“Oh my gosh, I finally did it.”
Farber, although not right on LeHardy’s shoulder, also set a new personal record, finishing sixth in the same heat in 16:05.90. After battling injuries for the last year, Farber said this race and getting the PR, even just by two seconds, was special for her.
Both are now on the program’s top-5 list for the outdoor 5k, with LeHardy in third and Farber in fifth on the UNC all-time list. The woman with the best time? Shalane Flanagan, the greatest female runner to ever come from UNC and the second-place finisher in the top section of the women’s 10,000-meter race at Stanford.
“You know Shalane is basically the number one record holder for every distance event, and she’s one of the greatest runners in the world,” LeHardy said. “So to be on a list with her, even in the top 10, is just awesome.”
Ten distance runners from the North Carolina men’s and women’s track and field teams, including LeHardy and Farber, competed Friday in Palo Alto, Calif. at one of the nation’s premiere meets for distance runners, which draws top collegiate and professional athletes.
Eight UNC athletes ran times fast enough to put them in contention to qualify for the preliminary round the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, and seven ran personal bests.
“With a small group we all could watch everyone closely and be there for everyone, and it was a great group and really good atmosphere,” LeHardy said.
Senior John Raneri, though the last to race for the Tar Heels, was the highlight on the men’s side, running a 29:16.23 in the men’s 10,000-meter race — more than 30 seconds faster than his previous best. He placed 16th in the second section of the race and now has the fourth-best time in UNC history.
For Raneri, it was a race where all the hard training came together at the right time.
“I was extremely exhilarated — like crossing the line, it was just amazing,” he said. “I mean I can’t even put it into words.”