Another win by Roger Hopper, an all-time Colonial Road Runners 5K age group record by runner-up Adam Otstot, a major breakthrough race by women’s winner Emily Honeycutt, and two additional age group records by Pete Gibson and Patricia Travis, were the competitive highlights at last Saturday’s CDR SuperHero 5K Run at The Vineyards at Jockey’s Neck.
The race at The Vineyards, a Colonial Road Runners Grand Prix event, has been held most every year since 1993, and the flat and fast course attracts the top runners from Richmond to Virginia Beach, so age group records are quite hard to break.
The course records are an impressive 14:37 by Matt Lane, 23, of Williamsburg, in 2001, and 16:51 by Cheryl Bauer, 23, of Richmond in 2004, both former standout William & Mary distance runners. Lane was an 11-time All-American in cross country and track for the Tribe.
For many years the Vineyards race has been a major fundraising event for Child Development Resources, in recent years under the leadership of race director Nancy Wigley, the CDR Special Events Coordinator. Their mission statement is “CDR serves babies and children to help ensure that all children, no matter what their challenges, reach their full potential.” In addition to the competitive 5K race, there was also the SuperHero Family Challenge where families of 2-6 members, with children 12-and-younger, complete an easy obstacle course in the grass, dirt and woods around The Vineyards clubhouse. For the 5K there were 170 official finishers.
Hopper, 31, of Chesapeake, now has an unprecedented streak of 10 consecutive CRR Grand Prix race wins, every one going back to the Victory at Yorktown 10K in early April. Although he texted in jest, “Still mathematically possible to lose,” Hopper has essentially clinched his eighth consecutive CRR Grand Prix title. In addition he has already clinched his seventh consecutive Hampton Roads Super Grand Prix men’s title, every one since the HRSGP began in 2016.
After 14 (of an eventual 25 for 2022) CRR Grand Prix races, the Grand Prix standings have Hopper with a huge lead with 123 points (from 13 races). Otstot, 40, of Williamsburg is next with 64 points (from seven races) and Isaac Lamprecht, 15, of New Kent is third with 50 points (from six races).
Jonathan Torres, 32, of Newport News is still a contender with 42 points, although he has multiple fourth-place Grand Prix finishes. Only the top 12 races score. Last year Hopper had a perfect score (10 points per race), and in the next month he will earn a second consecutive perfect score of 120. Otstot was runner-up in 2021 with 114 points, but has raced more sparingly thus far in 2022.
Otstot did beat Hopper once this year, at the Jamestown High School Swamp Run 5K in late February. And Lamprecht won one overall CRR race title, at the Queens Lake 5K in late March, in the absence of Hopper and Otstot. Hopper bettered his own men’s 30-34 Vineyards age group record, improving from 15:40 last year to 15:26 this year, although falling a bit short of his goal of bettering his lifetime PR of 15:14 from last October.
The remainder of the top seven were Otstot (15:41), Lamprecht (16:33), Sean Bush, 32, of Williamsburg (16:45), Walsingham Academy’s #1 cross country runner Brody Cox, 15, of Williamsburg (17:31), Torres (18:03) and Brody’s Walsingham teammate Nicholas Primich, 15, of Williamsburg (18:37).
Hopper emailed, “Ran by myself out front the whole way. Mile splits were 4:58, 4:58, 5:00. Thought breaking my PR of 15:14 was a possibility, but perhaps the couple hills and August warmth and humidity took more out of me than I thought they would, although it is hard to complain about race conditions of high 60s and humidity below 80% in Williamsburg this time of year. Really appreciated that they moved the start time up from 8:30 to 8:00 am this year, that 30 minutes at that time of day can make a big difference with the weather.”
Until this year, W&M chemistry professor Rob Hinkle was the premier Masters (ages 40-and-over) runner in CRR history, having set the Masters 5K record of 15:55 twice, once in 2004 at the Governor’s Land 5K, and again in 2005 at the Mental Health 5K at Eastern State Hospital. Otstot, another former W&M distance star, broke that record in early May at the Virginia Regional Ballet 5K at First Colony with a time of 15:44, and he improved that record on Saturday to 15:41. In between Otstot broke the all-time CRR 8K record for men 40-44 with a time of 25:48 at the FURever 8K on the Greensprings Trail in early June.
