Each year the Tufts University Graduate Student Council 5K Run/Walk becomes more and more popular.
Like so many races, COVID-19 has forced the cancellation of this race in 2020 and 2021.
In the past, registration was only $20, so you can’t beat the price.
All proceeds benefit Medford, Somerville and Dorchester organizations. The event is sponsored by the Graduate Student Council of Tufts University as part of their effort to support the local community.
This race starts at Eaton Hall and takes place entirely on the Tufts University campus. This helps keep expenses down and provides a challenging course for runners.
The 5K and 10K set of races took place in the Lawrence Woods. Starting behind Medford High School the 5K and 10K wind through the trails and fire roads. The 10K is a bit more technical with some ledge running involved!
The race was cancelled in 2020 and updates for 2021 are not available yet.
The Medford Jingle Bell run is sponsored by Lonergan Insurance and Real Estate who cover the entire operating cost of the race. This allows every dollar from fundraising to go to the students of the Medford Schools.
Each school in Medford that participates receives race proceeds in proportion to their contribution to the race.
Some high school clubs raise as much in this one event as they would in several fundraising events. And many hands make for lighter work.
This is an innovative concept in fundraising. It allows each elementary, middle school PTO and High School teams and clubs in town to have a significant fundraiser and not have to deal with all of the logistics.
What better way to kick of the Holiday Season than a festive 5K the Sunday before Thanksgiving?
Bring the kids and make it a family run, a family tradition. Many Medford 5K races allow children to run with their parents. Some also feature shorter races just for the kids so they can have some fun and catch the running bug!
Registration fee was $10 for kids under age 11; $15 for kids 11-18; and $25 for adults in advance or $30 day of race.
The race begins and finishes at the Krystle M. Campbell Peace Garden.
The Jennifer Tinney Road Race is a set of races including a 5 Miler, 5K, a 1 mile run and a 2.5 mile walk.
The races take place in East Boxford Village, MA each 4th of July. The races are in honor of Jennifer Tinney who was a local runner. One day while she and her mother were out for a run, she was tragically struck by a drunk driver and killed.
Members of the Tinney family, including Jennifer, ran the race when it was the Boxford Athletic Association 4th of July race. Her brother and nephew have run the race since it was renamed in honor of Jennifer.
Back in 2013 I ran the 5 mile race for the first time. My buddy Jeff Rushton drove up with me and of course he beat me in the 5 Miler! At the time, they let 5 Mile runners run the 1 Mile race for free, so I ran that one as well.
The Boxford area is an amazingly rural and beautiful place to run. There are many open fields, pastures and woods to run by. There are also many old houses which I love to look at as I run by.
In 2013 I was struck by the home town feel and family orientation. Runners do come from all over north-eastern Massachusetts to run, but so do many local families.
It’s great to see kids running with their parents and older children going all out for the win.
After the race there is a 4th of July parade. I didn’t stay for it in 2013, and I didn’t stay for it this year either. As we drove home today we passed just about every piece of emergency equipment from the Town of Boxford. What kids wouldn’t love that!
Unlike a big race in Boston or Cambridge, things are simpler and on a smaller scale in a small town race like the Jennifer Tinney Road Race.
This year 84 people ran the 5 Miler and 68 ran the 5K. 49 people ran the 1-mile race.
It’s a completely different vibe than the hustle and bustle of a city race.
As we ran our warm up today, everyone agreed that “serene” seemed to be the best word to describe this day and this location.
Running the Jennifer Tinney Road Race
These races are part of the Melrose Running Club’s 2017 Race Series. I didn’t expect a large turn out, but we ended up with about 14 people. During the awards ceremony the race director said that it looked like Melrose had taken over Boxford for the day!
I drove up with Durm Cahill and we kept seeing people from the club. We even had one of our newly graduated “Walk to Run” runners with us. One goal of the race series is to encourage new members to come out and enjoy racing, so I was very happy to see our newly minted runner.
Just before 8 o’clock the race director gathered us around and tried to make announcements. This being a small town race, he didn’t have a very loud PA system. We could barely hear most of what he said.
But we did hear where the start line was and we headed in that direction. Most of us lined up back from the line expecting other runners to fill in the space. They didn’t, we were all the runners there were! My buddy Mike Sikkema was on the starting line and was all business. Durm and I hung back a bit.
