Feaster Five Thanksgiving 5 Miler 2017

The Feaster Five Thanksgiving 5 Miler and 5K celebrated their 30th running this Thanksgiving!

A few remarkable observations provided by The Feaster Five:

• We had a remarkable number of entrants…9,966! That is an increase of more than 10% from last year, and that happened when the number of entrants in most races is falling by 10%.
• More amazing was the 97% of folks who registered picked up their race bibs and hoodies. Typical pick-up rate is 87%.
• Our 5 mile champion, Ruben Senca, won for the 5th time….and that is a record.
• Who else ran? Folks from 41 states, 7 countries, ages that went from 1 to 93. Women, you ruled again this year with 53% of the field.
• Despite the “pinch point” 3/4 mile into the race, we managed to get you all safely back to the finish line with minimal congestion. The “Walkers Lane” once again kept the flow moving, and everyone safe.
• We can be very proud of our kids and their parents who are encouraging a healthy, fitness oriented lifestyle. We had 570 kids run the Fun Run, and a whopping 776 kids 12 and under run the 5K!

Some of this success may be attributed to this being the 30th anniversary, but I think a great deal of credit goes to the organizers who have continued to provide a safe and well organized event for 30 years.

Runners do not return to poorly managed events.

Feaster Five Thanksgiving 5 Miler Travels

I decided to run this race in 2016 because of it’s rich history. On Thanksgiving there are so many races to choose from. I absolutely enjoyed the race I ran in 2015, but wanted to try this classic 5 miler in 2016.

Last year I went by my self and didn’t expect to run into anyone I knew. But I ran into club-mate Mike Sikkema as we both wandered around before the race.

This year I drove up with my running buddy Derm Cahill. He parked at my house around 6 AM, and we drove up to Andover together. Andover isn’t too far, but I hate driving long distance to a race by myself.

Derm picked up our bibs and hoodies on Wednesday, so all we had to do was find a place to park.

Within 45 minutes we were parked on a Riverina Road where we could almost see the start. We walked up to Dunkin Donuts for a coffee and donut and enjoyed the warm sitting area.

They had signs on the tables limiting us to 15 minutes. They also had signs reserving the rest room to paying customers. The crew had little to do as most people had not arrived yet. They were having a great time behind the counter and left us alone.

After about 20 minutes, one of the employees politely told us we had used up our time. We had, but there was no one else there. We didn’t want to give the guy a hard time, so we went back to the car.

It was just above freezing, so the walk back to the car was brisk.

We sat and talked and figured out how many layers would get us through this thing in relative comfort. We both opted out of jackets or the famed hoodie provided by the race. Two layers it would be.

Feaster Five Thanksgiving 2017With that figured out we made a quick trip to the porta potties. It was definitely chill in just our running clothes. The line was short and we were back to the car in no time.

Since the race began at 8:30 and we could almost see the start, we stayed in the car until 8:20.


Running Feaster Five Thanksgiving 5 Miler

Our walk to the crowd was short. Derm was dealing with several cracked ribs and didn’t really want to push the pace. I was kind of tapering for Honolulu, so I was okay with just getting in a good run.

Feaster Five Thanksgiving 5 Miler 2017As we moved through the crowd, we kept finding dogs and strollers. I kept moving away from the walking lane off to the left, but still we had dogs and strollers popping up. One poor dog looked scared to death!

We were able to hear the National Anthem and most of us took off our hats and looked for a flag to admire.

They said the race started but we were all standing around. As I looked towards the start line I could see people moving, but they seemed so far away! After 5 minutes we were still standing there freezing our asses off, but everyone was also laughing and joking.

We’re runners, it takes a bit more than 9,000 runners and freezing cold temps to push our buttons. Cut a porta-pottie line and that’s a different story!

Feaster Five Thanksgiving RaceWe did not cross the starting mats until 12 minutes after the race began! Thank god for chip timing.

The race goes up hill soon after the start. In the first mile we went up 106 feet and crossed a bridge under construction. They warned us of this choke point, but there was little we could do.

The first mile was nothing but congestion and weaving between walkers and runners who placed themselves way ahead of where they should have been. So weave we did.

We took turns blitzkreiging our way through the crowd, even on the bridge. Even with all of these challenges, mile one chimed in at 9:14. Not too far off of our goal 9 minute pace.

