ASICS GTC-ELITE 2021 athletes have competed in the following locations during an unusual COVID-19 pandemic year:
- Eddie Garcia named South Carolina Long Distance Runner of the Year for 2020. Competing in the state’s toughest events He won 3 of 6 races he participated in 2020, with major wins coming at The Long Run 15K (Columbia) in 46:32, the Lowcountry Elite Invitational 5K (Hardeeville) in 14:17 and the Governor’s Cup Half Marathon (Columbia) in a state record of 1:05:25. He lowered that record at the Mortgage Network Half Marathon (Hardeeville) to 1:04:32, finishing eighth in the state’s most competitive event. On the track he ran 10,000 meters in 29:48.56 placing runner-up at the Under 30 and outside of South Carolina at the Music City Festival he ran 5000 meters in 14:20.37.
- South Carolina USATF Record Keeper Bill Marable published the 2020 South Carolina Open and Age Group rankings and the year's Top Performances. ASICS Greenville Track Club-ELITE's Eduardo Garcia and Annie Rodenfels were honored with the Top Performances for men and women, respectively. Garcia's performance was his Half Marathon State Record time of 1:04:32, set at December's Mortgage Network Half Marathon in Hardeeville, SC. Rodenfels' performance was also a South Carolina State Record when she ran 16:09 for 5K in the Low Country Elite Invitational in Bluffton. Garcia also was ranked first in the Open category for the Age Group rankings, where the top three performances for each athlete were used for comparison. Eddie's top three performances included a 14:17 5K (1st place) at the Low Country Elite Invitational (Bluffton); a 1:05:25 victory at Columbia's Governor's Cup Half Marathon which was a State Record; and a 1:04:32 State Record effort at the Mortgage Network Half Marathon (Hardeeville). Garcia was also recently awarded the 2020 SC Long Distance Runner of the Year award. Rodenfels did not have three road performances of at least 5K in distance, so was not included in the Open rankings. However, she did set the aforementioned State Record of 16:09 for 5K and also won the Greenville News Run Downtown 5K back in January 2020 with a time of 16:44. It should be noted that she also won the Governor's Cup Main Street Mile in February with a time of 4:54. Annie's focus was targeted toward the track where she ran personal bests over 5,000 meters of 15:49.53 (Nashville, TN) and 15:35.18 (Columbia, SC).
- Eddie Garcia ran 1:05:35 to place second in the Greenville Half Marathon on a cool, damp and misty Saturday morning. Garcia, the 2020 USATF South Carolina Long Distance Runner of the Year, finished behind only Greenville's James Quattlebaum--the 2019 USATF SC LDROY--who ran a course record 1:03:59. The course started in Travelers Rest and finished in downtown Greenville and was run mostly on the Swamp Rabbit Trail. The course is not record eligible due to the net downhill. Garcia's time was his career third best behind his SC State Records of 1:05:25 and 1:04:32 from 2020. His effort earned $400 from the event's prize purse.
- Annie Rodenfels ran 15:46.7 to place fourth in the women's 5,000 meters at the Raleigh Relays, conducted Friday at North Carolina State University. On a warm, late March evening Rodenfels was targeting a new personal best as the deep field of women athletes started the fifth and final heat of the evening's 5,000s at 9:00 pm. However, after passing the first 800 meters slightly slower than her desired pace, Annie took the lead and passed the first kilometer in 3:08.89. She continued to lead through halfway (2500m), but relinquished it soon after to Providence College's Abby Wheeler. Wheeler led through 3,000m (9:28.7) with Rodenfels less than a second back in fourth position. By 3800m, Georgia Tech's All American Nicole Fegans was in front, followed by Notre Dame's Katie Wasserman, Wheeler and Rodenfels, all less than one second behind. The pace quickened over the final kilometer and the race came down to a ferocious final 400 as Wasserman closed the final lap in an impressive 64.75 to finish in a new meet record of 15:33.35, breaking Furman's Allie Buchalski's 2017 mark of 15:35.55. Fegans ran a personal best of 15:37.16 for second and NC State's Savannah Shaw ran 15:40.37 for third. Rodenfels had been passed by a couple of runners and was in sixth with 400m remaining, but rallied with a 71.6 final lap to place fourth. Wheeler placed fifth in 15:46.87 in what was the Raleigh Relays deepest field in the event's history as eleven of the 88 finishers (5 heats) broke 16:00 minutes. Annie was disappointed in not being able to better her personal best of 15:35.18, but her 15:46.7 was her second best time over the 5,000m distance. Her kilometer splits were: 3:08.89, 3:09.86, 3:10.82, 3:11.8 and 3:05.33.
- Annie Rodenfels ran a huge personal best to place fourth in the 1500 meters at the first of the Atlanta Track Club's Spring Series meets. On a clear, crisp Saturday evening in the Atlanta suburb of Alpharetta she dropped over 14 seconds from her previous best 1500 best. The Atlanta Track Club intended to provide an opportunity to gain qualifying times for the upcoming Olympic Trials in June. However, the ASICS GTC-ELITE coaches saw it as opportunity for Annie to demonstrate her speed over a shorter distance as she prepares to qualify in the 3,000-meter Steeplechase. She had not run a 1500m since joining the Greenville post-collegiate, Olympic-development program in August of 2019. The plan was to run the first 400 in 68 seconds and then progress accordingly. Working that plan, Anne covered the first lap in 68.74 and passed 800 meters at 2:16.32, which was a 67.57 lap. She then ran 67.83 and passed 1200 meters at 3:24.14 before closing the final 300 in 49.35. She moved from sixth to fourth over the final 200 meters, besting such standouts as 2016 Olympian Abby Cooper and Heather Kamph of Minnesota Distance Elite. Kamph has competed in the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympic Trials, is a 4-time USA Mile Road Champion, and has been deemed the “Queen of the road Mile,” given she has won 28 races of that distance between 2011-2019.
- Annie Rodenfels qualified for the upcoming USATF Olympic Trials in Eugene, OR with her impressive 9:46.98 victory in the 3000-meter Steeplechase. On a cloudy and windy Saturday morning, Annie took the lead from the gun on the brand new Beynon track surface at Lee University in Cleveland, TN. Her goal was to run under the 9:50.00 qualifying standard that would provide an automatic-qualifier to be included in the field of top women steeplechasers at the new Hayward Field in Tracktown USA in late June.
Rodenfels covered the first full lap of the race in a brisk 72 seconds and had already put a gap of 30 meters on the remainder of the field. Midway through the race, veteran public address announcer Dave Milner informed those in attendance that Rodenfels was on pace to take the current USA lead in the event. ON Athletics Club's Leah (O'Connor) Falland, a 2-time NCAA DI champion while at Michigan State, has the fastest 2021 USA time of 9:44.73. However, Annie slowed slightly over the next laps before rallying with a 76-second final circuit. Her time was a personal best by over ten seconds and was basically a solo effort as the runner-up's time was 10:57.37. Annie's performance is now the third fastest in the USA during 2021--only behind Falland's time and Hannah Steelman (9:46.35) of NC State.