Malden 5K races have a storied history going back 40 years.
When Dave McGillivray ran from Medford Oregon to Medford, MA in 1978, he finished at the Malden Irish American Club. The club is right across the town line from Medford and was probably the best location for Dave to finish his epic run.
The official story is that he finished at Fenway Park, but I got this story directly from Dave. Maybe he continued to Fenway after stopping in Malden?
At the time the Mystic Running Club met at the Malden Irish American and Dave became an honorary club member the day he arrived. The Mystics have moved, but their roots are in Malden.
Malden used to have as many as 9 5Ks including one of the longest running 5Ks in the area. Some races never grew large enough to be sustainable and their sponsoring organizations cancelled them. COVID certainly hasn’t helped.
Please support local non-profits in your area by running these races. They may not be as flashy as bigger races, but your registration fee helps your friends and neighbors in need.
Malden 5K Races
The Malden Irish American Road Race 5K and 10K
6 September | 10:00 AM | Monday
This running event is a 5K and a 10K. The Irish American Club has been hosting this race for 38 years and they continue the tradition in 2022.
This is one of the longest running local races in the Greater Malden Area. Many of my older friends have fond memories of races they ran here many years ago.
I’ve run the 10K three times and had a great time. The course is mostly flat with one good hill after the Fellsway crosses Salem Street near the Immaculate Conception Church. In 2018 I ran the 10K on a blazing hot day and many runners struggled. Here is a mapmyrun mapwith elevation.
The turnout is usually around 250 runners with a great party, live music afterwards and raffles afterwards.
Proceeds benefit the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
2019 Malden Irish American Road Race with 10K race recap.
The Malden Irish American Road Race has been going on for many years.
Originally this race was a half marathon and over the years has evolved to it’s current format of a 5K and 10K.
2019 was my fourth or fifth running of The Malden Irish American 10K. I always run the 10K when given the option. Both races were only $25, so it’s hard to beat.
Running The Malden Irish American Road Race 10K
The race is just over a mile from my house so I did my warm up run on the way over. It was warm at 9AM and I was sweaty when I arrived at the club.
The hall was pretty empty and I managed to pick up my number and shirt in no time at all. A few of my friends from the Melrose Running Club were milling around and I managed to speak with just about everyone.
They moved the race up to 10AM this year because it was so hot last year. Around 9:45 we headed for the start line. Most people didn’t seem to know where it was.
As we stood there waiting a guy playing bag pipes walked around the corner. He didn’t play the National Anthem or anything and I didn’t see him again.
Without even a count down the race started at 10AM.
I ran down Malden Street with a few friends but started to move ahead when we got onto The Fellsway.
We had several police officers on motorcycles and an entire lane of the Fellsway for the race. With room to move, I got into a comfortable pace and started thinking about the hills coming up.
Soon after we crossed Pleasant Street in Malden the first hill began. I started running on my toes and increased my cadence. Surprisingly, I began to pass a few people.
As we ran up The Fellsway to the first turn the incline continued. We hit mile one just after the pond and I was happy with an 8:13 pace.
I was happy to hit the turn onto Highland Ave and hit some downhill. Soon we turned onto Maple Street and hit Mile Two at 7:52.
As we ran along I tried not to run too fast. I knew that I was running with 5K runners and didn’t want to try and keep up with them.
At the corner of Charles and Pearl Street the 10K runners went strait and the 5K runners turned right. The two guys I had been running with turned right. Figures!
Soon we hit a water stop and I grabbed a cup. I planned to hit each water station just to be on the safe side.
Malden Irish American 10K
It was now just us 10K runners. There was a gap between me and the people in front of me, and no one seemed very close behind me.
As we ran down Pearl Street there were a few people out cheering us on, which was nice. Remarkably, I also managed to pass a few people.
At the end of Pearl we took a left onto Medford Street and hit Mile Three at 7:55. My average pace was now 8:00 which was much better than I had expected. Then we took a quick right onto Commercial Street.
Commercial seems to go on forever and has very little shade. It’s just a long slog. About half way down this street we saw the lead men heading back.
The first place guy was way out front and there was also a big gap between second and third place and between the pack.
