The Las Vegas Elite Runners (LVER) Compete in San Pedro, CA
The Las Vegas Elite Runners participated in the Pacific Coast Shockwaves XC Invitational and Grand Prix 5K on Sunday, October 6th in San Pedro, CA. Over 500 runners competed on a beautiful day that featured a course with shaded valleys, bridges and multiple hills that challenged the best runners. The course was perfect as it was fun and very fast through the downhill valleys, had great transitions to hills and offered beautiful views. This course truly challenges a runner’s endurance, speed and hill climbing ability.
In the 8 and under, age group, two first time cross country runners, Roland Johns-Clemmons and Christoph Clemmons were the first to test the course. Prior to the start, they were much more at ease than during their pre-course walk/runs on Saturday, where they were uncertain and fearful of the dense foliage, hills and steep drops. Their concern was warranted but the more they walked the course the more comfortable they became. After an afternoon at Dave & Busters and encouragement from parents and coaches, everyone was much more relaxed. When the race started, Christoph took off and was amongst the top third of runners and Roland wasn’t far behind. When they disappeared in the valley both appeared to be fine. As the runners started to appear at the crest of the last hill, to our surprise Roland appeared at the 9-minute mark, pumping his arms as we’ve asked him in practice. Thirty (30) seconds behind him was Christoph. They did an outstanding job of navigating the hill and quickly recovering for the final 400 meters sprint to the finish. Roland finished with a great time of 11:05 and Christoph 30 seconds later in 11:35. After they crossed the finish line, both dropped to their knees. Christoph was in tears and said, “It hurts so bad”. A nearby coach or parent smiled as we tended to Christoph and said, “You’ll be alright, it’s supposed to hurt. You’ll be okay and playing in 5-minutes.” In 3-minutes Christoph was running around like he had never ran the race. Roland and Christoph made everyone proud and are a blessing to our club! Both have a bright future in running and bring joy to LVER.
In the girls 11-12, 3K race, Lilianah Davis surprised everyone with an excellent start and positioning through the first 1000m of the race that featured a brief climb at the start then a long downhill run. Even more impressive was the way she attacked the MEGA HILL! The muscle burn and fatigue took its toll on many as you could visually see many runners walking the hill at various points, but to our amazement Lili kept churning and going around runners. The uphill and downhill workouts really paid dividends because Lili was equally impressive on her downhill runs. She said afterwards that our motto to never walk even if you must take shorter strides, helped her get through it. Wow, to think our motto sank in! On this race day, Lili really showed her mental strength! While the race was grueling and took a physical toll on runners, Lili appeared to be very comfortable the last 300m of the race. Running against a very good field, she finished 30th out of 96 runners. We keep telling Lili the sky is the limit if she puts in the work. Considering this is her first full season of cross country running, she is off to an excellent start.
After an impressive cross country season in 2018, we were all excited to see Jordan Gowdy run this year. In practice, he has been amazing, easily besting last years practice times. He also has grown a few inches and added more muscle to his frame. The Shockwaves Invitational was a meet that featured some of Southern California’s best so we couldn’t wait to see how Jordan staked up. Sixty-one runners lined up for his 3K race and through the first 1500m Jordan was moving well and in the top 15 approaching the MEGA HILL, the most difficult portion of the race. We were all optimistic because Jordan is an excellent hill runner and he appeared to be doing well. As the runners emerged for the final 400m of the race, runner after runner passed and Jordan was no were to be seen. Our excitement quickly turned to concern as we knew at that time something happened. Jordan finally emerged well behind the field, dusty and with a scraped up and bloody leg. Even though he wanted to stop we encourage him to continue and he did. Jordan finished the race in 59th place, well off his best times. He explained that he fell and was tripped by another runner which was probably not intentional. While this brought great disappointment to Jordan and our club, we couldn’t be prouder of him. We know he will be more driven because of this experience. Jordan has a goal this year and he is determined to reach it. Races like this with their highs and lows provide the experience he’ll need to compete at the highest level.