November Project takes over Park City
September 29, 2015
Though it took place in September, November Project runners made their presence known last weekend at The North Face Endurance Challenge at Park City Mountain Resort.
Runners from 26 cities represented the November Project and flocked to Park City for their annual summit.
"It’s a gathering of all the co-leaders of all the 26 tribes, plus about 200-300 racers from the tribes as well," Paddy O’Leary, a co-leader of the San Francisco tribe, said. "We came out here to take over the marathon relay, which I think we successfully did."
The November Project started small, O’Leary said, but now has enough members to make strong showings at events like The North Face Endurance Challenge.
"It’s a free fitness group that was started by two lads back in Boston in 2011," he said. "They were fed up with paying for gym memberships, so they decided to go to Harvard Stadium and they had a deal with each other that they’d go run the Harvard Stadium steps every day for a month. They started calling this idea the November Project because it was in the month of November. By the end of the month, people started to join them, so they created a free fitness group. The last three years, it’s grown to 26 cities, 26 tribes, across North America and it’s growing more and more."
The North Face Endurance Challenge featured several races of different distances. Starting Saturday morning, there were 50-mile, 50-kilometer, marathon, marathon relay (four legs of about 6.5 miles), half marathon, 10K and 5K distances.
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O’Leary ran three of the four legs for his marathon relay team, which finished in first place with a total time of 3 hours, 8 minutes and 16 seconds. Fellow San Francisco tribe co-leader Laura McCloskey ran the other leg. O’Leary said he didn’t plan on running so much, but an injury to co-leader Dan Clayton forced him to take on more miles.
"He fell running stairs two weeks ago and hurt himself pretty bad," he said. "Laura was injured for a year and just got back into running, so I said I’d try three [legs] and she’d do one. We both crushed it."
O’Leary said he enjoyed running the trails at Park City Mountain Resort, but added that the elevation change was difficult.
"It’s a lot of vertical," he said. "We live in San Francisco, where we have a lot of hills and a lot of vertical, but this is absurd."
Still, he added, he and the rest of the November Project runners enjoyed their time in Park City, cheering each other on as they crossed the finish line.
"It’s just the support and the cheering — it’s amazing," he said. "Power in numbers."
In the longest race of the weekend (50 miles), Lars Kjerengtroen won the overall title, finishing the event in 7:33:14, just ahead of second-place Andrew Knapik (7:36:49). Katie Steinberg won the women’s 50-mile race in 8:45:43, finishing nearly an hour ahead of second-place Kimberly Shock (9:45:32).
In the 50K race, Noah Brautigam of Salt Lake City won the overall title, completing the run in 4:18:14. Brautigam also won the Mid Mountain Marathon on Sept. 12. Abby Rideout of Salt Lake City won the women’s 50K in 5:19:20.
For results from this weekend’s The North Face Endurance Challenge, please see the Scoreboard section on page B-5.
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