(20-Jun) -- In the first edition of the Return of the Dual, a unique remote athletics competition which pitted the Oregon Track Club Elite (OTC) against the Atlanta Track Club Elite (ATC), the west coast team prevailed handily over their east coast rivals by a score of six points to one. The competition, broadcast live via YouTube and Facebook, took place in two locations: the Landmark Christian School in Fairburn, Georgia, and the Hamlin Middle School in Springfield, Oregon. Athletes at each venue had to run by feel, not knowing how fast their opponents were running some 2600 miles (4200 km) away.
PHOTO: Dylan Capwell (left) and Nijel Amos line up before the start of the men's 600m at the Return of the Dual held remotely in Fairburn, Georgia, and Springfield, Oregon (image from Atlanta Track Club via Facebook).
Each team entered six athletes in a total of five events: men's and women's 600m and 1200m races (one athlete per team), plus a mixed-gender 2 x 2 x 400m relay (two athletes per team). Wins in the 600m and 1200m races were worth one point each, while the relay victory was worth three points. Both teams donated to, and were raising money for, local charities.
OTC got off to a good start in the first event, the men's 600m. Nijel Amos, the 2012 Olympic 800m silver medalist from Botswana, blasted away from the starting line and quickly built up a lead on the ATC's Dylan Capwell. But in the last 200 meters, Amos began to pay for his fast early pace and visibly tied-up. He staggered over the finish line in 1:17.2 (hand time) to Capwell's 1:19.0. Amos, who hasn't run a single race in 2020, was too wiped out to do a post race interview, but Capwell was able to speak.
"I'm happy I'm healthy," offered Capwell who competed for Monmouth University during his NCAA career. "It's great to be out here for a good cause."
OTC got another win in the women's 600m when Chanelle Price, the 2014 world indoor 800m champion, overwhelmed the ATC's Rachel Walters, 1:27.9 to 1:34.8. Price looked very smooth, despite the cloudy and damp conditions.
"It was good," said Price in her post-race interview. "I've been training hard. It's good to see the fruits of our training."
In the next event, the men's 1200m, ATC's Abraham Alvarado was matched against OTC's Vince Ciattei. Alvarado, a 1:46.53 800m man with a 3:36.82 1500m best, had the better stats, but Ciattei did a better job of metering his effort over the odd distance. The race was close through 800m, but as Alvarado tired Ciattei opened his stride in the final 400 meters to get the win, 2:53.7 to 2:56.4. Ciattei's time was similar to 3:41 for 1500m.
"I would have liked to run a little bit quicker, to be honest," said Ciattei, who competed for Virginia Tech during his NCAA career. He added: "I had something left and I finished strong."
Alvarado, who had to run in 90-degree (32C) heat today, said he did his best but that the remote format was challenging.
"It's hard when you don't have anyone in front of you," observed Alvarado, who competed for both Stanislaus State and Brigham Young during his NCAA career.
The ATC scored their only point in the women's 1200m when Yolanda Ngarambe ran uncontested after the OTC's Hanna Green was forced to withdraw with a slight injury. Running with "BLM" written on her right arm with black marker, the Swedish record holder for the indoor mile cruised to the win in 3:21.0, similar to a 4:15 for 1500m.
In the final event, where each athlete had to run two 400-meter legs with under a minute's rest in between, the OTC team of Jake Heyward and Sabrina Southerland dominated the ATC team of Avery Bartlett and Megan Malasarte. Heyward, a Welshman, got the OTC out ahead on the first leg, and Southerland increased the lead on the second. Although Bartlett narrowed the gap on the third leg, Southerland was much stronger than Malasarte on the fourth and final leg, and OTC won by a comfortable margin, 3:46.3 to 3:51.3.
"I haven't felt anything like this in six months," said the ATC's Bartlett, his chest still heaving as he tried to catch his breath.
His teammate Malasarte agreed.
"It burned more than anything we've done all year," she said.
Heyward and Southerland were happy to get the win. Heyward's biggest worry wasn't his fitness.
"I was probably more worried about dropping the baton," he said.
Food for Lane County, an organization in Oregon dedicated to reducing hunger by engaging the community to create access to food, and Atlanta Mission, a community organization to end homelessness, will split the proceeds of the meet. To make a donation to these organizations and support the meet go here: AtlantaTrackClub.org