ATLANTA, GA & EUGENE, OR - June 20, 2020 -- Separated by 2,700 miles, two of the country's premiere track clubs faced off Saturday night in a first-of-its-kind dual meet. Oregon Track Club Elite bested Atlanta Track Club Elite in the Return of the Dual, a virtual head-to-head competition put on by TrackTown USA and Running City USA.
In the opening event, Amos (1:17.84) finished ahead of Atlanta's Dylan Capwell (1:18.93) by just over one second in the 600m with Capwell closing on the Botswanan standout in the final hundred meters. Price's (1:27.83) 600m competition was not as close as she bested Atlanta's Rachael Walters (1:34.73) by seven seconds.
In the men's 1200m, Oregon Track Club Elite's Vince Ciattei (2:53.66) made a late race surge to defeat Abraham Alvarado (2:56.38). Atlanta's sole point came in the women's 1200m where Yolanda Ngarambe (3:20.97) put forth a strong solo effort after the late withdrawal of OTC Elite's Hanna Green.
Atlanta Track Club was still in the hunt as the teams prepared for the unique relay in which each team's male and female runners would alternate running 400m twice. Avery Bartlett and Megan Malasarte gave Atlanta an early lead over Jake Heyward and Sabrina Southerland. But the Oregon duo ran strong second legs to win the relay 3:46.22 to 3:51.29 and take the overall title.
"It felt really special to actually compete as a team, because we don't often get to do that," said Southerland. "I was so happy for Jake and me to be able to end the event with a win for OTC Elite, and to bring some attention to Food for Lane County and Atlanta Mission."
"We were the only team at the track, but this didn't feel like practice. It felt like a meet," said Atlanta's Ngarambe. "After working so hard this spring, it's nice to have a chance to test our fitness and raise money for a good cause."
The event benefitted the Atlanta Mission and Food for Lane County with a goal of raising $10,400 to be split equally between the two organizations. At the time of this release, $6,803 had been raised. Donations are open through June 30 at returnofthedual.org.
The meet took place at Landmark Christian School in Fairburn, GA - where seasonable summer conditions meant it was 90 degrees, sunny and humid with light winds at race time - and Hamlin Middle School in Springfield, OR where there were light showers, light winds and temperatures in the low 70s. It was broadcast live around the globe on Facebook and YouTube. Peak stream viewers across both platforms were over 1,000. The stream can still be watched here.
Both venues used iPhones to broadcast the event, and in order to stick with the athletes racing around the track, the videographers rode in electric vehicles. In TrackTown USA, Eugene-based Arcimoto loaned an FUV (fun utility vehicle) to the production while Mercedes-Benz of Buckhead loaned a Smart ForTwo to the team in Atlanta. The meet was produced by TrackTown Productions and anchored by Tim Hutchings in the United Kingdom.