I began to count runners just for fun. By the time I got to the turn just before the Revere Beach Parkway overpass, I counted 28 people in front of me.
As I made the turn I grabbed a drink at the water stop and the guy in front of me did not. He was a bit in front of me but I knew at that point that I would pass him.
I maintained my pace and noticed that his hair was dark and thick. Maybe I couldn’t overtake this young whiper snapper!
I had to be patient because I didn’t have any juice for a surge to overtake him. Eventually both of us passed a guy who was in front of us!
We hit Mile Four just after the water stop and my mile was 8:19. I was slowing down on a flat road!
Finishing the 2019 Malden Irish American 10K
With 2.2 miles to go I knew I wasn’t going to pass many more runners. All I had to do was hold on and see what happened.
At Medford Street we took a right and went over The Malden River. Not much of a hill, but a definite incline.
Just after the bridge and before our turn onto Canal Street I hit Mile Five at 8:06.
Only 1.2 miles to go!
I felt pretty good, nothing hurt and I didn’t feel like I was going to die. Always a good thing!
Before we made the left onto Charles Street I finally passed the guy I had been chasing. I figured he would surge past me at the finish, but it was a psychological victory.
We were only on Charles for a half-mile but it seemed to go on forever! There were a few people cheering us on and plenty of volunteers to guide us.
When we turned onto West Street my watch said 5.86 miles. Maybe another half mile to go?
It was hard to tell. I was spot on at some mile markers and ran long at a few also. I thought we were close, but I couldn’t hear the announcer or the crowd.
I saw runners moving to the right side of the road, so I did also to try and get ahead of the turn. I was way early and went back to the left side of the road. Probably wasted 5 calories.
As we got close to the last turn to the finish I heard a few people calling out my name. As I made the turn I saw Judy Dolan with her phone out. I thought she might be taking pictures so I gave a thumbs up as I passed by.
I thought I might be close to a 50 minute race but wasn’t sure until I saw the race clock with 49 and change on it.
No one was near me so I pushed as hard as I could and crossed at 49:34! I was really happy with that finish.
It took me a few minutes to catch my breath. As I walked around I found the table where Melrose Running Club was hanging out. Regina Curran seemed surprised to see me.
It was nice of her to say that, but I really wasn’t that fast. I sat down and Regina asked her daughter to get some water for me. So nice of them.
After the Race
After I had my water I headed for the beer tent and handed over my two tickets. It was Bud Light but it actually tasted ok.
Surprise, surpise, everyone was near the beer tent! Mike Dolan had a good race and said he felt pretty good. Marty Hergert was happy with his run also.
They had results taped to the wall but only one page of 10K results. I found myself in 31st place on the sheet and was a bit surprised as I counted 26 people in front of me. No medals, big checks or new cars either way!
I was happy to run a 10K under an 8 minute pace.
96 people finished the 10K and 176 finished the 5K. A little light for a well established race like this. It was very hot last year so that may have kept some people away, even though they moved the start time up by an hour.
Top Melrose Running Club Finishes:
Lynda Field won her age group in the 10K.
Robert Bruzzese placed second in his age group in the 10K
In the 5K Rob Albers won his age group and Mike Dolan came in second in his age group.
Ava Curran came in third in her age group in the 5K
When my kids were young we used to go away for Labor Day weekend. Now my kids are college graduates and we tend to stay home and relax over the long weekend.
Well, everyone but me! I did a month worth of weekend odd jobs around the house on Saturday and Sunday. I painted, hauled buckets of compost and repaired my lawn mower. I’ve never repaired an engine in my life!
Then on Monday I went out and ran two races.
Labor Day Racing
I was relaxing Sunday night when I got a Facebook message from my buddy Andy Brown. He was running the Martin Richard 8K (MR8K) on Monday and was asking who else was going.
I’d heard of the race but hadn’t planned on running it. I knew that the race started at the TD Garden and I figured it would be a nightmare to get there.
After I checked out the web site, I decided to register. Why not? It didn’t start until 9:00 AM and I figured I’d be up by 6:30 AM anyway. I set my alarm for 6:40.
