The USATF-NE All Terrain Runner Series comes to a dramatic conclusion this coming Sunday at the Seasons 20k in Acton, MA. While there are cash and awards on the line for many age groups, the silver tuna is the $1,000 cash money payment going to the winner of the overall series (each for male and female). Kasie Enman has conveniently (and impressively) wrapped up the women’s series but the men’s series is in play. But who are the contenders?
1 - Scott Leslie (6 events): 475.12
2 - Chris Mahoney (6 events): 469.43
3 - Ethan Nedeau (5 events): 462.27
4 - Alex Hall (6 events): 461.69
12 - Ryan Carrara (4 events): 380.79
Yep, 12th place just might be the guy to focus on. It’s easy to focus on the first 4, seeing how close they are. Yet, somewhat buried in the standings is the guy who might have the best shot. As you might know, there are 7 events in the series, but only your strongest 5 events score.
Since Scott’s the one with the bullseye on his back now, we’ll compare Scott and Ryan. When Scott lines up to race in Acton, he’ll need to run score better than 88 points if he’s going to improve his score at all. Note: scoring is done based off of percentage back of the winner, who gets 100 points for the win. Now, since Ryan only has 4 events under his belt, anything he runs here is added to his total. If Ryan scores 95 points here then that would bump him up to 475. So as you can see, it’s tight. But it’s not winner take all…
First – $1,000
Second – $500
Third – $250
Fourth – $100
Fifth – $50
It’s a long drop in earnings from 1st to 5th, so each guys really has motivation to bring home the bacon.
We peppered the contenders with questions about the series so far and their expectations for the conclusion. Perhaps as a sign of things to come, Ryan Carrara was the first to respond. Here’s what Ryan’s had to say about his experience so far…
How does it feel to be in contention for this unique title?
Surprising and energizing. A lot of fun to be a part of the action and race for something besides your pride.
What was the point in the series where you felt you had a good shot at winning it all?
5k on the track I put in a move on Scott and Chris to jump the gap to the two leaders and to my surprise, it actually worked and I caught the leaders, until the last lap, when it stopped working and they were uncaught.
What was your strongest event?
5k on the track, no doubt about it. The track for 5k is where I have always felt the most comfortable in terrain, distance, and pace.
What about your favorite?
Mile on the indoor track! Always wanted to be a miler, but there was just one problem, I was not any good at it!
Who are you most concerned about going into the final event, the Seasons 20k?
Scott Leslie, he is a true distance guy and coming off all that marathon training. Maybe he is burnt out on distance training? Maybe he left it all in Vermont? As a matter of fact, on Sept 6 maybe he should go back there and look for it. Scott not showing up at all would be fine by me.
Have you ever run a 20k before?
I have run plenty of 20k’s, it is my favorite cop out distance when I am supposed to do an actual long run. 12.2 is just where is starts to get long. Never ever raced one though, but I have raced 15ks, 10 milers, and half marathons. So close to a 1/2 marathon in distance but mentally seems further. 20 seems > 13.1.
How do you like your chances?
I have a punchers’ chance. As in, if I sucker punch Scott, Chris, and Alex on the starting line as hard as I can and it takes them a few minutes to get their faculties back I have a chance to defeat them. 2:00 should be enough cushion.
Why do you think you can win?
I have completely reconfigured my training for 10 days turning night into day and doing all my training at an altitude of 6500′ on Loshan Mountain in Hsinchu Taiwan. A strict diet of rice, crackers, steamed vegetables and something they told me was pork. Doing hills everyday, not by choice, but you can either run up the mountain road and back down or down the mountain road and back up, because there is only one long, unending road, and it hates me and I hate it. Monotonous son of a bitch, couldn’t get off the mountain road fast enough. I will channel the hate I have for that mountain road into my effort on Sunday.
Why do you think you might lose?
It certainly will not be because those other chumps are in better shape than me, that much I know! But if I were to lose, here may be why. I turned night into day and worked 12 hour shifts on a radar maintenance team for 10 days before the race. I am obviously the oldest of the bunch and let’s face it every year adds 10 seconds per mile. I am not a distance guy, Anything over 10k is just avoiding people who are racing 10k and under. I semi-tweaked my back chasing Scott down from the ski area in Manchester. Older people have notoriously bad backs. If I don’t perform well at Seasons I will just throw that or some other random indistinguishable injury in there.
Any advice to offer your competition on race day?
Wear protective head gear.