Methuen High School Cross-Country - I decided on the Methuen XC race because it was local and it was reasonably priced ($20). I rarely do a first annual race due to worries about course markings and other errors that first time races make. Since Kevin Alliette (Whirlaway/Methuen HS) was involved I knew the course would be well marked and there wouldn’t be any first timer issues.
The threat of showers turned into an all-day rain event which was exactly how cross-country should be contested. I grabbed a course map and headed out to preview the course for a warm-up. The first ¾ mile climbed 50’ after looping the fields in the first ¼ mile. There was a mix of trail and road, definitely what I expected on a high school XC course. The trail part from .7 to 2.2 miles was pretty tame very run-able. It dipped down through the mile then climbed 40’ before dipping again from 1.3 to 1.7 it dropped 40’ then we faced the toughest part of the course a 65’ climb from 1.7 to 1.9 (average grade 6%). After that it was a steady cruise into the finish.
After my warm-up I changed into Inov-8 trail shoes (they work well on trails and wet pavement) then headed out for another mile of easy running. I only saw two guys (Lucas Parsons and Devin Allen both Umass Lowell runners and Methuen high grads) warming up on the course. We lined up in the starting line puddles and off we went. A few of the young Methuen junior high XC runners went out pretty fast; I got around them after a ¼ mile. Parsons and Allen were almost out of sight by that point. I got a couple of spectators yell “Go Billerica” to me as I went by (I was wearing my BMHS singlet) which was nice. I was hoping to run a little under 6:00 mile pace based on the course and my current form and was a bit slow at the mile. People were also cheering for Paul McGovern (MVS) and I could tell he was right behind me at the mile.
I worked the downhill and was surprised by the bottom to see Allen not too far ahead. He was slowly coming back to me as I pulled away from McGovern. The uphill hurt but closing on 2nd place kept me fighting. I had my slowest half-mile running up the hill but now had the long steady down to the finish. Allen was still coming back but I was running out of course. I got to within a couple of seconds of him on the final loop of the playing fields, then he took off and buried me (he ran sub-2:00 for ½ earlier this year). I ended up taking 3rd place 7 seconds back and nearly 1:30 behind the winner (Parson’s ran 15:15 for 5,000 at Lowell).
I met up with Paul for an easy 2 mile warm-down which was great fun catching up on the old days.
1 17:23 LUCAS PARSONS M22 METHUEN, MA
2 18:35 DEVIN ALLEN M19 METHUEN, MA
3 18:42 DAVE DUNAHM M52 BRADFORD, MA
4 19:35 PAUL MCGOVERN M57 METHUEN, MA
5 20:56 KYLE SALVO M12 METHUEN, MA
6 21:34 ANTHONY ELLIS M35 PELHAM, NH
7 21:54 ANNE GUTMANN F37 METHUEN, MA
8 22:11 ROBBY MORACHE M24 HAMPSTEAD, NH
9 22:23 MIKE MCCORMICK M58 NEWBURYPORT, MA
10 22:26 ALEX FORGIONE M12 METHUEN, MA