I haven’t taken a win at a race this year and I have a streak of at least one win every year from 1979-2014. I picked a couple of races earlier in the year that I thought I had a chance at (based on prior results) but came up short in both of those. At the Wason Pond trail 5k I lost by 13 seconds and at the Freestyle farm trail ½ marathon I was 1:05 behind the winner. The calendar is working against me. I thought I found a good opportunity with the Lancer Stride for Pride 5k in neighboring Lawrence, MA. Last year the winning time was around 21 minutes, of course you never know who will show up.
I did an easy 5 with Dan early in the morning to see how my legs felt from a weekend in the White Mountains. I was a bit sluggish but not too sore so I figured I should give it a go. I headed over to Lawrence and after picking up my number chatted with the race director about where the course went. He had maps for anyone who wanted one. I headed out for a warm-up course preview. I’m glad I had a map as there were a lot of markings on the ground (maybe it is part of the High School XC course?). The course was really nice, mostly on a narrow bike path along the Shawsheen river with a start and finish lap on the track at Lawrence Stadium.
The Mayor showed up and gave a quick speech before we started. Race timer Dave Camire and I chatted a bit before and he noted that “number 153 is pretty good” right before we started. The race is a fund raiser for the basketball team so there were a lot of B-ball players in the field. Everyone literally sprinted out for the first lap of the track. I wasn’t in the top 25 at 200 meters into the race. By 400 meters as we exited the track I had moved up to the top 10 and soon after that moved into third place. One of the B-ball players, Marcos Germosen (who has run a for the track team as well) was up front with Luis Cruz a former Eagle Tribune all-star while at Lawrence high. Cruz graduated from Merrimack College earlier this year where he ran a sub 2:00 half and 4:20 for the mile. They had 10 seconds on me at the mile, but then slowed significantly as we hit the second loop around the baseball fields and ran into some traffic. I gained some ground and by half-way I was with them and we had to be very careful weaving around people who were not expecting us to come flying by. Soon after Germosen dropped back and we turned right onto the out/back section of the course.
Cruz hadn’t previewed the course and the guys at the various junctions were standing there but weren’t saying which way to go (a common problem with race volunteers). He’d pull ahead a bit but then not be sure which way to go and I’d yell out the correct direction. We stayed within a couple of seconds until the turn at 2 miles. I called out “right” and he took a right but instead of heading back he kept going! I yelled again and he stopped, turned and sprinted back to me. We ran together again until about ½ mile to go when he put in a surge. I couldn’t match him but tried to keep it close. He had a couple of seconds on me when we hit the track for the final lap, and then he just floated away putting another 4 seconds on me in the last 200 meters.
I headed out for another 3+ miles warm-down running the course plus a little more on the road. It wasn’t a bad way to get in a 15 mile day, but my win streak quest will have to go on hold for a bit. I’m racing at the masters U.S. cross-country championship then taking a couple of weeks off. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to race again some time in December but won’t push it.
Lancer Stride for Pride 5K
Lawrence, MA, October 12, 2015
Place Name Age S City St Time Pace
===== =================== === = ===== ==
1 Luis Cruz 22 M Lawrence MA 16:52 5:27
2 Dave Dunham 51 M Bradford MA 16:58 5:29
3 Marcos Germosen 18 M Lawrence MA 17:58 5:48
4 C Jones 00 F Reading MA 19:13 6:12
5 Cassandra Pelissier 15 F Lawrence MA 20:34 6:38