9/14/2003: CLEMENT AND GARDNER CROWNED NATIONAL 100 MILE CHAMPIONS
Sylvania, Ohio, Sept. 14, 2003
Tim Clement of Solon, Ohio surprised everyone and Connie Gardner of Medina, Ohio surprised no one in taking the USA national 100 mile road titles today at Olander Park in Sylvania, Ohio. The terms of the race were dictated early by a bright, baking sun which was relentless for the first 7 hours of the race, which started Saturday at 10:00AM, sending the mercury into the mid-80's farenheit. Although most of the expected contenders on both the men's and distaff sides positioned themselves in contention early, the weather conditions slowed the overall pace of the field from the start, resulting in less than spectacular final times.
Nevertheless, Gardner's winning 16:22:15 is a USA Championship record, surpassing the 16:41:26 of Christine Gibbons from 1989. Her winning margin was one of the largest in championship history, as she finished some 7+ miles clear of runnerup Janet Runyan of Boulder, Colorado. Unheralded Tucson, Arizona's Lynda Hendricks-Dana took the bronze. Gardner, the 2002 USA 100km champion, ran unchallenged wire-to-wire, gradually extending her lead from start to finish.
The 42-year old Clement was faced with a different kind of race on route to his 14:01:01 win. A top-10 contender throughout in a relatively tightly-bunched field, he was basically the only one who never faltered. His strength was his ability to run strongly and boldly through the difficult 3rd quarter of the century race, strategically taking advantage of every weakness of those around him. The only challenger who didn't falter in his wake was 26-year old Joe Gaebler of Boulder, Colorado. The upstart youngster spent most of the last 20 miles gradually closing a half-hour gap on the leader, culminating in a dramatic moment exactly one hour before the finish. Having closed to within 30 seconds of the lead, Gaebler began to wobble and almost collapsed. He took a short break, then had to walk most of the next 1.1 mile lap before finding his rhythm and coaxing his body in for the silver medal. David Jones of Eagleville, Tennessee rounded out the top 3.
Prize money distribution for men and women was as follows:
1st - $500
2nd - $300
3rd - $200
4th - $175
5th - $150
Complete results can be found at www.americanultra.org/olander/olanderframeset.htm
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