Blue Cross Blue Shield Island Run 2018

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Island Run 5 Miler and 5K were a great time and a great way to see Spectacle Island in Boston Harbor

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts held their fifth annual Island Run on September 22nd. The race took place on Spectacle Island in Boston Harbor.

To get to this race we had to be on the Provincetown II ferry by 9:00 AM. There was no other way to get to Spectacle Island unless you had your own boat!

I left my house just after 7AM and was on the waterfront by 7:30. My GPS had 200 Seaport Blvd punched in, but that took me to the Fish Pier. There is a parking lot at the end of the pier without any space numbers or meters, so it might have been free parking or my car might have been missing when I returned after the race.

I thought I found a parking spot on Seaport Blvd, but it turns out the meters are only good for two hours! I reluctantly parked in the MassPort garage and figured it would cost me $32 to park for four or five hours. As I cursed BCBS of MA and MassPort it dawned on me why a lot more people from the club didn’t sign up for the race: parking is a bitch is South Boston!

It was a short walk over to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center and then to the bib pickup area. Besides expensive parking, my only complaint is lack of signs directing runners to the bib pick up/boarding area.

I’ve been to the area several times but I’ve never taken a boat. I had no idea where the boats left from. Fortunately I saw some people in BCBS of MA volunteer t-shirts and headed in their direction.

There weren’t a lot of people there yet so I was able to check in quickly, get my bib and get onto the boat. No one else I knew was there yet so I walked around the ship to see where everything was. It’s a pretty good sized ship!

The Crew Arrives

Slowly Melrose Running Club runners began to arrive. Eventually all seven of us were on board and ready to cast off. We were sitting on one of the upper decks and just below the deck where the DJ was.

Melrose Running Club, Blue Cross Blue Shield Island Run 2018
Courtesy Andrea Kerton

When they fired up the tunes we decided it was time to head below decks so we could hear each other. It’s tough getting old!

My friends Lisa Hines and Cheryl Lynn from Team Slow and Thirsties also showed up! I wasn’t expecting them. Most of our team has been dealing with one injury or another over the past year and haven’t been doing much running.

BCBS Island Run 2018, Team Slow and Thirsties, Spectacle Island

Everyone had fun talking and taking in Boston Harbor as we headed for Spectacle Island.

Blue Cross Blue Shield Island Run 2018

We docked around 9:30 and everyone disembarked and headed towards the start area. As we walked down the pier we saw the finish line and timing mats. It seemed odd to finish on a concrete pier.

As we headed for the Visitor’s Center we saw a sign that said bathrooms were available on the ship. Fortunately there were bathrooms in the Visitor Center but apparently they were too small for a large crowd.

There was a large tent next to the Visitor’s Center and I figured we would have the post race party there. But no one was in there setting up and the place was empty.

It seems like the island was shut down or in the process of shutting down for the season. The facilities probably were not capable of handling several hundred runners drinking beer and peeing all afternoon!

The food was served as we headed back to the boat after the race and each runner received two beers after we were on the boat.

It was a smart way to get everyone on board and control drinking. If you wanted food and drink after the race, get on the boat. And since the ride back was only about 20 minutes, it limited beer drinking time to about an hour, depending on when you finished the race.

Good planning, but I was hoping to enjoy a beer on the beach. I guess that would be public drinking since The Harbor Islands are a National Park.

Running The Island Run 2018

The 5 Miler was supposed to start at 10:00 and the 5K at 10:25. Things were about 6 minutes behind schedule, so the 5 Milers began at 10:06 and the 5K runners at 10:31. No big deal.

Alain Ferry, our Race Director, made some announcements from inside the Visitors Center, I think. We could hear him but he said he couldn’t see us from wherever he was. Soon he came running to the start line with his microphone head set on. He told us about the time delay and turned things over to the timers who had us started in no time.

I was near the front of the pack but had no intentions of running a World Record. Matt Kerton and I wished each other a good race and I told him I’d see him at the finish.

We started out on a nice flat stone dust path. I thought how much better this type of surface is than pavement which always has pot holes. It’s easy to fix holes or washouts on a stone dust path.

Since it was a nice smooth surface I began to look around at the scenery as I made my way along. It wasn’t very long before I almost twisted my ankle in a washout rut. At that point I decided to spend more time looking at my feet and a few feet in front of me and gave up on sight seeing!

At about 1K we hit our first hill. We went from Sea Level to 49 feet in about a quarter-mile. It was a gravel path but I rose up on my toes, dug in and took the hill.

