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Cambridge 5K, Craicfest

Running Craicfest 2017 5K Road Race

Craicfest 2017 was a frosty, fun run.

Running Craicfest 2017

After a spell of warm weather, the Greater Boston Area has been plunged into a deep freeze. We had snow on Friday and a big storm is expected Tuesday into Wednesday.

Sunday morning it was 9° F when I left my house. Fellow MRC runner Diarmuid Cahill parked at my house and we carpooled into Cambridge. It took a few minutes for my old car to warm up.

We made a quick stop at Starbucks at Station Landing and got to The Cambridgeside Galleria Mall in no time. Diarm had to pick up his number so we made a quick foray into the garage.

We were chilled to the bone in just a few minutes. It made deciding what to wear for the race easy: just about everything we brought! As we sat in the car a group of people got into a car a few rows in front of us. I thought I recognized Andy Brown.

After a few minutes we decided to use the facilities. On the way back I heard someone yelling my name, and it turned out to be Andy! He was with Matt and Andrea Kerton.

We went over and chatted for a few minutes, then headed back to my car to warm up and finish our race prep.

I didn’t want to over dress, but it was only about 9° out. I ended up with four layers on top with my MRC singlet on top. I also wore my purple neck gaiter just for fun.

Around 9AM they started calling us to the start. We decided to wait until 9:15 because it was so cold, and we were close to the exit to the starting area.

Running the Craicfest

Around 9:15 the five of us headed for the start. It seemed like everyone else had the same idea. Before we got too far we asked a stranger to take a group photo for us. Haven’t we all done this for someone?

Craicfest, Melrose Running Club

Diarm and I never saw these guys again and missed Katherine Kulig also. Katherine was the first MRC runner to cross the finish line at 21:38 in 97th place.

Diarm is new to running but he is fast and a serious runner. We saw the pace signs and Diarm thought we should line up with the 7:30 to 7:59 group. I wasn’t feeling that fast but figured, what the hell!

After a few minutes the start area filled in and they had us move forward. Before we knew it, we were about 20 people from the front and in the “way less than 6 minute pace” group. I knew we were close to the front and when I turned around and saw all of the people behind us, I realized just how far in front we were.

For the start, they actually used a starter pistol. At least that’s what it sounded like. We jogged for about 10 seconds and then the sprint for the first left hand turn was on.

Craicfest 2017 map

The turn onto Charles Street seemed to take 15 seconds to reach. We ran past the mall and took a left onto Land Boulevard in front on The Sonesta hotel. It seemed odd to be running through this normally congested intersection.

As we ran over the Broad Canal, a vicious wind whipped down the canal to greet us. It wasn’t 9F anymore, it was F’ing 9 below!

We then crossed another busy intersection by The Science Museum and headed for the Gilmore Bridge. We were fully exposed to the wind.

As we ran past Bunker Hill Community College there had to be 200 students cheering us on. It was completely unexpected and totally awesome!

At this point, Diarm was starting to move ahead. I was running at about 100% and knew I had to save some juice to get through the race. I skipped the water stop at Mile 1.

Soon after the water stop on Rt. 99 we took a right into the Millers River Basin park area. I’ve run parts of these trails before, but today we took the full tour.

Craicfest 2017 Trail Run

This is an area that has been re-developed since the Big Dig. What was probably an industrial waste land is now a great place to run. There is also a skateboard park in there somewhere.

We looped down to the locks that keep Boston Harbor from flooding into The Charles River at high tide. We turned here at about 1.5 miles and headed under Rt 93 and The Zakim bridge. As I ran along I looked up at the bridge way over our heads. It really is something to see.

Then we crossed the Millers River and went over the MBTA tracks for North Station. Fortunately there was only one train coming into the station, so we avoided too much diesel exhaust.

Then we made several loops in Northpoint Park and left the park on Northpoint Boulevard. At this point we were about 2.5 miles into the race. As we crossed the Gilmore Bridge Road the cop who was directing traffic encouraged us by telling us that there was cold beer waiting for us at the finish!

I knew that we were close to the finish, but it seemed to sneak up on me. Northpoint Boulevard ended and we took a left onto East Street which went through another incredibly busy intersection on The O’Brien Highway. Before I knew it, I was on First Street and I could see the finish line.

Many Boston Marathon runners have had the experience of turning onto Boylston Street and seeing the finish line. They run and run and it never seems to get closer. I had a scaled down version of that today.

I really didn’t have any juice left for a final kick. Other people did and ran past me. I could see the finish line and I didn’t care. I think the photographer got a good picture of me because there wasn’t anyone around me!

I crossed the finish line around 24:40 and breathlessly grabbed a water. As I walked along I spotted Diarm in his MRC singlet standing near the entrance to the mall parking garage.

As I caught my breathe we talked about the race and how cold it was. Very few people were in the garage, so we made a quick sweep of the vendor tables. With our samples and a beer, we headed for the car to warm up and change. We did have to finish our beer before leaving the party zone.

Apre Craicfest 2017

After warming up and putting on heavier clothes, we headed back to the party. We loaded our pockets up with samples and had some more beer. Eventually we ran into Cynthia and Greg Berger.

Cynthia Berger, Greg Berger, Craicfest 2017

They had enjoyed the race and were having fun walking around. Greg wore only shorts and a Boston Celtics headband! He said he was fine, but I was cold as hell and wore double what he did!

We chatted for about five minutes and they headed out. Diarm and I made another round of the vendors and were given mall synch (sp?) bags so we could carry more stuff!

I know that the vendors do not want to pack all of that stuff back into their cars. They were freezing too, and the sooner they ran out the sooner they could leave.

We got all kinds of stuff, and people were trying to give us more. Next time, I’m bringing a shopping cart!

To Craic or not?

The Craicfest 2017 5K is the 3rd race in the Melrose Running Club Race Series. I pulled the series together in mid December 2016 and picked races I thought people would enjoy. The Craicfest had a competing race and one that people had signed up for before I published the Race Series list.

The Craicfest 5K runs through a part of Cambridge that few if any other races do. The other race is less expensive and closer to home, but everyone I spoke with wants to run the Craicfest again next year.

I thought it was a fun race also and I think we will Craicfest in 2018!

Full results HERE. This link also has some cool demographics.

I also heard that our team came in 13th out of 43 teams. Not bad!

Run well my Friends!

Andy, pub-4167727599129474, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0