Corporate Challenge 8k
Scottsdale, AZ - March 2, 2002     T   P   R   S  
San Diego Street Elite

This was the fourth year that the Corporate Challenge 8k has been held at the Scottsdale, AZ location on Saturday 3/2. After a week of warm temperatures, it was a chilly 50 degrees for the 10:00am start. A strong and constant wind blew the entire weekend. Around 100 skaters participated in the event.

The course remained the same as in previous years. It was an out-and-back course with a loop around the Mayo Clinic hospital on the way out. Pavement was very smooth on the level terrain. The strong wind was a cross-wind for most of the way.

Since this was a small event, most competitors were from Phoenix or Tucson. The start was fast as the lead men attempted to immediately separate themselves from the rest of the group. A pack of five skaters formed going into the Mayo Clinic. This portion was very fast due to the tailwind.

In the loop, the lead pack nearly collided into the pace vehicles when a stray car wandered onto the course. This split the lead pack up as the skaters passed both the police cruiser and the motorcycle cop. Luckily, nobody crashed and the race resumed after a brief slow-down.

After exiting the Mayo Clinic loop, Jeff Neal (AIR) attempted to wear down the pack via interval sprints. In fact, he pulled quite a bit in order to do so. It was partially successful as three skaters were left together for the final sprint.

Keith Henry (Tucson) thought he was beaten. But when Jeff Neal and Kevin Puhlman clicked skates, Keith sprinted hard and hawked at the line for the victory. Kevin finished second and Jeff third. Joe Prescott and Howard Yeh of SDSE finished together fifth and sixth, both first in each of their age classes.

In the women's race, Michelle Gaylor (Predator) took the win well ahead of her closest competitor. Florence Wilson (Tucson) and Emily van Wallinghen (Tucson) finished second and third, respectively.

The Corporate Challenge continues to be a well-organized local event that was a lot of fun.


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