Blue Cross Blue Shield Island Run 2018 course map

Running on a loose surface is different than pavement. Even without pot holes to contend with, there are ruts and loose footing to deal with.

I soon figured out that the island side of the path was generally smoother than the ocean side of the path. I guessed this was due to run off picking up velocity and moving more gravel as it moved over the smooth path. Who knows?

There were a lot of switchbacks and hairpin turns on this course. It was the only way to get a five mile course on this tiny island!

At about 0.8 miles we hit our second hill and went from 16 feet to 67 feet above Sea Level in a tenth of a mile. It was still early in the race, but it hit people.

Shortly after Mile 1 we ran through the start area near the dock. It was fun to have some people cheering us on. The 5K runners had not started yet.

My first mile was 8:32 and I felt pretty good about that. Faster than I wanted to run this race at and I’m sure to pay for it on the Sunday Long Run!

Our highest and longest climb started at about 2.64 miles and rose from 0 feet to 79 feet in less than a quarter of a mile. This was a long grassy hill. It was challenging to run because most of us were beginning to feel some fatigue and the grass was in bunches and not mowed. It looked like a tractor had gone over the path a few times. But it was fun!

Finishing The Island Run 2018

Just before Mile 4 we descended from 79 feet to 0 feet above Sea Level. It felt good to be going down hill and the path was pretty good. I took advantage of the conditions and passed a few people.

Mile 4 chimed in at 8:30 and I only had a mile to go! Most of the last mile was fairly flat or low hills. I was able to open it up a bit and managed an 8:00 mile. It felt good to run that pace outside.

As we came down the path to the finish area I passed one runner who seemed to be struggling. As we ran down the pier I tried to over take a much younger guy who had passed me a mile or so earlier. I tried.

I managed to run 5.07 miles and had a Garmin time of 42:43 and average pace of 8:25. My official time was 42:40 for a pace of 8:33.

Finishing on the pier wasn’t so bad. It was a flat,stable surface and it was the finish!

I saw Matt Kerton on the other side of the barricade and he yelled out my name. I walked down to the BodyArmor people who were providing post race drinks for us.

Their drinks are pretty good. I like them because they are not sugary and you can taste a little salt. These are not a drink to have with dinner or while sitting at your desk at work. They really hit the spot after a race.

I hung out with Matt and Dave Register near the finish line for about 10 minutes. I believe that Dave ran under 40 minutes, but I need to check that.

I saw Lisa Hines finish strongly but didn’t see anyone else we know finish. Standing on the pier in the harbor breeze I was getting cold and decided to head in. Matt was waiting for his wife Andrea to finish. So he and Dave stayed at the finish line.

Apre BCBS Island Run 2018

Before we boarded the ferry, boloco was providing borrittos to everyone. They were a little small for people finishing a race, but they were tasty! A friend described them as large cigars.

Before we went up the gang plank we each received two beer tickets. I went to the deck where bag check was and redeemed a coupon at the bar after I got my bag.

Mayflower Brewing was providing cans of Mayflower IPA. With IBUs clocking in at 77 it was a little much even for an IPA guy like me. Several of my friends don’t like IPAs so they didn’t really enjoy the ale. Daily Ration at 25 IBUs may have had a broader appeal to this crowd. Daily Ration also has 4.5 % ABV versus 6.1% for the IPA.

I was offered an extra beer ticket but the two I had seemed to be enough.

On the ride back to Boston I sat with Cheryl and Lisa and we got all caught up with each other’s lives. Like we always do. Matt and Andrea Kerton sat with us for a while also.

Before we knew it we were at the dock and it was time to go.

As we left the ship Alain Ferry was there giving everyone high fives and hugs. You get the feeling he really appreciates people showing up for his races!

When I got to the garage I hopped in my car, found my ticket and headed for the exit. Then I saw a sign that said to pay the ticket at a hotel kiosk! I was in a freaking MassPort garage. Where the hell was the hotel? And I had to go all the way to the lobby?

Fortunately there was a machine in the vestibule for the elevator and stairs. I scanned my ticket and it was only a $25 charge! What a deal. I figured at least $32 and probably $38. Either way, it’s way cheaper than a parking ticket in Boston and I didn’t have to worry about my car getting towed.

Running is the Great Elixir

My little My First 5K medals business had a challenging week. I lost my largest customer and another customer complained they did not get the engraving they requested. I don’t even offer engraving, so I had to make that clearer on the site.

