What a great day for the Super Sunday 2020 5 miler and 5K.
It was usually warm for February 2nd and we even had some sun! I tell people this race is always cold and some times it’s god damned cold! This year was as good as it get’s in February in Cambridge.
I’ve been running this race since 2015 and they have always had teams. It’s a great way to drive registrations and it’s a lot of fun to run with a group of friends.
Last year the Melrose Running Club had 31 runners. In 2020 we had 40 run the 5 miler and 9 more run the 5K. We had 11 more non-club members join our team, so we had a total of 60 people!
We got a VIP tent for the second year in a row. Special thank go to our Team Captain, Judy Dolan. Judy worked hard last year to get us a tent and this year took it to another level in getting 60 people to sign up!
Judy also brought hot coffee, pastries and chocolates. Last year she wrote a note for each runner, but with 60 runners, she just couldn’t do it this year. Can you blame her?
I think everyone had a great time and even with the “nice” weather, we enjoyed the shelter of the VIP tent.
Running the Super Sunday 2020 5 Miler
Along with 39 of my fellow MRC runners, I chose to run the 5 miler. I ran the 5K in 2015 but have enjoyed the longer race each year since.
Athenaeum Street is always a wind tunnel. This part of Kendall Square is only a few hundred yards from The Charles river. So there is always a cold breeze blowing down these side streets.
This year was as good as it had ever been. They start the 5K ten minutes after the 5 miler and my first year I had to wait in a freezing howl off of the river. Maybe that’s why I switched to the 5 miler!
There was a huge crowd and I could understand a word that the race director, Alain, said. Apparently he asked the crowd to step back because the crowd started pushing us back.
In 2019 we ran towards Third Street, but this year we ran towards First Street which is towards Boston. No big deal, but a bunch of runners had lined up on the front side of the starting line.
We didn’t really hear the start either, but we strained our eyes and saw the front of the pack start to move and in just a minute or two all of us were crossing the line and starting our watches.
It was pretty crowded but even the first turn went well. I didn’t have a full head of steam yet so there wasn’t much slowing needed to negotiate the corner.
Then we turned onto Binney Street which must be six lanes across. A wider road than much of the Boston Marathon route.
It was great to look around and see purple MRC shirts of all varieties. Last year the club bought 100 winter hats and I could see them all over the place.
I always love running through the intersection of Binney and Third Street. Each night I drive through this intersection and during the race I get through the intersection faster than driving!
Third Street in Cambridge is a total mess. This part of Cambridge has been under construction for at least the past ten years. If the city is waiting to fix the roads, it could be ten more years.
This road beats the shit out of my car and as a runner you need to watch where your feet land. I’ve replaced my shocks, I can’t replace an ankle.
From Third we took a right onto Broadway for our long slog out to The Harvard Art Museum where we took a sharp right onto Cambridge Street for the long slog back.
I’ve been on Cambridge Street many times, but I always feel disoriented when I’m running down this street.
About the Super Sunday 5 Mile Course
East Cambridge is a very flat area. The two “hills” had an elevation gain of 27 and 20 feet! The 20 footer came in the last mile of the race and I actually got to pass a few people.
Binney Street is nice and wide and Broadway and Cambridge street are pretty wide also. By the time we got to Broadway the crowd had thinned enough that the narrower road did not feel crowded.
As we ran west on Broadway the crowd continued to thin. At the first water stop, I was actually able to get a cup of water and they only had about five people manning the table. I’m not too proud to grab some water on a short course. I know I need it to run the way I do.
It was fun to run out Broadway and actually be able to look at the shops and restaurants. In a car you have to focus on cars, bikes, pedestrians and lights. It can be exhausting.
The Harvard Art Museum is quite the impressive modern building. They have an exhibit of Japanese art and I thought my youngest daughter might be interested in seeing that.
As I was admiring that building and reading the sign for the exhibit all of a sudden our turn was there!
I had been running with Marty Hergert and Pam Walcott. We kept trading places but at the turn we were close by.
We were now half way and headed toward mile three. This is where the folks who stick to 5Ks start to run our of gas. I knew that over the next two miles I’d be passing some of these people. All I had to do was maintain my pace.
Just keep pushing.
My first three miles were 8:02, 8:13 and 8:07.
I was working but everything was working. Nothing hurt and my breathing was pretty good.
I wasn’t breaking any land speed records, but I was doing pretty good for a guy running less than 25 miles a week.
As we ran along I tried to take in the scenery. Cambridge Street is in pretty good condition, so I didn’t have to pay strict attention to my feet.
I don’t recall much of this part of the race but I do recall enjoying the ability to actually see things.
As we headed down the hill at the end of Cambridge Street I was ready. I had pushed the last half mile and was ready for the final kick.
As we turned onto Athenaeum Street I could see the finish line! And there was a small crowd cheering us on.
I was with a good sized group of runners. So when we got to the finish line it was impossible to line up for the photographer.
Garmin had me at 41 minutes even. How unusual is that? My total distance was 5.08 for a pace of 8:04.
My official time was 40:47 at five miles exactly for an 8:11 pace. My 5 mile PR is 36:46 back in 2015 at the Harpoon Brewery Five Miler.
A Rockin Party
Our tent was packed. We had a huge crew and friends from other clubs kept dropping by. Like bees there was a constant flow of runners in and out of the group in search of beer. We’d go get some and head back to the tent.
Twice the race brought us three Za pizzas. They were nice and hot and really hit the spot. I missed the first delivery, but managed to get two delicious, hot slices on the second round.
I was riding with someone else, so I was on a mission to enjoy my self. And that is what I did.
The band was so good, I thought they were playing an Aerosmith tape over the PA. Even when I stopped to listen closely, they still were spot on.
With such a large crew there were people I hadn’t seen in a while and many new club members. It was really a great time.
When we went to leave the parking garage, we found out that it was free! We had no idea and it felt like such a bonus on top of a great race and great time.
If you’ve never run this race, I encourage you to try it next year. It’s well organized, the swag, food, band and beer are all great.
Run well my Friends!