On Thursday, April 1, 2021, in advance of the inaugural Greenway 20k, athletes from the Raleigh Distance Project will chase the 20,000 meters, 25,000 meters, and 30,000 meters American Records on the track at the Sir Walter Twilight meet. The current records they will be chasing were set by Maxine Johnson on October 3, 1982, where she ran 1:22:24 for 20k en route to 1:44:06 for 25k, and by Teri Gerber, who ran 2:09:23 for 30k on July 13, 1986.
The event will be held at an undisclosed location, due to COVID guidelines, and will be broadcast live on the Raleigh Distance Project Instagram page. with commentary from Sir Walter Running’s (and ElliptiGO’s) own Jeff Caron, and Fleet Feet Raleigh’s Brian Fowler.
The event will start at 8pm.
“This race is such a unique opportunity for the athletes of RDP, all of whom are capable of any of the 3 records. This opportunity doesn’t come without a cost – Sir Walter Running and the host site have made our dreams a reality by putting a lot of things in place for us to chase these records. I’m looking forward to having fun and running hard with my teammates,” said Raleigh Distance Project athlete, Nikki Long.
The idea for the race came about during planning for the Greenway 20k, where a quick scan of the record books showed a possibility… “While Molly Huddle’s road 20k record of 1:03:48 is a pretty stout, we saw an opportunity in the 20k, 25k, and 30k on the track. We presented the idea to Coach Stephen Furst and the Women were into it,” said Race Directors Sandy Roberts and Pat Price. “Luckily, we were able to find a venue to take a crack a these records, and were able to get the event sanctioned by USA Track & Field.”
“The goal here is to capture three American Records with three different women. While they all start together and the first 15k will be all teamwork, at some point each woman will have to decide on her own how far she can go and which record she wants to race for,” said Coach Furst.
Enthusiasm for the event isn’t limited to the competitors. “I’m excited to help pace my teammates to victory,” said RDP athlete and 2020 Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier Shae Eberhard.
And with limited competitive events over the past year, the event feels like a celebration of sorts.
“I’m excited to race with my teammates, who are my closest friends, and go after these records as a team. As it unfolds, it will be a perfect mix of teamwork and racing. We’ll attack it as a team, helping with pacing and pushing each other, but at the end of the day we’ll race to be the one who gets the record. I’m thankful for this opportunity and for RDP to be 3-time American Record holders – because no records can be accomplished alone,” said RDP’s Kim Maloney.
The Raleigh Distance Project (locally known as “RDP”) is an all-women’s team of 7 elite distance runners committed to chasing their goals and building community in the city they love. The team was organized in December of 2017, and in less than 4 years, RDP athletes have been competing in local races, marathon majors and on the national stage at USATF National Championships and the Olympic Marathon Trials. The team believes strongly in the transformative power of running to positively impact individuals and communities. When RDP athletes are not racing or training themselves, these girls can be regularly seen volunteering at local races and organizing events to connect runners of all experience levels. Raleigh Distance Project is so thankful for the support of their sponsors, namely Oiselle, Fleet Feet Raleigh, Big Spoon Roasters, Gnarly Nutrition, O2 Fitness, Run Raleigh PT, 919 Spine and Elliptigo. Learn more at raleighdistanceproject.org (RDP photo is courtesy of Lauren LaPlante)
Sir Walter Running is a Raleigh-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is “bringing the Greater Raleigh running community together through innovation, activation, and inclusivity.” Sir Walter hosts the Sir Walter Miler, Raleigh Half Marathon, Pop Up Miles, Raleigh RunDown Downhill Mile, Pop Up Cross Country at Dix Park, a series of Strava Challenges, and produces the Summer of Miles podcast. Sir Walter Running is an official USATF club (#13-1063).
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