Jamie Gray doesn’t just celebrate his weekly victories in the Bucks County Roadrunners Winter Series.
The 26-year-old Langhorne native has managed to take the men’s title in every race he’s entered at Tyler State Park for the 2019-20 campaign.
But it isn’t just about proving he’s the best.
It’s about showing himself he can get even better, that is with a little help in the not too distant future from his new friends.
Guys who are a bit older and more experienced, like Pete Lederer and Andy Potocek, are turning out to be valuable training partners.
They might not have seriously threatened Gray to the finish line at Tyler but they can help him achieve some big goals, like setting a personal best at this May’s Broad Street Run.
Gray hopes to finish that 10-miler in under 58 minutes and, based on the times he’s run at hilly Tyler since December, that goal seems very possible.
Having accomplished training partners certainly should help achieve that PR.
“I’ve met a lot of friends through the Winter Series,’’ Gray says. “None of my friends from high school or college are really runners. I’m really the only competitive runner.
“At the Winter Series, I’ve met people I can go to and it’s not weird to say, ‘Hey, want to go out and run 20 miles?’ and then have a beer after. With these guys, that’s not weird. That’s one of the best benefits of this year, running in the Winter Series, it’s meeting those types of people.’’
Lederer is an experienced sub-three-hour marathoner with a bunch of Bostons under his belt.
“He’s been really open with me,’’ Gray says. “I feel like I’m scared of getting that bad rep that I’m the guy that wins every race but I think I’m courteous enough with the guys that we all have a good camaraderie.
“We’re all making each other better. Getting more involved with the club has been really helpful. I would definitely recommend this to anyone. You can’t beat running a race on Sunday morning, then going someplace to eat and shooting the breeze afterward. It’s awesome.’’
Gray was quite successful in the 2018-19 Series but this season he’s been unstoppable.
“I knew there were going to be some weekends when I was going to be away,’’ he says. “The Wild Card race I missed because I had a wedding to go to.
“I did go in with the intention to win most of them and the weather has been nice and that’s been to my benefit. My times have been a lot better than last year, too. Just the conditions have allowed me to steadily improve this year.’’
A stellar winning time of 1:24 in last Sunday’s half-marathon is a good example. Outside of Tyler, Gray has done a 1:18 on a much flatter course and pushing it through the elevation changes in the recent race can only help his speed and endurance for 2020.
He did a 1:28 in the Tyler half last winter so the improvement is right in the numbers.
Gray grew up in Langhorne, attended and ran for Notre Dame High School in Lawrenceville, N.J., then graduated from Temple University.
His first employment was in ticket sales with the Phillies. Currently he is involved with craft beer packaging (Graphic Packaging International), a position which has him based in Valley Forge but also puts him on the road to places as far off as Virginia and Massachusetts.
One of his other running goals is to qualify and run in the Boston Marathon. To that end, he hopes to compete in the New York City Marathon this fall as his Boston qualifier.
With his new training crew assisting, that trip to Beantown seems quite likely.
They might even end up tipping a craft beer or two when it’s over.
BCRR Winter Series Staggered Start 4.6-Miler, 9 a.m., Tyler State Park, Newtown. Contact www.bcrrclub.com