On the Road Taking Names, Keeping Score
By BRUCE OAKLEY
White River Roadrunners President-elect
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We have passed the halfway point in the White River Roadrunners Challenge Series, turning for home with eight races left behind in our dust. So far, our series lends credence to the lines about victory not always going to the swift, but sure and steady paying off.
First, sure (can't say "slow" for this bunch) and steady: With a choice of two races each at the High Rock and Penguin runs, eight series races have passed, but no runner can have finished more than six, for at most 73 points. Of the five runners who have finished six races, four lead their age groups and the other is third.
As for the swift, 10 runners are undefeated in at least two races, but only three of them lead a division.
The "Step Up" points for the Band on the Run also make a difference in the standings, where runners with fewer races but a big "Step Up" score lead, or where an undefeated runner missed the "Step Up" race and trails a close competitor who grabbed bonus points.
Most divisions have seen at least four different winners in eight tries, so we're spreading the wealth.
Some names to go with numbers:
Linda Dale has maxed out, with six victories in six possible races, for 73 points to lead W60+. Others who have run the maximum six races are Joel Cannady (65 points, leading M60+), Debra Haun (66 points, leading W50-59), Dana Dowell (69 points, leading W40-49) and Brandie Merrill (third, W30-39).
Other runners undefeated and leading their divisions are Kyle Haun, Debra's son, leading M20-29 with four firsts, and Kristen Treadway, also with four firsts in W20-29.
Kristen also has the distinction of being undefeated but not leading a division, because she has four firsts in W-Overall, but trails Ashley Beller, who has three seconds and two thirds in her five races. Jennifer Dorris and Betsy Tucker are close behind in the tightest division.
Other undefeateds not leading their age groups are Bruce Oakley (5 wins, M50-59), Matt Walker (4, M30-39), Betsy Tucker (4, W50-59), Clan Weatherford (3, M40-49), Tyler Webb (3, M10-19), Melanie Mathews (2, W40-49).
Linda Dale needs one more first to assure herself at least a tie for the W60+ title. Kristen Treadway has a strong lead with her wins in W20-29, as does Dana Dowell with several second places in W40-49, though all those 40-49 winners are mathematically in contention to catch Dana. Every other division leader can probably hear footsteps, with six chances for competitors to catch up.
Men's overall has been a free-for-all with five different winners in the first five races before Matt Walker won his second, and Tyler Webb won the last two for his total of three. Matt has a two-point lead over Bruce Oakley, who has run one more race but missed the Band on the Run (Matt won for bonus points).
M60+ is also a dogfight with multiple winners Joe Pool (2), Andy Buschmann (2), and Dennis Anderson (3) trailing Rusty Hinges (the other first), but all of them behind steady Joel Cannady with five seconds in his six races.
Bruce is undefeated in five races in M50-59, but trails Tim Oster, who has two firsts, including an 18-point win at Band on the Run, and three seconds. Matt is in a similar situation in M30-39, with four wins in four races, including Band on the Run, but he trails Brian Yeager in the division. Brian has one more race, including first at the High Rock 10-Mile and a second to Matt in Band on the Run.
All this talk about free-for-alls and dogfights doesn't mean ours is not a family-friendly series as well: Shawn Patterson Jr. has a second and two thirds in his five races to lead M10-19. Shawn Sr. has two firsts and a second to lead the 40-49 division over Todd Coleman with his two firsts and two seconds. Plus we have Debra Haun, not to be outdone by Kyle, with her two firsts and two seconds in six races in W50-59 to lead Betsy Tucker, undefeated in four races.
W40-49 has five different winners, but Dana Dowell is 44 points ahead of her nearest competitor with two firsts and four seconds in her six races. Ashley Beller has four wins and a second in five races in W30-39 for a lead over Jennifer Dorris, who has been second to Ashley three times and has a victory of her own in five races.
So, we've got Matt Walker leading men's overall and undefeated but trailing in his own age group, and Kristen Treadway undefeated and leading her age group, but undefeated and trailing overall. Bruce Oakley is second overall with only one win and second in his age group, undefeated with five wins.