Wasn’t sure what to expect for the turn out as this was a first year event, but it is Columbia so it isn’t like there aren’t plenty of runners who could show up. Looked like about 50 or so at the start and as usual I surveyed the runners trying to single out who the competition was likely to be. None of the known speedsters were present and I couldn’t single out anyone in particular who stood out as being fast.
Once the race had started, one person I didn’t know surged to the front and set off at a pretty fast pace. Turns out this runner was Bill Stolz, a former collegiate runner who does a lot of the local races only I hadn’t met him before. I kept hoping he would slow down, but since I didn’t know who he was I knew I couldn’t count on that happening, so I ran right off his shoulder. After about a mile at sub six minute pace, I figured he would slow down and I moved to the front hoping he would drop off. But he stayed right behind me. Since I realized I wasn’t going to drop him, I slowed up a little and eventually he moved back in front of me.
I’m not sure if the course was a bit long or it was just a slow course, but I’m pretty confident we were probably under six minute pace for the whole run, but our times didn’t reflect that. Anyways, we stayed together and were heading back on the trail with just over a mile to go. I think Bill tried to surge on one of the final hills but I managed to stay with him and work on preparing myself for one final surge myself. With about 300 yards to go, I started my final kick and fortunately Bill didn’t match it. I pulled ahead winning by one second! Final time: 18:42