Boulder Express, adidas Raleigh Track Club win USATF National Club Marathon Relay Championships
LDR Programs Manager
USA Track & Field
DENVER, Colo. - Boulder Express "BX" (Colo.) took their first men's national championship in 2:13:44 and the adidas Raleigh Track Club (N.C.) successfully defended their women's title, running 2:37:43 at the USATF National Club Marathon Relay Championships hosted by the Post-News Colorado Colfax Marathon on Sunday in Denver, Colo.
Clear skies and cool, dry conditions met the teams at the start of the third edition of the championships. Justin Young tried to establish an early lead for BX on the first 10 km leg but as the teams made the first exchange Jeff Jonaitis from Universal Sole (Ill.) established a 20 second advantage over BX, with a sizable gap over the Kansas City Smoke (Mo.) and Boulder Running Company/adidas (Colo.).
On the 5 km second leg, Chris England managed to retake the lead for BX just before handing-off to Sean Nesbitt for the 10 km third leg. Nesbitt managed to open up a lead of more than thirty seconds before Greg Mitchell of the Boulder Running Company/adidas began to gradually eat away at the gap to pull within five seconds of Nesbitt.
The Boulder Running Company's Michael Nicks and BX's John Supsic ran stride for stride over much of the 5 km fourth leg before Nicks produced a 20 meter lead to hand-off to teammate Nelson Laux.
BX anchor Clint Wells used less than two miles to rejoin Laux, and after dueling until 22 miles, Wells made a decisive move to the lead as the pair began a long ascent towards 23 miles. Wells continued to widen the gap to lead BX to a 39 second victory as the Asics Aggies (Calif.) took third in 2:16:32.
Lead changes were also common in the women's race as Lucinda Hull gave the defending champion adidas Raleigh Track Club a 50 meter lead after the 10 km first leg as she handed off to sister Claudin Hull. However, Katie Blackett of the Ft. Collins, Colo., based Rocky Mountain Distance Team managed to overtake Hull about a mile before the second exchange. Becki Marshall worked the 10 km third leg to overtake Faith Byrum and put the adidas Raleigh team back in the lead but on the 5 km fourth leg Nikole Johns again reclaimed the lead for the Rock Mountain Distance Team.
Jeanne Hennessy began the final 12.2 km leg with a three second lead for the in-state favorites but adidas Raleigh's Tara Wojciechowski wasted no time, closing the gap within 200 meters and eventually going on to a 1 minute, 55 second victory. Moving Comfort - Montana followed in third, running 2:45:19.
Clubs from California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, and Washington competed in both the men's and women's championships. With an unprecedented $30,000 in prize money, the marathon relay event was the first of three club championship events in the 2006 USATF Club Championship Series.
For more information on the 2006 USATF National Club Marathon Relay Championships visit www.usatf.org.