Sunday, November 22, 2009

Essex Turkey Trot

The Essex Turkey Trot race was once an annual race in my racing schedule. My first exposure to the race was no doubt influenced by Salem State College teamate Jason Euzikonis in the mid 1990's. I'd have to research my archives to see how long it took me to run the course then. I recall the course being a bit shorter but the hills were still as demanding. This is a tough New England course, one of which I respect and appreciate. My last effort on the course was a second place effort of 27:35 in 2003. I was not too far removed from a 2:37:59 Chicago Marathon effort (my last 26.2 mile effort) and Nathan Huppe beat me to the finish by :18 seconds that year. I joined CMS a month later and focused on Snowshoe racing all winter with Dave Dunham.

Elevation per Garmin Forerunner 205 as measured during the race

I warmed up with CMS teamate, Patrick Rich. It is always a treat to see him racing. The gun went off at 1:03 and after a 100 yards passing the race host facility, Woodman's of Essex, Patrick bolted out of the reluctant lead pack of ten and took a lead he would not relenquish. I jumped out after him but to no avail. I watched him hammer out the course chasing the lead vehicle, thankfully not the diesel powered Fire Truck from the past and lost sight of him after Prospect Street or 3.25 miles. This course is all about rolling hills. At 3.5 miles I heard applauce pressure from thrid place so I tried to maintain focus. Shortly thereafter I saw John and Patty Gillis cheering for a second time in about five minutes heading up toward mile four. My mile four mile split was 22:10 so I was on the longer side of 5:30's. I had to hustle to get under goal time of 27:30. I caught a side stitch soon after. I could not recall the last time I felt one of those.

A few more turns put me back out to the home stretch with a dedicated coned section over the last 800m. My last peek at the watch showed 26:23 and I could see the finish line in the distance. Patrick was probably already enjoying the clam chowder from Woodman's. I marched ahead with my goal in mind. The Garmin went of signaling five miles a few feet from the finish line. 27:26 displayed with 5.02 traveled. 27:27 is the official time per the results. The course is USATF certified as an 8k. Patrick ran the same time and place as he did last year with the 26:03 clocking. Kristen took a ton of photos. While warming down, I noted how beautiful the backroads of Essex is. I ran by several horse farms, a yard with three huge rabbits chilling out, and plenty of vocal roosters. One of them yelled out my mile one split which I couldn't comprehend......

10:49 at 2 miles
5:36 for mile 3
5:45 for mile 4
5:15 last mile.
Splits taken per physical race markers which were all within a few feet of GPS tracking

The 2nd place, 1st age group placing, granted me a 12lb Butterball Turkey which will be feasted upon on Thanksgiving Day. As if the race were not enough physical activity, I drove over and finished the day off with a mountain bike ride with Bret Rickenbach and Patrick Taylor at Ravenswood Park in Gloucester. I am looking forward to Thanksgiving Day and a four day weekend. I am leaning toward racing Gabe's Run in Hamilton on Friday. They have over 500 runners preregistered already for what will be a 5k cross country run with a separate men's start from the women.


  1. Nice going, Jim. I love the Cape Anne towns! Gabe's run sounds like fun. I raced that course in HS. I might be convinced to try it out!

  2. Good race Jim, Not many people can run faster than they did 6 years ago!

  3. Jim: congrats about making your goal time. I enjoyed reading your report. Didn't know you ran a 2:37.59 at Chi-town. That's nasty!

  4. Thanks guys. It was fun going to a race where I have been absent from for a few years. KG - Chicago was my last marathon, #5 in the career. I'll get to another one before I turn 40. :)