This is Kristen's race as she is the race director of the third running of the East Boston Savings Bank Fall Back Challenge. The race takes place on the first day of day light savings. The race was consolidated down to a 5K and new course this year. I heard several local runners were disappointed to not have the 11K that was part of the dual race theme last year and the year before. I had no allegiances to the longer race despite having a good race in the 11K last year. Keeping with tradition, I volunteered my services to help out and if possible, would jump into the race as a participant if possible.
Kristen and I got to the bank two hours before the race started to pick up coworker and assistant race director, Nicole Diano. We drove the course to put out mile markers 1 and 2. This gave me a chance to see the course although I saw a map and knew the neighborhood well. The first mile has a tough hill 200m from the start leading into Brooksby Farm for a turn-around. As you exit the property, mile one is passed. Shortly thereafter, you take a right up a slight grade passing the water stop at 1.4 miles which is followed by generous decent to Lowell Street which contains mile 2 and then into the bike path return to Lahey Clinic. About 800m remains back to the East Boston Savings Bank parking lot where Granite State Race Services set up shop for the finish. The course is more or less flat in the second half. I set up the cones for the home stretch through the parking lot so that cars would not park there. I still had 90 minutes to wait before the start of the race so I waited in the lobby of the bank while bank employees arrived to volunteer their services as course marshalls and set up registration.
I warmed up with teamate Joe Shairs and Bill Jackson from the Wicked Running Club who is a regular Danvers 5K participant. We ran the course backwards so that they got a feel for the last mile of the course. Bill and I then ran up the first mile so that he knew what the hill looked like. I got back to the car with 8 minutes before the race start time. There were plenty of Peabody police on motorcycles to navigate the race and block traffic at Lowell Street. The bank's Chairman and CEO, Dick Gavegnano got the race of almost 100 started. Joe and I jumped right out front and charged the hill that followed less than 40 seconds in. I got a few strides ahead of Joe at the top of the hill and took my awkward stride (felt that I needed a hip/back alignment) through mile 1 in 5:35 with Joe about eight seconds back. I stretched out the legs down to Lowell Street passing mile 2 in 10:53. I hit a headwind exiting the bike path while just trying to maintain form and pace. The last 400m had a slight incline but not enough to whine about. As I began to make out the time on the running clock, I saw that it was going to be close to break 17. I crossed the line in 17:02 with Joe coming in second in 17:28. This was Joe's first race since February and it was great to see him back in action. Meanwhile, it was nice to stretch the racing legs again since the marathon. Official results