By Bruce Cyra
For The Beachcomber
Pirate and Mustang harriers took advantage of their late-season fitness to compete after the finish of the school season by taking on races at the local and national levels.
McMurray runners Bodie Thomas and Harrison Decker moved through regional qualifiers to race over the weekend in Paris, Kentucky. A tornado sweeping the part of the state missed the race location in Bourbon County but brought high winds and soaking rain to the course.
Due to high winds, the start times were delayed. And with dropping temperatures and rain, the runners had to keep warm prior to finally starting the race in large waves of runners. Decker was first to run, racing over a 3k course (just shy of two miles). Starting off in a large pack of 377 runners, Decker moved up from near 70th place to 37th, passing runners up the last hill to the finish.
“I was not the fastest off the start and I got boxed in for a while,” said Decker. “It was a crazy, muddy course and there was quite a bit of pushing and shoving going on. As things settled down, I managed to pass quite a few runners once the course started getting hilly.”
Thomas was next, racing a 4k course (2.5 miles) against a field of 423. Thomas established his position in the front third of the pack and worked his way up to 10th at the one-mile mark, and ran with the lead trailing group of five at two miles.
Thomas was able to finish strong in third place — the first three runners across the line were all from the Northwest, with the Rain City Flyers taking the win individually and as a team.
Harrison had competed in the AAU nationals the weekend prior in Charlotte, North Carolina, finishing in 21st place. Next up for Harrison is a rest period, a 5k series in Steilacoom and then gearing up for the 1,600-meter race in track season.
Pirate captain Levi Blasingim ran the Seattle Marathon on Nov. 28, covering the 26.2 miles in 3:45:44 and taking sixth place in the under-19 age group in his first try at long distance. Levi was joined by former captain Ursa Medeiros, who finished in 10th place in 4:13:01.
According to Blasingim, the Seattle Marathon was definitely the hardest thing he had ever done, and he was so sore he could barely walk the following day — and yet, he also said he had a lot of fun.
Adult islanders also ran in the race, led by experienced long-distance runner Nick Keenan in 3:33:20, followed by Daniel Laster in 3:52:50, Robert Lavigueur in 4:16:23 and Laura Johnson in 6:09:52.