By Nicole Fredette, Berryvikings.com
PHILADELPHIA, Penn. -- The Berry Lady Vikings competed at their first half marathon this season in Philadelphia. Six Berry runners raced among a crowd of over 10,000 runners. Despite the crowded conditions, the Vikings were able to make their way through the packs of runners in order to meet or exceed their goal times and expectations.
Junior Charlotte Collins was the first lady Viking to cross the finish line of the Philly half at 1:32:22. She also finished 13th in her age group. At the start of her race, Collins got stuck behind a huge pack of runners, but she was able to use this pack to her advantage. She slowly picked runners off and moved her way through the pack.
"I spent the first 4-5 miles working through people--and then at mile six--I was really able to start hammering the pace," Collins said. "Then I really just focused on racing the last three miles, and I got a 6:30 PR!"
Freshman Rachel Dorris completed her first half marathon ever in 1:34:03. She kept a steady 7:09 pace throughout the entire half. One of her goals was to finish in the top five for her age group, and she finished second for her age group.
"The most rewarding part of the half was finishing, and when they handed me my medal," says Rachel.
Senior and team captain Lauren Nation ran a 1:36:18. This race was sophomore Hibah Abuhamdieh's second half marathon ever. She ran a 1:41:45, achieving a personal record of over 12 minutes. Abuhamdieh also placed 9th in her age group. Junior Katy Jordan completed the half in 1:47:10.
Sophomore Annika Stryker improved substantially since her last half marathon, dropping 11 minutes from her time (1:56:08). She exceeded her goal time from Coach Paul Deaton and raced at 8:50 mile pace, which enabled her to break the 2-hour barrier for the distance.
"When I started racing, I thought I was going too fast, but then I just kept going and going," Stryker said. "It was a great run to cap the season off."
The lady Vikings made their mark in the Philadelphia half marathon and will race next at USATF Club Nationals on December 8th in Lexington, KY.