Todd Kessler and Karen Terry of Newport News do just about everything together.
They coach together, train together, race together and are in a relationship.
All that togetherness has led to a big jump in their running success. In 2010 they both finished fourth in the Colonial Road Runners Grand Prix season-long points race. Now fast-forward to Sunday; they were honored as the 2011 Grand Prix champions at the CRR awards banquet in Williamsburg.
Kessler, the head cross-country coach at Smithfield High School, and Terry, his assistant, both prevailed in close races — both winning by three points.
Even though there were 17 CRR races during the season, only the 10-best races for each runner counted in the scoring to determine the GP champions.
Kessler, 29, finished with 83 top-10 points to beat Daniel Shaye, 42, of Williamsburg. Terry, 23, piled up 99 out of a possible 100 points to edge two-time defending champion Jennifer Quarles of Williamsburg.
For all of their races, Quarles accumulated a CRR season record of 122 points in 13 races and Terry had 114 in 12 events.
Terry, who ran track and cross country in high school, dominated the winner's circle. In her 12 races, the 2007 Smithfield graduate came away the women's champ nine times. This included victories in her last seven races — all 5ks.
She set course records of 19:33 in the Military "Red, White, and Blue" race and in the season-ending Sentara Sleighbell 5K in 18:22. She also set six age-group records.
"I was definitely a lot more competitive this year," Terry said. "Harder workouts and running with the (high school) cross-country team really helped a lot."
Quarles, 39, had another outstanding year with wins at the First Colony Run for Shelter 5K, Run the D.O.G. Street 5K, Icelandic Seafood Fest 8K, Hare and Tortoise 8K, the Crapolfest 5K in a course-record 18:09, and the Run for the Breast 10K.
The six-time GP champ also finished as the runner-up in six events and set six age-group records.
Kessler placed among the top three in eight of his 13 races, including wins at the First Colony 5K (17:19) and the Mental Health 5K (17:12). He also picked up points by winning his 25-29 age group five times and setting an age-group record of 29:03 in the Hare and Tortoise 8K.
Kessler said staying healthy, being patient with his training during some up-and-down times, and maintaining a good attitude contributed to his success.
Shaye, a longtime member of the CRR, enjoyed his best GP season. The 42-year-old chiropractor was No. 1 overall at the Hare and Tortoise 8K and Crapolfest 5K. He also placed second twice, third three times, and won his 40-44 age group seven times.
Greg Dawson, 46, of Williamsburg and Elizabeth Ransom, 39, of Toano finished third in the GP standings in their respective divisions.
Dawson scored 66 points in 14 races, topped by runner-up honors in the Crapolfest 5K in 17:10 and notching three age-group records.
In her 10 races, Ransom earned 79 points, highlighted by runner-up finishes in the Run the Dog 5K, Warhill 5K, and the Military "Red, White, and Blue" 5K.
The Williamsburg duo of Steve Menzies, 47, and Connie Glueck, 47, finished as the masters champions. Menzies won his age group seven times and Glueck four times. She was also second overall among women at the Crapolfest 5K in 19:49.
Community news: Newport News' Kessler, Terry honored as Colonial Road Runners Grand Prix champs
We've upgraded our reader commenting system. Learn more about the new features.
The Baltimore Sun encourages civil dialogue related to our stories; you must register and log-in to our site in order to participate. We reserve the right to remove any user and to delete comments that violate our Terms of Service. By commenting, you agree to these terms. Please flag inappropriate comments.