For the 37th year the Malden Irish American club hosted Labor Day races, both a 5K and 10K. Malden Mayor Gary Christenson and Melrose Mayor Rob Dolan both ran the 5K. Over 260 runners participated in the races on a very hot, humid and sunny day.
Twelve members of the Melrose Running Club participated and many of us received medals. Rowena Hakkaoui won her first medal ever by placing 3rd in her age group in the 10K. The medal was totally unexpected and she was not present to receive it!
Other Melrose Running Club 10K medal recipients: Bob Albers came in first in his age group. Martha Quigley came in second in her age group. I came in second in my age group.
In the 5K race, Don Keren came in first in his age group.
Out of twelve club members, five of us won a medal. Not bad.
The over all 10K winners were Timothy Messen of Hanover, NH with a finish time of 39:25. Second place went to Tyler Hart of Medford at 41:40.
Lauren Krzyndwek of Medford was the first women at the finish with a time of 50:17 and Elizabeth Emerald was second at 50:42.
For the 5K, the top male runner was Chris Soucy of Beverly at 17:51. Second place went to Michael Gormley of Malden at 18:49.
For the women Amy Orcutt of Medford was first at 22:22 and Kerri Cullahan of Danvers was second at 22:35.
Chris Ahearn was the sole wheel chair competitor. He finished at 41:03.
Early in the race we faced the only significant hill in the race. I recall seeing Chris inching up the hill as we all ran by. I was amazed to see him pushing forward, and a little concerned that he would lose his forward momentum.
After the race we sat around talking. He told me how hard the uphill is and that a wheel chair racer needs to work the downhill to the max. He has to judge the point at which the momentum is spent before he digs in again. If he touches the wheels too soon precious momentum is lost.
The 10K Run
The start was a little crowded and I started about two-thirds back.I haven’t run many 10Ks this year and my training has not been rigorous. I really had no expectations, and I thought I would take it easy. I saw runners going onto the side-walk to get around the crowd. After 100 yards or so I started to make my way through the crowd.
Once we took the right onto The Fellsway East we had plenty of room with the parking and right hand lane reserved for us. I saw police from several departments on motorcycles managing traffic.
Just after The Fellsway crossed Pleasant Street the big hill began. One advantage of not training hard is that your legs are not fatigued. I dug into the hill and saw Chris making his way up the hill. Many of us called out encouragement to him. We made our way past Fellsmere Pond and up the last hill of the race. Mile 1 clicked in soon after the hill. My time was 8:03 and I felt pretty good.
We continued up Fellsway East to the big rotary and then took a sharp right onto Highland Avenue. The roads were in much better shape than I had expected. At this point in the race I stopped worrying about potholes and just went for it.
I brought a water bottle with me and skipped the first few water stops. I knew we had a lot of exposed areas to run through, so I took water at a few stops to conserve my bottle for those hot spots.
We turned onto Maple Street and I hit mile two at 7:56. We wound through Malden Center and down Pearl Street and past Pisa Pizza. There were a few spectators out to cheer us on and traffic control was excellent.
At Medford Street we turned left and quickly took a right onto Commercial Street. Again the road was in great shape. The road turned into Rivers Edge Drive and we followed it almost all the way down to Revere Beach Parkway.
This was the part of the course that I thought would be the most brutal. It was about two miles down and back with no shade. There was a 5-10 mph breeze almost the entire way down Rivers Edge Drive. I caught a group of runners and drafted behind them. I was pushing them and eventually it was just me and one of the ladies who placed in her age group.
Before the turn around I passed her and I think she stopped or slowed down at the water stop on the way back. The mile down was 8:18 and the mile back was 8:06 for me.
We hit mile five just after crossing the Malden River. That little bridge felt like a hill at this point in the race! With 1.2 miles to go, I kicked it in. We were all spent by this point and I didn’t have a lot to “kick in.” I gave it my all and managed a 7:50 mile 6.
I knew there were a lot of turns on this course, and as we got closer I could hear the finish line announcer. For the last 0.16 miles I managed a 7:08 pace.
Overall I came in 12th place which was a bit surprising. Coming in 2nd in my age group was an even bigger shock.
It was great to hang out with runners from my club and other local clubs before and after the race. The great thing about running so many local races this year is that I’ve met so many people. While enjoying beers and hot dogs I had many enjoyable conversations. Everyone was happy and in a good mood on this gorgeous September day.
My friends ran well!