Donohue, Watson Take Windy Schuylkill River Loop Race
BY DIANE MCMANUS
PHILADELPHIA, PA--O wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind? wrote poet Percy Shelley. Anyone witnessing or participating in the 2008 Schuylkill River 8.4-mile Loop Race, November 16, 2008 could easily testify to the power and sweep of the wind. As a tailwind, it could push a wearying runner to the finish line--provided that it didnt shift. As a headwind, it could almost blow runners backward. For the runners, it seemed to require an Olympian effort to move forward in its face.
Fortunately, the winners, Erin Donohue (first place female) and Luke Watson (first place male), were no strangers to Olympian efforts. Donohues third place finish in the Olympic Trials 1500 earned her a berth in Beijing, and Luke Watson, a Notre Dame All-American, qualified for the Trials in the steeplechase. Donohue finished sixth overall with a time of 49:16, while Watsons 42:12.5 was the fastest Loop time in 15 years.
Both runners earned $100 bonuses for their performances; Donohue for a sub-51:00 time, Watson for breaking 42:30.
Held alongside the Loop race was the Kelly Drive 5K Racewalk. Winning the mens division was Keith Maxwell, with a time of 32 minutes, while Bernadette McNulty took the womens race with a time of 39:20.
Directed by Dave Thomas, this race follows the bike trail parallel to Kelly and Martin Luther King Drives, taking in such landmarks as Boathouse Row and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Like the stalwart runners undeterred by windy conditions, the race also has staying power as do its course records.
Founded in 1972 as a challenge to see who could make the fastest circuit of the Schuylkill River Loop, this is the oldest continuously held road race in Philadelphia. Such Olympians as Villanova graduates Terrence Mahon and Jen Rhines have won top places in this long-standing event.
Yet despite the efforts of these and other distinguished runners, the mens and womens course records have remained unbroken for over twenty-five years. The mens course record of 40:08 is held by George Buckheit, a Bucknell standout, who achieved this mark in 1981, while Jan Yerkes set the womens record of 47:02 in 1982.
As always, proceeds from the race benefit the community. Funds for this year's event were donated to Fairmount Park for maintenance of the park and also supported Students Run Philly Style, a running club for inner-city high school students. For more information about the event, readers may contact Thomas at email@example.com or visit his Web site, www.gopacsports.com.
1. Luke Watson 42:12
1. Jeff Hayes 48:43
1. Coaches Vs. Chaffing RC
1. Erin Donohue 49:16
1.Sheila Natho 55:58
1. Rosemont K-Moms
Kelly Drive 5K Racewalk
1. Keith Maxwell 32:00
2. John Morrison 32:23
3. William May 32:25
1. Bernadette McNulty 39:20
2. Neysa Maxwell 40:20
3. Nancy Jameison 42:19