Athens, Ohio— richmond long distance runner Jordan Bendura finished second and teammate noah campbell took sixth place at the National Collegiate Running Championships in Athens, Ohio, earlier this month. Held as part of the Thunderbunny 11K at Strouds Run State Park, Bendura capped off a successful year by earning Collegiate Running Association All-America honors with her top five.
Founded by the Head Coach of the Richmond Men’s Cross Country Team Steve Taylor and Associate Athletics Head Coach Jon Molz in 2013, the Collegiate Running Association hosts its national championship 11k run as part of the event and awards NCAA-sanctioned cash prizes to the top three men and women who are currently enrolled in at least one varsity class.
Runners from across the country faced rain-soaked trails and dark skies with nighttime temperatures in the upper 60s throughout the 6.8-mile course. The race opened with a mild 4:50 mile out of the leaders on a tarmac road before heading into the forest where they would race on a single track.
And it was a battle.
After nearly seven miles of aggressive trail racing, Ohio University’s Josh Park emerged victorious while Bendura and another Ohio Bobcat, Tony Tonkovich, traded blows throughout the tough course, swapping places for each other’s heads throughout.
Coming off the wet trail, Bendura took the lead with 250 yards to go, but Tonkovich caught the rising Junior Spider and the rest of the race was an all-out sprint to earn the Nationals runner-up title. .
Neck and neck on the finish line, the pair leaned over where Bendura (44:37.135) edged Tonkovich (4:37.144) by just nine thousandths of a second. Campbell moved up to sixth place to round out the top college finishers.
It was a great year for Bendura who set personal bests in every distance he ran this year. He was also a member of the 2020 Spiders Atlantic 10 Cross Country Championship team. He recently finished fourth in the 2022 Collegiate 10K National Road Race Championships at the Ukrops Monument Avenue 10K in Richmond on April 23.
In his freshman year, Campbell represented the United States at the 2018 Sky World Youth Running Championships in Fonte Cerreto, L’Aquila, Italy and in his sophomore year won first-team All-Conference in helping the Spiders win the 2020 Atlantic 10 Conference Cross Country Championships.