Moore, Russell win Break The Tape awards | Bix 7

Olivia Moore and Sam Russell left little doubt as to who was going to break the tape during Saturday’s Quad-City Times Bix 7 road race in Davenport.

Given a nice head start on the field, the two picked to compete in the Russell Break The Tape competition used their head starts and never looked back as they easily beat elite winners Patrick Tiernan and Fiona O’Keeffe across the finish line.

“It’s awesome,” Moore said of being the first to cross the finish line. “I was really hoping to be able to do it. Even coming in that last 400, the guy on the motorcycle next to me told me I had quite a few blocks on them so I knew I was good. It was relief and excitement.

“I’m really glad both me and Sam were able to do it. It really makes it more special.”

“It was exhilarating,” Russell said. “I wish I could do that every year; it was so much fun having everyone cheer for you; having the crowd on our side really helped push us beyond what we had previously been able to run.”

Each runner earned $2,500 for beating the elite runners to the finish line.

The 23-year-old Moore looked calm and cool as she broke the tape without hardly breaking a sweat despite the morning humidity of 86% at race time. Given a 2.6 mile head start, Moore beat Russell to the tape by about 10 yards. He had a 2.5 mile head start on the field, but was never able to catch Moore.

“I was hoping I would catch up with Olivia; we talked a little bit about that,” said Russell, 33, who clocked himself at a 6:34 mile pace. “My strategy was generally to start out slow, but it was hard to start slow with the cheering of the crowd in the McClellan neighborhood. Having that energy in the McClellan neighborhood helped us maintain a faster pace, and the key was to not slow down too much after that.”

Moore admitted that the support she felt during the race also spurred her efforts as she ran a 6:42 pace according to her calculations.

Both were shooting for a 7-minute mile pace.

“I was surprised by how many of the runners were cheering for me, too, because they were in their own race,” Moore said. “They were still taking the energy to yell for me, so that was pretty awesome.”

Each runner had the rare perspective of leading the field and being on the Kirkwood Boulevard return while the masses were still heading toward the midway turnaround.

“I didn’t get to look at that side as much as I really wanted to,” Moore said. “I was just running for my life. It was such a cool experience to be on the other side instead of in the masses.”

Russell, too, was inspired by what he saw on Kirkwood on the other side of the split course.

“I’ll tell you what, we saw the elite runners a lot earlier than I thought we would,” admitted Russell. “When we saw that lead pack speed by (on Kirkwood just past Jersey Ridge) it was a bit scary and motivated me to keep running fast.”

But he had just one thought at that point.

“I was a little worried,” he admitted. “What went through my mind was, ‘Don’t slow down.’”

Moore never did either as she looked smooth throughout the race.

“Like I said it’s hard to tell what kind of race I’m going to have until I’m out there,” she admitted, noting nerves were starting to set in as she awaited the starter’s pistol. “Today was a really good day and I felt good. I was surprised at the pace I was able to hold but I just went with it cause I was feeling good at that point.”

Russell, who is the second generation of the new Break The Tape sponsor, is donating his $2,500 to River Music Experience in Davenport where he is on the board.

“I’ve supported that organization since I moved back to town; I really enjoy the music advocacy and what they bring to the community,” said the Russell Director of Kansas City who works out of Davenport.

Moore, an Iowa City native working on her second degree at the University of Iowa, is planning on using her winnings to help offset some of her education expenses.