15th Annual Malden Rotary Road Race
The 15th Annual Malden Rotary Road Race 10k and 5K took place on March 24th in Malden, MA. Based out of the Cheverus School on Ferry Street, this race has become a favorite among local runners.
The Malden Rotary Road Race is an old school runner’s race. After 15 years this race still draws a small group of hard-core local runners. You’re not likely to talk to a runner from out-of-state at this race. Most runners come from the surrounding communities with a large contingent of Mystic Runners.
I was told that a few years ago they started having the 5K and 10K start at different times. I guess there were some issues when the races split off.
This year the 10K started at 9:30 and the 5K started at 10:00 AM. I love a race that starts later in the morning and that is minutes from my house!
There is plenty of parking around Cheverus and it looked like most of the businesses in the area had not opened yet. I’ve never been to Cheverus before and wasn’t 100% clear where it was. As I sat in my car getting ready I saw another runner walking through the parking lot.
She wasn’t really sure of where she was going, but seemed to have a better idea than I did. The race web site just said Cheverus School and did not give a street address. After we found the right door to go into, we found the gym and picked up our numbers. We were the line. Even though this race has been going on for 15 years, it was obvious that it was run by Rotary volunteers and not seasoned race volunteers.
I headed for the men’s room where about 10 of us stood in line for a single working toilet. People think public schools are under funded. Have you ever been inside of a parochial school? My girls went to parochial schools, so I understand their struggles. Unfortunately, maintenance cannot be a top priority.
Still, we were happy to have a warmish men’s room and not a cold porta potty.
I then headed for the entrance of the gym to see who else would be coming down the stairs to pick up their bib. I saw Jeff Rushton and Regina Curran who were both there to run the 10K.
The 5K runners started 30 minutes after we did, so none of them were there.
Running The Malden Rotary Road Race 10K
It was now about 9:20 and everyone emptied out of the gym and headed for the start. We decided to hang back and keep warm until about 9:25.
As we walked towards Ferry Street the crowd looked larger than I expected. In 2017 about 65 people ran the 10K. I estimated the crowd to be around 75 at least. It turned out that 115 people ran the 10K!
Everyone was lined up on the east side of Ferry Street and the race director had us move west behind the starting mats. Regina, Jeff, and I headed for the back of the pack. Jeff said he was going to take it easy, but ended up coming in 10th over all and first in his age group. Not bad for taking it easy!
The race director asked who had run the race before and about 10 hands went up. So he gave directions in a loud voice unaided by amplification. There were plenty of signs and volunteers, plus I planned to be following a lot of people!
At 9:30 they yelled for us to go. No starting gun, no Anthem just a nice clean start.
The first half mile was mostly uphill, starting at 20′ above sea level and ending at 75′. Not a huge climb but a challenging way to start a race!
From Ferry Street we crossed over onto Main Street and headed for Pine Banks. We hit mile one at Pine Banks and I felt comfortable. I had run faster than I wanted to, especially considering that half the distance was uphill. Mile one came in at 8:30.
We ran past Pine Banks and took a right onto Sylvan Street in Melrose. I was in familiar territory. At the end of Sylvan we took a right onto Lebanon Street. I’ve run this road a hundred times at least and knew we had more uphill coming as we ran along the cemetery.
I usually turn at Forest Street, but we continued another three-quarters of a mile down to Garden Street and took a right. I had never been in this area and was glad to have so many volunteers and the occasional policeman.
Just after we turned onto Garden Street we hit mile three at 8:37. I had been trying to slow down, but mile two came in at 8:31 so I wasn’t doing very well controlling my pace. It was nice to know we were about half-way and I felt fine.
We wound through the neighborhood and came out to Pierce Street and took a right towards Forest Street. It was interesting running this street in the opposite direction that I normally do. At Sylvan Street in Malden we took a right and past the Forestdale School. I’d never been down this street and was surprised how large the school and playing fields were.
On Forest Street we hit mile four and I came in at 8:42. I felt better that I had been able to reel it in a bit, but it was so difficult.
I think that taking it easy is harder than running hard. Every time a runner would come up behind me I would just wish them to pass me. If I caught up to someone I tried to stay behind them and let them pace me. But after a while I couldn’t take it anymore and had to pass them. I just couldn’t help my self.
As we approached the corner of Columbia and Salem Streets I hit mile five at 8:26. I had passed a few runners. oops!
Salem Street was open to traffic and the pavement was uneven in many spots. I actually worried about tripping and falling under a car. They were going slow, but a fall happens really fast.
There was a good police presence and I think they were holding traffic back for us. We hit mile six near Albion Street and I came in at 8:24.
I felt good and had plenty of energy so I decided to try and catch the guy about 200 feet in front of me. I think he kicked it in for the last quarter-mile also and I wasn’t able to catch him.
I ran the last 0.29 miles at a 7:11 pace. I had to work to do it, but it didn’t kill me to do it.
I finished the race at 53:09, just behind Joe Roesner, the guy I was trying to catch. But since this was a chip timed race I actually beat him by 1 second! And he’s 12 years younger than me. I’ll take it.
As I crossed the line my buddy Jeff Rushton was there to congratulate me. He’s not the guy in the red Speedo in the photo. We waited for Regina Curran to finish her 10K and saw all of the Melrose 5K runners finish their races also.
After the Malden Rotary Road Race
It was great to see the Melrose Running Club 5K runners come over the finish line. I hadn’t seen them before the race and had no idea that six of them had shown up for the race. From my count we had nine runners all together.
This was a new addition to the Melrose Running Club Racing Series and I wasn’t sure how it would go. After a few people thanked me for adding it, I felt like I made the right decision.
We managed a group photo with most of the runners and headed to The Dockside Restaurant for a brunch buffet.
The Tysall family grabbed a booth and some extra chairs and we all joined them. The buffet was basic, eggs, sausage and hash browns but it was all very good. They actually ran out and had to bring out a second round of trays.
I was glad that I jumped in line soon, but wished I had taken more as it was so good. I think that everyone got enough to eat.
Charlotte Tysall came in 4th over all and was the first place female runner in the 5K. Her finish time was 20.1 minutes for a blistering pace of 6:26.6! And she’s only 14. As I we sat there having breakfast I thought I might be sitting next to the next Shalane Flanagan!
In the 10K Jeff Rushton came in 10th overall and first in his age group. I came in 45th over all and was very happy with that finish, though I may pay for it during my 22 mile long run on Sunday.
Regina Curran came in 86th in the 10K and made it look easy.
Stephanie Lawson came in 71st in the 5K and thought she came in last. But this was while we were having breakfast and all of the results were not in yet. 87 people finished the 5K, so she finished ahead of 16 other runners. Way to go Steph!
We ended up with a great day for a run. The temperature was around 40° with a light breeze. Sunday is supposed to be cooler with a stronger breeze.
Run well my friends and thanks for running!