The New Bedford Half Marathon played host to the USATF New England Championship. The weather was great, mid 40's, partly sunny, and a breeze that was fair when we needed at our backs (last three miles). I did not pin a goal out there but thought 5:40 pace was obtainable which I raced for 10 miles last month in Foxboro. After rolling out with an opening 5:30 mile, I settled into a group that including Jonathan May (Somerville Road Runners) and Mark Reeder (Greater Lowell Road Runners) around 3.5 miles. I've had the luxury of running track intervals with Jonathan this winter with SRRat Tufts. Mark and I have had plenty of battles over the years as we were teammates at GBTC in the late 90's. I just finished ahead of him in a 5K last week. Thus I was in good, responsible company for the miles ahead. I had a stretch of miles around 5:30 pace that put me through 28:15 at five miles while dumping my gloves and hat off with Kristen who was taking photos. My group slowly reeled in the 2nd female, Diana Bowser from the BAA. Our group got as big as eight runners slicing the wind along the water. I was hanging on the back of this group. Then I saw a 5:54 split from 8 to 9 miles and was shocked. I picked up the pace at mile 10, passed in 56:30, as I could see two flags ahead that showed the wind coming off the ocean and eventually into our backs. I figured that I could break the pack up a bit and try to reel some guys in ahead. Mark Reeder followed and pulled ahead of me staying about 15 feet ahead. I kept Mark in my sights and I felt pretty strong heading into the last climb around 11.5 miles. I caught Mark and put a few strides on him at the top of the hill and was ready to roll into the last 1000 meters. Jonathan May pulled along side a turn later (see photo) on a downgrade. I recall passing Krissy here taking more action shots. I made the last right hand turn and put in my best effort toward the finish line. I was racing the clock hoping to keep it in the 1:13:XX range but crossed the line at 1:14:01. I ran 5:39 pace for an official 1:14:00.5 chip time, 1:14:01.7 gun time, and 61st overall. The race had 2358 finishers.
The An Ras Mor 5K is organized by the Somerville Road Runners and hosted at the Asgard Irish Pub and Restaurant in Cambridge. The race was the first of the New England Runner magazine Pub Series. Brett Rickenbach drove Allison Rourke, Scott Carrier, and I down from the North Shore into Cambridge. It was a familar drive as I used to work near Kendall Square and was a regular at MIT for hundreds of track workouts in the late 90's. We registered inside the Asgard and I ran into teammate Mike Quintal who's been on a recent tear - winning two races in recent weeks. Scott, Brett, and I warmed up for a few miles while Allison went out for a run along the Charles River.
I settled into the second row at the start next to Mark Reeder. The gun went off and I got position just outside of the top ten after a few left hand turns. Mike Quintal had the lead as the race was heading toward Harvard Square. I rolled past the mile in 5:11 with the lead pack pulling away. They must have been just under 5:00. I kept my position through mile two (10:42, 5:30 split) as we were now running away from Harvard Square and back to the Asgard. A BAA singlet zipped (Aaron Price) by me with about 600m to go. I had no response and was looking for the home stretch. I turned right off Mass Ave into the home stretch. Mark Reeder pulled aside and it got my attention. I looked ahead and could make out the finish line clock with a 16:07 and counting with 150m to go. My poor excuse for a sprint gave me some room but I got caught at the finish by Timmy Wood. The chip timing gave me a 16:34, 5:20 mile pace, good for 7th place overall.
Mike finished in the money, 3rd overall, with a 15:47. Brett and Scott ran 17:50 and 18:25 respectively for their first races of 2011.
I ran a long cool down out across the Charles River, past the Museum of Science, through the Cambridge Side Galleria Mall and back to the Asgard via Kendall Square. A lot of buildings that did not exist ten years ago now tower and employ thousands of folks including Scott. Any open space back then was prime real estate. I chilled out at the beer tent for about fifteen minutes with Brett, Scott, Mike, and Chris Simpson before departing for an Irish Breakfast at Tommy Doyles Irish Pub and Restaurant in Kendall Square. Next race on the agenda is the New Bedford Half Marathon. Photos by Scott Carrier.