Over 7,000 runners showed up June 23rd to run the 2019 BAA 10K.
It was a great day for running with temperatures in the 70s and moderate humidity. A light breeze for most of the race was an added bonus.
This was the ninth running of the BAA 10K and I haven’t missed one yet.
Just like last year I drove in with my buddy Diarmuid Cahill, parked at my garage and walked over to The Boston Common.
When we arrived on The Common the crowds were still light. We picked up our shirts and headed for the Distance Medley VIP tent. Last year the BAA started offering some perks for Medley runners.
Medley runners pay full price to run the BAA 5K, 10K and Half Marathon. The benefit of paying upfront is you register for all three races at once and get an extra medal. Most of us have buckets of medals already.
When we got to the VIP tent we found out that they didn’t have a bag drop or porta-potties for us. They had porta-potties at the BAA Half last October and were hoping for the same at the 10K. That’s a feature worth paying for!
After I grabbed a cup of coffee I made my way back across The Common to the bag drop. Things went smoothly and in just a few minutes I was back in the tent.
Running the 2019 BAA 10K
Around 7:30 we decided to head for the corrals and one last pit stop. The Common was now packed with runners.
We never did find the end of a port-potty line and so pushed through the forest of runners and headed for the corrals on Beacon Street.
Durm headed up the hill and I tucked into the 9:00-ish corral. I didn’t see anyone I knew.
At 8:04 someone sang The National Anthem and I found many flags to admire. In the middle of the song, American Airlines did a fly-over. It seemed appropriate!
Around 8:10 we started moving down the hill. As we approached the timing mats we broke into a light run and I started my watch crossing the first timing mat.
The road was packed! I made some headway and got into position for our first turn onto Boylston Street.
While looking out for runners I realized I needed to keep an eye out for pot holes. They were the foot sized ones that are often hard to see until you are on top of them.
In no time we were turning right onto Arlington Street. By this time I had passed a few people who were already walking! And not on the side of the road.
I was pissed and tried to keep quiet. I realize these races attract first timers, some of whom are doing fundraising for causes dear to their hearts. I get that. I just wish someone would explain the rules of the road to them before the race. Instead, I have to hold back on reading them the riot act while on the run.
Really Running a 10K
From Arlington we quickly turned left onto Comm Ave. The road is shaded but narrow.
More walkers and joggers. Even better – two or three across at times. Me and a whole bunch of other people wound our way through this obstacle course with great effort.
The fact that no one face planted is amazing. Those people have no idea how lucky they were not to get pushed or tripped. None of us were happy about this situation. But being runners we adhered to the code of conduct and remained civil.
I’d get behind someone and we’d move up. Then I’d find a hole and people would fall in behind me. Sometimes the crowd would open up and I’d surge ahead.
The non-verbal communication among us runners was amazing. We were like a flock of birds or a school of fish. Anticipating and following each other’s moves.
At each water stop I got as far right as I could. At one stop people got water and then moved to the right side of the road in front of me to walk and drink! If looks could kill, I’d be in custody.
Kenmore Square opens up nicely and we were able to move along. But Comm Ave narrows again coming out of the square due to street parking.
I managed to find holes and pushed forward.
The heat began to increase as the sun beat down on a street devoid of any shade. I had a bottle of water with me which was now half gone. I decided to leave some for after the turn around as I knew I would need it.
I could feel the hill in my thighs as we made our way out to Agannis Arena. I knew this hill. It had had it’s way with me before, but not today.
My pace seemed to pick up. Or maybe everyone else slowed down.
It’s only about 29 feet elevation over a half mile or so, but it can really kick your ass in the heat.
I made my way through the crowd and looked for the top of the hill and the turn around. As I watched the returning runners there seemed to be thousands of them. Turns out, there were about 2,000 people in front of me.
I was focused and made use of each opportunity to move through the crowd. There were plenty of runners right in there with me.
As we approached the turn I was stuck in a group of runners with little room to make an efficient turn. I really thought, “WTF” my race is a mess with this crowd so, WTF. Go with it.
As we made the turn I swung to the far right and possibly got too close to a few people. Not sure.
Where I could I cruised down the hill. The inside of my left knee hurt, but not that much. I could have made some awesome time flying down that hill.
To The Finish!
For the most part the run down Comm Ave was enjoyable. The crowd had held me back from 100% exertion so I had some mojo. Inbound to Kenmore Square we had more room and the crowd was thinning out as we approached mile four.
Mile 4! I felt pretty damned good. Usually at this point in a 10K I’m making bargains with my self. This time I had everything dialed in pretty tightly and was ready to push it for the next 2.2 miles.
At Mile Five we were on the home stretch and the road was wide. I took the road I needed and hammered my way home.
I wasn’t running an Olympic Qualifier pace or anything, but I felt fully capable of running at 100% for the rest of the race. I even had enough breath to say thank you to a spectator.
As I ran down Comm Ave I thought about how I felt the last time I was on this piece of road. It was the Boston Marathon in April. If I felt this strong at this point in the marathon, I would have been disappointed.
At mile 25 of a marathon you should be running on fumes and will power. If you run a 10K well, you should have some power for a strong finish. For these races it just happens that mile five and 25 are basically at the same place on the course.
I was passing all kinds of people on this last mile. Getting onto Arlington Street felt great. I made clean turns and moved across the road to get ready for the final turn onto Charles Street.
Charles Street had a lot of runners, but plenty of room to make my move. I cut left and passed some runners. Someone else was running right in front of me so I moved over a bit just in case I had a surge or they faded near the end.
I stopped my watch at 53 minutes and change, collected my ribbon and headed for the water and snacks.
I was pretty happy with my finish. I’m still shooting for 50 minutes, but I’m not quire there yet.
All Business After the Race
Durm and I planned to meet in the beer tent after the race. I picked up my bag and headed over to the VIP tent. As I approached the beer tent they were carding folks and I didn’t have my ID.
One of the unfortunate benefits of being middle-aged is that you often don’t need an ID. It’s pretty obvious you turned 21 when Ronald Reagan was president.
There was already a line for the Marathon Brewing 26.2 mile beer. I met a lady from Burlington and we had a good chat in line and while enjoying our ice cold beers.
Marathon Brewing is putting a fortune in to promoting this beer, but I don’t think it is going anywhere. It is slightly more flavorful that your average lager, but nothing exciting.
The appeal is too narrow and it probably sells at a premium price. There are too many really good craft beers that taste great to choose from. I see it as a novelty. But what do I know?
Durm showed up but wasn’t interested in a beer. They didn’t even give him any tickets on his way in. The lines had also quadrupled since I got my beer. And it definitively was not worth that kind of wait.
On the way out I gave away my last beer ticket and even found another in the grass to give someone else. It’s nice to play beer god once in a while.
We had a nice walk through the Charles Street neighborhood of Beacon Hill on our way back to Cambridge.
It really was a day that makes life worth living. Spending time with a good friend, running a great race and enjoying the beautiful Boston summer weather. Hard to top that.
Here are the BAA 10K 2019 full results.
Run well my friends and enjoy your summer!