I hate it when customers are not thrilled with the My First 5K medal, and loosing my biggest customer is a big set back. In addition to being bummed out, the week made me question why I do this.

Running this race and spending time with friends gave me a bit of a renewal. Everyone there loves running. For some of those runners the Island 5K may have been their first 5K and I bet they had as much fun as I did.

Why would I give up trying to encourage people to run their first 5K? For some people it may be just that little something they need to lace up and train.

And no one can tell me that kids don’t love to get a medal at a race. Especially a nice one.

So if my medal helps mom or dad get their child to join them for a 5K race, it’s worth the bumps in the road along the way.

A person I work with died last week. He had been over weight and had some health issues. Running wont make anyone live forever or avoid health conditions, ask Dave McGillivray.

But if someone is concerned about their weight or health in general, helping them incorporate running into their fitness plan is worth it.

It’s never easy, but a fun run and time with friends helped build my spirits back up.

Run well my Friends!


2018 Melrose Running Club Racing Series August Update

Melrose Running Club Racing Series

The 2018 Melrose Running Club Racing Series continues as summer fades into fall. Several club members are still in the running for a jacket while most of us run the races for fun with fellow club members.

2018 Racing Series Standings

Mother's day, mothers dayWith nine races completed, Thuy Dang is the only runner to have completed all nine! Thuy only needs to run three more races to qualify for the Club Jacket.

Thuy is training for The New York City Marathon and has run a total of 223 racing miles so far this year. This includes the infamous 2018 Boston Marathon and The Providence Marathon less than a month after Boston! She’s also run five half marathons in 2018 and has probably run around 1,000 training miles!

Mary O’Connell has run eight races in the series so far and will qualify for a jacket if she runs the rest of the races.

Mary is also training for The New York City Marathon and has 130.5 racing miles this year including The Boston Marathon and four half marathons.

Steph Lawson has run seven races in the series so far. Many others have run six or fewer races. Unfortunately none of us can qualify for the top prize. We’re racing for the fun of it and possibly a PR, Age Group place or even an over all top three place in these races.

2018 Racing Series Schedule

We have four more races on the schedule for the 2018 Racing Series.

BCBS Island Run 5K and 5 MilerSaturday, September 22nd.

Here are the details you gotta have:

Bib Pick-up & Boat Boarding:

Seaport World Trade Center Terminal, 200 Seaport Boulevard, Boston, MA 02210

7:30am to 8:45am
No paperwork required – please bring identification

Boat Departure/Return Time:

Departure from Boston – 9:00am
Return to Boston – 12:30pm

Race Start for 5M and 5K:

5M – 10:00am MAP
5K – 10:25am MAP

Registration is $50 and includes the following:

– Boat ride to and from Spectacle Island
– Race entry for the 5M or 5K runs
– Catered lunch from Boloco and beverages from Mayflower Brewing

This race is a little bit different from all of our other races and that’s what makes it such a special race. We’ve all run 5Ks and 5 Mile races before, but have you been to a harbor island? Any of them? I haven’t.

Be sure to join team “Melrose Running Club.”

Stride for Healthy Communities 5k Walk and Run – Saturday, September 29th

The Melrose Running Club is a community sponsor of this race and we are looking for volunteers.

Hallmark Health Stride for Healthy CommunitiesThe Details:

Lake Quannapowitt, 1 Church Street, Wakefield, MA

Race Day registration opens at 8:00 AM
The race starts at 9:00 AM

Registration is $25, $30 Day-Of and $15 for kids 12 and under. Kids 12 and under will receive a finisher’s medal!

Tech t-shirt to the first 250 runners/walkers to register.

Awards for 1st over all male/female and three deep for ages groups starting with 19 and under. Ceremony begins at 9:30.

Refreshments provided by The Remedy Exchange.

Music, giveaways and fun for the whole family!

9th annual Melrose Family YMCA Spooky Sprint – Saturday October 27th

The Details:

spooky sprint 5k, kids race, melrose 5K raceMelrose Family YMCA – 497 Main St. Melrose, MA

Race Day Registration: 7:00am – 8:15am
Race starts at 8:30 AM

Registration is $25 for adults ($30 Day-of) and $12 for kids 17 and under.

All proceeds benefit the Melrose Family YMCA’s Annual Fund which ensures no one in the community is turned away for inability to pay.

2018 Howling Wolf Half Marathon & 6K – Sunday, October 28th

Originally this was our November race, but the date was moved to October 28th. As such we will not have a November race.

