I recognized the bearded face but not the Volvo wagon pulling into the Hannaford parking lot. I barked “Holy crap, that is Patrick Rich” to Joe Shairs as we waited for the start of the John Carson 2 mile road race in Chelmsford - a July 4th tradition of sorts recently. It was awesome to see Patrick. This race would be his first in a while (18 months?) and certainly his first as a master runner. The CMS masters team is certainly going to get a boost this year with the addition of Patrick, Jim Johnson, and Chris Mahoney.
The three of us headed out for a warm up. Each of us knew the course which is a rolling point to point 2 mile course along a parade route. We were on the starting line after a 2.5 mile warm up. My goal was to run a pair of 5:29 miles and sneak under 11:00. I trailed Patrick and Joe heading through 400m. The key is to not get tripped up after the start as so many young lads bolt right out.
I passed the mile in 5:30 a step behind Joe and Patrick. The next 400m drops down a bit and I pushed past them. The last 400m seems so long as the course climbs back up into the finish around a corner. I was tiring out in the last 150m for sure. I finished in 22nd place, 4th master, and barely ahead of Joe (11:06) and Patrick (11:07). We collected ourselves with a quick drink and ran back to the start catching just the beginning of the parade vehicles.
I have to mention a friendly face that I have seen at this race for years. He is the "gunman" or official starter of the race. His name is Tom Hildreth. He went out of his way to run over and shake my hand after I picked my number up, welcoming me again to the race. He volunteers his time and I have seen him helping at other races in recent years such as the Lynn Woods Relay race in August and the Merrimack River Trail race in April. It is people like this that make this sport so great for everyone.
|Almost done with the 2 mile in Chelmsford|
Photo by Jim Rhoades