What a day for a race! I awoke at 1:30 AM to the sound of rain through my open windows. I knew Tropical Storm Bill was coming, but had remained optimistic that TS Bill would somehow miss us.
I finally got up around 5:30 and started my routine. I had gathered my gear Saturday night, so all I had to do was get dressed and make a mug of tea with two tea bags. I had a bowl of cereal as I checked the BAA web site one more time for any updates.
“Bring it” seemed to be the phrase for the day. We’re hearty New Englanders, we know Jack. Jack Frost took his best shot at Boston and TS Bill was no Jack. “Bring it” Bill and we will run through it. Just like we ran through Jack.
BAA 10K Travels
I work in Cambridge at the Cambridge end of the Longfellow Bridge. It’s an easy drive on a Sunday morning, but I hit just about every red light.
I had to get to another race, so I parked in front of my building.
I took my key, a CLIFF bar and a bottle of water and headed over the bridge into Boston. Due to construction, the bridge was completely closed to traffic.
It’s about a one mile hike to the Boston Common. I stopped to take a few photos on the bridge and then stopped at Starbucks on Charles Street.
The place was full of runners and cops getting out of the rain. The locals looked at us kindly but as disruptors to their Beacon Hill Sunday Morning routine. Between ordering my coffee and heading into their bathroom, I must have had five conversations.
While standing at the window drinking my coffee I spoke with a local guy who was running the race for the first time. I also spoke with a guy from the UK. He was on a two-week holiday with his wife and they just happened to be in Boston for the weekend. He was looking for things to do and found the race. He actually registered at the race!
What a lucky guy. He knew nothing of the race before Saturday and fortunate for him the race had not sold out. Right place, right time.
Let it Rain
I headed over to get my race shirt and futilely tried to keep my shoes dry. There were puddles everywhere. As I walked over to the bag drop area the rain intensified. There were smiles and laughs all around.
What could we do? We just came through the toughest winter in recorded history and a little rain was going to ruin our fun? Fat chance TS Bill.
As I approached the bag drop area big heavy drops ran off of the tarp. I waited until I could walk in and not get stuck under the heavy drops. Under the tarp was a few moments of relief. The volunteers handed out the bags and zip ties for us to affix our tags.
Many of us labored slowly in order to maximize our shelter time. I could have stayed there until race time. Alas, my tag was affixed and I slowly made my way to the exit. Now without my jacket, I was completely at the mercy of Mother Nature.
While walking over to the usual meeting spot, my clothes approached saturation. Upon arrival at said meeting spot, I found no one I knew but plenty of people to talk with.
If we stood tight against the building and turned our feet side-ways we could avoid the drip off of the roof. It wasn’t much shelter, but it was something.
About 7:50 I headed over to the corrals. Instead of lining up on Charles Street they had us line up on the wide sidewalk on The Common along Beacon Street. I stood under a tree to get some shelter and spoke with two young ladies. Then I did some stretching and got into the corral.
We were all soaked to the skin. Now and then, the rain would intensify and then let up, giving us moments of hope. Much hilarity and good spirits were evident. We may not have been in the first corral, but we were hard-core and all in. We were going to have a good time.
Tom Grilk, BAA Executive Director, was the MC, but we could hardly hear him. Someone sang “God Bless America” and “The Star Spangled Banner”, but we could barely hear them. After the singing but before we moved up we could hear the PA system shorting out from the rain. No one seemed too concerned by the odd noises coming from The Common and I did not see medical staff rushing to the scene.
BAA 10K 2015 Start
We moved up after the first group went. We bunched up on the sidewalk heading towards Charles Street and then we walked onto Charles Street. I could see Tom in the MC booth. He thanked everyone for showing up and said some people told him no one would show up under these conditions.
He said no one should expect to run a PR race today so just have fun and enjoy the experience. If we saw lightning we were to seek shelter immediately. I could envision 1,000 runners jammed into a hotel lobby or convenience store.
The start mats were just after the MC booth and we started jogging as we approached them. I started my Garmin and we were off.
It was totally jammed down Charles Street, Boylston Street, Arlington Street and even on Comm Ave. I told the guy from the UK that things thinned out on Comm Ave. I also told him last years start route. Damned Yank, he must have thought.
The rain seemed to be letting up as I began to make my circuitous way down Comm Ave. I skipped the first water stop on Comm Ave; It was way to soon and I wasn’t worried about dehydration.
