Mayor’s Cup Cross-Country
I hadn’t raced at the Franklin Park XC course since 1995 before venturing inside of 128 this weekend. I hate going into the city, the logistics are always a hassle. I gave myself way more time than I needed and was happy to find a parking spot about ½ mile away from the starting line. I walked a little of the course and took a few pictures before heading out for a 3 mile warm-up. I got on my race gear and Inov-8 trail shoes and went back out for a mile with some strides. It was cool heading over to the line and seeing nearly 200 runners all on the line ready to go.
My goal was to run around 29:30 which I based on my best 5 mile this year time being 28:32. Cross Country tends to be slower but the course was in good shape despite all of the rain this week. I think I could have used road flats instead of trail shoes (most were wearing spikes) but the Inov-8’s can be used on pretty much every terrain and they’d come in handy on some of the tight turns.
I got on the line behind the CMS guys and off we went. I was worried about being alone out there, last year there weren’t many guys from 28-30 minutes and my fear was confirmed when I took a peek at 200 meters into the race and there was only one guy behind me. Fortunately there were a lot of guys not too far in front of me. I hung on to the back and tried to stay close. People started coming back to me as we all tried to find our pace.
I passed the mile in 5:28, it was the flattest fastest mile of the day but still a bit faster than I expected. It was windy out in the open, especially passing through the start/finish field which we must have done a dozen times. The good part about that was that there were a lot of people offering encouragement; it was a great spectator friendly course. I got to 2 miles in 11:16 (5:48) and latched onto a group of 4 or 5 guys from Merrimack College. They were running in a group which was helpful in the wind. Three miles was reached in 17:14 (5:58) and I was pleased to still be catching people and there was still a line of guys in front of me. The fourth mile was pretty tough and I slipped over 6 minute pace (23:17 – 6:03). Soon after I could hear the announcer calling the race as the winner crossed the line. I still had my final trip up Bear Cage hill which brought me to a wheezing near stand-still. I caught the last of 30+ guys I’d pass on the top of the hill and did my best to power down the slope. With a ¼ mile to go the last guy I caught went by me like I was standing still. He was the only one to pass me in the race…which isn’t saying much since there were so few behind me.
I crossed the finish in 29:03, pleased with the effort and the time. I ran 30 seconds faster than my time over 4.2 miles at Ravenswood last weekend. Having said that, it was also nearly the worst place I’ve ever finished. The only time I finished with a worse place was New Bedford this year when I took 152nd place. I’ve also never had a worse losing percentage in a race (with over 100 finishers) as 85% of the field beat me. I was the only senior in the race and the oldest person in the race! I’m not sure how often I’ve had that distinction but I was helped by the fact that all of the 50+ guys (and most of the 40+) were running in the 5k which was part of the New England XC grand prix.
All in all it was a good day and I feel a lot better about running the USATF New England championships over the same course in two weeks. I plan on dropping my mileage down and seeing if I can get under 29 minutes and hopefully close to 28:30. Onward!
Pl O'all Pl Time Name Age Team
1 62 26:34 Peter Hammer 48 BAA
2 63 26:35 Greg Putnam 44 CMS
3 95 27:16 Binney Mitchell 45 GMAA
4 102 27:26 Harry Stants 41 BAA
5 107 27:30 Todd Callaghan 45 CMS
6 121 27:58 James Pawlicki 40 CMS
7 123 28:06 Joe Noonan 46 GMAA
8 129 28:13 Wayne Levy 49 BAA
9 133 28:20 Doug McLucas 44 BAA
10 147 29:03 Dave Dunham 50 CMS