September 16, on a hot summer morning in Kemah, Texas, Calum Neff of Katy, TX took first place in the 2018 RRCA National 10K Championship, the Toughest 10K Kemah.
Neff’s time of 33:45.3 was more than three minutes ahead of second place finisher, Luis Armenteros.
Neff’s win was impressive given the challenging course and adverse weather conditions on race day.
There was slightly more drama in the Female Open Division, as Jessica Belen-Rivera of Houston, TX took first in 43:31.4. Belen-Rivera’s time was less than half a minute ahead of the second place finisher, Virginia Frank, who crossed the finish line in 43:55.4.
Hosted by the Running Alliance Sport, in the greater Houston area, the Toughest 10K Kemah is part of the Texas Bridge Series. The Texas Bridge Series is a series of three races, over three iconic Texas bridges in the Gulf Coast area: the Kemah Bridge (Toughest 10K) in September; the Galveston Causeway (The Toughest 10K Galveston) in October; and the Fred Hartman Bridge (La Porte Half Marathon) in November. Completing all three races in the same season is a source of pride among local runners.
Congratulations to all the winners of Sunday's RRCA National 10K Championship Toughest 10K Kemah, including first overall finisher Calum Neff in 33:45.3 and Women's Open Division winner Jessica Belen-Rivera in 43:31.4. Thanks to race director Robby Sabban for hosting a great event, and thanks to President Mitchell Garner, South Texas State Rep Lee Greb and former RRCA Board Member Kelly Richards for representing the RRCA on race day.
Despite the race’s challenging course and hot, humid weather conditions, a spirit of fun permeated the event. Much of the race is on the Kemah Bridge, where runners can see the majority of the field at one time. There are several aid stations with great volunteers along with a festive, post-race party that includes breakfast tacos, pizza, popsicles, ice cream bars, soda, massages and a rowdy awards ceremony, where running club members show their love of fellow members who earned awards.
Both the men’s and women’s master fields produced strong finishes in the 10K RRCA National Championship as well. In the Men’s Master division, Olli Haavikko took first place with a time of 39:11.4, good enough for fifth place overall in the race. In the Women’s Master division, Gladis Melendez, finished first in 47:03.01, also good enough for fifth overall female in the race.
2018 RRCA National 10K Champions:
Male Open: Calum Neff, 33:45.3, Katy, TX
Female Open: Jessica Belen-Rivera, 43:31.4, Houston, TX
Male Master: Olli Haavikko, 39:11.4, Houston, TX
Female Master: Gladis Melendez, 47:03.01, Houston, TX
Male Grandmaster: Steven Penninton, 40:11.2, Manchester
Female Grandmaster: Lynn Malloy, 47:11.1, Katy, TX
Male Senior Grandmaster: Pete Gibson, 41:11.2, Murfeesboro, NC
Female Senior Grandmaster: Jitka Newald, 57:46.1, Dickinson, TX