The Details:

Howling Wolf Half 2018, Stone Zoo, Stoneham HalfStone Zoo in Stoneham, MA

Number pick-up opens at 6:45am.
Half Marathon starts at 8:00am.
6K Road & Trail Run starts at 8:20am.
Party starts at 9:30am.
Awards ceremony at 10:30am.

Registration is now $80 which is still a good deal for a half marathon. On top of that you don’t have to travel and the after party is kickin.

As of September 10th the good ‘ole MRC was the second place team with five members. The Cambridge Running Club was in first place with seven runners.

This half marathon is in our back yard. Not only do we know and love this course, this is a race we need to support as The local running club. We should have 50 runners at this race. Come on people!

Bill Rodgers Jingle Bell Run 5K – Sunday, December 16th

The last race of our 2018 Melrose Racing Series! It can be cold in December, but somehow this race always has great day.

The Details:

Bill Rodgers Jingle Bell Run 5K, SomervilleDavis Square – Somverville, MA

Race starts at 11:00 AM

Race Day bib pick-up and registration runs 8:30 to 10:30 at:

Somerville Senior Center
167 Holland Street – Somerville

Registration is $37

The after party for this race is always amazing. 15 Somerville pubs and bars participate with complimentary Harpoon beer for all runners with a bib.

There is NO BAG DROP for this race. Please come self-contained and leave stuff in your car. You really just need your ID and some cash for your servers.

Toys for Local Children, Bill Rodgers Jingle Bell Run

Run well my Friends and let’s go run some races!


Running with the Fishes

Mystic River Herring Run

This past weekend a small contingent of Melrose Running Club members ran the Mystic River Herring Run 5K. This was a multi-sport event and included paddle racing events on The Mystic. None of us tried the paddle part of the race, but it did sound like it would be a lot of fun.

Malrose Racing Series, Mystic River Herring Run 2018Over all, 258 runners finished the race and MRC had five runners. No PRs or medals to bring home but I think we all had a good time.

Mary O’Connell and Thuy Dang have run all of the Melrose Racing Series races this year! I think they really want those jackets!

Rain had been forecast for Saturday morning, but we ended up with near perfect running weather. Maybe perfect.

A little rain later in the day gave us all a good excuse to stay inside for a while!

Mystic River Herring Run 5K, Medford 5K RacesThe race was based out of the DCR Blessing of the Bay Boathouse on Shore Drive in Somerville. Shore Drive is a neighborhood street that connects The Fellsway with Rt. 38. I drive by Shore Drive every day but have down the street only once or twice before.

The DCR boat house is right next to Rt. 93 and on the bike path along The Mystic River. If anyone is looking to take a canoe or kayak out on The Mystic, this is the place to go. Apparently you can go anytime and rent one, no reservations required.

Some of the crew boats you see on The Mystic are based out of this DCR boathouse as well. There’s a lot going on over there!

Running the Mystic River Herring Run

The entire race was on bike path and sidewalks through the park. We didn’t cross any intersections or have to run in the road at all.

We all started in the back of the pack, so the first half mile along the bike path was packed. Instead of lining up we hung out and had a good conversation. No one was too worried about getting a fast start.

You can see from the map above that they had us winding around the Mystic River State Reservation in Medford for a bit. Running along the river and through the park was pretty cool.

They had plenty of volunteers to direct us at the many turns and provide encouragement.

I haven’t been training very much lately and finished at 24:58. I was hoping for 24, but I got what I deserve!

I felt pretty comfortable for the entire race. There were a few rises in the road but no hills. The bridge over The Mystic was the greatest elevation. I pushed up the hills and ran down the other side and it helped.

They did not have a timing mat at the beginning of the race, so starting at the back of the pack may have added 30 seconds to my time.

I still managed to finish 45th out of 258 and 4th in my AG.

After the race we hung out for a while, but we all had other things to get to, like yard work. As they announced that paddle racers should start getting ready for their races, we all made our way home.

Our next race is the Melrose Firefighters 5K on June 17th. Don’t forget to register!

Complete results

Run well My Friends!


2018 Malden Rotary Road Race

15th Annual Malden Rotary Road Race

The 15th Annual Malden Rotary Road Race 10k and 5K took place on March 24th in Malden, MA. Based out of the Cheverus School on Ferry Street, this race has become a favorite among local runners.

