Weekend Recap: Sweep at Butler, Wise Wins USATF 5k Title

It was an active weekend for Wolf Creek Track Club (WCTC) runners in local competitions. On Saturday morning, club members Nick Edinger, Theo Reynolds, and Dan Spaulding competed at the 43rd Annual Butler Road Race. The race started at 9:00 AM by the Butler County Courthouse in downtown Butler. The premier event, the 5 mile race, features a course that consists of rolling hills. Edinger won the 5 mile race for third consecutive year and fourth time overall in his career. Edinger who ran 26:26 (5:17/mile), was followed by Theo Reynolds who posted a time of 26:48 (5:22/mile). Spaulding took 3rd overall in 27:22 (5:28). This was the first time WCTC has had runners go 1-2-3 in any race. Edinger’s time set the 5 mile road race record for the club. In total 147 participants finished the 5 mile race. Tina Seech, 56, took home the women’s 5 mile title in an impressive time of 33:14 (6:39/mile).

After an impressive club showing on Saturday, Brandon Wise followed that up on Sunday by winning the 2018 USATF Three Rivers Association Track & Field 5k Championship hosted by Slippery Rock University. This is Wise’s first career individual USATF title. He has previously placed 3rd in the 2016 USATF TRA Cross Country Championships, and 4th in the 2017 edition of that race.

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Strides For Students 5k

Edinger Qualifies for Olympic Trials, Relay Wins at Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, PA

Not Pictured: Relay Team Member, Dan Spaulding

Today the Pittsburgh Marathon kicked off at 7:05am. At the start of the race, the temperature was hovering in the upper 50s with overcast skies. The weather remained pretty consistent throughout the race and the rain held off making for near perfect race conditions.

Edinger during the race.

Ten Wolf Creek Track Club (WCTC) runners participated in the day’s festivities, however, the standout performance of the day came from Nick Edinger. Edinger claimed 8th place overall in the marathon with a career best time of 2:18:32 (5:18/mile). Edinger’s time qualifies him for the 2020 USATF Olympic Trials in Atlanta. This is the first time in Edinger’s career that he has qualified for the Olympic Trials. Pittsburgh is widely regarded as one of the most challenging major city marathon courses among runners, making Edinger’s accomplishment even more impressive. Nick Edinger’s time also set a new WCTC record in the marathon. To put into perspective how impressive Edinger’s time is, he ran 8 minutes and 6 seconds faster than our winning relay team which consisted of four competitive runners. This race was Edinger’s 2nd marathon in 2018. His first was another outstanding performance at the NYC Armory Indoor Marathon World Record Challenge where he placed 2nd overall in 2:22:06.

The Wolf Creek Track Club team consisting of Theo Reynolds, Ryan Budnik, Dan Spaulding, and Andrew Mascio claimed the Pittsburgh Marathon Relay title for the 2nd time in 3 years. The relay had to overcome an unexpected injury to Moses Greenspan in the days leading up to the race. Since Greenspan was unfortunately unable to run the lead-off leg as was originally planned, Theo Reynolds was forced to double, running the first two legs. Theo ran a total of 9.1 miles and posted a solid time to keep the team in it despite racing two runners from the other competitive relay teams since they had full relay teams of 5 members. When Reynolds handed off to Budnik at the second relay exchange zone, the team was in 3rd place trailing the 709ers and SuperSmashGang. Budnik was able to catch both of those teams during his leg and by the time he handed off to Dan Spaulding, the WCTC team was in first place by about 45 seconds.

Dan Spaulding at the start of the 4th relay leg.

Spaulding, a former all-time great at Grove City College, extended the lead during his 6.5 mile leg and provided Andrew Mascio with a 69 second lead heading into the final 4.2 miles to the finish. Two miles into his leg, Mascio was challenged by the 709ers team. A runner from the 709ers had closed the 69 second gap in a mere two miles by taking advantage of the downhills on the final leg. Mascio and the 709ers runner ran side-by-side for the next 2 kilometers until Mascio was able to pull away in the last mile running 4:58 to seal the victory by 21 seconds over the 709ers. The 709ers runner averaged an impressive 5:10 per mile on his closing leg, while Mascio averaged 5:21 per mile.