Martin Richard 8K 2018
My alarm actually woke me up. I must have been really tired from all of that work. I gathered all of my gear the night before, I just needed to get dressed and fill my water bottles.
I was out of the house by 7:00 and parked in Cambridge by 7:20.
I can almost see The Garden from my office, but still used my GPS to set a course. It was about a mile walk to The Garden. And of course one of the streets the app directed me to was a construction site with no street in sight.
From where I was I could no longer see the Garden so I wandered in the general direction and looked for people in running clothes!
I started following a young lady who looked like a runner and knew where she was going. I followed her through the door into The Garden and then quickly found my way to the bib pick up table.
They were smart and assigned numbers when you picked up your bib. This is much easier than having people look through piles of bibs or packets for your pre-assigned number.
I got my t-shirt and headed to the bag drop. Since I didn’t know if they would have a bag drop I only brought what I could carry. And since I didn’t want to run with a t-shirt, that was the one item in my bag.
I headed for Legend’s Way to hang out with everyone else. As usual I was early. It was just after 8AM when I went outside.
There were a few porta-potties, enough for this small crowd.
I did a little warm up jogging and walked around under the Zakim Bridge and watched a boat go through the lock at the Boston Dam. I’ve run over the locks before, but had never seen them open or a boat go through. It wasn’t that thrilling!
By 8:30 the crowd filled in and got loud. I thought I heard an announcer but it could have been noise from the highway.
Eventually the crowd grew quieter ever so slowly and I could tell that someone was singing The National Anthem. I took off my hat and set my eye on a nearby flag.
Running the Martin Richard 8K
I couldn’t really hear the start at 9:00 AM, but the crowd moved forward. Then we stopped, then we walked and then started to jog. Finally I ran over the mats and started my watch.
At the turn from Legends Way onto Causeway Street there was a small crowd cheering us on. As I got closer to the corner I noticed a tall blonde man at the front of the crowd. He looked an awful lot like Governor Charlie Baker. Since Tuesday was Primary Day, it probably was him.
As I ran by we made eye contact. I waved and in my best Cockney accent said “Hello Gov’na!” It was all in good fun and if it was the Governor I hope he wasn’t offended. I’m sure others have yelled worse at him!
From Causeway Street we took a right onto Merrimack Street and ran past the Boston Municipal Court building. I had been down this street the week before on a Duck Tour and recognized the building.
At about 1K we hit Beacon Hill. We gained about 30 feet in less than a quarter of a mile. I didn’t think it was much of a hill but I heard a lot of groaning around me. I rose up on my toes, quickened my cadence and shortened my stride. One person said they saw me fly by them on this hill. I got a laugh out of that!
Eventually we got out to Beacon Street, took a right and ran past the State House. It was nice to run down the partially shaded Beacon Street hill next to Boston Common. The temperature was approaching 80° and in the sun it was even hotter.
Mile one came in at 8:58. Not bad for a crowded start on a hot day.
We continued down Beacon Street and passed The Hampshire House, famous as the location for “Cheers.” Then we took a right onto Arlington Street.
As we ran down Arlington Street I wondered where the name came from. Is it related to Arlington National Cemetery?
It seems that people way back had an affinity for names like Columbia or Jamaica also. There’s Jamaica the island, Jamaica Plain in Boston and Jamaica Bay in New York. Who knows how many other Jamaica locations there are.
Then there’s Columbia,Columbus, OH, British Columbia, etc. Oh the things we think about when we run!
Soon we turned onto Commonwealth Ave. I stopped thinking about names and started thinking of being crowded again. Then the first water stop and then I began to wonder where the turn around was.
It couldn’t be all the way out to Agannis Arena. That would be way to far. We hit mile two before Franklin Street and the BC turn would have been way too far. Probably another half mile to that turn. It would have been smart to have glanced at a course map before the race.
Oh well! I was running this race where ever it went!
We ran under Mass Ave. They are doing road work and the pavement was ground down to a nice level surface with no pot holes. Perfect. Except for the hill coming up the other side. More groaning, but I just reeled in a few more runners.
At Charles Gate East we made our turn and had another water stop. Even though I had water bottles on my belt I still took the water. It was getting really hot.
