(Grand Rapids, Mich.) The Annual Q Elite Half Marathon doesn't have much to offer. It's a no frills, bare bones, nothing fancy, no awards or T-shirts, out and back, accurate, flat and fast course. Nearly everyone who enters in only looking for one thing: to run under the NAIA national qualifying times of 1:12:00 (automatic) and 1:14:00 (provisional) for men and 1:30:00 (automatic) and 1:32:00 (provisional) for women.
Held the first Saturday in December, the race offers athletes coming off the cross country season the opportunity to capitalize on their long distance fitness before taking a break going into the indoor Track & Field season. While the course is ideal, the conditions were not. At race time the temperature stood at eighteen degrees with the wind chill in single digits.
Cornerstone entered five women, three whom qualified last year. As if the brutal conditions weren't enough, the 2014 standards, released two weeks ago were one minute faster. CU's top finisher here last year 2013 graduate, Julia Contreras, trained specifically for the event to pace her former teammates. Her efforts paid off as she led CallyAnne Wyma (1:29:33) to a nine second PR and Sydney Tremaine (1:29:35) to an automatic qualifying debut. Erin Laplander (1:30:40) improved her best time by 1:39 and Leah Shepherd (1:30:51) took 1:40 off her previous best, bother well under the NAIA provisional standard. Kayla Ovokaitys finished her first attempt at the half marathon distance in 1:37:53.
Becca Lamb of Indiana Tech broke the course record. Her time of 1:25:57 bettered the mark of 1:28:01 by Trisha Nelson of Bethel set in 2012.