Pack Monadnock – This is the third most run race for me trailing only Mt Washington (25) and Wachusett Mountain (20). Since 1995 I’d run it 15 times and was not particularly eager about my 16th. I’d spent the three days prior to the race bagging six state high points down south. I was a little beat up and going on less than normal sleep. I knew that a few of my CMS teammates in the 50+ age group wouldn’t be racing so I was hoping to do well. The first couple of Mountain Circuit races had very strong Senior runners and we’d all finished very close.
I met up with Craig Fram (WRT) at the ski area parking lot across from Miller State park and teammate Tim Van Orden and top female runner Jamie Woolsey joined us for the ride back to downtown Wilton, NH. Craig and I did an easy 2 mile warm-up then I got on my racing flats and did another ½ mile over to the line. The 50+ field was going to be strong despite a few of the top guys from Wachusett not running. Teammates Ed Sheldon and Dave Lapierre were racing along with Christopher Smith (SRR), Brian Ruhm (GCS), Fram, and Mark Reeder (GLRR). Reeder had placed second in the 50+ last year and his time (just under 1:12) was about what I thought I could do on this day.
It was very humid at the start and temps were in the upper 60’s. Thankfully there was a light rain for most of the race which kept things almost into the comfortable range. My plan was to go out conservatively for the first 5 miles and then see if I could make up some ground. The first 5 rolls with “only” 470’ of climb, the second 5 miles climbs 1420’ including the really tough climbing from 8-10 of 1210’. The last mile in Miller state park has grades steeper than Mt Washington and is always a lot of “fun” as anything can happen.
I was left in the dust at the start, but felt that my pace was okay. I wasn’t in the top 50 for the first flat ¼ mile. By the mile mark (260’ of climb = 7:19) I’d moved up to 20th place but was over a minute behind Ruben Sanca. More important to me was that I was in 6th place in the 50+ and 20 seconds behind the big pack of about 10 guys. That pack had 3 of the seniors I was hoping to run with, but it was very early in the race. The next mile had some good downhill that helped me close the gap on Craig Fram and Pat Ard (both sporting the Whirlaway red singlets). The big pack was 25 seconds ahead at two miles and I felt I was getting into a groove (6:33 mile). A little after 2 miles I caught Craig and Pat. I seemed to be running the downhill parts faster and the uphill parts slower so there was some back and forth. By three miles (6:21-20:13) the big group had broken up and a few of the guys came drifting back. At the same point I pulled ahead of Craig (and into 5th in the 50+). Pat and I caught Brian Ruhm which moved me up to 4th in the 50 and right at the four mile mark we caught Michael Narcisi who had been in the big group (6:53-27:06 @ 4). Pat and I continued back and forth, but mostly he was ahead of me. He seemed very strong on the ups. We hit 5 miles in 33:19 and he gapped me. I had no response.
The next couple of miles I kept my head up and focused on the guys in front of me. I could no longer see Ed Sheldon who was leading the 50+ crowd. I could see Christopher Smith and Mark Reeder who were running together 25 seconds ahead of me at 6 miles (6:49-40:08). Soon after 6 it looked like Mark was struggling a bit. He fell behind Chris and was soon caught by Pat who was looking very strong. I hit 7 miles in 46:41 (6:33) and Mark was almost within catching distance. I drew even with him at about 7.5 and pulled ahead as we hit route 101 and the 8 mile mark (53:55-7:14). Pat had passed Chris who still looked solid. I was 22 seconds behind him in 3rd place in the 50+ and 11th place overall.
We were now on my favorite part of the course, nothing but climb, and it was long steady climbing. I shifted into low gear and kept focused ahead. At 9 miles (1:02:18) I’d closed the gap to 13 seconds and noticed that Chris was not cutting the tangents. He was running down the middle of the state park road while I was taking advantage of fewer steps on the many twists. By 9.5 miles I’d caught him and I ran as hard as I dared when I went by (I didn’t want him latching on). As I turned onto the final nearly straight ¼ mile steep nastiness I could see Ed Sheldon up ahead and he was power-walking. I kept rolling but was too far behind to do anything except put a small dent in his lead. I ended up crossing the line in 10th place overall and 2nd in the 50+ in 1:11:55.