Pictured left to right: Moses Greenspan and Theo Reynolds celebrating the victory

The WCTC team’s overall finishing time was 2:26:38 (5:36/mile). That time is a new club record for the marathon relay surpassing last year’s club record time of 2:28:45 by 2 minutes and 7 seconds, while doing so with only 4 runners.  The 709ers finished in 2:26:59 (5:37/mile) good for 2nd overall, while the SuperSmashGang placed 3rd in a time of 2:39:07 (6:05/mile). In total, 965 teams competed in this year’s marathon relay.

The relay victory marks the club’s 5th team title in its 3-year history. The other titles include the 2017 St. Barnabas 5k Team Challenge, 2016 USATF TRA Cross Country Championships, 2016 Pittsburgh Marathon Relay, and the 2016 St. Barnabas 5k Team Challenge.  All-time, the club has won 5 of the 7 total team competitions it has raced in.

Other great club performances on the day included Sean McDonnell placing 11th overall out of 12,500+ competitors in the non-elite half marathon field with a career best time of 1:16:03 (5:49/mile). Sean’s time is good for second best in Wolf Creek Track Club history trailing only Theo Reynold’s time of 1:13:30 from the Cook Forest Half Marathon. Rachel Martin also ran the half in a career best time of 1:31:09. Martin’s time set a new club record for the half marathon and placed her as the 27th overall female finisher out of 7,400+. Additionally, club member Travis Myers-Arrigoni finished the marathon in 2:46:53 (6:23/mile) qualifying him for the 2019 Boston Marathon. Myers-Arrigoni finished 32nd overall. Club members Brandon Wise and Hannah Steele both competed in the half marathon as well. Wise finished in 50th place in 1:23:50, while Steele finished in a time of 1:45:23.

Fikadu Girma Teferi claimed the men’s marathon crown in a time of 2:13:47, while Sydney Devore took the women’s title in 2:32:38. Chris Derrick claimed the USATF Half Marathon Championship crown in a time of 1:02:37 just edging out Parker Stinson who ran 1:02:38. Aliphine Tuliamuk claimed the women’s title in 1:10:04.

The Wolf Creek Track Club would also like to congratulate all the weekend warriors and first time half and full marathoners who ran at this year’s event. Running is truly one of the most unique sports in the world where the top elites toe the same start line as everyday runners. It was great to see another fantastic Pittsburgh Marathon to keep growing and promoting the sport of running in the region. The 11th Annual Pittsburgh Marathon is set for Sunday, May 5th of next year.

Pittsburgh Marathon Preview

Written by: Dan Spaulding

Mars, PA 

Photo Credit: The Armory. Edited by WCTC.

We are less than one week away from one of the biggest annual events in Western Pennsylvania distance running – the 2018 Pittsburgh Marathon and Half Marathon.  On Sunday, May 6th over 15,000 runners will converge on Liberty Avenue to partake in the biggest event on the Pittsburgh running calendar. Runners from all walks of life will arrive seeking to achieve a wide range of goals. Some will come seeking a new personal best. Others will come hoping to conquer the distance by simply finishing. Some will use running as an opportunity to fundraise or draw attention to an important cause. And still others will come to run with friends and to enjoy the festive environment in the city. Only a small handful of truly elite runners have the ability to contend for the win. Nick Edinger, representing the Wolf Creek Track Club, is one of these runners!

Since the Pittsburgh Marathon returned in 2009, an American has won the Men’s race only once (Jeff Eggleston in 2011). In eight of the nine other years the winner of the men’s race has hailed from either Kenya or Ethiopia; two countries regarded as distance running powerhouses. Edinger, of Mars, PA, hopes to change all of that by becoming the first local runner to take first overall in the men’s marathon. Additionally, he hopes to run faster than 2 hours and 19 minutes, the Olympic “B” standard, which would qualify him for the 2020 Olympic Trials in Atlanta, GA. When asked about his plan heading into the race, Nick said, “My main focus for this race is placing as high as I can. I will be shooting for the Olympic Trials standard, but Pittsburgh is a tough course so my main focus will be on competing against the other elites in the race. I also know that if I focus on racing, and place where I think I can, a fast time will probably come along with that.”

