Photo Courtesy of Michelle Reese

For the first time since its conception, the UR Running Club overtook the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in a bi-annual, co-ed 5k race on Saturday. In what is also known as “the Crosstown Classic,” UR defeated RIT with UR runners finishing in seven out of the top 10 positions.

The first-place finisher, UR junior Jean-Marc Boullianne, ran a time of 16:09—just one second slower than the course record that had been set in 2014.  Boullianne was followed by two other members of the ‘Jackets club, with senior  and club secretary Brendan Coli running 16:30 and sophomore Noah Sims coming in at 16:39.

Freshman Haley Wohlever set the all-time course record on the female side, placing 21st overall with a time of 20:35.  Wohlever was followed by three consecutive RIT runners before sophomore Emily Volk claimed the second slot for the UR girls, and sophomore Lindsey Perrin snagged third.

Saturday’s event was the third time that the Classic was held, and 30 athletes competed from the two schools combined—22 boys and eight girls. Awards were given to the top male, female and overall winning team, and with their exceptional performance, UR received all three.

“The first year, there were only four of us from UR [in the Classic],” Coli said. “This year, we had 20 runners. It’s gotten more popular overtime, but the route itself has stayed the same.”

Before the race, the members of both teams congregated in Genesee Valley Park (GVP) at the juncture of the Genesee River and the Erie Canal. They then ran down the Genesee Valley Riverway Trail and crossed over the pedestrian bridge behind UR’s academic quad. The course then cut behind the Brooks Crossing Apartments and continued onward past the Genesee Valley Waterway before turning back over the river into GVP, ending just before the park’s intersection with Elmwood Avenue.

Coli, along with senior and business manager Paul Robaszewski, founded the Classic in 2013, hoping it would be a way to increase the competitiveness of the running club.

Robaszewki initially reached out to RIT through an unconventional medium: Reddit. “I knew I was trying to contact someone who was a part of their running club and realized I had no idea how to find these people,” he said.

After posting to the RIT subreddit—a specific niche section of the Reddit site—Robaszewski got a lot of positive feedback, and, after being contacted by members of the RIT club, a date was set for the race.

“I really like that RIT is there, they’re like an alternate version of us,” Robaszewski said. “It’s not as much as a competition as a ‘sharing in Rochester’ activity.”

The Crosstown Classic is just one of the five or so races in which the club competes. This year, they have taken part in the University of Buffalo Bulls Invite and won the Kappa Delta Shamrock 5k, but they plan to run a 15 kilometer and several other 5 kilometerss throughout the year.

The club leads runs at 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. four days a week. The next race against RIT will be next semester on the RIT campus.

Douglas is a member of the class of 2017.

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