Pack Monadnock – I wasn’t particularly looking forward to running Pack this year (heck I’m never all that excited about Pack). It is probably my least favorite of the Mountain Series races. It is a 10 mile road race and only the last 2 miles could really be called ‘Mountain’. I wasn’t sure where my fitness was at but based on how I’d been racing I guessed I’d be from 1:08-1:10. I was really hoping to run under 1:09:48 which is Martin Tighe’s course record for the 50+ age group. National 10km champion Rob Edson would be racing so even if I ran under that time, I might end up in second place.
Sunday morning was sunny and warm with temperatures looking to top out around 80 degrees. There was also a pretty strong head-wind blowing in from the west (the course runs mostly from east to west). Dave La and I went out for a very easy 2 mile warm-up on the course and it seemed pretty warm at 8:30 am. I switched into racing gear and headed out for the half-mile jog to the starting line. The start was held up for about 10 minutes to get numbers for 5 people who showed up late. That made no sense at all, so nearly 300 people had to stand around for 10 minutes and wait for a few people who showed up at the last second?
We got under way and I found myself out of the top 25 in the first ½ mile. The first mile is the toughest mile until six and it seemed like a lot of folks took it out hard. I wanted to be 6:44 (based on prior year’s splits) and hit the mile at 6:45 in a group of four guys. I could see Edson up ahead in a pack of six guys including my teammates Tim Mahoney and Ross Krause. I had hoped to run close to them but it just seemed a bit quick for the first mile. I thought if I could keep Edson within a minute I might have a shot at him over the last 2 mountainous miles.
During the second mile I ran with CMS teammate Ernie Brake and Gate City Striders teammate Brian Ruhm (I belong to both clubs). We only lost 2 seconds to the pack ahead of us and I was now 17 seconds behind Edson. Ernie dropped off and Brian and I slowly gained on the one guy between us and the big group. By three miles we’d only lost another 2 seconds and were now 19 seconds behind Edson. At four miles we were 21 seconds back and we’d caught the one guy between us and the pack. Just before 5 miles I pulled away from Brian with the younger guy I’d caught. The big pack was 21 seconds ahead, so our last mile we’d matched their pace. Now the race was on as we started doing some tougher climbing.
Edson’s pack broke up after five and he started to drift back to us. At six miles he was only 12 seconds ahead. I caught him right at the 7 mile mark and he said “it’s about time” or something like that. I tried to really push and not let him latch on. By 8 miles we were closing on the strung out group. The guy I was with took off in a sprint as we turned onto route 101 and right into the teeth of the wind. Just after 8 miles I caught Ross Krause and was now into 17th place. I felt pretty good but that mile was slow, I’m not sure how slow because for whatever reason there was no 9 mile mark. On this course that is just about the most important mile marker as you are really into the climb by then (in Miller State park on the flank of Pack Monadnock).
I knew I was going to be close to the 50+ CR and on one of the switchbacks I looked back and couldn’t see Edson. I didn’t ease up as there were 5 or 6 guys in front of me who were slowing. A couple of guys walked on the start of the climb and it wasn’t going to get easier as we went up. I slowly moved up on all of the guys in front, the only one in sight that I didn’t catch was Jacob Barnett who was pretty steady. Ross also held on well only losing 10 seconds to me over the final 2 miles. That kept me pressing but I ended up crossing the line in 1:10:02, missing Martin’s record by 14 seconds. I guess I’ll have to go back and try again next year.
Our team did really well with our top five finishing in the top 9. We won the open, masters (led by Todd Callaghan who was the masters champ), and the seniors. A clean sweep!
1 Brandon Newbould 32 Nottingham NH WRT 1:04:08
2 Kevin Tilton 32 N Conway NH CMS 1:05:40
3 Eric MacKnight 25 Ballston Lake NY BAA 1:05:53
4 Jim Johnson 36 Madison NH CMS 1:06:35
5 Ryan Aschbrenner 36 Nashua NH GBTC 1:07:23
6 Alex Hall 27 Hanover NH BAA 1:07:34
7 Todd Callaghan 44 Beverly MA CMS 1:07:49
8 Michael Quintal 36 N Andover MA CMS 1:08:27
9 Tim Mahoney 34 Holyoke MA CMS 1:09:02
10 Jacob Barnett 29 Arlington MA SRR 1:09:41
11 Dave Dunham 50 Ward Hill MA CMS 1:10:02
12 Ross Krause 34 Easthampton MA CMS 1:10:12
50-59 age group
1 Dave Dunham M5059 50 Ward Hill MA CMS 1:10:02
2 Rob Edson M5059 50 Hanover NH UVRC 1:12:59
3 Ernest Brake M5059 52 N Sutton NH CMS 1:16:21
4 Patrick Connelly M5059 50 Chester NH GDTC 1:18:07
5 John Pajer M5059 51 Leicester MA CMS 1:21:01
21 David Lapierre M5059 50 Chelmsford MA CMS 1:34:30