The On ZAP Endurance trio of Joanna Thompson, Pardon Ndhlovu, and Josh Izewski took to the streets (and trails) of Cary, NC as the sun rose Saturday morning. The race, normally scheduled in March, was postponed to May due to COVID. In order to beat the traditionally warm temperatures the gun for the elite fields cracked at 5:55am. The schedule change worked well as the weather was perfect for racing.
Pardon and Joanna both went to the front of their respective races early. Pardon joined a lead pack of 4 and by 4 miles he was in front pulling them along. Joanna started patiently the opening 2 miles, occupying second place, but soon was out in front.
Josh, in his first race back since contracting COVID in December, had a much more patient game plan and spent the opening miles of the race in a chase pack about 30 seconds behind the leaders.
As the miles ticked off and the runners approached the 2nd half of the race Joanna’s lead continued to grow, and by the time they hit the hills in the final few miles she was well clear of 2nd place. Joanna chopped nearly 2 minutes off her time from the Ashland City Half Marathon in March on a considerably harder course, clocking 1:17:49 for the win. “It played out pretty well, I was able to execute the race plan and snowball forward at the end of the race, and picked up the win. So it went about as good as it could go,” Joanna reflected afterward.
Pardon, instructed to run marathon effort through the first 7 miles, picked up the pace after the opening 7 miles and quickly separated from the field. Despite a late charge from his teammate Izewski, Pardon would go on to take the win in a time of 1:07:09. “I felt good, felt like I executed the plan well, and am looking forward to what 4 weeks will bring at Grandma’s Marathon,” Pardon said after the race.
Josh closed hard over the final miles to finish 2nd to Pardon, running 1:07:20. His game plan was to run controlled over the first 7-8 miles and then gradually pick up the pace, which he was able to do successfully. “I was trying to catch him, but just couldn’t quite get there,” Izewski said with a smile. He added, “I felt good out there today, things are progressing a little faster than I was anticipating, so that’s encouraging.”
You can view the full results here.