On the way back down Comm Ave we hit mile three just before Franklin Street. My mile pace was 8:37. A little faster than I wanted.
The run back down Comm Ave was shaded and on good road. I’ve run this road two dozen times or more between The Boston Marathon, BAA 10K and other races. I feel really comfortable here.
At Mile four, almost exactly, we hit the foot of Beacon Hill. We gained almost 70 feet in a quarter of a mile. Lots of people were walking and I kept reeling in more runners.
It was hot but I felt pretty good.
After the peek of 83ft it was all down hill or flat to the finish. Instead of going down Causeway Street we headed for the back of The Garden and ran up a long ramp into The Garden. A long and fairly steep ramp at the end of an 8K race was tough to take, but I dug deep and hauled up that hill.
It began to get cold and then we ran onto center ice in The Garden. There were some Bruins banners hanging low and it was cold! The ice was covered but it was still cold in there!
I grabbed a dog and a Harpoon UFO and was a happy man. As I walked around I ran into Andy Brown and Liz Emerald. They had a fun race but neither one broke any records.
Liz mentioned that Emily McDivitt was running The Irish American Race 10K today. I had forgotten that the race was that day!
I always run the Irish American 10K. I get to walk to it from my house.
I must have signed up for it. Now I was going to miss it because I was in Boston and the race was in Malden. Then Liz mentioned that the race started at 11 and that it would be really hot by then.
11 did you say? It was now just after 10AM. I just had a dog and a brew. I was ready to head for Malden! I said my goodbyes and headed for the exit.
With some help from security I found the bag drop and the exit and headed for Cambridge.
Somehow getting back to Cambridge was much easier than the walk to Boston.
Malden Irish American 10K
I was surprised how quickly I got to my building, into my car and out of the garage. I headed over The Longfellow Bridge and up Rt. 93 to the Rt. 28 exit. I knew exactly where I was going.
Lucky for me traffic was very light and I made good time.
As I drove down Davidson Way in front of the club I saw runners walking around and figured it must have been a 10AM race. Who would have a race at 11AM when it is often blazing hot on this date?
As I drove by a runner I asked if the race was over. With a funny look on his face he said it started in about 15 minutes.
I got a little nervous when I heard that. Frantically I drove around this crowded neighborhood looking for a parking spot. What an idiot. A parking spot in this area on race day?
I headed for The Fellsway and found nothing on the north bound side. So I banged an illegal U-turn and headed south. All kinds of parking.
I found a spot close to the street headed towards the club and started walking as fast as I could. I had just run a 5 mile race fairly aggressively for a hot day like this. My legs were tired and my left knee was saying hello.
As I approached the front door I saw my buddy Tom Gorman. I told him I had forgotten about the race but I thought I had registered for it. He asked if he had just seen me in Boston in a Facebook post. Yup, that was me!
He walked in with me and I headed for the bib pickup table in the hall. After a few tries they got the spelling of my last name right, but I still wasn’t on the list.
What an idiot! I rush out here to run a race I hadn’t even signed up for. I should have known right then that I was slightly altered from the hot run in Boston.
Before I left my car I made sure I had the $35 race day fee in my pocket. I wasn’t 100% sure I had registered. But I had left a race and driven to get here, so I wanted to run.
I went to the race day registration counter and no one seemed to be paying much attention. I grabbed a form, scrawled out my information, gave them my damp cash and took my bib.
Someone else was registering last minute but she only had $25. They seemed to hem and haw a bit but she persisted. Slightly over my breathe I told them to let her register and they did.
Tom and I headed for the start line behind the club. It seemed like an awfully long and hot walk. I saw Kelly Catallo,Thuy Dang and other familiar faces. Kelly also asked, “didn’t I just see you in Boston at the Martin Richard Race?” We laughed and she gave me a high five.
Tom headed for the front of the pack and I hung out. If I ran 10 minute miles I would have been happy. I was there and that’s all that really mattered to me.
Running The Malden Irish American 10K
They played the National Anthem and we were off. Before we got to the end of Malden Street I was wondering what the hell I was doing. Could I even complete a 10K in this heat?