The Malden Rotary Road Race is an old school runner’s race. After 15 years this race still draws a small group of hard-core local runners. You’re not likely to talk to a runner from out-of-state at this race. Most runners come from the surrounding communities with a large contingent of Mystic Runners.

I was told that a few years ago they started having the 5K and 10K start at different times. I guess there were some issues when the races split off.

Malden Rotary Road Race 2018, Cheverus SchoolThis year the 10K started at 9:30 and the 5K started at 10:00 AM. I love a race that starts later in the morning and that is minutes from my house!

There is plenty of parking around Cheverus and it looked like most of the businesses in the area had not opened yet. I’ve never been to Cheverus before and wasn’t 100% clear where it was. As I sat in my car getting ready I saw another runner walking through the parking lot.

Malden Rotary Road Race, Cheverus SchoolShe wasn’t really sure of where she was going, but seemed to have a better idea than I did. The race web site just said Cheverus School and did not give a street address. After we found the right door to go into, we found the gym and picked up our numbers. We were the line. Even though this race has been going on for 15 years, it was obvious that it was run by Rotary volunteers and not seasoned race volunteers.

I headed for the men’s room where about 10 of us stood in line for a single working toilet. People think public schools are under funded. Have you ever been inside of a parochial school? My girls went to parochial schools, so I understand their struggles. Unfortunately, maintenance cannot be a top priority.

Still, we were happy to have a warmish men’s room and not a cold porta potty.

I then headed for the entrance of the gym to see who else would be coming down the stairs to pick up their bib. I saw Jeff Rushton and Regina Curran who were both there to run the 10K.

The 5K runners started 30 minutes after we did, so none of them were there.

Running The Malden Rotary Road Race 10K

It was now about 9:20 and everyone emptied out of the gym and headed for the start. We decided to hang back and keep warm until about 9:25.

As we walked towards Ferry Street the crowd looked larger than I expected. In 2017 about 65 people ran the 10K. I estimated the crowd to be around 75 at least. It turned out that 115 people ran the 10K!

Everyone was lined up on the east side of Ferry Street and the race director had us move west behind the starting mats. Regina, Jeff, and I headed for the back of the pack. Jeff said he was going to take it easy, but ended up coming in 10th over all and first in his age group. Not bad for taking it easy!

The race director asked who had run the race before and about 10 hands went up. So he gave directions in a loud voice unaided by amplification. There were plenty of signs and volunteers, plus I planned to be following a lot of people!

At 9:30 they yelled for us to go. No starting gun, no Anthem just a nice clean start.

The first half mile was mostly uphill, starting at 20′ above sea level and ending at 75′. Not a huge climb but a challenging way to start a race!

Malden Rotary 10KFrom Ferry Street we crossed over onto Main Street and headed for Pine Banks. We hit mile one at Pine Banks and I felt comfortable. I had run faster than I wanted to, especially considering that half the distance was uphill. Mile one came in at 8:30.

We ran past Pine Banks and took a right onto Sylvan Street in Melrose. I was in familiar territory. At the end of Sylvan we took a right onto Lebanon Street. I’ve run this road a hundred times at least and knew we had more uphill coming as we ran along the cemetery.

I usually turn at Forest Street, but we continued another three-quarters of a mile down to Garden Street and took a right. I had never been in this area and was glad to have so many volunteers and the occasional policeman.

Just after we turned onto Garden Street we hit mile three at 8:37. I had been trying to slow down, but mile two came in at 8:31 so I wasn’t doing very well controlling my pace. It was nice to know we were about half-way and I felt fine.

We wound through the neighborhood and came out to Pierce Street and took a right towards Forest Street. It was interesting running this street in the opposite direction that I normally do. At Sylvan Street in Malden we took a right and past the Forestdale School. I’d never been down this street and was surprised how large the school and playing fields were.

On Forest Street we hit mile four and I came in at 8:42. I felt better that I had been able to reel it in a bit, but it was so difficult.

I think that taking it easy is harder than running hard. Every time a runner would come up behind me I would just wish them to pass me. If I caught up to someone I tried to stay behind them and let them pace me. But after a while I couldn’t take it anymore and had to pass them. I just couldn’t help my self.

As we approached the corner of Columbia and Salem Streets I hit mile five at 8:26. I had passed a few runners. oops!

Salem Street was open to traffic and the pavement was uneven in many spots. I actually worried about tripping and falling under a car. They were going slow, but a fall happens really fast.

There was a good police presence and I think they were holding traffic back for us. We hit mile six near Albion Street and I came in at 8:24.

