asics Greenville Track Club-ELITE - a post-collegiate, Olympic development program
ASICS Greenville Track Club-ELITE's Austin Steagall defended his title from 2017 as he ran to victory in the 39th Annual Greenville News Run Downtown 5K. Running his first race in two months, he opened his 2018 competitive schedule with a time of 14:54 over the rolling course in downtown Greenville, SC.
Steagall followed Greenville's Cole Atkins, a former member of ZAP-Reebok's elite program and now a Skechers athlete, for the first mile before taking the lead and never looking back. While the time was well off Steagall's course record of 14:14 (set last year), he accomplished his primary goal of defending his victory. Atkins finished second in 15:01.
"I followed the plan my coach and I had developed a few weeks ago and just ran for the win," explained Steagall following his post-race cool down. "This is my first race of the season and we'll be targeting some indoor track meets starting next week at Clemson."
The race is the unofficial kick-off each year for the road racing season in Greenville. This year the finish line was moved from S. Main Street to E. Broad Street due to the relocation of The Greenville News into their new facility. The course is certified under USATF procedures. There were 1656 official finishers on a sunny, but very chilly morning.
GTC-ELITE was established in 2012 and produced four qualifiers for the 2016 USA Olympic Trials Marathon in Los Angeles. The post-collegiate, Olympic development program is sponsored by ASICS, the 45-year-old Greenville Track Club, Greenville Health System, ScanSource, Joy Real Estate, the Bare Minimum Track Club, generous individual contributors and partnerships with Performance Therapy, Carolina Spine and Rehab, Boston Bill Sunglasses, Roll Recovery products, FinalSurge (on-line training log), The ATI Running Academy, ElliptiGO, NormaTec Recovery Boots and Cocoa Elite recovery products.
Good things sometimes come to an end. While it is usually difficult to say good-bye, there are sometimes good reasons for doing so. As 2018 begins, ASICS Greenville Track Club-ELITE will be without its two most veteran women athletes. Kimberly Ruck is engaged to her long-time boyfriend Marty Maloney and will be married in June. She has just accepted a new job in Chapel Hill, NC (where Marty is in Law school). Alison Parris is transitioning from her three-year part-time position at ScanSource, Inc. to a full-time new opportunity.
Ruck was the first woman to join ASICS GTC-ELITE. While pursuing her Masters degree at the University of South Carolina, the former Clemson University All American joined the program. A Greenville native and already a long-time member of the Greenville Track Club, Kimberly was a natural fit for the post-collegiate, Olympic development group. During her almost five years with ASICS GTC-ELITE, Ruck traveled to major competitions around the country including the Stanford Invitational in Palo Alto, CA, the Abbott's Dash for the Finish in New York City, the Tuft's Healthcare Women's 10K in Boston, MA, the Great Cow Harbor 10K in Northport, NY, the Raleigh Relays in NC, three USATF Club XC National Championships (Bethlehem, PA, San Francisco, CA and Tallahassee, FL), the Newport 10K in Jersey City, NJ, etc. Kimberly had some outstanding performances including a 33:17 10,000 at Stanford, a 16:19 5,000 at Raleigh, and a 27:11 8K in Columbia, SC. She won a total of 20 races including the 2017 TD Bank Reedy River Run in Greenville. She also set three course records, including her 16:32 at the 2015 Greenville News Run Downtown 5K.
Parris was the second woman to join ASICS GTC-ELITE. She had worked for three years in her home state of Maryland following her 2011 graduation from James Madison University. With the intention of pursuing post-collegiate running once completely healthy after some persistent injuries during her collegiate career, she was selected to attend the RRCA Run Pro Camp, where her interest spiked and she contacted ASICS GTC-ELITE. After her successful interview visit, she relocated to Greenville, SC in May of 2014. During her time with the program Alison competed in almost 40 races and finished among the top five 30 times, including 14 victories and set five course records. She competed in three USATF Club Cross Country National Championships with two excellent top 40 finishes (26th and 33rd). Parris and her teammates placed 8th at those championships in 2015 in San Francisco. She ran personal bests of 16:29 for 5,000 meters, 27:13 for 8K and 35:12 for 10K. She also placed 6th at the 2015 Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta. Alison was employed by ScanSource, Inc. as part of our Adopt An Athlete program. After experiencing a semi-chronic foot injury during the latter part of 2017, Alison decided to make a career change and accepted a full-time employment position in her adopted home of Greenville.
"We will really miss having Kimberly and Alison with our program," stated Director/Coach Mike Caldwell. "Both ladies are class acts and always were a pleasure to coach and just be around on an almost daily basis. However, life moves on and we know both of them will be very successful in their personal lives and also be positive contributors to society in general. We have some great memories with them, during both the highs and lows of their post-collegiate competitive careers."
GTC-ELITE was established in 2012 and produced four qualifiers for the 2016 USA Olympic Trials Marathon in Los Angeles. The post-collegiate, Olympic development program is sponsored by ASICS, the 45-year-old Greenville Track Club, Greenville Health System, ScanSource, Joy Real Estate, the Bare Minimum Track Club, generous individual contributors and partnerships with Performance Therapy, Carolina Spine and Rehab, Soleus Running Watches, Boston Bill Sunglasses, Roll Recovery products, FinalSurge (on-line training log), The ATI Running Academy, ElliptiGO, NormaTec Recovery Boots and Cocoa Elite recovery products.