Monday, 26 October 2009

P-K Performance of the Month/Year Recognition

Although I should have initiated this at the beginning of the racing season back in April, I want to begin recognizing top competitive performances by P-K members each month in the form of a Performance of the Month and, eventually, a Performance of the Year, nod. (Actually, I'd like to come up with an actual prize-- perhaps some Mizuno foot wear or apparel- for the Performance of the Year award. I'll be working on that). The Performance of the Month/Year will not necessarily go to the fastest performance, or to a winning performance; it will go to an exceptional performance, relative to a number of variables determined by me. These variable with have to do with things like the percentage of improvement shown, the athlete's age and level of experience, and the obstacles that he/she may have had to overcome in the process of recording the result in question. With so many athletes and so many performances to consider each month(I will consider local, on-line and junior members), the process of selecting a "best" will not be an exact science; but, I pledge to do my best to ensure that all worthy performances are considered. And nominations are certainly welcomed. My hope is to offer some peer recognition for great feats of racing, and to inform the ever growing list of P-K athletes-- most of whom will not have met on another, or perhaps even know of one another's existence-- about what their fellow members are up to on the field of play.

A short list of performances that have caught my eye in the past four weeks include, in the order in which they were run:

-50 year old Bob McGraw's 17:00 5k, which represented a more than 40 second improvement on his masters personal best, and the fruit of more than a year of consistent, high level training.

-Emily Tallen's 16:45 in the same race-- her 3rd best time at the distance-- after being pushed to the ground and buried at the start, and sustaining a nasty bruise to her knee that would require 3 days off of running.

-42 year old Troy Cox's 1:12:42 performance in the Goodlife Toronto Half Marathon-- a very fine master's time, and an outright personal best.

-50 year old Clive Morgan's outright win of the PEC Half Marathon.

-48 year old Agathe Nicholson's 18:53 5k in Rochester NY, during a marathon taper, on a slow course, in windy and cold conditions.

-31 year old Mike Gill's 16:37 for 5k. Mike joined P-K in the spring of this year and his over-all focus and attention to detail has kept him improving steadily. But his ability to rise to the occasion in a race situation is remarkable. This race represented a 2 minute improvement over his starting fitness, and an almost 1 minute improvement in a single month. I always encourage racers to aim high, and to trust their conditioning, but I would never have thought to instruct Mike to pace for this kind of time at this stage of his program!

-High school runner Lauren Taylor's entire grade 11 season thus far. Until this season, Lauren had never beaten another runner in a race, period. This season, chopping more than a minute per km(!) off of her previous best race pace, she has moved close to the middle of the pack! Through it all, Lauren's resolve has never wavered. Always a very diligent trainer, she has really come to enjoy the fruits of her labour this season.

-Rejean Chiasson's 3 minute personal best over Half Marathon (69:30 down to 66:30), and runner-up finish, this past weekend in Niagara Falls. As we all know, the faster we are to begin with, the harder it becomes to make significant improvements; so, Rejean's run is all the more impressive. No one has more drive and focus in training than R.C., so this represents a very well deserved breakthrough result.

Congratulations all, and I'll pick a winner next week.


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