By John Bombatch
BEAVERCREEK — Even world-class athletes can take time to indulge in a little frozen goodness once in while.
Racewalker Susan Randall, of Beavercreek, was at Ritter’s Frozen Custard on Friday to help raise funds for her Olympic Trials effort. She is one of 15 women race walkers across the country who have qualified to compete in the 20-kilometer event to be held June 30 in Salem, Oregon.
Ritter’s, located on 2531 Dayton Xenia Road, agreed to donate a percentage of its sales from 5-8 p.m. Friday to Randall’s Olympic effort. Several area businesses donated raffle prizes worth well over $500 in total value for the effort, and a drawing was held for four hefty gift baskets.
All proceeds from the raffle helps Randall with lodging, event fees and travel costs. Not only will she be competing in the U.S. Olympic Trials in Oregon, but she’s entered in the World Masters Games this October in Perth, Australia.
“I’m a lucky girl to have this many people come out and support me and wish me good luck,” Randall said. “A lot of people have followed me in the (Xenia Gazette, Fairborn Daily Herald and Beavercreek News-Current) newspapers, and so they’ve come out to see me because of that. And I’ve had a bunch of my co-workers at Target come out as well. It’s been really nice, and I really appreciate everyone’s support.”
Randall said she gets a steady outpouring of support from people she doesn’t even know, whenever she trains on the Greene County bike paths in and around Beavercreek.
“You’ve become their own little celebrity,” her husband, Mike, teased. “They’re just as proud of you as we are!”
The Randalls will board a plane on Monday for Salem, Ore., the site of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Race Walking Trials. She’ll participate in a race walk clinic, which will include a 500-meter race, for Salem-area kids on Wednesday at Wilson Park, which is located next to the Oregon Capitol Building.
Randall said the event organizers have selected each of the schools within the Salem-Keizer Public School system to participate in the race, cheering on the race walk athletes. According to the school district’s website, the Salem-Keizer school district is the second largest school district in Oregon with more than 42,000 students.
“There will be lots of kids there at the clinic, and we will teach them how to race walk. It should be a fun event,” she said. The athletes were told that each school within the Salem area would have a designated athlete to cheer for, at the race.
“I can’t wait to meet my school! I want to teach my kids to cheer saying ‘Jia You!’ in Chinese, which means ‘Go! Go! Go!’ ” she laughed.
Randall was born in Guangzhou, China and moved to the U.S. in 2001.
The USA Track and Field organization describes race walking as different from running “in that it requires the competitor to maintain contact with the ground at all times and requires the leading leg to be straightened as the foot makes contact with the ground. It must remain straightened until the leg passes under the body. Judges evaluate the technique of race walkers and report fouls which may lead to disqualification. All judging is done by the eye of the judge and no outside technology is used in making judging decisions.”
Randall’s qualifying time in the 20-kilometer (12.427 miles) event is 1 hour, 45 minutes and 55 seconds. Mike Randall said the racewalking event will be streamed live on USATF.TV at 1:30 p.m. Eastern time on June 30.
TWO FROM GREENE COUNTY: According to the USATF entry sheet, there will be two female race walkers from the Greene County area competing in the U.S. Olympic Trials. Jill Cobb, a Cedarville University graduate who now makes her home in Fairborn, is also qualified and declared for the event. Cobb, who qualified with a time of 1:46.33, competes for the Southwest Ohio Track Club.