On Saturday morning 5 of the men and women on the ZAP-Reebok pro team took to the streets of Davenport, IA for the 44th running of the historic Bix 7 road race. The race held up to it’s reputation of having world class fields on both the men’s and women’s side, including a number to top tier US runners. The course is 7 miles long and takes place on an out-and-back route over rolling hills.
On the men’s side the race got off to a fairly conservative start, particularly given the unseasonably cool temperatures. ZAP-Reebok athletes Joe Stilin, Josh Izewski, and Andrew Colley were tucked in the lead pack through the opening 3 miles. Izewski was the first to inject some quicker running on the downhill just before 3 miles. He opened up a slight gap on the pack, passing as the 2nd and 3rd miles in 4:33 and 4:41. By the time the group reached the halfway mark Izewski’s move had trimmed the lead pack to 8 and included teammate Andrew Colley.
As the pace quickened further into the 4th and 5th miles the lead pack continued to thin out with 5 athletes in the lead group at 5 miles. Colley was still tucked in the pack, yo-yoing between tucking in on the uphills and drifting a few meters back on the downhills. Ethiopian Belay Tilahun made a strong move just after 5 miles to break the race wide open and would go on to win by 19 seconds. Colley battled for top American honors with sub-60 minute half marathoner, Leonard Korir, and would finish 3 seconds behind Korir in 4th place. Following closely behind was Izewski in 8th and Stilin in 10th to give the ZAP-Reebok team 3 men in the top 10.
The women’s field started at the same time as the men and the women were out quickly on the uphill opening 1/2 mile. ZAP-Reebok teammates Joanna Thompson and Nicole DiMercurio remained patient over the first half of the race, utilizing their strength on the hills to move past runners in through the middle of the race. DiMercurio, much like Colley in the men’s race, was battling for top American honors in the final mile with Fargo’s Maddie Van Beek. DiMercurio would finish just behind Van Beek as the 2nd American finisher in 8th overall. Thompson crossed the line soon after in 11th place. Both women showed tremendous improvement from Peachtree on July 4th as they continue to race shorter distance races coming off this spring’s Boston Marathon.
Next up for the ZAP-Reebok team will be Josh Izewski at the Bobby Doyle 5 Miler on August 12th in Rhode Island and then the following weekend DiMercurio, Thompson, Stilin, and Colley will all be racing at the famed Falmouth Road Race on August 19th.
Click here to watch a replay of the race!