Otstot emailed, “It was great to be back road racing for the first time since the FURever Homes 8K in June. Going into this race I had modest expectations. We really lucked out with the weather, however, so the morning of the race I knew we had the possibility of running pretty fast, so I turned my attention to attempting to drop the all-time record. As has become customary, Roger and Isaac took the race out pretty hard from the outset, and I trailed just a bit. By the half mile I passed Isaac to move into second and then set about trying to stay as close as I could to Roger. My mile splits were 5:04, 5:06, 5:05 with a decent kick. I definitely have ambitions to keep knocking that 5K record down even further. I’m setting my training up to be in my best racing shape later this fall, so I hope sub-15:30 is in the cards!” Otstot’s 15:41 was 20 seconds faster than the previous Vineyards 5K record for men 40-44, a 16:01 in 2004 by Hinkle.
Otstot had run a 15:22 at the Run the DOG Street 5K in mid-April, the week before turning 40, so a sub-15:30 at age 40 is certainly possible. At that DOG race Hopper was one second off his PR with a winning 15:15, and Lamprecht was third overall with his breakthrough 15:43, his first time below 16 minutes. Lamprecht was much slower at Vineyards with his 16:33, but he had recently placed third in the nation for the men’s 15-19 age group at the USA Triathlon Sprint National Championships in Milwaukee (420-meter swim, 10.7K bike, 2.5K run), earning a spot in the 2023 World Triathlon Sprint Championships in Germany next July. Lamprecht is a rising junior at New Kent High. All three (Hopper, Otstot and Lamprecht) will be going for all-time CRR 10K age group records at the August 27 Democracy Dash 10K on Jamestown Island, a totally flat and very fast course.
The two other Vineyards age group record breakers were Pete Gibson, 66, of Murfreesboro, N.C. and Patricia Travis, 71 of Williamsburg. Gibson’s 19:41 was 21 seconds faster than the previous mark by Tom Ray, 67, of Kitty Hawk, N.C. in 2000. Ray is a member of the Virginia Peninsula Road Racing Hall of Fame, as are Otstot and Hinkle. Travis’s time of 29:06 was almost 1 1/2 minutes better than the previous women’s 70-74 mark of 30:32, set by Pat Ewell of Williamsburg in both 2003 and ‘04.
A major breakthrough came from women’s winner Emily Honeycutt, who improved her PR from 19:26 (last October at Crawlin’ Crab in Hampton) to 19:08. Honeycutt emailed, “After coming within 2 seconds of my PR on a hilly, humid Coast Guard 5K course [a 19:28], I was excited to see what I could do on the significantly less hilly CDR SuperHero 5K course. The much cooler and less humid weather (especially for August) was an added bonus. I was able to get out hard and run pretty consistent mile splits (6:05, 6:17, 6:12). I was thrilled to finish with a 19:08 (an 18-second PR). Ultimately I want to break 19 minutes.” Second and third overall for the women were Karen Grabowski, 38, of Toano (21:47) and Kelly Cox, 44, of Williamsburg (22:33).
On an age-graded basis, as compiled by CRR statistician Jim Gullo, five runners bettered the national-class standard of 80%, led by Otstot (86.29%), with Gibson close behind (85.01%). Hopper was third (83.37%), followed by Lamprecht (80.36%) and Robert Whitaker, 63, of Yorktown (20:17, also 80.36%).
Above 75% were Isabella Strumke, 8, of Toano (23:09, 78.98%), Honeycutt (a lifetime best of 77.00%), Deelyn Robinson, 56, of Williamsburg (22:55, 76.95%), Bush (76.92%), Steve Menzies, 58, of Williamsburg (20:17, 76.91%), Joe Calkins, 51, of Lanexa (19:16, 76.47%), Cox (75.93%) and Timothy Suhr, 51, of Williamsburg (19:26, 75.81%). Dave Anderson, 51, of Williamsburg (19:59, 74.31%) and Travis (73.42%) just missed the 75% level.
John Strassberger age grades the walkers each race for the CRR, and for the first time this year, a walker bettered the 70% regional-class level. Louise Canfield, 70, of Williamsburg (the mother-in-law of CRR age group standout Jason Miller) won the women’s race walk division in 36:25, and age graded 73.91%. Alexey Popov, 39, of Newport News won the men’s race walk in 29:18, age grading 65.36%.
Rick Platt is president of Colonial Road Runners.