|Andrew Benford shown winning the |
2010 Atlantic 10 Conference Cross Country title
(Dan Petty Photo)
The 15 mile race is one of the oldest road races in the US and is a right of passage for any West Virginia born runner. If you grew up running in WV then you know the Charleston 15 Miler and the place it holds for those with roots to the mountain state known by natives as "West by God Virginia"...One of the first races I ran as a child I wore a black Charleston Distance Run sleeveless race shirt that had "A Salute To PRE" screened on the back of it to honor the late Steve Prefontaine who passed a year earlier in a car accident.
The Charleston 15 Milers is a tough, hilly course which starts on the flat lands around the state capitol building before climbing into the hills and mountains surrounding the city and then dropping back to finish with roughly 6 miles through the city at the end.
Both Benford and Jon Molz ('UR '08) are assistant coaches for their Alma Mater here at Richmond and both plan to compete in the 15 miler next weekend...
Here is the link to the article:
Distance Run: Benford relishes a climb - Sports - The Charleston Gazette - West Virginia News and Sports -
Andrew Benford earned All-American honors at Richmond in the steeplechase, an event in which he is pursuing a U.S. Olympic spot.
By Mike Whiteford
The Charleston Gazette
Andrew Benford's first look at the hilly, 15-mile course, surprisingly enough, brought hope, not despair.
Other runners may shudder in seeing the Charleston Distance Run's excruciating inclines, but Benford sees opportunity, much like the opportunity he sees in the 2012 Olympics.
He also sees a 15-mile course that suits his game.
Benford, a 2006 Ravenswood High graduate and a recent University of Richmond grad, is a veteran cross country runner accustomed to hills, and he even competed in world-class mountain races in Italy a few years ago, negotiating mountainous terrain that makes the South Hills streets look serene.
His specialty and Olympic dream is the 3,000-meter steeplechase, a barrier-filled lung sapper.
"The tougher courses kind of favor me,'' said Benford, who will make his Charleston Distance Run debut on Sept. 3. "I like something that really makes you dig down and grind. The tougher the conditions and the tougher the course usually are better for me. It kind of plays to my strength. And using my speed from track and everything will be good for me too in that last 10K.''
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