As with all big races, there are sure to be many good stories that come out. With the Vermont City Marathon that is especially so because there’s also the relay races all going on at the same time as the marathon. It’s tough to keep up with all of story lines and luckily we had some help from Jess Cover, who brought this one to our attention. Running legend Joan Benoit Samuelson took part in the relay races in Burlington, joining forces with a talented group of three young ladies: Emma Elyse Farrington, Katherine Cook, and Autumn Eastman. Together they formed the supergroup Joan’s Team.
When we confirmed that Joanie wanted to run the first two legs I started to work on who would run with her. I reached out to my girls XC team at South Burlington and Katherine Cook immediately responded that she would be thrilled for the opportunity. As Katherine is one of the speediest girls in VT I thought how cool would it be to get some other lady speedsters to run on the team. I am good friends with Emma Farrington’s Dad Jim and as she is a Freshmen from Essex HS and has been having a super first year both in XC and track I reached out to them and got and exuberant YES! Now for the cherry on top-could I get Autumn Eastman from CVU? I called Coach Scott Bliss to see if he would ask Autumn. The message I got back from him was funny…He said.. “Did I hear correctly (cell service is a bit sketchy on the back road of VT)…running in Joan Benoit Samuelson’s Relay Team”? After not long of a wait Autumn was confirmed and we had our dream team. I told them all there was no pressure and it was more about women coming together from three high schools to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Inaugural Women’s Olympic Marathon than it was about running fast and winning. When I asked Joanie what her pace plan was she said she hoped to run between 6.15 and 6.30’s for the 9.1 miles. The girls looked at one another and I could tell it was game on.
They ended up winning the female relay division in a time of 2:51:57, good enough for 7th out of all the 3-5 relay teams.
The local news did a segment on the team ahead of the race, and the video of that can be seen here. Thanks to Jess Cover for putting this together.