They were going the distance.
They were going for speed.
They were not all alone in their time of need.
Seven members of the Scarsdale cross-country/track and field teams made it look like cake when they won The Armory NYC Indoor Marathon 2018 Team Relay on March 17 in a time of 2 hours, 22 minutes, 43.698 seconds.
Six Raiders ran 30 laps, one Raider 31, for a grand total of 211 laps to equal 26.2 miles. That was 3.7 miles each in order for sophomore Joseph Samuels, junior Bruno Tassari, freshman Alex Friedman, freshman Jake Coleman, junior Zachary Hoexter and senior Jordan Claman, and 3.9 for anchor Andrew Levy, a junior.
“Serving as the anchor of a winning relay team was a really unique and honestly unforgettable experience,” Levy said. “There’s nothing more amazing than crossing the finish line with the whole arena cheering for you, and I really can’t thank my teammates enough for allowing me to anchor our race. Even though the whole event was for fun, it’s the most professional I’ve ever felt running a race.”
The boys didn’t run their entire leg at once, instead rotating every 10 laps, and stuck to their initial game plan. “It was really satisfying to get the win,” Claman said.
By averaging 40.5 seconds per lap, the team, entered as Scarsdale Track Club, topped a similarly formed Mustang Track Club, which was just a half second slower per lap, finishing second in 2:24.28. The race might have been closer if the two teams were in the same heat.
The $1,000 prize Scarsdale earned was donated back to the Armory College Prep Foundation, the organization that the race was a fundraiser for, so as not to impact amateur status of the Raiders. “We are glad we were able to give back to the Armory following our win as it has been a fantastic venue to run at for the past four years,” Claman said.
Scarsdale beat out all male and female teams competing, falling only to the top four professional men in the individual challenge, led by new world record holder Malcolm Richards, who crossed in 2:19.01.00. The three others behind him and ahead of Scarsdale’s group were between 2:22 and 2:23.
In the women’s race, 2004 Scarsdale graduate Lindsey Scherf set a new world record at 2:40.55.31, beating the runner-up by over 12 minutes.
Claman was the lone senior on the team. “Seeing runners from all grades come together to tackle a unique challenge like this really embodies the meaning of the sport for me,” he said. “Since I started running for Scarsdale as a freshman I have always noticed how exceptionally welcoming the team is, the distance group especially.”
The training took place in offseason and the race in the beginning of spring preseason, which is the grand finale for Claman at the high school level. He called it “another great challenge to tackle.”
“I’ve never done an event life this that involves quite so much team involvement, and it was really satisfying to see everyone’s individual work pay off to help the team,” Claman said.
Instead of taking a break between seasons, the dedicated distance crew kept training for the event, which they found on their own. When the coach isn’t dictating your training and competition schedule, it shows you’ve bought into the program.
“Even though the winter season had ended, our daily running and dedication did not,” Hoexter said. “By extending our training throughout the remainder of February and into early March, we were able to prepare for the race by modifying our runs. Specifically speaking, we did include a few more longer runs at a faster pace.”
Freshmen Coleman and Friedman are well ahead of the curve, having a strong group ahead of them to set the tone for their careers.
“I think that the older kids have been really encouraging and nice to me and Alex throughout the seasons and I feel like in some other sports and teams people aren’t really as welcoming to the freshman, so it’s nice when practice is over and someone says like, ‘Nice job today,” Coleman said. “Also just by them being here I can see that it’s possible to actually run as fast as they can and it gives you a different mindset. I never would’ve thought that I would have been able to break a 6-minute mile time if I hadn’t seen that over half the team had already done so.”
With six of the runners returning for next school year, it was an early start on building next year’s crew. “It was fun competing in this event because it gave us a chance to bond as a team outside of normal practices and meets,” Friedman said.
The atmosphere at the Armory was special for the Raiders.
“On the track, I saw multiple runners giving their all in order to help benefit their team,” Tassari said. “Outside the track, every member of any team was cheering their runners on for every single lap. Even people that just came to watch were cheering runners on. Everyone was so kind and I even saw random strangers congratulating each other for their hard work.”