Granara-Skerry Trust has raised over $840,000 for pancreatic cancer research at Mass General Hospital (MGH) in Boston. Now in its 9th year the race and walk continue to grow.
This year 260 runners and close to 1,000 walkers participated in this important fund-raiser and community event. The race and walk attract many runners from Medford and surrounding communities.
The Overall Top Male Winner, Brian Klein of Cambridge, finished the race in 16:45 and our Overall Top Female Winner,Beverly Antunes of Somerville, finished the race in 17:39! Beverly was the second runner to finish. Biliana Mihaylova of Medford was the 2nd place woman and 3rd overall finisher of the race at 18:31. A strong showing by the ladies.
I carried the day for the Male 50+ category finishing at 22:22 and 30th overall. After last week’s poor performance in Cambridge, I was shocked when my friend and fellow age-group winner Liz Emerald told my I won my age group.
Granara Skerry 5K Race
This is the 4th time I’ve run this race and the 5th time I’ve signed up for it. Two years ago I forgot it was on a Saturday and by the time I realized I had my days mixed up, the race had already started. This year I got mixed up again and thought the race was on Sunday. So many races are on Sundays.
Thinking that the race was on Sunday, I went to the gym on Friday. I didn’t do a lot of leg work, but I did do 5 sets of squats, three sets with a 45lb plate. Friday wasn’t a leg day, so I skipped most of the other leg routines I normally do on a leg blow-out day. Good thing!
When I got home Friday night I double checked the race details. Made sure I had the correct time and checked the parking details. Then I noticed the race was on Saturday! Oops!
I was able to park on High Street, less than half a mile to the race. Lucky for me, no parking meters that far up the street! I walked up to the American Legion Hall and went in to get my number.
I gave the ladies my name, they found me on the list and then took out a bib and wrote my name on it. Then they wrote my bib number down on their sheet. I’d never seen that before. I walked around a bit and headed back to my car.
About 45 minutes before the race I went back up to the Hall to use the facilities and get ready. As I walked in a lady looked at my bib and told me I had to go and get a new bib. I was a little confused.
It turned out that the timing company mailed the bibs to the Post Office and no one knew they were there. When I picked up my bib, early of course, they were using generic bibs. I could tell some sort of chaos was going on, but the ladies at the number pick were very cool about the whole thing. A feeling of chaos at a race is not uncommon.
I got my correct bib, went out side and pinned it on. They had three porta-potties out back for the guys, in addition to a bathroom in the basement of the Legion Hall. This was a big improvement over previous years.
I went back inside and got a hot Starbucks and had a few mini-muffins. Just perfect. Outside I met my friend José and his wife and her friend. They ran last year also. We took some photos, talked and then went back inside. I got more coffee, finished that and headed for the facilities again.
I knew my legs were weak from Friday’s workout, but my pre-race prep was spot-on.
Around 10AM José and I headed to a spot near the front. We saw a lot of kids and people wearing the cotton race t-shirt. From past races we knew that the kids would bolt out of the start and fade quickly. We also knew that anyone wearing a cotton t-shirt had probably never run a 5K before.
We also spotted the man and woman we thought would win the race. They were young, in shape and looked like they knew what they were doing.
The guy trying to organize the start didn’t have a microphone, but tried to tell people to self seed. This worked about as well as it usually does. Many cotton t-shirts were still in front.
About 10:05 the fire engine about 6 feet from us blasted its horn to start the race.
I took off running hard. By the time we got to the ladder truck with the American flag the lead group had formed, and I was one of them. The hill approaching the high school driveway was our first test. I really thought my quads would start screaming by this point, but it was smooth sailing.
The road was flat as we passed Oak Grove Cemetery. As we approached Winchester the road rose again and I passed a few folks who sounded winded. As we approached the turn in Winchester I counted the runners heading back, to see how many people were in front of me. There were about 30 runners.
I pushed hard on the two hills on the way out, and knew I had two down hills to run on the way back. The hills were not steep, but I had to use what I had available to my advantage. A young guy passed me and then I passed him on the first down hill.
There seemed to be 1,000 runners and walkers heading in the other direction. The cops motioned for us to run near the center line to allow for some traffic to pass. The masses filled the left lane and I had to crowd them to cut the curves efficiently. They seemed oblivious to the fact that runners were blowing past them and a collision would not be pretty.
As we approached the High School the last down hill was coming up. We passed an un-manned water stop but I didn’t really need it. There were two runners in front of me and that young guy on my tail. My legs felt pretty good and I knew I had a kick for the end.
I could tell I was gaining on the two runners in front of me and knew I was grinding up the young guy behind me.
As the street rose a bit, 200 yards before the finish, I passed the two people in front of me. I couldn’t hear the guy behind me anymore. About 50 yards before the finish someone flew by me. That was one impressive kick!
As I approached the finish I saw 21 on the clock! I was shocked. My legs held out and i was running strong with the clock in sight! The clock turned to 22 and I still had a way to go. I tossed in everything I had left and pushed for the finish.I saw 22:20 as I passed the clock, my official time was 22:22.
A little redemption
I did find out that they used gun time and not net time for the Cambridge Fall Classic 5K race. I started a ways back from the front and that probably cost me 30 seconds. Knowing how they timed the race made me feel a little better.
Crossing the finish at the Granara Skerry 5K at 22:22 really helped ease the pain. It wasn’t a course PR or anything. But for a guy running on gym legs and being able to give some younger runners a good run, I felt pretty good.
I didn’t expect to be able to run that hard. Beating my own expectations was the best reward for a race well run.
Full results HERE.
Run well my friends
© 2015 andrew nagelin