HOKA NAZ Elite Wins Inaugural Michigan Pro Ekiden

By LetsRun.com
October 21, 2020

HOKA NAZ Elite won the inaugural Michigan Pro Ekiden on Wednesday morning at Stony Creek Metropark in Shelby Township, Mich. NAZ Elite clocked 2:10:11 for the marathon distance course, which featured three men’s and three women’s legs, each covering 10k, 6.1k, and 5k. The Hansons-Brooks Original Distance Project “A” team finished second in a time of 2:12:08, followed by Minnesota Distance Elite in third (2:12:51).

The men at the start of the race

On a windy, overcast day in Michigan, NAZ Elite took the lead on the opening 10k leg through recent Northern Arizona University alum Tyler Day and never trailed. Day, making his professional debut, clocked 28:46 to open up a 12-second gap over three-time NCAA DII champion Zach Panning of Hansons-Brooks “A”. Lauren Paquette extended the lead to 29 seconds with a terrific run on leg two, clocking 19:19 for 6.1k (15:50 5k pace), and NAZ Elite would never be seriously challenged from there. Day, Paquette, and Dani Shanahan (16:18 for 5k on leg 6) all picked up $500 as they clocked the fastest split on their respective legs to power NAZ Elite to a commanding victory.

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Hansons-Brooks “A” used strong runs from Panning, Anne-Marie Blaney (19:36 for 6.1k on leg 2 (16:04 5k pace), and Olivia Pratt (16:45 for 5k on leg 6) to take second. Minnesota Distance Elite took third thanks to a big run from Annie Frisbie on leg 4 — her 32:37 10k split was 30 seconds faster than the 33:07 split put up by 2019 USA 10k third-placer Kellyn Taylor. As a result, MDE came within 12 seconds of Hansons-Brooks at the final exchange, but the early lead built by Panning and Blaney proved too much to overcome.

Staging an event in the midst of a global pandemic is a feat and organizers deserved kudos for providing a racing opportunity in a fall largely devoid of road races, and a new team competition for pros is a welcome addition to the calendar. That being said, the event proved difficult to follow as the live broadcast had significant issues. Though organizers planned on setting up several cameras around the course, an overnight storm knocked out most of them. That left only one camera at the start/finish area and a drone, which provided limited, inconsistent footage.

Announcers Dathan Ritzenhein and Samantha Hanson did their best to commentate for two hours with almost zero live footage of the runners, and Hansons-Brooks deserves credit for trying to set up a free live stream. The difficulties demonstrated the difficulties of broadcasting on the roads where, unlike a track, you can’t rely on just one or two stationary cameras.

Discussion: Resources / tips for broadcasting high quality road running / track events

Below are the results, with the fastest legs in bold.

A couple of notes: Atlanta Track Club ran a high schooler on their third leg (Justin Wachtel, who split an impressive 15:21) and did not have a fifth leg as Wilkerson Given was a late scratch due to a hamstring injury; per Fast Women, their sixth leg Allie Wilson was still allowed to run but had to start 10 seconds behind the last-place team.

Team Leg 1 (M 10K) Leg 2 (W 6.1K) Leg 3 (M 5K) Leg 4 (W 10K) Leg 5 (M 6.1K) Leg 6 (W 5K) Overall time
NAZ Elite Tyler Day (28:46) Lauren Paquette (19:19) Rory Linkletter (14:53) Kellyn Taylor (33:07) Scott Fauble (17:41) Dani Shanahan (16:18) 2:10:11
Hansons-Brooks A Zach Panning (28:58) Anne-Marie Blaney (19:36) Ben Kendell (14:57) Natosha Rogers (33:58) Hassan Abdi (17:46) Olivia Pratt (16:45) 2:12:08
Minn. Distance Elite Joel Reichow (29:42) Breanna Sieracki (20:31) Danny Docherty (14:57) Annie Frisbie (32:37) Kevin Lewis (17:52) Meghan Peyton (17:16) 2:12:51
Roots Running Frank Lara (29:26) Maggie Montoya (19:54) Austen Dalquist (15:02) Alia Gray (33:57) Will Cross (18:00) Lexi Zeis (17:30) 2:13:03
TEAM Boulder David Goodman (30:09) Melissa Dock (19:56) Jake Waterman (15:33) Carrie Verdon (33:23) Jake Riley (17:23) Ericka Waterman (18:01) 2:14:20
Hansons-Brooks B Ian LaMere (30:00) Megan O’Neil (21:29) Shadrack Biwott (14:41) Amy Davis (33:20) Brendan Gregg (18:01) Dot McMahan (17:42) 2:15:06
Atlanta TC Matt McDonald (30:00) Yolanda Ngarambe (20:32) Justin Wachtel (15:21) Janel Blancett (34:34) N/A Allie Wilson (19:46) DNF

Link to timing website here.

Talk about the event on our messageboard. MB: Official Michigan Pro Ekiden Prediction Thread

Pre-Race: LRC Michigan Pro Ekiden Preview: HOKA NAZ Elite Favored In Clash Of US Pro Squads