Feaster Five Thanksgiving 5 Miler CourseAt about 1.5 mile we took a left onto Morton Street. I told Derm that the winding roads were just beginning. After a 100 feet or so we took another left onto Bartlett Street. After about a quarter mile we took a right onto Chestnut Street by “The Park.”

Before we passed the park we hit mile two at 8:24. Our average pace was now 8:28 and I felt much better. Derm was holding up well and I was the one holding us back. Since Derm was fine, I decided to run as hard as I wanted to.

At about mile 2.25 we took a left and then a right and then a left onto Washington Ave. After a quarter mile we took a left onto Elm Street.

From Elm we took a right onto Maple Avenue and shortly thereafter hit mile three at 8:12 and our average pace was down to 8:14. We were way beyond our 9 minute goal, but we both felt good.

We took a quick left onto Walnut Ave and then joined the 5K runners on High Street.

The 5 milers had one side of the street and the 5K runners and walkers had the left side. Occasionally a volunteer was stationed to tell us to stay in our lanes. This was welcomed as a few times a 5K walker would straggle into our lane.

By this point the 5 milers were sorted and many of us were in full race mode.

Mile four was mostly down hill with a 99 foot elevation loss but we only managed an 8:23 mile. Still ahead of schedule, but we were dealing with congestion again.

We had been running with an MVS runner and he over heard us bitching about the 5K walkers wondering into our lane. No duecheyness, but we owned the 5 mile lane. WTF were these people doing?

As seasoned runners we dealt with it, but we exchanged several WTF looks as clueless folks got in our way. It was nice to find a fellow traveler.

At about 4.25 miles we took a left onto Rt. 133. This is a major commuter route to cut from Rt 93 to 495. I never found it to be much help, but many commuters do.

We were now on the home stretch with under a mile to go.

Derm and I decided to kick it in and see what we could do. There was a slight decline most of the way and we started passing people. Nothing crazy, but there were 5 milers who were walking and many who had either gone out too fast or were just not prepared.

Finishing Feaster Five Thanksgiving 5 Miler

Five miles is an odd distance for most of us. 5K or 3.1 mile runs take place almost every weekend. In the old days many races in The US were denominated in miles. I recall running the 50 yard dash or the 440 yard race in gym class.

While most of Merica still measure everything in miles, us runners use kilometers.

When you are used to running 3.1 of 6.2 miles (5K or 10K) a 5 mile run can really throw you for a loop. A 5K is a comfortable race for many of us. We know how to pace and when to kick. A 10K is more challenging, but it is a familiar distance with it’s own strategy.

A 5 mile race is 8K. Somewhere between a 5K and 10K. It’s hard to plan for, but the unfamiliarity is fun.

When we got to 3.7 miles we couldn’t believe we were at the beginning of the end. But it was still a little early to kick. So we tried to hold our pace for another half mile or so.

When we got onto Rt 133 we decided to give it a go. Derm and I traded places on point almost instinctively, we knew when to follow and when to lead.

We ran down the edge of the pavement and we squeezed between runners to make our way. When ever I looked over my shoulder I could see Derm’s purple singlet. I’m sure he did the same and saw my bright yellow BAA 10K shirt.

As we ran along we decided to finish together. I knew that both of us could have some explosive speed in the final few hundred yards. I told Derm I was fine with that but he hadn’t better run ahead in the final 100 yards. He agreed not to and we pushed ahead.

We crushed the last mile at a 7:34 pace. This despite the increased congestion as we headed up Oak Street to the finish and the uphill at the end. We passed many runners on the final uphill.

We actually managed an identical finish time of 42:03 for a pace of 8:28.

This was almost my exact time from 2016!

Apre Feaster Five Thanksgiving 5 Miler

Table Talk Pies, Feater Five Thanksgiving 5 MilerAfter the finish line we emptied into a large parking lot. Having been here before I knew where to go. I saw the large trailer full of pies at the other end of the parking lot and headed in that direction.

Along the way we found the water table and the food tables. Just the basics: bananas, bagels and chips. We grabbed some water and chips and continued our pie quest!

We got to the pie line in no time, got our pie and moved along.

Table Talk Pies, Feaster Five Thanksgiving 5 MilerIt was getting cold so we wanted to get to the car quickly. We found the exit and headed towards the car.

