In recent years, many of the PRT Men have treated the Cardiff Kook 10K as the first real test of the year. This February, Tyler Underwood was the top finisher, cracking 32 minutes (31:40) for eighth place in a highly competitive field. He was followed closely by Derek Bradley, who also cracked 32 minutes (31:56; 9th place), and Dan Seidel (32:00; 11th place). Rob Verhees was the top Master, winning his age group and running well under 34 minutes (33:40). Steve Johnson was next, finishing second in his age division and running 34:02.
In March, at the second edition of the Encinitas Mile, Alex Phipps led the PRT men, running 4:33, slightly ahead of Chuck McKeown, who finished in 4:36. Justin Turner, deep into training for the half marathon and marathon, still turned in an impressive 4:36. Robert Verhees ran a scorching 4:44, only a second behind the winner of the Masters Mile. Sean Fader ran five minutes flat, good for fourth place, and Joel Bernard was fifth in his age division, running 5:19.
At the Carlsbad 5000, PRT had an impressive turnout of 20 guys racing. The top three Open finishers were Tyler Underwood (15:07; 8th place, 20-29), Justin Turner (15:20; 6th place, 30-39), and Chuck McKeown (15:59, 12th place, 30-39). On the Masters side, the top three guys were Rob Verhees (16:00, 6th place Master – beating many of the PRT Open guys!), Steve Johnson (16:18, 11th place Master), and Jason Lewis (17:00, 22nd place).
After a longish break, the next team-focus race was in June at the Bonita 5K, which doubles as the San Diego USATF Association Road 5K Championship. Dan Seidel was fourth overall in 15:43 (finishing just out of the prize money!), and not far behind him were Luis de la Vega (15:53) and Alex Phipps (15:56). Steve Johnson was the top Master overall, running 16:05.
At the final team race of the spring, the Scripps Ranch Old Pros 10K, the PRT men traditionally pack the front of the race, waiting for the patriotic Speedo-wearing crew to burn themselves out in the first 100 meters before they begin to work together along the Lake Miramar loop. This year, Tyler Underwood and Justin Turner set a strong early pace, and Tyler pulled away in the second half of the race to get the race victory, running 31:32, and also setting a new PRT men’s record in the 10K! Justin ended up in fourth, running 32:01, and Dan Seidel was fifth in 32:20, followed closely by Alex Phipps (32:22). PRT’s top Masters were Steve Johnson (33:41; 3rd Master) and new member Patrick Burke (34:20; 4th Master). Overall, the PRT men had four of the top six spots, and nine of the top fifteen – an impressive team showing to cap off the spring season!
Several individual performances from this spring also deserve recognition. Justin Turner set a half-marathon record for PRT, running 1:06:50 at the Holiday Half Marathon. And Tyler Underwood not only set the 10K mark at Scripps, he also set the best mark for the marathon, running 2:26:23 in London.
Fresh and rested, the PRT Men are now ready for the 2015 Dirt Dog XC Series this fall!