We went under the Mass Ave bridge and took a right onto Charles Gate East and then a left onto Bay State Road. This runs through Boston University’s residence properties with a few businesses and private homes mixed in.
This early in the race I began to realize that when I passed a person I was really passing ten or more people each time, we were so bunched up.
We took a left off of Bay State Road onto Granby and then a right back onto Comm Ave. On Granby I grabbed a nice, full cup of water. I drank half, the rest landed on my chest. I worried about my phone in my running belt. Why had I kept it with me?
We saw the elite runners on their way back and then the rest of the lead pack began to fill in.
As we crested the Mass Pike Bridge I looked up to see the formidable, long hill out to the turn around. I felt pretty good and knew I could move up that hill.
I moved around as best I could but the road was narrow here and maneuvering was a challenge. Some people sounded terrible, some people were walking. I pushed up the hill and got into position to make the turn.
It’s pretty much a hair pin turn and you have to do it right or risk having to slow down. I moved to the outside a bit and was able to keep my speed.
As we headed down the hill that we just climbed many people were not taking advantage of the decline. My legs felt pretty good so I opened it up a bit. My speed kept getting better throughout the race. Mile four came in at 8:04. With the down-hill I managed a 7:39 mile five.
As we headed down Comm Ave to Kenmore Square I was holding my own with many and passing some. After the water stop on Comm Ave I found my friend Bill Ozaslan and then Rowena Hakkaoui. I skipped the last water stop on Comm Ave and focused on weaving through the crowd. As we approached Arlington Street I got into a good position for the turn and immediately headed across the street to get ready for the turn onto Boylston Street.
I felt pretty good and was running it in. I made a good turn onto Charles Street and pushed hard for the finish. As I approached the finish line the announcer called out my name and got the pronunciation right. Very cool.
The clock said 1 hour, but I was in the second wave and we had to wait and walk. I got my medal and did a fast walk towards the water and food. I found my other friends Paul Locke and Jeff Rushton as we headed towards the food tent. I had to move quickly as I had another race to get to.
I grabbed a bunch of food, said my good byes and headed for the bag drop. It seemed like utter chaos in there, but the volunteers were helping sort things and one of them saw my bib and pointed to my bag. Fantastic! They made us show the bag tag and our bibs before we left the tent. Another obvious but brilliant idea.
As I headed towards Charles Street I saw my friend Gail Severt and her husband Dave walking onto The Common. They came over and we chatted for a minute. It was Dave’s first 10K. I was headed to my next race and had to run. Literally.
I did a quick time down Charles Street and headed for my car in Cambridge. Everything smelled wet.
My official finish time was 51:34, 1,498th overall and 68th in my division.
Full Results Here. I’ll have my 5K recap on Tuesday.
Official 2015 B.A.A. Women’s 10K Results:
1. Mary Wacera (KEN) 32:07
2. Edna Kiplagat (KEN) 32:15
3. Diane Nukuri (BDI) 32:23
4. Caroline Kilel (KEN) 32:49
5. Tomomi Tanaka (JPN) 32:56
6. Elvin Kibet (KEN) 33:38
7. Kristen Zaitz (Broomfield, Colo.) 34.58
8. Heather Cappello (Somerville, Mass.) 34:58
9. Jennifer Rhines (Boston) 35:42
10. Katie Moraczewski (Boston) 35:58
Official 2015 B.A.A. Men’s 10K Results:
1. Daniel Salel (KEN) 28:09
2. Stephen Sambu (KEN) 28:21
3. Leonard Korir (KEN) 28:26
4. Phillip Langat (KEN) 28:27
5. Arne Gabius (GER) 28:36
6. Yonas Mebrahtu (Flagstaff, Ariz.) 28:51
7. Geoffrey Mutai (KEN) 28:53
8. Takehiro Deki (JPN) 29:22
9. Parker Stinson (Eugene, Ore.) 29:24
10. Griffith Graves (Blowing Rock, N.C.) 29:31
11. Ethan Shaw (Allston, Mass.) 30:22
12. Cole Atkins (Blowing Rock, N.C.) 30:35
13. Louis Serafini (Niskayuna, N.Y.) 30:49
14. Christopher Stadler (Burlington, Vt.) 30:54
15. Andrew Erskine (Brighton, Mass.) 31:26