I felt good and had plenty of energy so I decided to try and catch the guy about 200 feet in front of me. I think he kicked it in for the last quarter-mile also and I wasn’t able to catch him.

I ran the last 0.29 miles at a 7:11 pace. I had to work to do it, but it didn’t kill me to do it.

Malden Rotary Road Race 10K, Andy NagelinI finished the race at 53:09, just behind Joe Roesner, the guy I was trying to catch. But since this was a chip timed race I actually beat him by 1 second! And he’s 12 years younger than me. I’ll take it.

As I crossed the line my buddy Jeff Rushton was there to congratulate me. He’s not the guy in the red Speedo in the photo. We waited for Regina Curran to finish her 10K and saw all of the Melrose 5K runners finish their races also.

After the Malden Rotary Road Race

Mary O'Connell, Malden Rotary Road Race 2018It was great to see the Melrose Running Club 5K runners come over the finish line. I hadn’t seen them before the race and had no idea that six of them had shown up for the race. From my count we had nine runners all together.

This was a new addition to the Melrose Running Club Racing Series and I wasn’t sure how it would go. After a few people thanked me for adding it, I felt like I made the right decision.

We managed a group photo with most of the runners and headed to The Dockside Restaurant for a brunch buffet.

The Tysall family grabbed a booth and some extra chairs and we all joined them. The buffet was basic, eggs, sausage and hash browns but it was all very good. They actually ran out and had to bring out a second round of trays.

I was glad that I jumped in line soon, but wished I had taken more as it was so good. I think that everyone got enough to eat.

Charlotte Tysall came in 4th over all and was the first place female runner in the 5K. Her finish time was 20.1 minutes for a blistering pace of 6:26.6! And she’s only 14. As I we sat there having breakfast I thought I might be sitting next to the next Shalane Flanagan!

Malden Rotary Road Rac e 2018, Melrose Running ClubHer mother Lisa came in first in her age group and Mary O’Connell came in first in her age group also! That’s her in the picture above approaching the finish line.

In the 10K Jeff Rushton came in 10th overall and first in his age group. I came in 45th over all and was very happy with that finish, though I may pay for it during my 22 mile long run on Sunday.

Regina Curran came in 86th in the 10K and made it look easy.

Stephanie Lawson came in 71st in the 5K and thought she came in last. But this was while we were having breakfast and all of the results were not in yet. 87 people finished the 5K, so she finished ahead of 16 other runners. Way to go Steph!

We ended up with a great day for a run. The temperature was around 40° with a light breeze. Sunday is supposed to be cooler with a stronger breeze.

Full race results Race photos

Run well my friends and thanks for running!


Melrose YMCA Spooky Sprint 5K 2017

The Melrose YMCA Spooky Sprint has been a popular race with Melrose Running Club members for years.

It starts across the street from where the club meets and many runners come out for the 5K run with their kids.

This year the MRC had 38 runners, which may be an all time high.

MRC at the Melrose YMCA Spooky Sprint

Melrose Running Club, Spooky SprintThe top Melrose Running Club finisher was Charlotte Tysall at 18:52! She was the second place women’s finisher over all, and came in 9th place over all.

Nicola Tysall came in first in her age group at 24:08! Nicola ran with her mother who also came in at 24:08.

Kate Sikkema came in second in her age group at 24:54, but she had her dad Mike to hold her back! After the race Mike said that Kate had improved her finish by more than a minute over last year’s finish.

Kate Sikkema, Mike SikkemaCynthia Berger came in second in her age group at 24:11 and Judy Dolan placed second in her age group at 29:47.

Ed Bradford came in first in his age group at 19:10! Ed was the top men’s finisher for the MRC and came in 11th place over all.

Congratulations to everyone on your great runs.

Running Melrose YMCA Spooky Sprint

Many of us have run this course many times, but it is still challenging. The race starts on East Foster Street next to the YMCA. All the way up Foster it is up hill until we turn right onto Lebanon Street.

Ed Bradford, Melrose YMCA Spooky Sprint

Lebanon rolls a little bit and then goes down hill as we approach the right onto Sylvan Street. Sylvan has another hill and then we run through the gravel parking lot behind the ball fields and track at Pine Banks.

When I first started running on the gravel it felt odd and it seemed difficult to solidly land my feet. I thought about slowing down to avoid rolling an ankle. About half way across the parking lot it suddenly felt natural and I passed a few people.

