This was my second year tour of the 5K within the Mayor's Cup races at Franklin Park. This is, after all, the New England Masters Grand Prix race (my 1st GP XC race this year after 3 passed already). I used to joke that the 5K was the Junior Varsity race at Mayor’s Cup while I was still capable of bringing up the rear in the 8K. Times have changed. I apologize. This is where my slowing stride belongs. My last race in the big boy race, Men’s Championship 8K, was when I turned 40 in 2014. I managed a respectable 27:58 to help the team score with just five guys.
Joe and I arrived just before the ladies 6K. We got our numbers and parked our gear 50 yards away from our traditional spot so as to take advantage of the sun and warmth. The temps were warmer than expected although the wind was slicing into our grill at the start and anytime we had raced toward the wilderness loop. A two mile warm up with the team found the course to be surprisingly dry after Saturday’s rain. This was to my benefit as I left my racing shoes at home (realized this about 15 minutes into the drive to Franklin Park). The training shoes had to do and I worried no more.
I stood next to Dan Verrington at the start with Tim Van Orden, Gregory Putnam, Todd Callaghan, Joe Shairs, and Arthur Besse in our non-existent cross country starting box. Our seven bolted across the field among the three hundred strong seeking a cross country battle under sunny skies and foliage falling with the wind. I held the far right line, a step behind Arthur Besse. I ran up next to former GBTC teammate John Blouin after a half mile – still crowded. I signaled to cut in front to get on the heels of BAA’s Christopher Lawrence which John allowed. I heard a mile split of 5:32. I moved on dodging the only mud bath charged up (more like crawled up) Bear Cage Hill. Arthur, 5th man for our team, started to gap me on the exit of the hill. His workout on this course weeks prior proved to pay off.
I expected a group to blow past me on the final stretch but it never came. I reached the line in 18:14 and 26th place, 6th CMS runner. Arthur buried me in the last mile, passed two BAA runners with his 17:51. As slow as I felt and ran in the last mile, no one passed me and beat me to the finish line. Despite the awesome effort from the five CMS gents ahead of me, the team fell 3 points shy (30 to 33) to the BAA. I waited until today to lookup what I ran last year, 17:36. If only I could have run that time yesterday…..
Full Results: 2016 Boston Mayor's Cup Cross Country Races
|Crossing the finish line in the 5K at Franklin Park|
Photo credit to Granite State Race Services