Radford & GVH run to national titles in Oregon

2/8/2017
 
Results & Photos

On Saturday, eight (8) athletes from the Niagara association competed at the USATF Cross Country Championships in Bend, Oregon.  Six championship races were held on a course that needed a mammoth community effort to remove nearly 24 inches of snow during the week leading up to the meet.  The local Bend community came out in force in the days leading up to the meet to clear the snow from the course resulting in the 2 km circuit looking more like a green carpeted tunnel outlined by walls of snow.  But an early morning race-day down pour and warming temperatures left the course extremely treacherous in many areas resulting in numerous falls.
 
The day began with championship races for Masters (ages 40 and over), followed by the under-20 men and women races, and then the Open women and men took to a course that was well worn and anything but fast.
 
The top 6 finishers in the open and under-20 races earned automatic Team USA births to compete at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships March 26 in Kampala, Uganda.  Additionally, athletes finishing in the top 25 were eligible for selection to represent Team USA at the North American Central America Caribbean Championships March 4 in Florida.
 
The story of the day for the Niagara athletes was the individual title in the M60-64 division earned by Gary Radford, 60, of Cicero as he led his M60+ Genesee Valley Harriers squad to their third national team title in a row.   Radford covered the sloppy 8 km course in 34:27 to outrun Sheldon Subith of California by 12 seconds for the individual win. “The race course in Bend was Cross Country in the truest sense with snow, ice, mud and hills, reflected Radford upon returning home. “The course was designed by world mountain running  and Xterra champion Max King and it's the most challenging course I've ever run. I've been fortunate to have a great stretch of training with no injuries and everything was clicking for me.

Radford who turned 60 in late October has used his newfound “youth” to propel the GVH squad to national titles at the last three USATF national cross country championships.  In early November they won the 5 km team title in Jacksonville and then returned to Jacksonville a month later to win at the Club championships.  Here in Bend they scored 10 points to edge out the San Diego Track Club by 1 point.  Backing up Radford was Mary Rybinski, 61, of Manulis and Kevin Clinefelter, 61 of Rochester.  Rybinski finished fourth and Clinefelter was fifth in the M60 division.  Also competing in the M60 division were: Bill Beyerbach (Rochester, 10th place), Tim McMullen (Churchville, 12th place), and David Bowen (Port Byron, 15th place).
 
In the open women’s race Hannah Davidson, 26, of Saratoga Springs ran to a solid 28th place covering the 10 km course in 39:15.  In the men’s open race Jesse Mintz, 24, of Ontario finished 104th in a time of 41:02.

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