Racheal Marchand wins third straight Popcorn Panic
By Josh Lichtenfeld Post-Tribune correspondent September 9, 2012 12:18AM
Updated: October 10, 2012 6:42AM
VALPARAISO — Luckily for Racheal Marchand and the rest of the field at Saturday’s Popcorn Panic 5-mile race, the last mile of the course was mostly downhill with a short incline before the finish.
And though Marchand clearly topped the women’s side of the action, handily defeating runner-up Whitney Bowman by nearly five minutes with a time of 27:46.8, some ease came in handy given the recent injury to her right hip flexor.
The title marked three consecutive wins for the former Valparaiso High School and University of Iowa standout, who hasn’t lost a local women’s race this year. Marchand’s The Extra Mile teammate and fellow Valparaiso resident, Chrys Davis, took third (32:55.4), her highest finish at the Panic.
“When I was at Ogden Gardens (the fourth mile of the race) I tried to really focus and push,” Marchand said of the moment where the pain was felt most.
Regardless of the circumstances, staying up with the men in many of her mixed races has paid high dividends for the 26-year-old medical device representative. For instance, in this outing, Marchand couldn’t visibly locate the other women, so she chased after the some of the top-10 finishers and placed 11th overall.
“That’s always my game plan (keeping pace with familiar men),” Marchand said.
Davis also stayed in stride with many of the male runners that surrounded her, which led to a 48th overall finish. Cracking into the top tier comes after another strong finish, taking second-place at the competitive Taltree 10-mile race in April.
“I’m running with a different group of people now, so we’re pushing each other,” she said of her new training group.
Davis also capped the morning by taking advantage of that final mile.
“I just felt really relaxed and ready to pick up the speed,” she said.