New Bedford put on another great half marathon on March 16th
It’s a bit of a long drive, but I went with Mike Hartin and Gail Severt and we had a good time.
There is a reason that this race is rated a top twenty-five Half-Marathon in the United States by Runner’s World magazine. And rated the top Half-Marathon in New England by New England Runner magazine.
The organizers; The Friendly Son’s of St. Patrick and Yankee Timing do a superb job with this race. As we walked into the YMCA there was someone there to direct us to toilets or registration.
As we walked into the gym there were five people standing there with the list of runners. One of them looked up my name in no time and directed me to pick up my bib and race shirt. The three of us walked over to the tables and within 5 minutes we were headed out the door.
They had the entrance door at one end of the gym and the exit door at the other end. This prevented any congestion. Brilliant.
We headed back to my car and did our final race prep. It was about 34F/2C with a 10-20 mph wind. It was brisk. As experienced runners we knew that it is okay to be cold at the beginning of the race because we will be working up a sweat within the first mile. It was still difficult to decide to be so cold for the 20 minutes before the start.
On the way to the start we hit the porta potties one last time. I have to say that the men who used the porta potties before me had poor aim. I’ll leave it at that.
Gail and I lined up with the 10 minute group and froze while we waited and set up our watches. Mike went up further to be in one of the faster groups. The race director spoke for a few minutes, the mayor spoke and thanked us for coming to their city and hoped we would stay after the race and come again someday.
We had a moment of silence for a fallen local Marine and a young lady with a good voice sang God Bless America and The Star Spangled Banner. Live – no recording. Class.
And they’re off
The starting horn went off and it took about a minute and a half to get to the starting mats. Gail and I split up within the first quarter-mile. The first mile or two took some effort. I was warming up and it was crowded. Lots of weaving and trying to get through people running 3 or 4 abreast.
Around mile two I began to feel comfortable and ran strong. My splits were very consistent with an average of 8:00/mile according to Garmin. My slowest was mile 11 at 8:23 and my fastest was mile 7 at 7:43. Not too bad of a deviation, most of which was due to the terrain.
At mile 12 we hit the last hill. It doesn’t even show up on my Garmin, but it is there. I managed an 8:15 mile by tossing my feet in front of me like they were cinder blocks. They just pulled me along. Nothing really hurt, I had plenty of breath and it was just a matter of will power to finish. As I came to the finish I had some kick and ran the last 0.22 miles at a 6:53 pace!
Coolrunning and Garmin had me finishing at 1:46.09. Garmin has me running 13.22 miles so my pace was 8:00. I’ve never run the exact race distance and usually I am over.
Gail came in around 1:50 and Mike came in around 1:37. Gail was very happy to be under two hours and Mike was a hurting pup. He didn’t eat much and he was sweating and freezing on the way home.
Ruben Sanca topped the field in 1 hour, 5 minutes and 52 seconds. Kim Smith finished first in the women’s division in 1 hour, 11 minutes and 9 seconds. I met Ruben once and he is a nice guy and a great runner. I watched Kim Smith receive a massive check from the BAA for winning the BAA Distance Medley a few years ago. Both are very impressive runners.
Since this was a Y, they had showers. Since this was New Bedford they had hot clam chowder and fish sandwiches. The chowda was awesome and the fish sandwiches were real fillets, none of that surimi stuff we get from the grocery store.
This year they had a lot of tables set up for us, which was great. I ate off of my lap last year. They had lots of iced Polar seltzer and soda. I actually had a ginger ale and enjoyed it. They had mountains of PowerBars and we loaded up. There were still tons on the table when we left.
The food was great. The logistics were flawless and the race was well-managed. Hat’s off to New Bedford. Well done!