It was an easy exit from Andover and in no time we were on 495 South headed for home.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend and got to spend some time with family and friends. The Holiday Season is here!

Official Race Results

Run well my Friends!


Running the Melrose Y Spooky Sprint 2016

Melrose Y Spooky Sprint

This is the third year that I’ve run the Melrose Y Spooky Sprint 5K. Somehow I keep getting slower! One year the course was short and this year I’m a little out of shape.

Melrose Y spooky sprint 5k, kids race, melrose 5K raceThe Melrose Y Spooky Sprint has been around for seven years. The combination of a professional Y staff and seven years experience managing this race makes for a smooth operation. There was plenty of food and water after the race and by the time I left the food was gone and picked up.

They did need a better PA system, as most runners could not hear the pre-race announcements. But, the course was marked accurately.

Proceeds from the Spooky Sprint benefit the Melrose Family YMCA’s Growing Stronger Together scholarship fund which ensures no one in the community is turned away for inability to pay. The Fund also allows adults and families to participate in YMCA activities. Children can learn to swim, or go to summer camp.


Melrose RC Supports the Melrose Y

Melrose Running Club, melrose Y spooky sprintEach year the Melrose Running Club has a large group in this race. Each year, several runners run with their children and in costume! This year I saw club members dressed as Wonder Woman and Superman!

The Melrose RC had 26 runners this year. Our top runners were:

Ed Bradford 7th over all, 1st in his age group with a time of 18:11

Katherine Kulig 18th over all, 1st in her age group, 2nd female over all with a time of 20:04

melrose Y spooky sprint 2016Judy Dolan 252nd over all, 1st in her age group with a time of 29:56

Jeanne Boisseau was 295th over all, 2nd in her age group with a finish time of 31:01.

I came in 77th over all, 4th in my age group with a finish time of 24:06.

Running My Race

A few years ago I came in 3rd in my age group. This year I had to really work to reach for a 24 minute finish. I was pretty consistent throughout the race and never thought about giving up and settling for what ever. It still wasn’t enough.

The key to 5K racing is to never have a doubt and run each step as hard as you can. While you are making bargains with your self, your finish time is slipping away. I’ve done this many times and almost always during a half or full marathon.

With a longer race you have time to recover from your moments of doubt. In a 5K, just a quarter mile of resignation and weakness will keep you from running at your capacity.

I’ve run many 5Ks faster than this one, but in this race I never had a doubt.

I was running as hard and as smart as I could and felt 100% in. All that being said, my best was still 24:06. I can’t complain because that was my best. I didn’t get that number because I slacked.

That is a result of being 10lbs heavier than last year and having not put in the miles. PRs are not for the inattentive, casual trainer.

Moving Forward

My docs have given me the all clear. There is nothing broken in my knees. My patellas are a little out of alignment and my feet are flat, and probably always have been. Maybe they caused some of my issues.

These are minor issues that can be addressed mainly with focused exercises. No drugs or surgeries required. It is up to me.

Moving forward my goal is to get my base back to 25 miles per week. Just like running a race, this will take a conscious effort. And it wont be easy.

I hope you are enjoying the fall running season. The cooler temps make racing so much more enjoyable.

Run well my Friends!


© 2016 andrew nagelin

Running for All Ages

Run for All Ages 2015

The New England 65+ Runner’s Club invites you

run for all ages, 65 plusto Lake Quannapowitt for a run for all ages on November 7th at 10AM at the Lakeside Office Park, 100 Quannapowitt Pkwy, Wakefield, MA 01880.

Enjoy a flat and fast course around Lake Quannapowitt.

Entry Fee: $22 online, $30 race day, $10 for 13 and under; 80 and up can register for free!

The journeymen runners in the NE65+ Runners Club put on this race every year to support fitness in children of all ages.

Specifically, the race provides an opportunity for very young runners to compete and share in the fun and excitement of a road race.

It is also the premier race in New England for “mature” runners, most of them Club members. Their accomplishments in the race are acknowledged in awards given for age divisions in five-year increments, ages 65 and up, all the way to 90+, and for age graded times to the top twelve master runners, 40 years and older, males and females.

