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Timing is Everything: UNH Women Make Up For Late Race Start

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
September 26, 2007

Manya Hult, technical specialist in zoology, in her leg of the 65-mile race around Lake Winnipesaukee that a team of UNH women compete in annually.

The thing about a relay race is, it’s the opposite of the solo run where it’s you against yourself; against your last best-time. Passing the baton means other people depend on you.

The Featherless Bipeds, an all-women’s running team made up of professors, staff members and graduate students, found that out the hard way last weekend.

Regular competitors in the annual Lake Winnipesaukee Relay Race, the team gathered the night before the Sept. 22 event to pick up their bibs. Everyone was set to go. And then there was a mix-up the next morning and the team didn’t start the 65-mile race until 26 minutes after it began.

But the runners were fast. In fact, one of the women, grad student Amy Barr, ran her leg averaging 6 minutes and 55 seconds per mile. At least two others beat their personal best, too, resulting in the team making up the lost time.

“Everyone ran so fast to make up for our handicap that we made up the 26 minutes over the course of the race,” says Cathy Frierson, a history professor who served as team manager this year because she’d been sidelined with a bad back. “But, more fun was the fact that all the other runners, the race officials, and the police on the route caught wind of the "drama" in the first leg and began to root for us the whole way, so that by the end of the race, everyone knew about Team 40, the women from UNH in Durham.”

Their time was pretty good, too. If you subtracted the 26 minutes, the Featherless Bipeds would have finished fourth in the women’s open. As it was, they came in 59 out of 86 teams.

Team member Jenn Dijkstra takes the baton from Emma Bricker

Four members from last year’s team couldn’t compete this year for one reason or another, leaving team captain Ruth Sample, an associate professor of philosophy, scrambling in July to find replacements. There are now 12 members.

“We may even have two teams next year; we may have a mixed team if I can find four men,” Sample says.

She described the race as a “typically beautiful day at Lake Winni.” Of their late start she says, “Next year we’ll strive to be prompt. We’re fast but not prompt. Next year we’ll strive for both.”

This year’s runners include:

Irit Altman, doctoral student, zoology

Amy Barr, doctoral student, sociology

Manya Hult, technical specialist, zoology

Jennifer Jacobs, professor, civil engineering

Ruth Sample, associate professor, philosophy

Gale Carey, professor, nutritional science

Jenn Dijkstra, researcher, marine biology

Emma Bricker, wife of President Mark Huddleston.

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