Celtic Solstice 5-Miler Race History
*Event Record
Year  Runners Winner Men     Time            Winner Women      Time
2000  123     Sean Smith 26:32      Robin Goodwin             33:08
2001  274     Michael Styczynski 25:30       Connie Buckwalter 30:22
2002  417     Greg Cauller  28:11     Vicki Cauller                  30:49
2003  697     Jesse Williams 27:31     Denise  Knickman       31:35
2004  832     Matt Seymore  25:59       Jill Krebs                   29:25
2005  949     Brian Godsey  25:57     Darcy McDonald       31:26
2006 1521     David Berdan  25:19      Vicki  Cauller             28:51*
2007 1903     David Berdan  25:29     Katie Breitenbach     30:03
2008 1926*   David Berdan  25:09*    Laura Paulsen           29:36
2009  176      Brian Godsey 29:34      Julia Rudd                  34:!5
  Three-time winner Dave Berdan approaches the finish 2007 (Chista Gilbert Photo)
(Click on thumbnail photos)

Year 1 2000 -
 2000 Results

A hundred and twenty-six runners braved a torrential downpour replete with magnificent lightning strikes that brought new meaning to the term thunderous during the early pre-dawn hours of December 17th.  Thank goodness that Cobber Eccles of Streuver Brothers, Eccles and Rouse had opened up the Stieff Silver Building for shelter.

But those intrepid souls who ventured out into the elements and this long December morning were rewarded when the rains stopped, the lightning faded away, and the temperatures rose into the balmy mid-40's. 

The course rolled along by the historic mansion house, through quaint cobblestone streets all the way to the Baltimore Zoo before returning to Druid Lake and the spectacular views of downtown and mid-town Baltimore from the turnaround at the Moorish Tower.  The flat, then downhill finish, more than compensated for the rolling hills in the initial miles of the course.

Race officials were chagrined to discover that the second mile was 1,000 feet short, which resulted in some rather fast times.  Another indelible memory of this event was the discovery of police towing an obviously abandoned, and probably stolen, vehicle out of a field as the runners passed by.

 

Age group winners received a hand-drawn caricature of themselves rounding the Moorish Tower at mile 4 1/2. 

Runners who elected the premium received a stunning, long-sleeve black PolarTech shirt, designed to retain warmth while transmitting moisture to the outside.

    

Year 2 - 2001  2001 Results

The week before the race, the Stieff Silver Building was an empty shell, but on race day the interior had been framed out and it was obvious that the famed Baltimore landmark would house renovated offices within a few weeks.  The course was re-aligned to bring it to the proper five mile distance, and on a very cold and clear December morning 275 people braved the chilly air for the second running of the Celtic Solstice Five-Miler.

 

Year 3 - 2002  2002 Results

With organizers wondering how to move the venue to another sheltered location, the Parks and People Foundation volunteered their space in the basement of the Stieff Silver Building.  The course was altered to compensate for construction work along the Mansion House loop and the placement of jersey wall barriers over portions of last years course.  This resulted in the Start/Finish line being closer to the Stieff Silver Building, where all the post race food was! The husband and wife team of Greg and Vicki Cauller, down from Pennsylvania, won the race, but there was spirited competition throughout, no where more evidenced than in the rear of the back, where Jeff Caldwell, who can not run because of bad knees, and Eugene Roberts, who runs on two prosthetic devices, battled it out.  Jeff say, " I could get him on the uphills, but my knees can't take the downhill pounding, and he (Gene) would just fly by me. Then I would get him on the next uphill.  But that last half-mile was all downhill, and I couldn't keep up with him." 

December 21, 2002
Baltimore, MD
James Moreland for the
Washington Running Report
As the year winds down, there are fewer races available. Next weekend I may even have to stay home. This weekend there were only four races in the region. Sunday is the RASAC Holiday 5K. Today's (December 21, 2002) choices were a Jingle Bell 5K in Boyce, VA (SVR) and the Christmas Caper 8K at Belle Haven (PVTC). Both are good economic choices at $4 and $5. Boyce was the farthest at 70 miles to 30 miles. I have run at Belle Haven many times and enjoyed the mostly flat out and back course and the food age group awards.

