Hopes were high for competitors at this past weekend’s North Coast 24 Hour Run, the 2018 USATF 24 Hour National Championship held in Cleveland’s Edgewater Park. With overall and age group national championships on the line, an additional caveat of an auto selection to the 2019 U.S. National 24 Hour Team served as additional motivation.
The weather forecast leading into the event was near as perfect as one could ask. With temperatures in the low to mid 60’s and into the low to mid 50’s at night, the environment seemed cooperative to help aid big performances. A light breeze off Lake Erie nixed any chances of overheating.
At any 24 hour race a number of athletes set off at aggressive pace. Many are newcomers to the event who do not have a full appreciation of what lies ahead. At the same time more seasoned runners with strong past performances lurk off the lead pace with more care and consideration for preserving themselves for the later stages. Onlookers wish the quick starters luck but know that odds are that time will take its toll and await the emergence of the veterans.
The 2018 USATF 24 Hour National Championship was held this past Saturday and Sunday at Cleveland’s Edgewater Park. On an 0.889 mile paved loop around the park, athletes ran from 9AM Saturday till 9AM Sunday trying to compile as many miles as they could. Weather conditions were near perfect with daytime highs in the low to mid 60’s and night time temps in the mid 50’s.
The men’s field included 3 time National 24 Hour Champion Harvey Lewis as well as 2016 champion, Olivier Leblond. Both Olivier and Harvey already hold qualifying marks of 160.420 and 153.49 miles, respectively. Also expected to be in the mix was 2013 National Team member and modern American record holder at 6 days, Joe Fejes. Colorado’s Adrian Stanciu who already has two qualifying marks at 150.275 and 148.123 miles, looked to either steal the auto qualifier or better his standing with another strong performance. Others with strong resumes included Padraig Mullins, Brad Popple, and Steve Spiers (2017 runner-up at North Coast 24).
In the women’s field, Megan Alvarado, who had met the qualifying mark for 2017 but was knocked out of the sixth Team position on the last day of qualifying was competing for one thing: to cement her position for 2019. Also in the field were Emily Collins, Charlotte Vasarhelyi and Jasmine Chiramonte who all had strong past performances and looked toward qualifying.
After just a few hours, Harvey Lewis retired from the event and a cold that Adrian had caught earlier in the week took its toll, forcing him to slow from contention for a win or qualifying mark.
A few hours in, Megan moved into the lead for the women and ran careful and methodical and wasn’t challenged to the final gun. Emily retired from the event just before daylight, but had a cushion that Jasmine couldn’t overcome.
When the final grain of sand drained from the hour glass, Oliver (Potomac Valley Assoc) had secured his 2nd 24 Hour National Championship, an auto selection to the 2019 U.S. National 24 Hour Team, and a personal best of over 161+**(Note these results do not reflect addition of partial lap distance in final distance) miles. Perhaps the happiest finisher in the event was Megan Alvarado (Potomac Valley Assoc) who won the women’s division with 140.5 miles, won her first National Championship, and secured her auto selection to the 2019 U.S. National 24 Hour Team. The date and location of the 2019 IAU World 24 Hour Championship will be announced on November 1.
Joe Fejes (South Carolina Assoc) ran strong the entire way, finishing 2nd (130+ miles) and David Johnston (Alaska Assoc) finished 3rd with 123+ miles.
Emily Collins (Lake Erie Assoc) (123+ miles) finished 2nd in the women’s division with Jasmine Chiramonte (Mid Atlantic Assoc) (118+ miles) in 3rd .