Where do I begin? Dave Dunham and Steve Peterson put on a solid event at the Merrimack River Trail Race. The post race raffle is kept light with "Petey's" enthusiasm and sense of humor. I think half the race went home with a raffle. There were cameras every where during the race. All races should have this type of coverage. I think I saw some highlights on ESPN and NESN later that day. They showed yours truly, clearly out of breath on the first power line climb, cursing Mike Quintal's choice of a Montreal Canadians shirt. Rumor has it that his cousin is Stephane Quintal, a Boston Bruins 1st round draft pick from 1987. Don't watch his movie clip with little kids around.
I traded in the CMS Polar Bear singlet in favor of the Polish Eagle Singlet. Poland was mourning the loss of the Polish President - Lech Kaczynski, and other significant military leaders and politicians who died earlier in the day in a horrific plane crash in Russia. After a three mile warm up with Tom Brown and Dan Scotina, the race of 200 were off for race. I got out quickly, pounced through some mud and settled into third behind Ben and Kevin Tilton about 600 meters into the race. I encouraged Tom Brown to go get after them reminding him that the tough part of the race is the middle four miles. Now in fourth place and hitting some hills, I could not keep Geoff Cunningham off my shoulder. He was relentless on the hills and I tried to offset it with surges on the flats. I stayed in 5th place for the remainder of the race after he passed me sometime before the power lines on the way out. On my way back to the finish beyond the power lines, I peeked back and saw Dave Quintal closing in and Scott Clark not too far back. So much for backing off and trotting back to the finish. I hustled on the flats and stayed honest on the ups and downs. A quick look at the watch with about 200m to go forced me to hustle to the finish line through the mud to secure a sub 1:03 for my second fastest (I need to confirm this) time on the course. I got a 1:02:57 for 5th place.
I did not take any splits other than seeing a 5:00 first mile split. I regret not seeing my turn around time for the day. I was exhausted by four miles in the race but had no choice to hang in there with DQ and SC chasing me in the second half of the course. As I write this on Monday night, I can confirm my legs are more sore today than yesterday. My IT bands and lower hamstrings are screaming. And to think I was going to go race a 5K in Salem on Sunday morning. It is a good thing that Dennis Floyd called me an hour before the race yesterday and talked me into a training run at Lynn Woods instead. I limped through a 6.9 mile run with him and Brett Rickenbach.
Rest and recovery is in order for a few days. I will lick my wounds and seek a race before now and the next New England Grand Prix Road Race Championship, Bedford Rotary 12K in May. The above photo credits go to KrissyK and Scott Mason who caught me hurting even holding back descending the power line hill.
Results CMS runners packed in 8 out of the top 10 spots
Scott Mason Photos
More photos, race footage from Mike Quintal, stats, and details. Merrimack River Trail Race Blog