Wachusett Mountain – This was the 22nd annual running up Wachusett (and it was run an additional 10 times in the 70’s-80’s) and for me it was my 18th time doing this race. The only race I’ve done more is Mt Washington. This is no Mt Washington, but it is difficult in its own way. In recent years the course changed from an “up only” to an “up/down”. I like up only races much more than the up/down but at least this version of the up/down (which was first used last year) has zero trail and only about 1.5 miles of dirt road. The remainder of the course is paved. With 2.85 miles and 1,200’ of climb to the top and 3.35 miles and 1,100’ of drop to the finish this course will beat you up. The climb isn’t quite the steep climb I like but the last mile of climb is steady and tough.
My goal this year was to run the up part as hard as possible and then hold on for dear life on the descent. Last year I had a good battle with Craig Fram on the climb and fought with Ross Krause for the last 2 miles of the descent. I wasn’t sure how this would play out but based on how Tim Mahoney had been racing this year my focus was on staying with him on the climb.
After a 3 mile warm-up on the course (with teammates Tim Mahoney and Paul Bazanchuk) I changed into racing flats and headed out for another mile and some strides. I felt pretty good and very nervous, both good signs. As 300 sprinted out I found myself right where I wanted to be (parked behind Tim). In the first ½ mile we weren’t in the top 25, but by the mile we’d passed a lot of fast starters. CMS did a nice job of putting the race on but for some reason did not put out mile markers (ugh!). On the downhill heading into Wachusett Mountain state park Tim pulled ahead and I just tried to keep him close. By 2 miles (or so) he started to pull away and I passed the last guy I’d get which moved me into 10th place. I tried to keep pushing the uphill but Tim slowly drifted away as he closed on Todd Callaghan. I hit the top in 21:21 which was 17 seconds slower than last year.
Now the crazy downhill run started and I pushed it as hard as I could. I knew from going around the summit fire tower that there were a couple of guys not that far behind. I didn’t ease up at all on the descent and was hoping that I’d be able to break Craig’s time from last year (39:21) which since it was the first time the course was used would be the course record for 50+. I kept thinking I heard footsteps behind me but maybe it was in my head. With about a mile to go I started to run out of gas despite it being downhill. My ankle was getting sore and I just wanted to be done. I didn’t ease up but I just didn’t have the speed I had last year. I rolled across the finish in 39:32, 11 seconds shy of Craig’s record and 55 seconds slower than I ran last year. All in all it wasn’t bad, I felt I gave a good effort. I was really amazed to see how fast Eric MacKnight ran to take the win (34:52). His time was pretty sick! CMS took the team titles in Open, Masters, and Seniors. We had five finish in the top 10 and four in the top 10 for the 50+.
Now two weeks to recover and then a tough stretch of races through the month of June. I hope to drop my mileage down (I was 100 this week) and see what I can do at Ascutney, USATF NE 5 mile, Mt Washington, and USATF NE track 5,000. If nothing else it will be an interesting month with a little bit of everything thrown into the mix.
Pl Time Name Age City Team
1 34:52 Eric MacKnight 25M Ballston Lk, NY Fleet Feet
2 35:43 Justin Freeman 37M N Hampton, NH Team RUN
3 36:23 Jim Johnson 37M Madison, NH CMS
4 37:17 Matthew Veiga 27M Lynn, MA
5 37:52 Kevin Tilton 32M N Conway, NH CMS
6 37:53 Nick Rindenello 27M Harvard, MA
7 38:13 Todd Callaghan 44M Beverly, MA CMS
8 38:29 Tim Mahoney 34M Holyoke, MA CMS
9 38:53 Andy Scott 23M Somerville, MA
10 39:32 Dave Dunham 50M Ward Hill, MA CMS
1 39:32 Dave Dunham 50M Ward Hill, MA CMS
2 44:01 Paul Bazanchuk 59M Ctr Conway, NH CMS
3 44:55 Rob Tomko 50M Old Saybrook, CT
4 45:25 Erik Wight 54M Amherst, MA WMAC
5 45:45 G. Rurohenpoller 53M Cambridge, MA COMM RUNNING
6 45:54 John Pajer 51M Leicester , MA CMS
7 46:45 Todd Brown 50M Rocky Hill, CT NMC
8 47:36 Marty Lechleider 56M Beverly, MA WCRC
9 49:37 Michael Auger 54M Westminster, MA NMC
10 50:11 David Lapierre 50M Chelmsford, MA CMS