Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Grossman still Lovin' the Hills

Now that the wait is over, it’s clear that we should have known all along.

Four days after Louisville’s Lovin’ the Hills ended Saturday evening at Jefferson Memorial Forest, the results finally have been revealed to the rest of us. And who else but Eric Grossman won the event’s marquee 50-kilometer race.

The 37-year-old Emory, Va., resident established his reputation as a premier ultrarunner while living in Louisville and actually founded this 50K trail run in 2004. After directing the 2005 race, he moved with his family to the mountainous southwest corner of Virginia (he now teaches at Emory & Henry College) and let the Cherokee Road Runners have the Lovin’.

Reached via e-mail this week, Grossman admitted that he had not even intended to return for the race. He wanted to run in the Holiday Lake 50K near Lynchburg, Va., the previous weekend instead. But he got sick and had to skip it.

So he contacted CRR member Brenda Gutmann, one of the new directors of the Lovin’ the Hills, and added his familiar name to the 50K field.

To no one’s surprise, Grossman’s homecoming was a triumphant one. He finished the race in a brisk 4:49:42, well ahead of Terre Haute, Ind., resident Thomas Dever (5:05:45) and the other 79 runners. Bloomington, Ind., resident Melissa Beaver was the top female with a time of 5:29:52.

“I had a great time,” Grossman said. “I enjoyed seeing folks that had been involved with the run since I started it two years ago. It was much easier to run in it than it was to direct it. I’m grateful to the Cherokee Road Runners – specifically Brenda Gutmann and Joan Wood, who took over the run.”

In the new 15-mile race, Bloomington, Ind, resident Scott Robertson finished first overall in 1:58:50 and Oxford, Ohio, resident Shizuko Watanabe, who was third overall in 2:20:14, took first among the women.

Full results can be found here.