Take The Bridge : NYC vs The World was the fifth (and final, we promise) race we've organized this year. As word spread of this event, we knew we'd have our biggest turnout to date. But nothing prepared us for the incredible energy of the circa 100 fans that packed the start / finish line, under the arch of the Williamsburg Bridge, on the cold, clear Friday eve of marathon weekend.
The global runners, nearly all running their first Take The Bridge, embraced it. One by one, they sprinted to the line, cutting a narrow path through the deep crowd, throwing high-fives, raising their arms, hooting and hollering. We welcomed new faces Nicholas Chemel and Whitney Suflas as global winners. And the locals? BNTC's Leigh Anne Sharek cemented her place in TTB history. This is her third time winning one of our races! For the men, Jason Lakritz of Finish Line PT ran smart. In TTB Brooklyn in October, he took the prime en route to second place. Today he let others work the hill before storming home to win.
Photo Credits | top: George Grullon, George Grullon, Graham Macindoe, Tahiti Abdulbasir | bottom: Andrew Janke, George Grullon, George Grullon, George Grullon
RACE ONE | COMBINED GLOBAL
First of the night's three races, over an approximately 2.1 mile out-and-back course starting from the Manhattan side of the Williamsburg Bridge. 28 men and women lined up representing at least six countries, as well as DC, Boston, LA, San Fran, Colorado and Chicago. We're surely missing a few places. Many of these athletes were racing the marathon Sunday. But that doesn't mean they jogged a shake-out run. For the men, Nicholas Chemel of France shot to the lead, winning the prime and throwing his arms up as he won in 11:31. And the crowed loved it.
One by one, the globals followed, greeted by confetti and cheers. Ryan Perrich of Fort Collins, Colorado took second in 11:51, over Rune Revsbaek of London's Run Dem Crew. And both Ryan and Rune would come back for a little 26.2 on Sunday! We salute you guys.
Our global women staged the tightest duel of the night, with November Project's Whitney Suflas edging Pilvi Muschitiello of Ssideline City Run Club by less than a second. Rowan Bowcutt was third in 13:16, capping a night of great racing -- and a big fan presence -- for Run Dem Crew.
RACE TWO | LOCAL WOMEN
We frequently refer to Leigh Anne Sharek as a Take The Bridge legend. But what other word applies? She has now placed top four in seven consecutive races. She is our first three-time winner, men or women. And she saved her first TTB win of 2016 for the last of our five races this year. Carly Graham followed about 2.5 seconds back, making her Take The Bridge debut for the potent Finish Line PT team. With her FLPT teammate Emmi Aguillard taking the prime (well okay she's also a Whippet), Carly led in that tough patch of the race between halfway and the downhill ramp home. It was gutsy running, and we can't wait to see her back next year. Emmi was a strong third, and BNTC's Lena Placzek took fourth. Lena has now placed top five in all three of her TTB races this year!
RACE THREE | LOCAL MEN
Jason Lakritz ran tough at TTB Brooklyn. But he didn't win. After taking the prime, he was passed by Sean Mahon of Bellmore Striders in the home stretch. Sean himself had won the prime at Queensboro, holding onto the lead over Jerry Faulkner until the last 200 meters. See where this is heading? If you run like Sean or Jason, the prime is so tempting. You know you have it in you. But to win the prime AND hold on for the win. It's been done, but it is no easy feat in these packed fields.
This time, Jason was more patient. FLPT teammate Garen Riedel won the prime, and Jason won the 2.1 mile race in 10:35. Zach Rivers of Lostboys followed 8 seconds back, improving on consecutive third-place finishers in his first two TTB races. A tight pack of four runners followed, with just five seconds between third place and sixth place -- Matt Rosetti and Steve Crnic of Brooklyn Running Company, Tim Rossi of Lostboys and Steve Finley of BNTC.
You had to be there to feel the community at this race. 20 race volunteers ensured every runner had a great night, from checkin to finish. We welcomed the local runners who have made this race series so thrilling, and they helped us to embrace dozens of new faces from around the world, each of whom brought their own energy. 100 fans thundered for every runner across three races (and it was cold out there). Bike messengers stopped to let runners through. Total strangers, passing by, stopped to join the cheersquad. We all partied together, at Donneybrook, over beer and tacos.
In short, Take The Bridge : NYC vs The World was a collaborative effort that capped an incredible, exciting 2016. As race organizers, we're exhausted. And we loved it! We'll surely be back next year, for our local series, an NYC vs The World rematch, and of course a few surprises. Take The Bridge road trip, anyone? So stay tuned, and see you on the bridges!
Adam + Darcy
Photo Credit | top: Zach Hetrick, Zach Hetrick, Paulsta Wong | bottom: Andrew Janke, Zach Hetrick, Paulsta Wong