Personal Best: Runner competes on home turf 

One of the leading contenders to win today’s Emerald Across the Bay 12K is hometown favorite Crosby Freeman.

The resident of San Francisco’s Nob Hill was third in last year’s annual Sausalito to San Francisco race, finishing behind his Asics Aggie Running Club teammates Phillip Reid and Sergio Reyes. Reid won the race with a time of 35:57, beating Reyes, the 2007 and 2008 Emerald champion, by a slim three-second margin. Freeman followed, posting a time of 36:26.

Earlier this month, Freeman was in South Africa representing the Google running team in the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge.

Freeman said when contacted by e-mail, “Emerald Nuts is a fun one for me because a significant portion of the course is a place I train nearly every day.”

At 5-foot-11, 150 pounds, it’s hard to fathom that Freeman played guard and linebacker on his freshman football team.

“I started running my sophomore year at Piedmont High when my parents wouldn’t sign the permission slip to continue playing football,” Freeman said. “I decided to give cross country a try since I was always consistently at the front of the group in any sort of endurance conditioning.”

After an All-American collegiate running career at Pomona College, the 26-year-old Freeman has balanced his full-time media sales job at Google with a seven-day per week training schedule.

Fortunately, Brooke Wells, Freeman’s girlfriend, shares his passion for running. A 2:40:03 time in October’s Twin Cities Marathon qualified Wells for the U.S. Olympic Trials.

Marathons are a recent addition to Freeman’s repertoire.

“The general rule of thumb is that the best marathoning age isn’t until one’s late 20s,” Freeman said. “I guess you could say I listened to the masses and waited to get my body fully prepared for the distance before jumping in.”

Freeman made his marathon debut in October of 2008 in Chicago. In February of 2009, his time in the San Francisco Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon qualified him for the 2011 U.S. Olympic Trials. In only his second 26.2-miler, last year’s prestigious Boston Marathon, Freeman was 30th overall, posting a time of 2:25:36.

In this morning’s Emerald 12K, Freeman hopes that the home field advantage works in his favor against his Southern Californian teammates.

“Last year it was raining which slowed things down a bit, so if we get a dry day with a good tailwind as we come off the bridge, we’ll hopefully have the fitness for a fast time,” Freeman said.

IF YOU GO

27th annual Emerald Across the Bay 12K

WHEN: Today, 8:30 a.m.
WHERE: Fort Baker
BONUS PRIZE: $1,000 for every man or woman who beats the open men’s or women’s course record.
COURSE RECORDS: Women’s: Linda Somers-Smith, 40:27 (1995); Men’s: Bill Donakowski, 35:48 (1987)
INFO: www.rhodyco.com

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Michael Daboll

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