It was now in the mid 80’s and close to 90 in the full sun. As we took a right onto The Fellsway we were in the full sun. Oh my god it was hot!
I’ve run this race three times before and knew a big hill was coming as soon as we crossed Salem Street.
The hill topped off by the Fellsmere Park and then went down for a bit. Just after the park by Amerige Field the incline began again. By 1.35 miles we had climbed almost 70 feet. Not a lot, but most of it came over two short distances.
At the 5-way inter section we took a sharp right onto Highland Ave. Even with the elevation gain in the first two miles my splits were 9:39 and 9:40. Those times felt like a gift, but I knew I would pay it back later in the race.
We wound through Malden Center and headed down Pearl Street for about three-quarters of a mile. This road had very little shade and the temperature must have been close to 90.
I took a water or two at every water stop. I also had two almost full water bottles on my belt. I wasn’t taking any chances with dehydration. I had also taken a Honey Stinger gel just before the start to get some sugar and electrolytes.
We hit mile three just after our left onto Medford Street. My pace was 9:29. Really just shocking. I was pushing way to hard.
We ran Medford Street for a few hundred feet and then took a right onto Rivers Edge Drive. Every year runners talk about how hot and exposed this piece of road is.
This year it was brutal. It must have been 10° warmer than any recent year. There were people walking here and earlier in the race.
Before the 5K race split off from the 10K I considered making the turn. Apparently 20 people did! I guess it really screwed up the timing folks for a bit.
As I ran down to the turn at mile four I considered my options. I decided to run to the 4 mile mark and then walk at the water stop.
As I made the turn I headed for the water stop, took two cups and took a walk.
I felt like crap. My clothes were totally drenched in sweat, I felt like I was over heating and my head was swimming a bit.
I had taken plenty of water and a gel before the race. All reasonable precautions. But I hadn’t taken any salt tablets or anti cramp pills. My entire pharmacy was at home. Talk about poor planning.
After I finished my water I ran to an intersection and walked. As we approached Medford Street I ran and ran the bridge over the Malden River. Now that felt like a hill!
We hit mile five at the corner of Medford and Canal Street. My pace was 10:53! Yeouch! I could feel the burn and I was definitely crashing!
For mile six I ran and walked as needed. I was now beyond my goal pace of 10 minute miles, so it didn’t really matter. All I had to do was survive and cross the finish line.
I thought I was one of the last runners to cross the finish line. Amazingly I was 31st out of 62 runners to finish the 10K. And there wasn’t a starting mat so we all had the same start time. I was 8th in my age group at 1:03.
204 people finished the 5K. Emily McDivitt came in first in her age group and 5th overall.
The rest of us finished and that was good enough.
Tom told me that Sen. Markey was there and I should go say hi. He knows I’m a supporter, but I was too wiped out to make the effort.
After the race I walked around the air conditioned hall four or five times drinking cold water. I knew I was in bad shape. After what I thought was too much cold water my stomach began to cramp.
Tom and Thuy were at a table and called me over. Thuy had a beer and asked if I needed a ticket. I told her they didn’t give me any but I really didn’t need one. She basically insisted that I take a ticket so I did.
Tom went to his car to change his shirt and I headed for the hot dog stand and the beer table. Bud light is okay when you really just need some water and a few carbs.
We managed to get the gang together near the posted results. I finally met Emily’s husband and son. They were trying to stay cool in the shade of the building.
I was exhausted and didn’t feel like hanging out. Even good friends and cold beer couldn’t keep me there. Usually I walk to this race and can drink freely. Not this year.
If felt so good to take a cold shower. I must have been in there for 15 to 20 minutes. I kept waiting for my wife to ask if I was alright.
A few hours later the family came over for my birthday party. I sat with my father in law and had a beer while I grilled dinner, but that was about all the beer I drank. Other than that it was lots of water and iced tea and no needs to visit the bathroom.
What a crazy day. I signed up for the MR8K the night before and then did a day-of registration for the Irish American 10K. I rarely do last minute registrations and probably have done a day-of registration once before.
Poor planning and peer pressure can make you do some stupid things.
Even with a mild case of heat stroke, it was a fun day.
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 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.