Despite the Weather, the Race Must Go On

Mother Nature might have thrown a wrench into your weekend plans, but the rain, sleet and snow didn’t stop this past weekend’s big running events on the Eastern Shore.  The MEAC Cross Country Championships and the Seaside 10-miler went on as planned despite a mean Nor’easter that wreaked havoc along the coast.  No amount of flooding or gusting winds could stop the runners that turned out for both events.

At the MEAC Cross Country Championships at UMES in Princess Anne, the runners wore their pink to support breast cancer research despite the pouring rain.  This year’s championships really tested the athletes and their level of endurance.  The temperatures in Princess Anne were in the mid-40s throughout the race, with steady rain and wind gusts.   They trudged through the course, and some emerged victorious.

Norfolk State won the men’s title with a team average of 26:18.80 on the 8K course.  This was NSU’s fifth consecutive title and its 11th in the last 12 seasons. Florida A&M finished in second place, followed by Howard, Maryland Eastern Shore and North Carolina A&T rounding out the top five in the men’s team standings.  NSU’s Josef Tessema won the men’s race to earn Outstanding Performer accolades. He finished with a time of 25:24.73.

The Hampton Lady Pirates took home the women’s title for the second straight year with a team average of 19:38.11 on the 5K course.  Second place honors went to Florida A&M, followed by Maryland Eastern Shore, Morgan State and Norfolk State completing the top five.  Bethune-Cookman’s Kadian Dunkley crossed the finish first with a time of 18:43.61 to earn Outstanding Performer honors.

The runners from the MEAC weren’t the only ones who braved the wind and rain. Hundreds of runners participated in the Seaside 10-miler/5K this past Saturday in Ocean City.  Organizers said the event would take place rain or shine, and boy did they mean it.  Ocean City definitely took the brunt of the rain and wind blowing up the coast, as I can attest to.  The heavy rains, wind and flooded roadways kept me  in North Ocean City instead of down at the inlet, where 467 runners (out of the 742 registered) braved the storm and participated in either the 10-miler or the 5K.  Even brave volunteers weathered the storm to make sure the runners were well taken care of along the course.

The 10-miler in drier times.

The best time in the men’s overall for the 10-miler went to Enos Benbow Jr. of Georgetown, DE, who posted a 1:01:12 and averaged 6:08/mile.  The women’s winner was Corrine Banks of Ocean City, who posted a 1:07:46 and averaged a 6:47/mile.  The oldest finisher was 72-year-old Bailey St. Clair of Glen Arm. He finished with a time of 2:03:38.  The cold weather coupled with constant rain and gusting winds didn’t deter these or the other 464 brave runners who took on the course!

The runners who took part in all of this past weekend’s events showed their determination and drive by powering through the weather that kept most of us (me included) inside.  Well, it’s either that or they’re just living up to the stereotype that runners are crazy! 🙂

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