A new course record, a gutsy performance, and a cliff-side rescue! This year’s Blue Ridge Relay did not disappoint. All four Charlotte Running Club teams put out top-notch performances, running the 208 miles and 37,000 feet of elevation change to finish in the top 38 of the over 200-team field.
The CRC Men’s Elite team finished second overall with an average pace of 5:45 per mile. The men produced standout performances across the board, including Carson Truesdell’s 10.5 mile charge up 1250 feet of elevation (a course record 5:34 pace) and Olympian Anthony Famiglietti’s 14:33 5k in the middle of his 8 mile final leg. The gutsiest performance, however, came from USATF 50 mile trail champion Chris Raulli. Less than 36 hours before the race, a home improvement accident left him in the ER with a giant gash in his right arm. A massive amount of stiches and some antibiotics later, Chris ran his first of three legs for the CRC men!
The CRC StacheFo Elite mixed team had a standout performance as well, placing 1st in the mixed division, 3rd overall and breaking the Blue Ridge Relay Mixed Course Record! While Charlotte Running Club’s Paula Pridgen (Olympic Trials Qualifier) and Christo Landry (Former American record holder in the 15k) wowed us once again with their performances, it took a true team effort to break the event record. Mike McMillan started the team off strong, finishing the first leg in 19:49 (a pace of 4:59 per mile) and van one’s anchor, Camille Doom crushed two BRR leg records including a memorable leg 30 sprint. Cara Cremeans passed the fourth and fifth place men’s teams on leg 34 before JITFO vet Paul Newnham sealed the teams spot in 3rd overall. Traveling the 208 miles in 21:50:57, the women and men put out a BLAZING fast official pace of 6:18 per mile to capture the event record by over 8 minutes.
The StacheFo “fun” squad finished 3rd place mixed and 9th overall with a queen city-appropriate pace of 7:04 per mile. Helen Baddour had “fun” charging down the 9-mile leg 32 at 6:46 per mile for a third-fastest pace all time on the route. Jessica Bilbrey and Ryan Wakefield had stellar late-night performances and Stuart Hildebrandt sealed the third place mixed division finish when the team followed him across the finish on the anchor leg.
The StacheFo Masters team ran spectacularly, despite a set of unexpected events, finishing 2nd in their division and 38th overall. The team started strong, but soon fell off pace halfway through van 2’s first set of legs. On leg nine, Brian Trotter cruised down the 4.6-mile segment when he heard a cry for help. Little did he know, a female cyclist had careened off the road and fell deep into a ravine. Trotter sprang into action and climbed down the steep embankment to help. He beckoned another runner to go for help as he carried and pushed the injured cyclist up the steep embankment and waited for emergency technicians. The master’s team fought to make up the time and finish 36th overall and 2nd in the mixed masters division. Perhaps more importantly, the race director presented Trotter the first ever BRR Hero award and thanked him personally for his efforts!
Thanks to everyone who participated and followed along with us on this year’s Blue Ridge Relay. We are extremely proud of all the runners in this year’s event.
We are always looking to promote CRC members in team events. If you have one coming up or in mind, let us know!