On a verbal command we were off! We headed down Depot Road and crossed Georgetown Road. Soon we were on a cool, tree shaded road.
The air was thick with the forest, streams and swamps. In the sun, you could see the mist in the air.
My phone said it was 67° but it felt more like 80°!
As we approached three-quarters of a mile I could still see the lights for the lead police car. Before the mile, they were out of sight.
Durm struck out on his own soon after the start, so I was running my own race. No need to keep up with anyone or run beyond my feel.
Over the first mile we had climbed 31 feet. Nothing major, just some rolling hills. Mile one chimed in at 7:57. Better than I had expected.
At about a mile-and-a-quarter I could hear running water. Soon I saw a pond with a dam and water flowing over. We crossed Pye Brook and shortly thereafter turned left onto Pond Street.
Runners were spaced apart now and I spent most of the race running alone. A few times I would pass someone, but mostly people passed me.
Running alone can make it difficult to push hard. With someone on your heels it’s much easier to run a wee bit faster.
Just before Mile 2 we took a quick jog onto Kelsey Road. An unmarked mile two chimed in at 7:45. A few more seconds in the bank!
After a quarter-mile we turned left onto Woodcrest Road. At the water stop they had good sized paper cups full of cool water. I was able to grab, pinch and get two good gulps of relief. The rest went down my shirt!
We were only 40% done, but I felt much more done than that!
We were on Woodcrest for most of a winding mile through the country side. I tried to enjoy the sights as mush as possible.
At the end of Woodcrest we turned left onto Georgetown Road. One of the volunteers told us Georgetown ran us right to the finish. That was cool to hear, but we were still short of three miles.
Soon after the turn, mile three chimed in at 8:09! I had robbed the bank on that mile! We had gained another 21 feet, but it didn’t seem that bad.
I still had a shot at a 40 minute finish, so I dug a little deeper.
There were now a few runners around me. Two people kept moving further ahead and I could tell that at least two others were closing on me. I managed to keep one guy behind me and thought I was wearing him down on the hills.
Eventually he passed me and shortly after that a young lady moved ahead also. I was doing all I could, so it didn’t bother me.
Finishing the Jennifer Tinney Road Race
We were now approaching walkers. I thought they were 5K runners who had flamed out and that I was making relative progress. I was wrong. They were the 2.5 mile walkers!
Mile four was mostly rolling hills and I managed an 8:00 mile. Now we were on the home stretch.
I had another guy on my heels so I used the hills as best I could. I could tell he was dieing going up the hills so I pushed. When we got to a downhill I extended my stride and tried to stay in front of him.
He eventually passed and we finished close together.
Somewhere around here we hit the second water stop. A women who had passed me stopped to walk and drink. Soon she passed me again.
I executed a near perfect, grab,pinch and gulp. We were on the home stretch and I was looking for that finish line!
The last mile was mostly flat and I managed a 7:57 mile. As mile five chimed, the finish line was still ahead of me. The guy who passed me was speeding up and so did I.
As I approached the finish I could see 39:48 on the clock. I was running as fast as I could, but the clock was faster. My time was 40:11.
Melrose Carries the Day
As I crossed the line I could see four of the guys hanging out talking. I was that much slower!
When the awards were announced Mike Sikkema was the fastest man in the 5 miler with a time of 30:28 for a pace of 6:06!
Now the truly amazing part of Mike’s win is that he got to run a slightly longer race than everyone else. When he got to the left onto Pond Street, a police car was parked on top of the arrow and the cop didn’t know which way to go.
Mike went strait but said he was pretty sure right away it wasn’t right. Fortunately, Kevin Elwood was close behind and yelled out to Mike. Mike had run about 200 yards in the wrong direction before Kevin saw him.
Even with the extra distance, Mike came in first. Kevin Elwood of Boxford came in second at 31:19.
David Penn was 12th overall and 3rd in his age group.
Matt Kerton was 15th overall.
Diarmuid Cahill was 22nd overall and 2nd in his age group.
I came in 31st overall.
Gail Severt was our top female finisher at 49th overall. This was Gail’s first race of the day!
In the 5K Cynthia Berger finished 23rd overall and Greg Berger finished 24th.
Cynthia was first in her age group and Greg was second in his.
Rebecca Hughes was our Walk to Run finisher today. She ran with her daughter Diana Hughes who came in 3rd in her age group.
