I started off the new year with a “sprint” race, the Millennium Mile in Londonderry NH. The race bills itself as the “largest mass start mile race” with 1,400 starters all toeing the line together. I had run the race once before (2005) and knew the course well from the years I spent running in Londonderry. The course is somewhat unique as it is a point-to-point with a net drop of 87’. That puts it in a category along with races like the Hollis Fast Five (5k that drops 77’ per mile) that I put in the “drop” category and don’t count them towards personal records.
Since the race was not until 2:00 PM I got in an easy 6 miles with Petey in the morning. A mile is so outside of my comfort zone that I was very nervous all morning. I got to the race pretty early and picked up my number and got everything organized. I was surprised to bump into teammate Al Bernier and he was up for a warm-up so we headed out for 3 miles to loosen up. After that I switched into racing flats and headed out for another mile with some strides. I felt pretty nervous and flat which isn’t unusual. I headed over to the line and met up with Kara Haas who I’d raced a few weeks back. I figured she would be the person to key off of as she starts quickly and was hoping to break 5:00 which was also my goal.
I got into the second row next to Kara and behind some speedy youngsters. The gun went off and mayhem ensued. Wow, it went out fast! I felt like I was spinning my wheels as I watched Kara zip away and a lot of people also pulled away over the first 200 meters. I reached the ¼ mile in 76 seconds which was a few seconds slower than I’d hoped for. That first quarter has very little drop (5’) after a brief climb of 7’. I started to find a comfortable rhythm after the 400 and also started passing people who went out too hard. I reached ½ mile in 2:31, which was also a bit slower than I’d hoped for. That quarter dropped 32’. I was in a groove by that point and Kara was no longer pulling away, she was a few seconds ahead at the half. I was still passing people through the ¾ which I reached in 3:41. That was the quickest quarter of the day and it also had the most drop with 40’ of downhill running. At this point I thought sub-5 was still possible and I dug down for whatever was left. I got around Kara soon after the ¾ mark and held on to the line with a 4:57.3. The last ¼ had 28’ of drop but then a “tough” 15’ of climb. That is barely a bump but going from down to even flat can really throw a wrench in the gears. Fortunately I have only one gear and I didn’t lose it through the finish.
I ended up taking 38th place overall and 2nd in the 50+. Al just missed the top ten with an 11th place 4:26.3 which was good enough to take first in the 40+ age group. I ran back up the hill as a warm-down and bumped into one of NH’s finest master’s runners, Sarah Prescott, who joined me for the trot back to the start. That certainly was a fun way to kick-off 2016.
1 4:03.4 Sean Hyland M31 BAA
2 4:07.9 Chris Plankey M24
3 4:09.2 Joseph St Pierre M22
11 4:26.3 Alan Bernier M41 CMS Top 40+
38 4:57.3 Dave Dunham M51 CMS
39 4:59.2 Kara Haas F45 GLRR Top40+F
Top 5 50+
1 4:47.6 Mark Hecox M51 NE Multi-sport
2 4:57.3 Dave Dunham M51 CMS
3 5:18.4 David Audet M50 NMC
4 5:24.8 Raymond Wilson M52
5 5:36.4 Paul Leahy M57