Gregory Leak and the rest of his Tacoma City Running Club teammates ran the uphill climb on Vassault Street. Then their coach, Matt Ellis, drove them back down and had them run it again.
It’s that kind of preparation on the signature final uphill climb of the Sound to Narrows that helped Leak place first in the 12-kilometer footrace in 38 minutes, 31 seconds on Saturday.
“I got to give credit to TCRC,” said the 28-year-old from Pennsylvania. “It has some great training with a great approach. I wouldn’t have been able to win this course without that group.”
Leak wasn’t the only one with a Tacoma City Running Club jersey in the front of the pack.
The group is five years old and starting to make a reputation for itself. Leak is the second consecutive TCRC member to win the Sound to Narrows — Dan McLean won it last year, and took fourth this year.
This after Seth Bridges, of Club Northwest, won in 2014 and 2012.
But all in all, this time, the TCRC had four in the top 10 with Leak in first, Francis Reynolds second (39:03), McLean in fourth (40:59) and Mike Lynes in 10th (43:45).
Lynes, 50, was one of three runners to be at least 50 years old and finish in the top 40 overall — Bonney Lake’s Daryl Montgomery was 36th in 48:17 and Arthur Dunn, who helped found the TCRC, was 40th in 49:29.
“We’re starting to get some momentum,” said Ellis, who is also the head cross country and track and field coach at Bellarmine Prep. “When you think about some of the good high school runners who then go on to college, we want to have a place for them to keep racing and representing the area they are from.
“We need a couple more serious members to give Club Northwest a consistent run for their money, but we’ve beat them before.”
Ellis didn’t run the Sound the Narrows on Saturday because of a knee injury, but his wife, Nancy did, and finished fifth in the women’s division in 48:03, behind TCRC teammate Nicole O’Loughlin, who finished third in 47:43.
Ruth Perkins of Club Northwest took first in 44:02 and Kristi Houk was second in 47:29.
TCRC, which Ellis said has 15 racing members, regularly trains at Bellarmine or the University of Puget Sound. Leak has also been invited to run in the Boilermaker 15K in New York on July 10 and is a three-time reigning champion of the USATF Pacific Northwest 10K.
“We’re starting to slowly get some recognition,” Ellis said. “But it’s going to take some time.”
RUNNER RUSHED TO HOSPITAL
A male runner suffered what was described to be a medical emergency before being rushed to Tacoma General Hospital, said race organizer Danette Felt.
The runner, in his 70s, Felt said, collapsed about a half-mile from the start of the 12-kilometer race on Vassault Street before some fellow runners stopped to help him. An ambulance arrived shortly after.
The incident delayed the start of the 5-kilometer walk and also impacted some of the times for the 5-kilometer run, which started 10 minutes after the 12-kilometer run at 8:40 a.m.
Bo and Zane Carlton from Snohomish finished first and second, respectively, in the 5K run. Bo Carlton, 13, finished in 19:55 and Zane, 18, in 20:25. Zane was a senior this year at Archbishop Murphy High School. … Kenzie Richards of Curtis High School won the women’s 5K in 20:40. … The Evertimers Club, consisting of runners who have participated in all 44 years of the Sound to Narrows races, had 10 runners compete Saturday. … The S2N for the first time included a Hound to Narrows 5K, where dog owners could walk the 5K route with their canines.
1. Gregory Leak, 28, Tacoma (38:31)
2. Francis Reynolds, 27, Tacoma (39:03)
3. Tyler Shipley, 22, Forest Grove, Ore. (40:33)
4. Da McLean, 34, Tacoma (40:59)
5. Brett Purtzer, U.S. (41:49)
1. Ruth Perkins, 35, Puyallup (44:02)
2. Kristi Houk, 32, Port Orchard (47:29)
3. Nicole O'Loughlin, 26, Tacoma (47:43)
4. Asher Henry, 30, Lakewood (47:52)
5. Nancy Ellis, 42, Tacoma (48:03)
1. Bo Carlton, 13, Snohomish (19:55)
2. Zane Carlton, 18, Snohomish (20:25)
3. Casey Bennett, 16, Tacoma (22:25)
4. Matthew Beal, 27, Gig Harbor (22:37)
5. Matthew Shafer, 18, Tacoma (22:43)
1. Kenzie Richards, 15, University Place (20:40)
2. Caleb Timmer, 33, Tacoma (23:03)
3. Tatiana Salazar, 47, Tacoma (23:27)
4. Jen Doss, 45, Puyallup (23:51)
5. Rees Jacot, 15, Tacoma (24:05)
For full results, to go soundtonarrows.org