At the end of the lot we ran across the wet grass to Woodside Road. Woodside winds behind the care takers home and has a bit more hill. On this road at about 1.6 miles they had the water stop. It was a cool day and few people seemed to be stopping.

We ran Woodside out to Main Street and took a right. The road seemed closed or at least patrolled, so some of us ran on the side of the street. We were now about two miles into the run and people were slowing down.

As we approached the intersection with Sylvan Street I remembered that this race had a few turns before the finish.

There were police at the Sylvan and Wyoming Street intersections. The smaller streets were not controlled. As we approached Grove Street it became apparent the the street was open to traffic and many people ran on the sidewalk.

The crowd of runners was pretty thin as we ran up Grove. At the corner of Dell Ave we took a left and a small crowd cheered us on. I could hear someone close behind me on Dell Ave so I kept pushing.

As we turned left onto Foster I heard steps getting closer. I kept pushing but three or four people younger than I passed by quickly.

I had a good run and felt comfortable and in control the entire race. I finished in 67th place at 23:39 for a pace of 7:37. I could have started closer to the front and pushed harder and maybe placed third.

But for some reason, that drive was not in me. With 42 days to my marathon, I approached this race as a speed workout. Avoiding injury so I can continue training is more important than placing.

Apre Spooky Sprint

Melrose YMCA Spooky Sprint 5K 2017People were hanging out after the race. A lot of people were there with their children and many people knew each other.

I quickly headed for the donut table and picked up half of a chocolate glazed donut. It’s better to grab a donut from the back of the rack and before the kids get there!

I watched one little boy touch three or four donuts like he was buying fruit. He settled on the fifth half jelly donut he touched, which looked just like the other four. But what do I know?

These cup cakes looked really good. But I had a donut and was able to resist.

I got to talk with many MRC members, but not everyone. When people are wearing costumes, it can be difficult to tell who they are!

There are a lot of photos on Facebook. The photos posted here are from Rob Busby and the YMCA’s photographer.

Melrose YMCA Spooky Sprint Results

Run Well My Friends!


Running BAA 10K 2017

The weather for the BAA 10K road race was just about perfect. When we started the race around 8:10 it was about 72° and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Just a perfect day!

The Melrose Running Club always has a good showing at this race. This year there were two other races and we still had 18 runners.


BAA 10K Travels

This race is a local race for me. It’s about six miles from my house and I have garage parking about a mile from the start. Durm Cahill parked at my house and we drove in together. With virtually no traffic at 6:30 in the morning, we got to our parking garage in about 20 minutes.

I brought a small bag of necessities, and left most of my stuff in the car. I was able to get my phone into my Amphipod belt and put my car key and Starbucks card in my pocket.

Longfellow BridgeAs we walked across the Longfellow bridge we checked out the construction. The side of the bridge going into Boston is finished, but not completely open yet. The railings are nicely painted and all four towers have been re-assembled.

The outbound side is currently being re-built. Entire sections of decking are missing and re bar is being assembled to support the new decking when it is poured.

As we walked down Charles Street we passed a Starbucks I hadn’t noticed before. The one we were headed to was only two blocks away. I guess in Beacon Hill you can never have too many Starbucks!

At the Starbucks on the corner of Charles and Beacon Street we got iced coffees and Durm got some breakfast. It was nice and cool inside and a small line formed for the restroom.

Running BAA 10K 2017

We really worked the timing nicely: We weren’t in a hurry and we weren’t too early. About half-way through our coffees we headed over to the common.

There were lots of race officials in their yellow shirts and credentials in lanyards. As we approached they checked out our race bibs and barely acknowledged us.

BAA 10K 2017, Durm Cahill, Andy NagelinThis was Durm’s first BAA 10K and he wanted to walk around and check things out. There wasn’t a lot to see and the crowd was still thin. We picked up our shirts and headed for bag check.

After bag check we headed towards the corrals and saw Jessi Jimenez from the club. We chatted a bit and went our separate ways. The lines for the porta-potties were now very long so I told my self it was just nerves.

For the past few years, they have had the corrals on the sidewalk in The Commons next to Beacon Street. We used to line up on Charles Street and then take a left onto Beacon Street. They have also been using the wave system with people self seeding in the proper corral.

Durm and I got into the 8:00 to 8:59 pace corral and waited. After the first wave went and they had us move up, and I felt crowded.

A Boston Police Officer sang the National Anthem and I found a flag on an old building on Beacon Street. I wondered how long a flag had flown at that building. How many stars were on the first one?

When it was our turn to go we jogged slowly down the walk way and up to the starting mats. I started my watch and we were off!