What Moves You 5K was my first 5K for June. The race takes place in Exeter, NH which is about 53 miles from my house!
I swore off these long drives for short races years ago. But I signed up for the Will Run for Beer series and this was the fifth race that I needed to complete my series and get my jacket. What a guy will do for a jacket!
Moving Down the Highway
I woke up around 6AM like I usually do. The house was warm and the windows were light. It felt like summer. I planned to leave around 7AM, but left the house around 6:30.
I find that if I putter around the house time slips away and I end up hustling to get where I need to be.
My bag was packed and I topped off my water bottle.
After I got onto 93 North I set cruise control for 65 mph and tried to relax. There wasn’t any traffic and I had plenty of time. I brought some CDs with me so I wouldn’t have to keep looking for good music on the radio.
When I pulled into the garage at Exeter Hospital, the crew was still getting their instructions. I was parked on the top deck before the volunteers emerged from the stairwell.
It felt hot already. I checked my gear and had some water before heading off to get my bib and shirt.
There were plenty of volunteers and few runners yet. I quickly got my bib and shirt and used the facilities.
I headed back to my car to pin on my bib and do my final race prep.
Running What Moves You 5K
Around 8:20 I started my stretching routine. It was hot! Around 8:30 I left the garage and did some light jogging to warm up. I followed the race route out to Portsmouth Ave and ran past the shopping plaza where the race started.
Then I headed for the shade, did some more stretching and sat down.
Around 8:50 they had us line up. The area right behind the starting line had few runners. The announcer told the faster runners to fill in the front and for everyone to move up. No one really seemed to pay attention.
I was about 20 feet back from the line and could have walked up another 10 feet easily. It was hot and I think most people wanted to take it easy. I finished my drink and put the bottle on the side walk. No barrels of any kind were in sight.
They played The National Anthem and we were off.
The crowd wasn’t too bad as we turned onto Alumni Drive. There were definitely some fast people here. When we tuned onto Portsmouth Ave they had one side of the road blocked off for us.
We were in full sun and I saw 80°on a bank clock right after we got onto Portsmouth Ave. It felt warmer than that. Having those last few drinks just before the start made me confident that I wouldn’t stroke out.
Looking up I could see the police car and lead runners about a quarter mile ahead of me. The running lane had dropped down to the breakdown lane and the crowd had thinned out. I also noticed my running buddy Brian Sarro up ahead.
Brian usually finishes ahead of me and I wondered if I could catch him in this heat. As we turned onto Holland Way, Brian was still ahead of me.
We were near Rt 101, which is a busy road, but there were woods and swamp on either side of the road. There were some homes and businesses, but it was almost like running in the country.
As we approached the 1 mile sign I had a moment of doubt. This was the hottest race I’ve run since last summer, my running miles are still low and I’m still carrying my holiday gift with me. It wasn’t so much a question of did I want this. I was actually concerned about my ability to do it.
I was damp with sweat and was giving at least a 90% effort. I knew that there was water before mile two, but this felt like extreme conditions. Was this even safe to do?
My watch chimed 7:36 right at the One Mile sign. I don’t think that has ever happened before. The time was very good and it boosted my confidence. If I could keep the rest of my miles under an 8:00 pace, I might be able to hit a 24 minute 5K.
With that, I was all in. We were on a bit of a decline, so I picked up the pace and started looking for shade and that water stop!
I saw a rugged young guy in front of me. He had on a t-shirt, compression shorts, shorts, compression socks and gym socks. I was probably 30 years older than him, but I knew the sun was going to melt him down.
He was soaked through with sweat just like me, but I was dressed for the conditions. It probably took half a mile, but I passed him and was having some cold water when he crossed the finish line.
We made a sharp right onto Rt 27. There were red cones marking our running lane on the side of the road. The lane was pretty narrow and I was worried I would trip over a cone while trying to make the turn!
As we approached Mile Two I could see the water stop. Brian was still ahead of me and I didn’t think I was going to catch him. I saw Brian grab a cup and right behind him I grabbed a cup.
Brian started walking through the water stop while he drank. He seemed okay and was at a support station. So I knew he would be alright. I really expected him to catch up with me.
I tossed water down my throat between breathes. I got most of it down the hatch and even managed to get my crumpled cup into the trash! I was feeling pretty good.
