brown University Cross Country teams and missed the race Sunday morning.
Providence’s very own Mayor, Jorge Elorza, not only came to support the PVD Fall-Comers 5k and its beneficiary, NE Distance, but he actually competed! After welcoming everyone and giving a quick speech about the recent renovations to Roger Williams State Park – namely the new super runner-friendly pedestrian lane that circles the park – he and his Sunday Run Team took to the starting line.
As anyone who has ever helped put on a race knows, it takes a lot of time, hard work, and funding to make sure that everything is ready to go come race day. The PVD Fall-Comers 5k XC Team Challenge would not have been possible without the support of many individuals and organizations from both the Providence community and the greater running community. We here at NE Distance would like to thank everyone who helped make this event not just a successful fundraiser for our organization, but also a truly enjoyable and memorable day.
We first and foremost would like to thank Molly Huddle for hosting this event in our honor. Her continued support of NE Distance and its mission to bring the wonderful sport of running to the Rhode Island community is deeply appreciated.
We’d like to also thank everyone who volunteered their time to assist with setup, cleanup, and race management, including Bob and Anne Rothenberg and the Providence College Women’s Cross Country Team.
And, last but certainly not least, we would like to thank all of the event’s many sponsors who generously provided funding for race management costs and donated merchandise for goodie bags, team race prizes, and raffle prizes.