Cash prizes to the age graded male winners are provided by one of the Club’s major sponsors: PACE: Prostate Awareness and Cancer Education race program. Cash prizes to the female winners are provided by the NE65Plus Runners Club.

The Club donates some of the proceeds from the race to the DMSE Children’s Fitness Foundation.

#1st5K, 5K medalsThe mission of the New England 65+ Runners Club matches Omni Running’s mission – to encourage running and fitness in children of all ages.

The “My First 5K “ medal is a way to encourage and reward first time runners of all ages. We will have a table at the race where you can purchase a medal.

We will also have display frames for your medal and will assemble your medal into your frame after the race for you.

Frames are gold or silver color. We offer this combo package of medal, sticker and frame for $34.95, with $10 from each combo sale going to the New England 65+ Runner’s Club fundraising

We look forward to seeing you Saturday morning in Wakefield!.

Run well my friends!


© 2015 andrew nagelin

Medal Framing

Have a great medal that you want to frame?

Bring your favorite medal to the Melrose YMCA Friday from 2 to 7pm at the number pickup or Saturday morning before the Melrose Spooky Sprint 5K.

I will frame your running medal for $29.95 and donate $5.00 for each frame to the Melrose YMCA.

I can frame your medal while you wait*, or you can pick it up Saturday at the race.

I will also be selling My First 5K medals Friday night and Saturday morning before the race. If you are running with your kids they will be thrilled to get a medal and be part of the awards ceremony after the race!

All proceeds from the sales of My First 5K medals go to support programs at the Melrose YMCA.

medal display,frames,frame, #first5k

1st 5k medal, First 5k medalYour kids will love this medal. This is a high quality medal minted by one of America’s leading medal companies. This is not a trinket, it’s a real medal that you and your kids will be proud of for years.

Who knows, it may inspire them to go trick-or-treating as a runner with their medal around their neck!

Help fund programs at the Melrose YMCA and help inspire the next generation to get out there and run! Be a true hero!

* medals will be framed while you wait if time permits.



Melrose Spooky Sprint 5K

Can you out-run the ghouls and goblins of Melrose?

The Melrose Family YMCA presents the 2015

Melrose Spooky Sprint 5K

Melrose spooky sprint, 5k race, kids raceThis Halloween Day race begins at 8:30 on East Foster Street, right around the corner from the Melrose Family YMCA. This popular Melrose Family 5k run continues to grow and attracts runners of all ages from the area. In 2014 more 500 runners completed the course.

Come join the fun and start a new family tradition.

All are welcomed to run dressed in their Halloween costumes. Please be sure costumes will not trip the runner wearing it or other runners. Clear vision is also important for anyone running in a costume, young or old.

This is a good test run for your child’s halloween costumes to make sure it is safe for the evening’s Trick or Treating.

All proceeds benefit the Annual Fund which supports members in your community that are in need, who look to the Y to help them keep their families strong and healthy. In 2014 the YMCA of Metro North Annual Fund provided more than $1,000,000 in scholarships and financial assistance to over 3,682 children, families and seniors. Your generous support is necessary to fund many of the YMCA programs and services that families need each and every day.

» Long sleeve t-shirts for those pre-registered by October 17
» Electronic timing
» Post-race refreshments

Runner/Walker – until October 17: $25 after October 17: $30

Child under 14 – until October 17: $15 after October 17: $20

1st 5k medal, First 5k medalMy First 5K medals will be available at the bib packet pickup Friday afternoon and Saturday morning before the race. If this is your son or daughter’s first 5K help them celebrate a wonderful accomplishment and help support the Melrose Family YMCA.

Medals are $9.95 and cash or check will be accepted. All proceeds benefit the Melrose Family YMCA.

Each medal comes with a bib sticker that your child can put on their bib for the race. Everyone will know that your little runner is running their first 5k! At the end of the race each first 5K runner will receive their medal and celebrate a race well run.

Support the Y and inspire a young runner.

my first 5k, running bib sticker


Packet pickup times are:

Friday, October 30th from 2pm to 7pm at the Melrose Family YMCA

Saturday at Race Registration from 7am to 8:15am

Post race Monster Bash begins promptly at 9:30 in the Melrose Family YMCA gym.

Run well and we hope to see you on Halloween in Melrose, if you dare!


© 2015 andrew nagelin