The 7th annual Gold Star Run for Honor was held May 25th in Saugus, MA. The race benefits the CPL Scott J. Procopio Memorial Scholarship program which provides scholarships to Saugus High School Seniors.
2019 marks my 4th running of the Gold Star Honor Run. My first run was in 2013 when the Saugus VFW hall was renamed in honor of Scott’s sacrifice to his country. That was a moving moment.
2019 Gold Star Run for Honor
This year the 10K had 90 finishers and the 5K had 203. The race seemed smaller this year.
Both races start at the same time in front of Saugus Town Hall. For the first quarter of a mile both races are on the same course. At Winter Street the 5K races breaks left and the 10K runners continue up the Central Street hill.
I’ve had a pulled muscle for the past two weeks and have been trying to take it easy. This has meant very little yard work and only two short runs since the Portsmouth Half Marathon.
So heading out of Saugus Center I wasn’t expecting much from my legs. I knew I was running with 5K runners until the split, but I still ran to keep up with the gang.
After the split the crowd thinned considerably. I was running with a few other runners but there was a lead group and a lot of people behind us already.
I settled into a strong pace and enjoyed the run across town to Vine Street. Mile One chimed in on Adams Street at 7:49. I figured that was going to be my fastest mile.
From Adams we took a left onto Vine Street and then another left onto Essex Street. Here we began a mile plus run into Cliftondale Square.
I was glad that I drank some water before the race, but as the first water stop came into view I moved into position. It was getting hot.
Running Down Memory Lane
My family lived in Saugus for twelve years and both of my daughters were born while we lived there. We went to many soccer practices and games and I was somewhat involved in local politics. Many good memories.
Every time I run this race I pass soccer fields I used to know well. It’s always interesting to see how store fronts have changed and things people have done with their homes.
As we ran down Lincoln Ave I could see my old house. I painted it about 18 years ago and it’s still the same color. I did a ton of prep work for the paint job and I guess it’s a testament to the quality of Behr paint.
Many things have changed but some things remain the same.
Further down Lincoln Ave we passed the world famous Kane’s Donuts. I still consider these among the best donuts eva!
Mile two chimed in before Cliftondale at 7:46. That was a surprise and I thought about how that would effect my hill run later in the race. Mile three came in at 7:57. Still better than I expected and we were almost half way!
Our second water stop was on Lincoln Ave a few hundred feet before our turn onto Hamilton Street. For some reason this table had fewer people than the first water stop.
I had to take a cup off of the table because the sole volunteer had passed out the two cups she could hold. I think I gave her a look because she did say “sorry.”
There was a volunteer keeping an eye on us and traffic at the turn from Lincoln Ave onto Hamilton Street. We passed a place called “Mike’s Place” but it didn’t way what Mike’s Place was. Seemed kind off odd to me. Could have been a bar or a tow truck office.
Mile four chimed in shortly after the turn at 8:00.
Coming down Lincoln Ave we passed some 5K runners but fewer than I had expected. Usually I pass many 5K walkers on Hamilton Street Hill. Not this year.
I probably passed a dozen walkers. Was I running so slowly that they were already in?
The hill was tough, just as I had expected. But I managed to keep a good pace and nothing hurt.
It was warmer now than the first mile of the race and the hill was really making me sweat.
A few Turns to The Finish
At about the top of the hill the 10K runners took a right onto Riverbank Road and continued onto Saville Road. There was a bit of down hill and I tried to make up for some lost time.
Mile five chimed in at mile five at 8:27. Only 1.2 miles to go?
As we approached the turn onto Elm Street and the bridge over The Saugus River the Officer actually directed us this year. Last year some people ran strait and the rest of us turned left. I guess we were supposed to make that turn last year, but the cop didn’t know.
As we crossed the bridge I looked down to see the healthy flow of The Saugus River. We’ve had a lot of rain these past few months.
We were now on Central Street headed for the Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site. There were a few people in front of me. At one turn I looked back to see how close runners behind me were and no one was there.
In front of The Saugus Iron Works we took a right onto Pleasant Street headed for Summer Street. We took a left onto Summer Street by the Catholic Church.
From this turn I could see the flagger at our last turn.
I didn’t really kick it in, I just kept running. As I approached the corner the volunteer was very enthusiastic. It kind of picked me up a bit.
I made the last turn onto Taylor Street and could see the finish line. There were only about five runners on the street and I think I passed all of them on the way to the finish line.
A few people were there cheering me on and It was pretty cool!
As I crossed the finish line a little girl handed me a medal and I headed for a wading pool full of ice and cold water.
I was a little short of breath. As a friend was talking to me I actually had to stop talking and breathe.
Apre Race and a few Awards
I wandered around looking for MRC runners. This was a challenge as many people did not wear their club shirts. Eventually I did find a small group near the finish. Two of our runners were still on the course and people seemed concerned.
Jeannie Boisseau was running with Stephanie Lawson. Steph was having a tough 10K and Jeannie stuck with her.
With everyone in we headed for grilled hot dogs and hopefully a cup of Boston Common Cold Brew. There were plenty of hot dogs but the cold brew was long gone.
I had a dog and half of a Kane’s chocolate glazed before, so this dog was just for enjoyment. And enjoy I did!
Earlier I checked my time and I came in 5th in my age group at 48:34. About two and a half minutes better than last year but no age group award like last year. Funny how that works some times.
But other club members did get awards:
Jean Lynch 3rd place Female at 46:02
Jean was also second place in her age group.
Judy Dolan was first in her age group.
Jeannie Boisseau was second in her age group.
Donna Leggiero was third in her age group.
Robert Bruzzese was second in his age group
Diana Mirabello pushed her son in a running carriage in the 5K and did very well.
The Melrose Running Club was the largest team and we all got a cool water bottle and our pictures taken! Pretty cool! I had forgotten all about the team awards and it was a pleasant surprise.
What a great way to kick off Memorial Day weekend! A great race with friends honoring one of our fall heroes.
Run well my Friends and welcome to Summer!