Finishing What Moves You 5K
We were on the home stretch. I had lost sight of the lead runners and their police escort soon after the first mile. Oh well, I wasn’t going to win this one!
Mile Two came in at 8:03. I was slowing down too quickly and was running slower than I thought. 24 minutes seemed out of question at this point.
With only 1.2 miles to go, I decided to press on and see how close I could get.
I began to recognize some buildings as we ran back into town, and I thought we were too close to the finish to get in a full 5K.
They had us take a few turns and looped us behind the hospital on Alumni Drive. We made our final turn and I finished strong in front of the parking garage.
Mile Three came in at 7:49 and the last 0.12 mile came in at 6:43. My watch and the timing company both had me at 24:19! So close to my goal!
I exchanged first bumps with a few runners that finished with me and gulped down a 500ml bottle of ice cold water. It tasted so good!
I saw Brian and Lisa Hentschel finish and headed for the snack tables. I skipped the bananas and yogurt as they didn’t seem like they would agree with my stomach. I managed two CLIFF bars and a Hint water.
I walked up four flights of stairs to drop my loot off at my car and then walked down four flights of stairs for a beer and a bite to eat.
On the way over to Margarita’s I found a spot to lay down and put my feet up. Lately I’ve been trying to elevate my feet for five minutes after a run. It’s supposed to help drain the junk out of your legs after a run. Apparently your heart only pumps out and does not actually pull the blood out of your lower extremities.
I think it’s too soon to tell, but my knees seem to bother me less. But my knees could be improving do to yoga and the gym.
What Moves You Apre Party
The North Shore contingent of the Melrose Running Club was there. Brain Sarro, Derek and Lisa Hentschel, Brian’s nephew and his wife and Dan and his wife. Sorry, but I’m really bad with names.
Derek had secured a seat on the covered patio with two tables. I redeemed my one beer ticket and got a breakfast burrito. The beer was cold, the burrito tasty and the conversation lively.
I had a long 50+ mile drive home. So after I fished my apre race meal I said good bye to all and headed for the door.
Memorial Day Weekend is a great weekend for running. There are races held in honor of those who made the ultimate sacrifice and there are races held to celebrate life, the beginning of summer and do some fundraising.
Memorial Day Weekend Running
I managed to run two races this weekend. I had hoped to run three races but I could not find a Monday race that was reasonably close to home or not a driving nightmare.
I used to live in Saugus when my children were little. The Procopio Gold Star Run started in front of the Saugus Town Hall.
Over the years we attended many events at Town Hall. Seeing all of the youngsters running around brought back many fond memories.
The Library is across the street from Town Hall and the building in this photo. We spent a lot of time at the library for events and getting books. I was a Library Trustee and Board Treasurer for several years. It was a trip down memory lane.
Scott Procopio Gold Star Run 10K
They had us line up just before 8AM. Over the start line they hung a huge American flag across the street. It was a sight to see. They played the National Anthem and sent us on our way.
The 5K and 10K runners started together and ran down Central Street to Winter Street. The 5K runners took a left onto Winter Street and we ran up the hill and took a right onto Adams Street.
I used to drive down Adams Street on occasion, so it was interesting to see the changes. At the corner of Adams and Vine Street there is a greenhouse/garden shop. I was glad to see that they were still in operation and seemed to be doing well.
We quickly turned left onto Essex Street and headed for the Cliftondale rotary where we continued onto Lincoln Street. A few hundred yards before the rotary we hit mile two and my pace was 7:57. A little faster than I wanted to run this early in a 10K, but I felt okay.
The first water stop was also just before the rotary and I was glad to see it. The day felt warm and
humid. A cop had traffic stopped in the rotary for us!
As I ran through Cliftondale and down Lincoln Ave I noticed all of the businesses that were gone. There seemed to be more nail salons and beauty parlors among the empty store fronts. The Century 21 real estate agency that I once worked for was also gone.
As we ran past Seagirt Ave I looked down the hill to my old home. It was still standing and still had the paint I put on it almost 17 years ago! I guess all of the time I put into scraping and patching really worked! Just past the intersection, mile three came in at 8:16.
Further down Lincoln Ave we ran past a Saugus institution, Kane’s Donuts. I was hoping they would have an iced coffee stop or hand out donut pieces. There was a small line out the door of the greatly expanded shop. I was glad to see they were still doing well.
