Sara Freitas, Nevada Union boys and girls varsity cross country coach, placed first in her age division (55-59) in the National Masters Club Cross Country Championships. Freitas traveled with her team, the Impalas Racing Team to Bend, Ore., where they finished first out of the six teams competing in the 55-59 age division.
The course included the beautiful Rivers Edge Golf Courss, said Freitas. It was a 6K distance comprised of three 2K loops. The first half of each loop consisted of several long uphill sections run across fairways situated in the middle of a slant sloping downward from right to left. The runners ran through rough sections, including exposed rocks and bushes that connected each fairway. The second half of the loop consisted of the same terrain but was mostly downhill. Freitas noted that Bend had received snow at the same time as Nevada County did so much of the course had large snow patches. On the day of the race, it was 40 degrees and very windy, thereby presenting challenging conditions.
Freitas has competed in eight national cross country races and said this was the best course she has run and the most fun so far. She stated that in a race like this, a championship, a challenging course, challenging elements, and good competition, you have to go for it.
She said because of questionable footing many of the women held back on the downhill sections; therefore, she took advantage of the variable footing and the slowing runners in order to charge ahead.
Her race was comprised of 103 women between the ages of 40-69. She finished in 21st place and was first out of the 13 women in her division. Her time was 27 minutes, 2 seconds, with a 7:15 pace per mile.
She said she was disappointed with her time but was told later that the course was actually half a mile longer then the anticipated 6K distance.
Each runner’s performance is calculated as a percentage according to their age and gender in relation to the world record for that age and gender. Freitas finished with an 80.68 percentage and was third out of the 103 runners.
She said she enjoyed the experience and especially appreciated being on the winning team.