FLRC's July 2021 track meet kicks to the finish before thunderstorm

What were we thinking, having a track meet in the evening this summer? Was there any chance we wouldn’t be flirting with a severe thunderstorm watch? No, but thanks to the meet being small, the efforts of our highly capable volunteers, and running one big heat of the mile as our last race, we managed to finish last night’s meet and even pack up before the storm hit.

Between the lack of our usual club participation, the threatening weather forecast, and air quality warnings from the Ontario wildfires, attendance was significantly down from our usual numbers. But having just 38 runners was a blessing in disguise, since it allowed us to remember just how it is we put on a track meet after 17 months off and we would never have finished before the storm otherwise. Full results are now available for those who had to leave before seeing their times.

As usual, the 100m race was popular with kids, and our first heat featured three generations, as 1-year-old Guinevere Goldberg toddled a 95-second time with her mother Margaret Frank and her 73-year-old grandfather, Joseph Frank. Overall, it was a battle of 14-year-olds: James Saunders won in 12.35 seconds, beating Ben Lambert, who came through in 13.76. Age took the crown on the women’s side, with 56-year-old Stephanie Mulinos running a 19.00 to edge out 9-year-old Annaliese Granroth’s 19.33.

In the 800m, Alexander Simpson won handily in 2:00 flat, with Warren Staver finishing in 2:07 for second. Liz Hartman was first for the women in 2:48, with Michelle Woods second in 3:01, although they didn’t run in the same heat, and it might have been more of a race if they had.

When it came to the 400m, Warren Staver was once again stymied in his quest for a win, as Colin Johnston cruised to victory in 51.01. Staver’s second-place time was 54.61, just nipping Alexander Simpson’s 55.44. But Stephanie Mulinos showed that she had more than just 100m speed with her second win of the night for the women, in 1:31.27, followed closely by Kim Jackson in 1:34.26.

We collapsed two heats of the mile into a single race to save time, but that didn’t slow down Adam Pacheck and Harry Greene, who dueled for the first 800m before Pacheck pulled away to win in 4:35, well ahead of Greene’s 4:53. Michelle Woods was the first woman in 7:04, followed by Kim Jackson in 7:23.

Props to 9-year-old Arya Basu and 63-year-old Joseph Sullivan, who ran all four events, and it was also inspiring to see 8-year-old Toby Kennedy running the 800m and 1 mile to add to his leading mileage totals in the FLRC Kids Challenge.

It was great to reunite the dedicated track volunteer team that makes these meets run so smoothly. Bob Talda served as head timer, with Tom Rishel juggling a whistle (for little kid heats) and pistol as the starter. Jullien Flynn worked her last track meet before she leaves for MIT, wrangling our crufty Meet Manager software for seeding and results with the able help of Dave Kania. Tonya Engst managed bib pickup while recruiting for the FLRC women’s cross country team, Bill Watson organized the runners into heats with assistance from Carl Franck, and Adam Pacheck recorded finisher bibs, with Laurel Gilmer doing backup timing and filling in while Adam was winning his race. Along with everyone else, Carl Franck and Dave Kania were a huge help with setup and teardown, and Becca Lovenheim’s assistance in using the Lansing track’s PA system and other gear was essential as always. Plus, Gabby Woo was taking photos throughout, and we hope to share them soon. Thanks to everyone!

We have one more track meet this summer on August 17th. Maybe the weather patterns will have changed by then!