As we ran down Lincoln Ave towards the Saugus River we passed what used to be an ice cream shop. It was now yet another Dunkin Donuts. Yeah!
Approaching the bridge I could smell the salty air and a bit of mud flat.
Going up Hamilton Street I knew that the hills were just beginning. We gained about 60 feet in exactly 0.25 miles starting right after mile 4.
My legs felt good and I had juice so I pushed up the hill and managed to pass several runners. Then we took a right onto Riverbank Road and hit our last hill. As we came down the hill and crossed over the Saugus River I passed five or six more runners. Mile five came in at 8:29.
We ran past the Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site and took a right onto Pleasant Street. There weren’t many runners in sight.
As we took the left onto Summer Street I set my sights on the few runners in front of me. I pushed hard and over took several of them.
At the corner of Taylor Street I saw a school bus pull up to the intersection and start unloading ROTC cadets! I panicked for a second. How was I going to get through all of them? They seemed oblivious that a race was going on.
Thankfully there was a race official to guide me through a narrow corridor they had set up for us. The kids hardly noticed me as I went past. Like most military folks I know they probably dread PT and running in particular.
As I pressed for the finish I saw a few friends who either ran the 5K or finished way ahead of me walking the other way on their way home. It was nice to get a few shout outs.
Winning my Age Group
After the race I hung out with friends from the club and talked about travel and our lives. It was nice to catch up.
I was starving and the race provided griddle fried hot dogs. I think they were Pearle natural casing dogs. They were definitely awesome! I was going to get another one but they were closing up by the time I got there. That’s the price you pay when running the longer race at an event.
For fun I walked over the the All Sports Event truck to check my time. I saw on their screen that I was first in my age group! While that was exciting, I noticed I was the only male 50-59 runner.
I expected a few guys who started behind me to show up on the board ahead of me, so I didn’t get too excited. Then I went over to the tent and got a print out of my results. I was 1/1 in my age group!
They did the 5K awards first. A 7-year old girl came in 3rd in the 0-19 age group! How awesome is that? They waited about 15 minutes to do the 10K awards.
By that time 3/4 of the people had left, including some of the winners. When they got to my award even fewer people were there. My friend Daniel and his wife Alex stuck around to cheer me on.
I actually got to stand on the top box of the platform, all by my self! It was a bit weird and not as exciting as it would have been to have some competition.
Baldi River Run 5 Miler
The Baldi River run has been produced by the Girabaldi Club in Methuen for 20 years. This was my first year running the race.
I drove up to Methuen with Durm Cahill and met a few friends at the race.
This was my Memorial Day Weekend Sunday race.
I guess everyone knows where the club is because they had absolutely no signs. We saw a cop and someone in a volunteer shirt and asked where to park. I think we were right in front of the club!
We parked near the Merrimack River and started looking around for the club. They had the food and beer tents set up so we knew we were in the right place. But no signs telling us where bib pick up was.
Bib and shirt pick up were quick and easy. We used the facilities and decided to walk around and check out the area.
Methuen is an old New England mill town like Lawrence and Lowell. While Lowell has experienced a renaissance over the past twenty years, Lawrence and Methuen have been largely passed by.
We admired the old buildings and dreamed about being real estate developers. There is so much potential in those 1882 buildings. There is even a commuter rail stop right down the street. Why isn’t this area of Methuen completely redeveloped?
As we jogged back up Washington Street we crossed the street from the club. There was a cop and some police tape. We figured it was a construction site as we saw three people scrubbing the side walk.
We noticed that the workers were wearing Haz-Mat suites, so we asked the cop what was going on. She said two people had been stabbed there last night and those guys were cleaning up the blood.
I guess there was one good reason why this neighborhood hasn’t been redeveloped!
Running the Baldi River Run 5 Miler
We lined up behind the cross walk. Durm had us one back from the front. I thought that was crazy but Durm and Matt Kerton said, “why not, you’re fast.” Not that fast!
One of the runners asked if we should be behind the cross walk or on the leading edge. The race official said on the edge, so we all moved up a few feet.
This is an old school race, they didn’t even have a bull horn. Fortunately we were up front and could hear about some rough pavement. They did use a real starter pistol though.
With a sharp snap we were off! Almost immediately I could feel the fatigue in my thighs and hips. Durm and I stayed to the right and let lots of people pass us. It is difficult to keep a pace when people keep passing you!