However, attempting to win a race and compete in a sport traditionally dominated by East African competitors is not what makes Edinger’s story unique. In fact, in recent years Americans have fared progressively better against their counterparts around the world, winning numerous medals at World Championships and Olympic Games as well as performing well at major marathons. However, the American runners that are competitive on the large stage typically live and train in distance running Meccas such as Eugene (Oregon), Flagstaff (Arizona), Park City (Utah), and Boulder (Colorado). These American elites typically attended major Division I universities that are powerhouses in cross country and track and field (such as Oregon, Colorado, and Stanford). Additionally (and most-importantly), most distance runners competitive on the big stage are full-time professionals who consider running their primary vocation.  By contrast, Nick lives in the small town of Mars, PA; certainly not a “distance running Mecca.” He was not a sought after high school recruit and never ran under 10 minutes for the 3200 at Mars Area High School. Edinger attended a local Division III University (Geneva College) where under the guidance of Coach Brian Yowler he made rapid improvements as he rewrote the College’s track and cross-country record books. Finally, despite being one of the top marathon runners in the North Eastern United States, running is not his primary vocation. As Nick prepares to complete his Master’s degree in Counseling, he recently began work as a therapist at a drug and alcohol rehab facility.

So how does Nick compete with his competitors who have so many perceived advantages? The answer may seem simple (but it isn’t): old fashioned hard work over a prolonged period of time.  Starting in 2011 Edinger has consistently logged in excess of 100 miles per week in training. In 2017, Nick ran almost 6,000 miles (over 15 miles per day). A typical week consisted of between 100 and 120 miles with some weeks were as high as 180 miles. Consistently grinding through high mileage weeks under difficult conditions has made Nick stronger mentally and physically. So far in 2018 Edinger has logged approximately 2,000 miles in preparation for the Pittsburgh Marathon. Included in these miles are a twenty-mile long run at 6-minute mile pace in -17 degrees F wind-chill on January 6th at North Park in Pittsburgh, individual days where he ran as much as 35 miles a day, an attempt at the indoor world record in the marathon at the Armory (NYC) in March (Nick got second), a 25 mile “tempo” runs at 5:40 pace, and long runs as far as 28 miles in training. Nick’s miles were frequently logged at 6 AM at North Park (wearing a headlamp since it was dark), or along the lonely, hilly country roads surrounding Mars, PA. A blue-collar mentality, extreme drive, and uncommon hard work have lifted Edinger’s career to heights few imagined were possible. “My biggest motivator is the compulsion to find out the limits God has given me,” Edinger says, “I want to look back on my career in 10 years and know that I gave everything I had.”

At the end of 2017 Nick entered into a partnership with the Wolf Creek Track Club. A primary aspect of the Wolf Creek Track Club’s mission is to advance distance running in all of Western Pennsylvania. Edinger shares this goal, and he hopes his performance and accomplishments can inspire others local runners to believe that anything is possible and to test their limits. “When the Wolf Creek Track Club came to me regarding a possible sponsorship opportunity, the thing I was most excited about was that we shared the same vision of helping improve distance running in Western Pennsylvania.“ Nick says, “Hopefully I can set an example for other local runners that Western Pennsylvania can be a great place to train and find your limits in this sport.” In a sport that encourages success through selfishness, Nick’s group mentality is a breath of fresh air. Nick not only seeks personal success, but desires to lift up those around him.

On May 6th, Nick aims for what would be the biggest achievement of his running career to date: qualification for the 2020 Olympic Marathon trials and victory in his hometown race. Thousands of miles in Pittsburgh’s arduous weather and terrain have carried him to the line in the best shape of his life. Only 26.2 more miles to go.

Edinger 2nd at Armory Indoor Marathon

The Top finishers from the Armory Indoor Marathon World Record Challenge are presented with their awards. Photo credit: The Armory

New York City – Nick Edinger competed in the Armory NYC Indoor Marathon World Record Challenge this afternoon. The race, which featured an elite field from across the country, started around 12:20 PM. Competitors had to run a daunting 211 laps around the 200m, banked Armory track. At roughly the one hour mark in the race, the competitors had to make a tight 90 degree turn at the finish line to switch directions.

There was a tight pack through the first 20 kilometers of the race, but around the 25k mark Malcolm Richards of San Francisco separated from the pack and broke the race open. Richards continued to pull away from the field and ultimately ended taking the Armory NYC Indoor Marathon crown in a new world record time of 2:19:01.

