the news 1st Annual Chancellor Challenge 100K
Boston MA
Saturday, October 9

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$20,000 is a pretty good prize purse for a first time event. It's great money for an ultra-distance run held in the USA, the largest amount in recent memory for a race longer than the marathon distance.

The inaugural Chancellor Challenge 100K prize money went 10 deep for both men and women, plus $100 to the next 30 overall finishers, meaning every finisher earned a good return on their entry fee.

Visa problems kept an expected handful of top-flight Russians from attending, but it was still an international race with six different countries represented in as many of the top places. And while one would think that a clear winner could be decided in 100 kilometers, the outcome winner was decided in the final 30 meters.

Run on a nearly dead flat 10K loop on the bikeways along the Boston side of the Charles River, runners jockeyed for positioning and pace through the first half of the race. At that point, Jan Vandendriessche of Belgium assumed the singular lead and looked to be on his way to a win. At the gun lap, he was over 3 minutes ahead of local favorite Jim Garcia who had worked his way up to second.

However, it was a long final 6.2 miles for the Belgian, as his pace slowed and cramping affected his legs. Garcia, who traversed the same paths many times while on the cross country and track teams at M.I.T. on the opposite shores of the river, closed to 1:20 with a mile to go, and continued to gain.

"I knew I was gaining, but didn't believe my friend when he said I could cach him with 400 to go," noted Garcia. The challenger was in full stride with 200 meters to go, rapidly eating into the Belgian's lead. A glance back while rounding the final turn just 30 meters from the finish must have surprised the leader, whose legs buckled as he tried to speed up. Vandendriessche staggered and went down just 10 meters from the finish and Garcia almost ran up his back before six more strides found him breaking the tape. With no chance to respond, Vandendriessche was slow to return to his feet and walk across the li ne.

"Winning like this is what dreams are made of", commented the four time USA Ultra team member, whose 6:55:27 was a PR by two minutes.

Past Comrades winner Rae Bischoff was the favorite in the women's race and had five minutes on Edit Berces of Hungary at 40K. However, at the halfway point, the South African was passed and headed right to the medical tent for treatment on a hip injury, n ever to return to the course.

Berces continued, continually building a small lead over her closest persuer, Danielle Cherniak, during the second half and took the women's win in 8:01:02. Cherniak, also a US team member at the World 100K last spring, was next across the line but just over 10 minutes behind.

The race came together in just over three months from concept to competition. Brian Adley, the CEO of Chancellor Corporation (a transportation financing and fleet management firm), watched the Comrades Marathon in South Africa during a business trip this year and came back to the US believing that there should be a top flight ultra race in this country. He enlisted Boston Marathon technical director Dave McGillivray to take on the challenge to bring an instant ultra hit to Boston. Next year's date is alr eady scheduled: October 7, 2000.

The Cambridge Sports Union won an accompanying 10 x 10K relay in 5:54:20, good for another $1250.

1 Jim Garcia ($3000) 41 MA 6:55:27
2 Jan Vandendriessche ($2000) 38 BEL 6:55:45
3 Victor Hickey ($1000) 42 CAN 7:02:29
4 Tim Sloan ($750) 32 AUS 7:06:55
5 Russell Crawford ($600) RSA 7:13:12
6 Bob Sweeney ($400) 32 FRA 7:21:34
7 Mark Godale ($300) 29 OH 7:27:54
8 Courtney Campbell ($200) 34 VA 7:41:10
9 Richard Doubleday ($150) 37 MA 7:55:28
10 Kevin McGovern ($100) 41 MA 7:56:58
1 Edit Berces ($3000) 35 HUN 8:01:02
2 Danielle Cherniak ($2000) 37 NY 8:11:43
3 Ellen McCurtin ($1000) 32 CT 8:36:29
4 Nancy Drach ($750) 40 FL 8:40:56
5 Christy Cosgrove ($600) 38 MA 8:47:58
6 Holly Neault-Zinzow ($400) 38 WI 8:49:54
7 Janice Anderson ($300) 33 GA 9:00:01
8 Sandy Powell ($200) 42 VA 9:16:05
9 Jennifer Stanton ($150) 26 NY 10:26:08
10 Katie Benson ($100) 24 CO 10:42:56

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