A beaut of a strategy.
Frank Macreery didn't win King of the Hill or King of the Downhill. Instead, the 22-year-old Princeton graduate waited until those competitions had been decided to make his move.
Macreery had loftier goals and figured that if he pushed himself up the Donald Street hill in an effort to compete with Team Eugene runners Steve Laurie and Will Viviani, it would hurt his chances of winning the 34th annual Butte to Butte 10-kilometer road race.
So Macreery took the lead shortly after the two-mile mark and clocked 30 minutes, 45 seconds, to complete his goal on a warm, sunny Wednesday morning in Eugene.
It was his first Butte to Butte after moving to Eugene to train with Team XO and coach Frank Gagliano a year ago.
"I've been in Eugene a while and I wanted to experience this. I've read about guys who've won it like (former UO greats) Kenny Moore and Paul Geis and knew it had a great history," Macreery said.
"I didn't know what the competition would be like, and I was nervous at the start of the race."
Laurie and Viviani were making their Butte to Butte debuts, too. They finished second (31:21) and third (31:34), respectively, with Laurie claiming the King of the Hill competition that turned into a grueling sprint to the top.
"That hill was a lot of fun, I'll just say that," said Viviani, 25, a 2006 Oregon graduate from Virginia who won the King of the Downhill. "Steve and I decided not to kill ourselves and that we would split the prize(s), not that that was what it was about."
After the hill, Macreery saw an opening and took the lead for good at East 39th Avenue. He was just happy to be running well.
"I had a bit of a rough season," he said. "I was injured in the winter and spent a lot of time in the spring catching up. And with the guys I'm training with, if you fall behind, it's tough to get back into the swing of things. I feel like I'm starting to get back into shape."
Macreery, whose goal is to qualify in the 10,000 for the 2008 Olympics and who has a PR of 29:03, especially was impressed with the course that begins near Spencer Butte Middle School and ends at Skinner Butte Park.
"I love the course," said Macreery, a tutor for the UO athletic department who plans to launch a Web design business soon. "I did drive it yesterday to get a sense of everything. It's a beautiful course.
"Road races are a lot more fun (than the track). You get to see the city and there are great crowds cheering you on. It's a lot of fun. I get to meet a lot of great athletes."
Laurie, a marathoner who hopes to qualify for the Olympics, said he knew by the 2 2/3 -mile mark that the race would be for second and third, and by the three-mile mark that second was his to lose.
Viviani said he's still trying to determine what his best distance is. He, too, is hoping to qualify for the Olympic Trials but figures it's a long shot.
"I'm not fooling myself," Viviani said.
Wednesday's races drew an all-time-high 4,620 registered entrants for the 10K and 4.5-mile walk. The previous record was 3,356.
After some initial confusion, Stephanie Snyder of Salem was declared the winner of the women's race in 39:43.
The confusion arose because former South Eugene standout Erin Gray, 20, was actually the first woman to cross the finish line and was announced as the winner. However, Gray, who just finished her sophomore year at Arkansas, had skipped the hill and followed the Mayor's Fitness Walk course.
It then appeared that Bobeya Krishnek would be the first woman to cross the finish line, but she left the course just before entering the chutes. Krishnek, a senior at the University of Portland this fall, veered off just after hearing her time of 39:00 because she wasn't officially entered.
"I'm a student and NCAA regulations don't allow us to win any prizes, so I just pulled out before the gate because I hadn't registered," said Krishnek, who had arrived at the start with friends too late to register.
"I didn't think I'd do as well as I did. It was a steep uphill ... but I love the 10K on the road, not the track."
Meanwhile, Gray, who was second to Sopagna Eap in last year's Butte to Butte 10K, said she decided to skip the hill and follow the shorter course because of a sore leg.
"I was just running basically as training for the cross country season," she said.
Colleen Carter-Cox of Eugene was second in 40:36 and Casey Hire of Eugene was third in 41:02.
Time and place: See complete race results / D4, D5
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|Title Annotation:||Sports; Frank Macreery lets others battle for the royal treatment on hill, then cruises to victory in the 34th annual Butte to Butte|
|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Date:||Jul 5, 2007|
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