Door number three was The Celtic Solstice 5 Mile at Druid Hill Park in Baltimore. Jim Adams of the Falls Road Running Store, former BRRC president and RRCA State Representative, suggested I might like to give it a try. Early fees were $10 and race day was $15. Unlike the other two races, this one provided a long sleeve Nike Dri-Fit shirt valued at $36.00. Say no more, I hauled myself up Route 95 to Baltimore.

Thanks to the generous folks at the Stieff Silver Building, we had indoor facilities and lots of parking right next to the starting line for the nearly five hundred runners. I spoke with race management professional Dave Cooley of the Finished Product and we agreed this third year race could easily double in size.

So, today winter arrived. The day was a beautiful windless forty- five degrees. We lined up at the edge of the bridge over the Jones Falls Expressway. The road turned up sharply just across the bridge. I remembered that the brochure pronounced the first 1K flat. Race director Jim Adams plied us with the good news that last half-mile was downhill. Now I was confused. No time to think, Cooley had just shouted, "Go!" I darted across the bridge in the lead, ready to turn the corner, looking for downhill or at least flat. Oops! The next mile was a serpentine ladder of up followed by up. It was not steep but it was up. Even watching my shoes, I could not help noticing that lots of runners were moving past me.

The course was very easy to follow, even though there were three cul de sacs. As we entered each one, the lead bicycles warned us to move over to the right. Each time the eventual winner Greg Cauller of Manchester, PA was pushing further ahead. Many runners were later heard to comment, "Did you see that guy running so effortlessly?" "He should have at least tried to look as if he were struggling when he came past us."

I had another problem. Those rolling hills were taking a serious bite out of any potential kick that I might have. Finally, about three and a half miles into the race we moved away from the zoo and headed down toward the reservoir. Mile four was an unmanned [turned off] clock but it was a welcome sight. I allowed my momentum to carry me across the flat area to the final half- mile, which was blissfully all downhill.

There was much last second changing of places because the finish was so sharply down hill. Veteran finishers hustled quickly back to the Stieff Silver and the food. Those first inside lined up at the massage table. I brushed past that and headed for the chow line. There was tons of everything, all the old standards of bananas, apples, bagels, and Gatorade. A chorus of pastry, cookies, dozens of doughnuts, hot chocolate, coffee, and plenty of fruit juices followed them up.

Soon the masses changed the already warm building into a sauna. We herded ourselves outside to find bowls of steaming hot chili. After we cooled off some, we could not refrain from more goodies inside, including some decorative cakes. There was plenty of food and drink for every runner with the excess going to a local shelter.

The results were up in less than an hour. I made the cardinal mistake of standing right next to Jim Adams as he announced the winners. He deputized me into making up the random numbers. When asked to pick a number, he said, "What is your marathon PR?" I first tried my own bib number of 445 but he was not buying. He interspersed the randoms with the age groups. The prizes were sporting goods from his store, such as hats, fanny packs, running lights, body glides, and even some pepper spray.

The age group awards were based on pre-registered quantities, so that the larger divisions went deeper. Also, we would all be receiving a special extra bonus. A local artist took photos of the award winners to use in producing individual drawings for us.

For the women, Vicki Cauller made it a husband (Greg) and wife winner's circle, upsetting Denise Knickman of Baltimore. Knickman is a winner of twenty-one of the thirty-five races she has done this year, including a 2:59:19 Marathon in the Parks last month. Matthew Hahn (20) of Pennsylvania was second for the men. Another couple, Connie Buckwalter of Lancaster, PA was third and her husband Marc was an age group winner, making a nearly Pennsylvania sweep. The third man was Justin Scott (21). We were also treated to the return of racing legend Laura Dewald of Monkton, MD. Laura, often a sub-2:40 marathoner, won the Marine Corps Marathon in 1990 in 2:45. She says she prefers trail running these days. Winning her age group easily today, she noted that motivation is the key to producing fast times.