Photo Credit: The Armory

Edinger held strong in 2nd place for a long time, but had a few rough patches during the race where he fell to 4th and even 5th at times. Edinger, however, was able to battle through the difficult moments and claimed 2nd place in a time of 2:22:06. Edinger’s time was only 18 seconds off tying the previous world record time that was set by Chris Zablocki. Finishing 12 seconds behind Edinger in 3rd place, was Boston Athletic Association’s Brian Harvey in a time of 2:22:18. Eric Blake finished in 4th place in a time of 2:22:35. Former world record holder in the indoor marathon and last year’s event champion, Chris Zablocki, finished 5th in 2:29:13.

Photo Credit: The Armory

Richards will take home $7,000 in prize money, Edinger $2,000, and Harvey $1,000.

Lindsey Scherf claimed the women’s title in a new world record time of 2:40:55 and Caitriona Jennings from Dublin, Ireland finished 2nd in 2:53:11.

World Record Challenge competitors pose with the Armory College Prep students prior to the start of the race. Photo credit: The Armory

All of us at the Wolf Creek Track Club would like to congratulate Nick on a fantastic 2nd place finish against a very strong field of competitors.

Wolf Creek Welcomes Marathon Runner Nick Edinger

The Wolf Creek Track Club has signed local elite runner, Nick Edinger, to a two-year contract that runs until January 1, 2020. This is part of the Wolf Creek Track Club’s continued commitment to supporting the growth of running in the region. As club director, Andrew Mascio said, “This is yet another contribution that all of us at WCTC feel is important to make. Local elites are an inspiration to younger runners. The accomplishments of runners like Nick demonstrate that younger runners too can achieve more than they ever thought possible if they work hard and stay dedicated to the sport. Nick is a tremendous role model not only for his success in the sport, but also because he is a man of integrity. We look forward to expanding our club offerings in 2018 and always welcome more runners to join the club.”

Edinger, 26, attended Mars High School where he graduated in 2009. He officially got into running when joined the track team in middle school. As Edinger said, “My first race was the 800m in 7th grade track. I had wanted to do track since I first ran the mile in gym class in 3rd grade. I absolutely loved it! Little did I know how much I would grow to absolutely loath the 800 meters! Way to short of a race for me!” Edinger was good at the local level while at Mars High School but never made states as an individual and wasn’t highly recruited.

After graduating from Mars, Edinger attended Geneva College, where he had a historic career. In college, Edinger said he “fell in love with the sport and was willing to do anything to get faster [and] I was blessed with a brilliant coach who took a long term development approach that allowed me to thrive year after year.” Edinger crushed Geneva’s cross country 8k (4.97 mile) record by posting a career-best time of 24:23 (4:54/mile) in the fall of 2012. Edinger currently holds four additional Geneva College records in the Indoor 3k and 5k and the Outdoor 5k and 10k. In the spring of 2012, Edinger claimed the individual President’s Athletic Conference (PAC) title in the 5k. Edinger regards that 5k race as his most memorable achievement in the sport stating, My most memorable running achievement so far is finally claiming an official conference championship my senior year in one of my last collegiate races ever. It was my last shot at a conference championship and I had to beat my rival who was an All-American and heavy favorite in order to do it.” Edinger boasts college bests of 14:48 in the 5k and 31:27 in the 10k.

Edinger had improved every year in college and knew he had not yet found his limits so he decided to continue training after to college because as he put it “There was no way I could stop without seeing how good I could be.

Since college, Edinger has elevated his running career to another level. A few of his major post-collegiate accomplishments include: Runner-Up at the USATF National 50k Championships, 3rd Place at the 2017 Indianapolis Marathon, and 10th Overall (5th American) at the 2017 Pittsburgh Marathon. Edinger’s 10K PR is now 30:35 and he boasts impressive personal bests in the marathon (2:20:32), half marathon (1:07:35), and road 8k (24:22). Some of Edinger’s future goals include: securing the USATF Olympic Marathon Trials A Standard, setting the World Indoor Marathon Record, and making the IAAF World Championship 50k Team

When asked about what advice he would give to younger runners, Edinger stated, “Younger runners should train hard and be patient for the training to take effect. It can take years of consistent miles to cause a breakthrough in performance.”

Running has obviously been an integral part of Edinger’s life and has meant a great deal to him as he stated, “Running has given me an avenue to glorify God with the talents he has given me, shown me what true hard work is and what it can lead too, and driven me to find me limits. The perseverance and determination I have learned to put into running has carried over towards my drive to be a better husband and grow in my faith. I can’t wait to see what that drive leads to in other areas of my life when I retire some day from competitive running.”