After grabbing some water I slowly hobbled down the mountain back to some dry clothes. The 1.3 miles down would be enough for me and I called it a day. The 50+ field was indeed strong with six of us within 2:22 and we all placed from 9th – 14th.
Top 10 in the 50-59
9 Ed Sheldon 51 Hooksett NH 1:11:33 M5059
10 Dave Dunham 52 Bradford MA 1:11:54 M5059
11 Christopher Smith 50 Woburn MA 1:12:15 M5059
12 Brian Ruhm 51 Nashua NH 1:13:21 M5059
13 Craig Fram 57 Exeter NH 1:13:39 M5059
14 Mark Reeder 56 Brighton MA 1:13:55 M5059
21 Steve Whittey 59 Gloucester MA 1:19:55 M5059
23 Matthew Curran 59 Gloucester MA 1:20:15 M5059
24 Jeff Gould 51 Gardner MA 1:20:26 M5059
34 David Lapierre 52 Chelmsford MA 1:23:04 M5059
1 Ruben Sanca M29 Lowell MA 1:02:32 M0129 WRT
2 Brandon Newbould M34 Nottingham NH 1:04:05 M3039 WRT
3 Tim Vanorden M48 Bennington VT 1:06:45 M4049 CMS
4 Todd Callaghan M46 Beverly MA 1:08:09 M4049 CMS
5 Steve Brightman M47 Providence RI 1:09:04 M4049
6 Christopher Chromczak M31 Delmar NY 1:10:18 M3039
7 Sam Gray M20 N Hampton NH 1:10:34 M0129
8 Patrick Ard M32 Raymond NH 1:10:54 M3039 WRT
9 Ed Sheldon M51 Hooksett NH 1:11:33 M5059 CMS
10 Dave Dunham M52 Bradford MA 1:11:54 M5059 CMS
11 Christopher Smith M50 Woburn MA 1:12:15 M5059 SRR
12 Brian Ruhm M51 Nashua NH 1:13:21 M5059 GCS
13 Craig Fram M57 Exeter NH 1:13:39 M5059 WRT
14 Mark Reeder M56 Brighton MA 1:13:55 M5059 GLRR
15 Gerard Polcari M48 Sudbury MA 1:14:31 M4049
16 Michael Narcisi M32 Acton MA 1:15:32 M3039 Sisu
17 Jeffrey Allen M15 Litchfield NH 1:16:25 M0129
18 Pete Harley M45 Bristol RI 1:17:24 M4049
19 Scott McCue M41 Needham MA 1:17:51 M4049
20 Joseph Sumner M63 Royalston MA 1:19:46 M6069
21 Steve Whittey M59 Gloucester MA 1:19:55 M5059 TG
22 Eric Smith M33 Gloucester MA 1:19:59 M3039
23 Matthew Curran M59 Gloucester MA 1:20:15 M5059
24 Jeff Gould M51 Gardner MA 1:20:26 M5059 NMC
25 Hans Larsson M43 New Boston NH 1:20:41 M4049
26 Leslie O'Dell F40 Albany NH 1:20:48 F4049 CMS
27 Brian Gingras M26 Manchester NH 1:21:19 M0129
28 Tj Peckham M36 Gloucester MA 1:21:42 M3039 TG
29 Garrett Earley M17 Amherst NH 1:22:22 M0129
30 Jamie Woolsey F33 Oneida NY 1:22:23 F3039
31 Madeline Rieders F17 Wellesley MA 1:22:32 F0129
32 Nick Coggeshall M35 More Valley RI 1:22:48 M3039
33 James Porter M42 Manchester NH 1:22:54 M4049
34 David Lapierre M52 Chelmsford MA 1:23:04 M5059 CMS