BAA 10K 2017 mapThe race was crowded and slow through the turns. On Comm Ave we were still packed pretty tight and had to dodge slow runners and walkers.

It was frustrating at times and took a lot of strategic maneuvering as Durm and I continued to make our way. A crowded mile one came in at 8:29.

We went under Mass Ave and crossed to the right side of Comm Ave to make the turn onto Charles Gate East. The crowd seemed to thin in this large intersection.

Baystate Road was narrowed due to construction and we were congested again. Durm began to move ahead and I let him go; I was already feeling the heat and knew what was coming.

At Granby Street we took a left off of Baystate Road to go back onto Comm Ave. I barely broke my pace to grab a cup at the first water stop.

As we ran through Kenmore Square it began to heat up. From here all the way up Comm Ave to Agganis Arena there would be very little shade. As I looked up the road, I couldn’t see Durm.

On Baystate Road I hit mile two at 8:12. Not bad considering the congestion.

Going out Comm Ave we were in full sun and there was a slight incline. I hit mile three at 8:12 just before the Agganis Arena. That was encouraging as mile three is probably the toughest mile of this race.

Up ahead I could see the turn. I was on the left side of the road and knew I could get pinched as we made the hair-pin turn. There wasn’t much I could do about it and fortunately I was able to execute the turn well.

We were now headed down hill on Comm Ave. I was roasting and my legs were beginning to feel it. Sweat dripped off of my hair, so I knew I was hydrated. I just had to fight through fatigue.

I managed to pass a few people on the downhill but concluded I would not have a kick at the end of this race. I was burning it all up out here.

On more than one occasion I considered walking! I really did. I was pushing too hard, it was really hot and my training is non-existent.

Nothing hurt but everything was exhausted, including my willpower. When I got to the water stop with Gatorade, I grabbed a cup. I don’t really like the stuff but I needed it.

Mile four was down hill in the sun on Comm Ave. Even with the down hill I was beginning to fade and my mile dropped to 8:14.

Comm Ave was the long hot slog. I could feel my self slowing, but I kept passing people. Most people were more done than I was. When we went back under Mass Ave, once again I thought about walking as we went up the other side. We were almost to mile five, so how could I?

We hit mile five just after the Mass Ave underpass and I clocked an 8:29 mile. A loss of 15 seconds on the mile. The big fade was setting in.

I skipped the last water stop and wondered if that was a good idea. We were back in the shade and I was still sweating, but.

I passed the mile six sign on Arlington Street and checked my watch. I was running a little long. At the corner of Arlington and Boylston my watch chimed mile six at 8:45! A loss of 16 seconds on the mile.

It was nice to see and hear people cheering us on as we made the final turns. A few people passed me but I didn’t have the juice to put up a fight.

As I approached the finish I noticed that the course was still crowded. It wasn’t packed, but there were a lot of people finishing with me!

As we approached the announcer told us to look for Meb Keflezighi giving high fives at the finish. I didn’t see him.

My last 0.29 mile had a pace of 8:19, so I guess I had a little kick left in me.

Finishing the BAA 10K 2017

My official time from the BAA was almost exactly what my Garmin showed. Not bad.

My official time was 53:06. Just a little over my average finish time for this race, but nine minutes off of my PR for this race.

BAA 10K 2017, finishers medalIt felt good to be done! I kept moving away from the finish line and collected my medal. I looked around for other purple shirts, but saw none.

I went through the food tent, but they didn’t have very much. It was a little disappointing. I kept looking for people, but didn’t see anyone I knew.

I headed for the spot that Durm and I agreed to meet. There was a lift truck there and I layed down and propped my feet up on it’s axle. I was sweating like crazy.

Fortunately, no one came over to ask if I was all right. I hate explaining what I’m doing when I do this. After five minutes I got up and saw Durm.

He seemed like he was a bit dazed and I’m not sure he immediately recognized me. He told me he took two bottles of water and sat on the curb in the shade for a while. He looked okay, so I wasn’t worried.

We wondered around for a bit, but there wasn’t much to see. There were very few vendors and we didn’t see any of our friends from the club.

After a quick walk about we headed for the gate. On the way out we asked a guy inside the food perimeter if he would get us some water. He kindly came back with bottles for everyone.

I finished mine before we left Boston Common.

We were a little slower as we headed back over the Longfellow Bridge to Cambridge, but we felt great about the race and the beautiful day in Boston.

Run well my Friends!