I have been incredibly grateful for all the support I have had over the years in my running career, from family and friends to coworkers and Generation UCAN. I have truly been blessed. I am incredibly excited to now be a part of Wolf Creek Track Club as they will be incredibly important in my future running pursuits! Wolf Creek Track Club is committed to growing the sport of distance running in Western Pa and I love that I get to be a part of that.”

The Wolf Creek Track Club is proud to support an athlete of Nick Edinger’s caliber and character. We look forward to a great future together.

WCTC Competes at USATF Nationals

Lexington, KY

The Wolf Creek Track Club competed at the USATF Club Cross Country National Championships in Lexington, Kentucky yesterday afternoon. WCTC was the only men’s team representing Pittsburgh and the USATF Three Rivers Association. The men’s 10K race began at 12:30 PM. At the start of the race, it was 31 degrees with winds gusting at 13 mph. As the race progressed, snow started to fall.

The course consisted of a 4K loop followed by two 3k loops. It was a moderate course with two sizable hills per loop. The finish was a 500m uphill climb.

Nick Edinger led the team placing 125th in a time of 32:05 (5:09/mile). His time set a new WCTC record for a cross country 10k. Edinger was followed Josef DiPietrantonio who took 318th in 34:35 (5:33/mile). Placing third for WCTC, was Theo Reynolds who completed the course in 34:41 (5:34/mile) good for 323rd overall. Theo was followed by Brandon Wise who placed 363rd in 35:52 (5:46/mile), while Andrew Mascio rounded out the team’s scoring in 365th place in 35:55 (5:46/mile).  In total, there were 424 finishers in the race.

WCTC placed 45th out of 87 total teams in the event. However, only 49 teams had enough finishers to score. This was the first year in WCTC’s history that the club has competed at USATF nationals.

Tinman Elite won the race with 41 total points, edging out American Distance Project (54 points). Hansons-Brooks Distance Project took third with 92 points. Ian La Mere of Hansons-Brooks claimed the individual crown in 29:10. Emmanuel Bor took second overall in 29:12, followed by Ryan Mahalsky who took third in 29:14.

WCTC is looking to add to their team of elite runners. If you’re interested in joining the club, please contact info@wolfcreektrackclub.com.

Next year, USATF Club Cross Country Nationals will be hosted in Spokane, Washington.

Grateful Gallop 5k Recap

Grove City, PA

On Thanksgiving Day, 150 runners took to the streets of Grove City for the 2nd Annual Grateful Gallop 5k. The race had participants from Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia, New York, and Washington DC. It was a chilly morning, around 30 degrees, when the race started at 9:00 AM.

Jed Christiansen, 30, of Greenville, won the race in a new event record time of 15:18. Jed’s age-graded score was a tremendous 85.08%. His time was also the fastest of any local Thanksgiving race finisher this year. Jed’s brother, Job, 26, of Kent, OH,  finished 2nd in 17:08. Grove City’s very own, Ryan Budnik, 20, finished 3rd in 17:13.

Tina Seech, 50, of Pittsburgh, was the top female finisher in 20:50. Tina’s age-graded score was an excellent 79.28%. Tina was closely followed by Kimberly Hohman, 40, of Grove City who finished in 20:55. The third overall female finisher was Elise Hilton, 14, who completed the course in 23:06.

After the race, participants stuck around for the awards ceremony and gift basket raffle. For full race results click here.

The Wolf Creek Track Club would like to extend a special thank you to all the participants and to Dunkin’ Donuts for allowing everyone to use their facilities.

This race supported the Grove City Community Food Pantry. Generous amounts of nonperishable food items were donated and hundreds of dollars were raised for the food pantry.

The Wolf Creek Track Club’s next event will be the Resolution Run 5k on New Year’s Eve in Hermitage, PA.

USATF National Club Cross Country Championships

The Wolf Creek Track Club is looking to take a team to compete at the 2017 USATF National Club Cross Country Championships, which will take place on December 9th in Lexington, Kentucky.

The race is a 10K and will be held at Masterson State Park. We would like to take a men’s and women’s team to compete. Each team will need at least 5 members to be eligible. In order to qualify for USATF Club Nationals, the Wolf Creek Track Club must win the USATF Three Rivers Association Championship, which will be held on November 12th in Youngwood, PA. If you are interested in joining our team, please contact us.