September 1979 - 35 years ago: I started my sophomore year at Billerica High School with my first season of cross-country. I did some training over the summer (6 miles a day 5 days a week) with the goal of making the varsity squad by the end of the season. I got in 138 miles with 8 days off (mostly weekends) and raced three times. My first XC race was a dual meet at Billerica’s home course against Lawrence. I finished in second place (JV) running 16:29 for the 2.6 mile mostly paved course around the parking lot of the high school. A week later I won my first XC race taking first in a dual meet against Dracut at Dracut with a 14:21 for 2.4 miles. Five days later I was back on my home course this time against Central. I took 1:24 off of my time from two weeks before. I led the JV squad running a 15:05.
September 1984 - 30 years ago: I had a bunch of issues this month with plantar fascia woes and a series of back spasms but managed 374 miles with no days off and one race during my junior XC season at U-Lowell. I kicked off the cross-country season at the Dartmouth invitational (Hanover NH). The Dartmouth duo of Jim Sapienza and Bob Kempainen were expected to go 1-2, but Kempainen must have had a bad day as I snuck in between the two and got one of the two silver bowls that were handed out. Luckily they hadn’t engraved names on it prior to the race! Sapienza ran 28:46 for the 5.8 mile course and I finished 5 seconds behind him. It was a good start (at least for me) of the XC season.
September 1989 - 25 years ago: I covered 378 miles and raced four times during this month. I started the month at the New Haven 20k, it wasn’t the U.S. championships that year but it was still a pretty stacked field (back then the field was 2,000 strong…now more like 7,000). I ran 3 mile splits of 14:36/14:52/15:28/15:08 to record a 1:02:08 or just a couple of ticks under 5-minute-mile pace. I was well out of the money taking 9th place. Top 4: Reifsnyder 59:20, Rex Wilson 59:30, Andy Ronan 59:35, Derek Froude 60:44. A week later I raced out in Amherst MA at the Collegetown 8k which was the USATF (then NEAC) New England championships. It was 95 and very muggy, the course was flat and fast but fast times were not run on this day. Mark Donahue did run a solid 24:12, Zimmerly (24:57) and I were the only other guys under 25 (24:54). It was ugly. The following week I shifted gears to XC and got a win at the Dartmouth invitational. I was 34 slower seconds than I’d run five years before but it was fast enough to hold off GLRR teammate Bob Hodge (29:25 to 29:30). The following week saw 600 gather in Wilton NH for the NEAC 15km championships. Canadian Norm Tinkham won over the hilly course in 45:44. I took fourth in 46:21 (a pr at the time). Paul Gompers and Hodge had a good battle running 46:03 and 46:08 respectively. In a bit of a shocker our GLRR open team beat the CMS boys by 7 minutes (4:04 to 4:11).