Year 4 - 2003  Results from 2003

Over 700 people showed up on an overcast but crisp December morning.  There were several tents set up in the parking lot serving up food and a taste of Wassail, while the feast continued inside.  Jesse Williams and Glenn Mays ran side by side for most of the race, with Jesse finally holding on for the win.  Participants in the event were treated to hot spiced cider and soup outside with traditional  (and more non-traditional) food inside the building.

 

Year 5 - 2004   Results from 2004

A record 832 runners finished on the fifth anniversary of the race. Pre-registered runners had covered the race expenses, so race day entries fees were donated to the Parks and People Foundation.  Tim Mullen and Greg Griffie reprised their outstanding hot soup in the outdoor tents, while the feasting continued indoors.  Quite a bit of excitement ensued among the finish line volunteers when someone dropped a spindle containing about a hundred and fifty names, and it took about two weeks to sort everything out. 

   

Year 6  - 2005  Results  For the first time, the race utilized a chip timing system, partially in response to the dropped spindle from the previous year.  Several proposals were evaluated, and a team from the Annapolis Striders and Howard County Striders were selected to chip time the race using ChampionChip.

A winter storm deposited layers of snow and ice in Druid Hill park just three days before the race, but park maintenance personnel salted and plowed the roads.  That combined with a little bit of sun and wind dried out most of the course except for two large standing pools of water that required slight detours and an extremely muddy section that was packed down with wood chips and bales of hay by Scott Phin on race day morning.

 

Brian Godsey and Carlos Renifro led the race at a rather casual pace through the first four miles, then Godsey dropped a 4:28 final mile to take the crown for 2005.

 

2005 James Moreland story in the Washington Running Report
   

Year 7  - 2006   RESULTS A record number of runners registered for the event, forcing organizers outside the Stieff Silver Building and under tents.  With about 950 finishers from the previous year, plans were made for an expected growth of 20% and a crowd size of about 1200 runners.  Lo and behold, about 1900 runners showed up on race day, with over 1500 getting ChampionChip times.  Organizers ran out of chips, and resorted to using leftover ZooZoom and PowerBar numbers as the increased crowds went through all of the supplies in a hurry.  Dave Berdan led the race from start to finish, setting a new course record in the process.  The day was sunny and mild for a mid-December, with temperatures in the high forties and low fifties.

 

Year 8 - 2007 RESULTS The number of runners continued to grow, with registered runners surpassing 2,500 for the first time.  There were 1,900 timed runners and an estimated crowd of 2,300.  Dave Berdan defended his title from the previous year.  Despite not registering for the premium jacket, organizers were able to find one for him anyway...after all, it just wouldn't do for the winner not to have a premium!  Katie Breitenbach was the women's champion.

The race dodged a bullet, as a forecast winter storm held off and then failed to materialize.  That didn't stop the temperatures from dropping below freezing just before race-time, keeping the tradition of a cold, cold day rolling along. Washington Running Report story.
Year 9 - 2008 RESULTS The field continued to grow, with a record 2800 entries.  The number of runners overwhelmed the computer chip mats at the start, resulting in fewer times than runners.  On a chilly day defending champ Dave Berdan managed to set a new course record in 25:09.  Laura Paulsen of the Johns Hopkins University Track and Cross-Country team won the women's division.
   
Year 10 - 2009 RESULTS - Year of the Blizzard.  This year deserves a very special spot in the annuls of the event.  The largest snowstorm of the century arrived about six hours before race start.  Brian Godsey returned from Austria to reclaim his title, while Julia Rudd braved the journey up from Northern Virginia to win the women's title.  The deep snow slowed everyone down, but a good time was had by all.  Story here!