‘Perfect’ weather highlights races
By NEIL AMATO, The Herald-Sun
May 2, 2004 12:03 am
With sights set on bigger goals, two former ACC runners took time Saturday to get in a good workout, bring home some cash and continue chasing their running dreams.
Jason Meany, a multiple conference champion at Clemson, and N.C. State graduate Beth Fonner were the winners in the 15-kilometer Herald-Sun Press Run on Saturday, but, without disrespecting the event, it was just another day in the training log.
The 9.3-mile race, held in conjunction with the 20th annual City of Medicine 5K at County Stadium, served as the state championship for that distance. Meany, 24, of Morrisville, won by two seconds over 28-year-old Kevin Taylor of Raleigh. His time (48:22) and the finish of two adidas teammates was enough for Meany to pocket $208.33, $150 for the individual win and his share of $175 for the team win. Fonner, 23, of Raleigh, won the same amount, adding to the fund for her December wedding with a course-record time of 54:31.
Fonner just got a job in Raleigh and has found she doesn’t like hearing the alarm clock sound for 6 a.m. workouts. And she has found that since her career at N.C. State ended, she hasn’t been zeroing in on specific races as much.
“Without the team and without somebody saying these are the races you’re running, I’ve been a little lost with that,” she said.
But she is focusing her training on the Freihofer’s Run for Women in Albany, N.Y., on June 6, the national championship for women in 5K road racing.
“Basically, right now, I’m just running for money,” said Fonner, who bettered the course record by nearly a minute.
She ran three times the distance of her goal race and seemed at ease afterward, with little huffing and puffing. “I’m definitely not winded,” she said. “I was just hoping to get in a good workout.”
She and teammates Tara Wojciechowski and Jackie Brooks also won the 20K team title for North Carolina in the Coach Bubba Heart and Sole race in Durham in February. That victory led to Meany and his adidas teammates to enter as a group for the 15K Saturday, which started under cloudy skies, a runner’s dream.
Meany needs to shave about 25 seconds off his best 5K track time to make it to the Olympic Trials in July in Sacramento. He is off to a good start, with a solid 5K clocking of 14:19 in the Raleigh Relays in March.
Meany, an earth science teacher at Wake Forest-Rolesville High, hopes to achieve a qualifying time at a race in Maine in June. The top 24 times qualify for the Olympic Trials.
To him, Saturday’s race seemed long. To runner-up Taylor, “it felt like a sprint.” He finished 29th in the Olympic Marathon Trials in February, and even though he knew Meany was a track guy, he figured his own kick would have been good enough to win.
“I thought I could outkick anybody,” Taylor said. “He’s just too fast. I should have taken it out of him early.”
The result was the closest of the day. Fonner won the women’s race by more than a minute, and the 5K results weren’t close. John Hinton, 42, a regular winner on the regional circuit and a master’s world champion, ran 3.1 miles in 15:26, a pace of 4:59 per mile and 50 seconds better than Anthony Fleg, 26.
In the women’s division of the 5K, Durham’s Amanda Tate won by nearly 40 seconds over Durham’s Alicia Parr, a triathlete who nonetheless was thrilled by her personal-best time of 18:35.
“I’ve seen her win a lot of races,” Parr said of Tate. “Usually she’s farther ahead of me.”
Hinton rarely runs longer than 5K races. One of his shorter ones came last July, when he won the 40-and-over world title for 1,500 meters in Puerto Rico. Hinton said he decided in the middle of the week to enter the race, showing up to register less than an hour before the start. He liked the weather he saw when he first went outside.
“Some years, it’s been really hot,” he said. “This was perfect.”
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