The first mile was down Merrimack and Water Streets with hardly a view of the river.
Mile one came in at 8:00 even. My legs were feeling better but I was still trying to hold back.
Just after the mile Water Street was right on the river. It was nice to see the large old homes on the left and the mighty Merrimack on the right. So much history and living has gone on in this area since the 1640’s.
With no clouds in the ski, it was getting hot. I grabbed a cup at the first water stop and never broke my pace.
At almost exactly 2.5 miles we made our turn around. There was some shade in this area.
After the turn we went up a long slow incline that I christened the Haver-hill. The elevation gain was negligible, but you had to look up.
After mile three Durm said he was going to kick it in. Slowly he pulled ahead. With less than two miles to go I picked up the pace also.
Mile four came in at 8:13 which was faster than the previous two miles. As we ran the last mile I spotted two Mystic Runners and a Merrimack Valley Strider. I slowly closed on the Mystics. With less than half a mile to go I over took both Mystics and set my sights on the MVS runner.
She was young and had muscular legs. This was not going to be easy! I kept at it and somehow I managed to inch past her. As we approached the finish, I could tell she was close.
I ran the last mile at a 7:48 pace! Nothing like some competition!
At the Finish
Volunteers handed us coozies holding cups of ice water. Durm found me and we headed into the club in search of more water. While enjoying more water one of the race organizers asked us how the course was. We told him that we enjoyed the race and that the drivers were very good.
Matt Kerton set a new 10K PR, which is amazing since he set 20 something PRs last year.
When we got to the parking lot, we noticed there was no line for beer and twenty people in line for food. So we grabbed a Coors Light and headed for the food.
In line we spoke with a local runner. He looked to be in his 60’s but was in awesome shape. He didn’t like the beer either. Durm and I took our food and headed for an empty bench by the river.
The sun was out, we just ran a great race and had a plate of good food. Life is good!
Since it was Memorial Day weekend and the beer was totally resistible we decided to head out.
I left my phone in the car, so I don’t have any photos for this race. Hopefully I will find some to add.
Stonyfield 5K 2017 was the 7th running of this New Hampshire 5K. Taking place at the Stonyfield Farm Yogurt Works in Londonderry, NH this was quite a drive from the Greater Boston Area (GBA).
Driving to Stonyfield 5K
I needed this race so that I could fit five races into my schedule from the Club LOCO “Will Run for Beer” series. The series has eleven events on the schedule including three half marathons. If you finish five races you get a “Will Run for Beer” series wind breaker.
I’m not in half marathon condition so I had to weave five 5K races into my complex and shifting schedule this year.
Focusing more on my schedule than where this race was, I didn’t notice that the race was right next to the Manchester Airport! That’s about a 50 mile drive, one-way, from my house. 100 miles RT to run a 5K and I didn’t even have anyone with me!
I guess that is why I’ve never run the Stonyfield 5K before, it’s just too far away. It is an easy drive up Rt 93, but it’s one hell of a drive. Even with no traffic it took me about 45 minutes.
Arriving around 8:30, all of the parking lots were full. I was directed to park on the road, closer to the event than most people.
Running Stonyfield 5K
As I approached the race area it was easy to spot the bib pickup tents. Most people already had their numbers, so the lines were short. I picked up my bib and shirt in no time.
I guess sometimes it pays to be late!
I saw my friends Brian Sarro and Derek and Lisa Hentschel. It’s been about a month since we ran and hung out in Newmarket, NH. That was a wild party!
It was a little on the cool side, so everyone decided to head back to their cars to get ready and stay warm.
As I was walking through the parking lot I saw the Charmingfare Farm Petting Zoo for the kids. As I walked by I could see and hear how excited the kids were to touch the chickens and rabbits in the cages.
I sat in my car, pinned on my number and had part of a Clif Protein bar and something to drink. The temperature was in the low 50s and there was a light breeze, but I decided to go with just the singlet.
Lately I’ve been over dressing for races and it hasn’t helped my performance.
Around 9:30 I headed back to the race area and stood in line for the porta-potties. I was lucky to find a short line which was also close to the starting area.
I couldn’t get near the front and so started about 300 runners back. Someone sang the National Anthem and then we started. It took about a minute to cross the start line.
