asics Greenville Track Club-ELITE - a post-collegiate, Olympic-development program
With no actual race competitions since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ASICS Greenville Track Club-ELITE staged their own 5,000-meter invitational on a nice mid-June Saturday morning in Greenville, SC. Annie Rodenfels shattered her previous personal best of 16:34.8 by running an even-paced 16:07.90 on the Greenville High School track. With the intentionally (due to social distancing concerns) small field of five runners, which included three men and two women, Rodenfels ran solo after the first 200 meters. She covered kilometers in 3:14.38, 3:16.62, 3:16.11 (9:47.11 at 3K), and 3:15.8 before closing in 3:05. The time also was a new program record, besting the five-year-old mark of 16:17.68 run by Nicole DiMercurio in winning the 2015 Music City Distance Carnival in Nashville, TN.
Eddie Garcia won the men's competition with a good 14:21.53 effort. He was paced by two-time Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier Cole Atkins and his own teammate and training parter Victor Pataky. Atkins and Pataky paced them with kilometer splits of 2:51.39, 2:52.53, and 2:52.0 (8:35.92 at 3,000). Atkins completed his duties after 3200 meters in 9:10.34, which was right on target for their goal of 14:20. Garcia's fourth kilometer was his slowest as he ran 2:54.82 by himself. He then finished with his fastest kilometer (2:50.79). Eddie's time was only nine seconds off his post-collegiate PB of 14:12.05, set at the 2019 Music City Distance Carnival. His all time PB is 14:06.17, when he competed for the Univeristy of Florida.
An interesting note was that there were four USA Olympic Trials Marathon qualifiers either running or observing this very small event: Cole Atkins (2016 & 2020), his wife Esther (2012, 2016, 2020), Garcia (2020) and Coach Laura Caldwell (1984 and 1988).
GTC-ELITE was established in 2012. The program produced four qualifiers for the 2016 USA Olympic Trials Marathon in Los Angeles, one qualifier/participant for the 2019 Pam American Games Marathon in. Lima, Peru and three qualifiers/two participants for the 2020 USA Olympic Trials Marathon in Atlanta, GA. The post-collegiate, Olympic development program is sponsored by ASICS, the 48-year-old Greenville Track Club, Joy Real Estate, the Borch Foundation, 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, Cocoa Elite recovery products, Stryd Running, Coach Bob Williams Pace Calculator, DorsiFlex and Synergy Performance (mental performance). The club is a proud and active member of both the Road Runners Club of America and USATF.