The Cambridge Summer Classic 5K 2018 was a perfect race.
In 2017 we had a massive thunder and lightening storm roll in just after the race began. This year the temperature was around 70° and the sky was partly cloudy. The humidity was on the high end, but what do you expect for July in Cambridge?
Just over 2200 people registered for the race and 1770 finished. A pretty good turn out but the crowd did seem smaller than at previous races at the same location.
I think that a Thursday evening race in Cambridge is convenient and a nice change from always running on weekends. But, getting into Cambridge and finding parking can be a challenge.
Running Cambridge Summer Classic 5K
I walked across town from my office in Kendall Square. It was a great afternoon and I wanted to enjoy the nice walk back to my office after the race. As I walked West, everyone else seemed to be walking East towards the T stop.
I hadn’t walked too far down Sidney Street when I saw my buddy Don Keren parked in a primo spot. Street parking in that neighborhood during a race is always challenging but Don lucked out with a spot near the starting line.
We hung out for a bit and caught up on life in general and enjoyed the air conditioning in his car! After my walk it really felt good.
A little before six we headed for the porta-potties and then made our way to the team area. Once again I couldn’t pull together a team of twenty plus runners, so we landed at the race director’s table for folks like us. We didn’t have any beer on our table, but at least we had a place to leave our stuff and meet up after the race.
Around 6:15 Don and I headed for the corral. Don has been doing a lot of hiking and ran a half marathon the previous weekend. He was feeling a little beat up.
With my Father’s passing and a recent vacation I’ve barely run 20 miles in the past month. My legs were rested and my injuries were not barking at me, but my cardio was shot and my muscles were not ready for a strenuous run.
As we hung out in the corral none other than Dave McGillivray walked into the corral in front of us. He was hanging out talking to the runners around him just like I would do if I showed up at a race by my self. I had seen him walking around before the race and said hello. He smiled and said hello but obviously had no idea who I was. He was in a BAA 5K shirt and I thought maybe he was there to help out with the race or something.
At 6:30 they fired the starting gun and we were off. This time we ran east on Sidney Street and took a right onto Mass Ave, just like last year. Other races take a left onto Mass Ave or go West on Sidney and wind us through the neighborhood.
Don and I took the corner wide so as not to get caught in the crowd. My legs felt pretty good so I started to make my way. Before we took our turn off of Mass Ave I had passed Dave McGillivray and lost contact with Don. I really thought Don was following me through the crowd, but eventually I stopped looking for him and just ran.
At Mile One they had a water stop and I grabbed a cup. It was a warm evening and I felt like a drink. Thankfully they used paper cups and I was able to pinch the cup and drink on the run. Mile One came in at 8:10. A little faster than I had expected.
We were on Sidney Street and wound around to Putnam Street. Some areas looked familiar but others seemed like new territory for me. Cambridge neighborhoods have a lot of little parks. Probably lots where a house once stood and for one reason or another the city ended up with a lot on their hands and turned it into a park. It’s pretty cool.
There is also a lot of construction and re-hab of older buildings going on in Cambridge neighborhoods. The economy is just on fire in the Greater Boston Area (GBA) and they are building housing and office buildings everywhere.
From Putnam Street we took a right onto River Street. This is a busy street as it leads to one of the bridges into Boston. We had good traffic control and rush hour was slacking by the time most of us got to River Street.
Shortly after making the turn we hit Mile Two and I skipped the water stop. On these warm evenings races often have a water stop at every mile instead of just the half-way mark. It’s as much about safety for runners as it is about letting people have a refreshing drink to help their run.
Mile Two came in at 8:05. At this point in the race I was sweating through my shirt. I thought I saw sweat dripping from the shorts of some near-by runners. It was getting toasty!
As we ran down River Street I kept on pushing as hard as I could. I was probably only giving about 90% but it was my first race in about a month. I kept passing people and plenty of people kept passing me. I didn’t care. I had to run my race and not die doing it!
At about 2.25 mile we took a right onto Franklin Street and then a quick right onto Pearl Street. We still had over half a mile to go so I held back on any sort of kick. Some people were walking but most of us pushed on.
At about 2.75 mile we took a left onto Valentine Street and then another left onto Brookline Street. I recognized this street and knew that we were close! But I knew that there was at least one more more turn and possibly more. Once in a while they change up the course on us.
As we approached an intersection I thought I saw runners turning right! As I got closer I could see that everyone was turning onto Franklin Street and headed for the finish.
As we approached the finish some younger folks ran past me. I tried to leave some space for any potential photographer to get a good shot of me at the finish. I’m pretty good at not showing up in race photos. It’s pretty remarkable.
As I approached the finish it looked like I would finish in under 25 minutes. Not too bad. When I glanced around, I didn’t see a photographer!
My official time was 24:51 for an average pace of 8:00 exactly. I was 503rd out of 1770 finishers. Not too bad I thought.
Apre Cambridge Summer Classic 5K 2018
I grabbed a bottle of water and tried to get out of the way of the other finishers. I looked around for Don but didn’t see him. After a bit I started slowly walking to the beer garden hoping he would catch up to me.
Things were pretty quite at the table when I arrived. They used a bracelet and beer tickets this year, so I went up and redeemed my tickets. Cambridge Brewing Company was poring at this race and their brews were pretty good. I’m sure I’ve had some of their beer before, but right off the tap is always best.
Soon after I got back to our table I saw Don walking across the park. He looked like a hot mess but said he had a pretty good race. There were a five more Melrose runners at the race, but we never saw them.
Don didn’t hang out too long. He had to get home so he gave his tickets to some people gathered at the table.
I hung out for a while and talked with runners that I’ve met at the same table at previous races. The group changes with each race and the races are months apart. It’s easy to forget names and faces. But as we hung out we got reacquainted and had fun drinking beer and talking.
It was a great evening to hang out and drink beer. The weather was perfect, the company good and the beer was flowing. But I had to take it easy and left after a few beers.
The walk back to Kendall Square was longer than I remembered, but still enjoyable. I always feel safe on these streets and I probably walk to fast for most people to bother with me. It’s essentially the MIT campus so there are a lot of people on the street and both MIT and Cambridge police around.
I’m looking forward to the Fall and Winter Classics! Join the Melrose Running Club team and lets get a table next time!
Run well my Friends,