It was very crowded as we headed down Burton Road. About 400 yards into the race I ran into four people walking arm in arm! I was pissed. Nothing against walkers, but what the f@#% are they doing at the front of the race? That is just inconsiderate, stupid and even dangerous.
After the race a friend said he thought about tackling them. I saw many walkers at the head of the pack. Maybe they don’t know any better or maybe they just don’t care. All of the stroller runners started near the back.
We crossed Harvey Road and ran down Aviation Park. The pack began to spread out and I started moving up. This was our first cul-de-sac turnaround and gave us a chance to see the leaders as they headed back out to Harvey Road.
From Aviation Park we took a right onto Harvey Road. We had one side of the road to run on and plenty of police.
As we came down the Harvey Road hill, a large runway came into view! Did I mention the race was next to the Manchester Airport? I wondered out loud which airport this was and wouldn’t it be cool to have a jet take off and fly over us.It also donned on me just how far I had driven.
As I said this, the guy next to me said a jet just taxied onto the runway. He took out his phone and started taking pictures. Sure enough, just after we made the turn onto Delta Drive and were under the flight path, the jet flew over us. Amazingly, the jet was quieter than when they fly over my house!
Delta Drive was our second turn around on a cul-de-sac. Just as we turned they had the water stop. The road is wide and I tried to make a tight turn. As I did so I had to look out for runners spinning off the turn to get a drink.
We hit mile two shortly after the turn. My first mile was 7:52 and mile two was 7:55. Not bad, but I wasn’t going to be close to 24 minutes.
On the way back we ran up the hills we had just run down. My knees had tweaked a few times, but felt pretty good. I had some juice in the tank and my temperature was perfect, so I kicked it in and ran those hills.
Lots of people were toast at this point. Many who were still racing began to drop back as I charged up the first hill. As I came down Delta Drive hill, just before the turn I caught up to Lisa Hentschel. We chatted for a few moments and I pushed ahead.
After the turn was the last hill. It was probably about 30 feet over half a mile. Not a big hill but enough to feel it.
My legs still felt good. I hadn’t really trained for this race, but I did run intentionally for it. My Tuesday night run was 7.24 miles and my Thursday run was 4.15. I felt good on both runs and knew I needed them for my legs and to build my cardio a bit. Not much you can do in two runs, but they felt good.
It seemed to be paying off. I would spot the next runner in front of me and head for them. Some were younger and some were older, but I passed them all. A few younger runners also passed me and there was nothing I could do about that.
Finishing the Stonyfield 5K
As the Harvey Road hill crested, I could see police cars in the road ahead. This was our turn onto Burton Way and to the finish.
I began to recognize the area and saw the group of cheering children that we saw on the way out. Just after the turn my watch hit the three mile mark and my pace was 8:12. Those hills definitely slowed me down. My average pace was now 7:58.
I kicked in for the last tenth of a mile or so and ran a 7:00 pace. My watch gave me a 25:20 finish and my official time was 25:18. The only difference was that my distance was 3.18 which gave me a pace of 7:58, they had me at 8:09.
I was a little winded after the finish but recovered quickly. I grabbed a water and walked around a bit, then headed back to my car.
It was too cold to stand around in a wet singlet. I stripped it off, toweled off and put on my Stonyfield 5K t-shirt. I put the singlet back on for some extra warmth.
As I approached the biergarten I could see Brian with a beer all ready! The bouncer let me in with just the gray beard on my face as proof of age. I said hi to Brian, Lisa, Derek and the gang and went to get a beer. No line!
I went back to the gang and saw some people had hot dogs. Brian held my beer so I could leave the biergarten and get a dog. There wasn’t a line but a dad in front of me was holding two young children and the three of them couldn’t seem to make up their minds what to do.
With dog in hand I headed back to the gang to enjoy good company and good beer. It turned out that my dog was cold, but I ate it anyway! As usual, we had fun talking and catching up.
It was still a little cool and I had decided to only have a beer or two. They were changing over kegs and the line was long so I decided one was enough. I parted company with my friends, walked around a bit and headed for home.
Most races that I run are on Sundays and I used to think that most races were on Sunday. For me Saturday races are a nice change of pace. I decided to see how many races are run on each weekend day and write about why I love Saturday races.
Why I Love Saturday Races
I love Saturday races because I can relax on Sunday. Traveling to a race and running it can be quite exhausting.
For a 5K or 10K it’s not too bad, even with a long drive. A Half or full Marathon can consume a full day.
It’s not unusual to travel 30 minutes to an hour for a race. Because most races start at 9:00 or 10:00 AM you have to get up early, get into hustle mode and get on the road.
For a 9:00 AM race it’s not unusual for me to get up at 6:00 AM. There goes a nice lazy morning and a little extra weekend sleep.
I love Saturday races because I can sleep in on Sunday.
When I race I almost always go in 100%. This means near complete exhaustion after the race. For a 5K or 10K the recovery is usually pretty quick. For a half or full marathon it can take a day or two to fully recover. For a marathon it’s not unusual to take a week to get back to normal.
I love Saturday races because I have Sunday to recover. Monday can still be challenging, but having a full day to relax and recover makes those Mondays much easier.
I love Saturday races because I feel like I have accomplished something. How many times have you gone back to work on Monday and felt like you did nothing all weekend? That it was a total waste of time.
When I run on Saturday I always have this feeling that I’ve done something great this weekend. It may be a runner’s high, but I get to enjoy that feeling of well being all Sunday.
Running any race is an accomplishment and especially so if you gave it your all and had a good time. There’s not much better than that!
What Saturday Races?
Since most races that I sign up for are on Sunday, i
t was my observation that few races occurred on Saturdays.
I only had anecdotal evidence that helped me develop my own notion of reality. But this is how I arrived at this conclusion:
Traffic is lighter on Sunday, so it is safer for runners. Many races do not close roads, so less traffic means greater safety.
Most children’s activities are on Saturday. My kids had soccer games almost every Saturday in the spring and fall. When they were younger they had dance classes. Many kids also swim, do martial arts, music, art or theater on Saturday.
Parents are too busy on Saturday to sign up for races. Race demographics do show that under 40 females make up a large portion of runners. Whiles dads are more involved with their children these days, moms still do most of the child care and many dads go to their children’s events with their wives.
To draw more young parents and enhance safety, I assumed race organizers held most of their races on Sunday.
I was wrong.
Saturday Races are Popular
I did some research to get some facts and test my theory. I went to runningintheusa.com and checked the numbers for a few states.
I looked at the three states I race in the most, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. Then I added in the top seven states for total number of races. The list is in no particular order.
I was shocked to see that in the states I run in most often there are more races on Saturday than Sunday.
Then I looked at marathons in these three states. In Massachusetts and New Hampshire, more marathons are held on Sunday, in Vermont they are split evenly.
Then I looked at marathons held in the top seven states. In four of them, more marathons are held on Sunday than Saturday.
Why more marathons on Sunday?
With the data at my finger tips it is hard to say definitively. It may be the safety issue with less traffic on Sunday. Getting permits to close roads may be easier on Sundays. Perhaps all of the timing companies are busy managing shorter races on Saturday?
A marathon is a big undertaking. For race organizers the logistics can be enormous. There is equipment and volunteers to get into place. Often a large area needs to be taken over for base camp and this can be disruptive to businesses on Saturday.
It may be easier to get volunteers and permits on a Sunday.
While Massachusetts holds 1952 running events, we only have 16 marathons. That means we often have to travel a bit to get to our races. Many runners like to travel the day before a big race and get a good night’s sleep. Having a marathon on Sunday makes this easier to do.
Most marathons also have an expo and runner’s dinner. The vendors want the runners to have time to shop. Race dinners can be a lot of fun. Rushing to get to a dinner Friday night after work may not seem worth it to many. A nice leisurely dinner with fellow runners on a Saturday night is a great time.
Why more races on Saturday?
Looking at the three southern states on my list, Texas, Florida and Georgia, around 80% of all races are held on Saturday. I can only speculate that this is due to church attendance on Sundays.
In the New England states and California about 40 to 50% of races are held on Saturdays: a much more even split. It may come down to logistics in these states.
Facts is Facts
As a friend’s father used to say to us, Facts is Facts. He meant that the numbers don’t lie, they are what they are.
My theory that most races are on Sunday has been dis-proven by the facts.
This was a casual review of a few states and I’m sure that a more academic review would reveal some interesting insights. It would be interesting to see if marathons break the pattern in a majority of states.
As “Myth Busters” used to say. “Myth Busted!”
Do you prefer to run on Saturday or Sunday? Do you prefer to run marathons and halfs on Saturday or Sunday?