The race action was so hotly contest at the frigid 5 College Realtors 10 Miler on Sunday that everything was up in the air until the very end. Would Eric Ashe repeat as champ? Would Louis Serafini earn his first Grand Prix win in a heated battle with two of the bigger names in road running in the area? Would the USATF board vote 11-1 to name Stephanie Hightower the 10 mile champ, rendering the race results meaningless? There was no way of knowing what would happen.
In fact, the only thing that seemed certain was that the Greater Boston Track Club was cementing the open women’s title for this race. Laura Paulsen, who has a spot on the line for the upcoming Olympic Trials marathon, was leading in the late stages and her teammate Kerri Leonhardt was trying to run her down.
Ultimately Laura and Kerri went 1-2 and the GBTC women got their third (Ryan) a couple of minutes later in 5th place. They made a statement in the opener with a performance like that. The following is our Q&A with the Laura (who ran a 59:35 in winning her second USATF-NE road title), and following that is a gallery of more images from Scott Mason Photo.
What did you think of the course conditions?
The course conditions were great given the excessive amounts of snow we’ve been getting the past few weeks. There were definitely parts that could have benefited from less snow though – especially in the middle miles where the course was on some trail. It got a little narrow and I sometimes felt like I was running in sand. Luckily, those miles were pretty flat, so it wasn’t a double whammy of tough footing and steep hills.
For how long were you and Kerri running out front together (in respect to the other women)?
I don’t think Kerri and I actually did any front running together. At the beginning of the race it was me, Alexandra Varanka, and Karen Bertasso. Alexandra and I broke away at around mile 2 or 3 – wherever that huge hill was – and then I lost Alexandra at around mile 4.5 on the dirt trail. From there I kept trying to keep my eyes up on the guys in front of me and gain as big a lead as I could since I knew the finishing hills would be a little tough. At around mile 7 I glanced behind me at a hairpin turn and saw Kerri and Alexandra about 100m back. It was awesome to see Kerri there! I turned back a few more times between mile 8 and 9 and she was gaining on me, so she definitely had a super good negative split.
How much of a battle was it over the last quarter mile?
The last quarter mile, or mile really, I was just trying to open my stride and focus on finishing fast. There wasn’t really a battle – it was more of a Kerri trying to hunt me down and me trying to not let her. Since we’re teammates, I kept thinking how awesome it will be for GBTC to go 1-2 and how Kerri must be feeling great to be closing so well. But then as Tom (Derderian) always says, “winning is good” so that motivated me to get an individual win too
What are you training for right now?
This was my first race back from the marathon. And also first workout and really first time I’ve run faster than a 5:50 mile since December. Haha. So, I think my body was in a little bit of a shock, but fortunately it handled it reasonably well.
I’m still trying to figure out my racing/training plans. I’ve been working on building back up to 70-75 miles a week and from here I think I may try to run a fast 10k. It would be really cool to be able to qualify for both the marathon and track Olympic trials. The 10k standard is sub-34:00. I ran a 34:34 at the Tufts women’s 10k back in October, which was on the roads and in the middle of a 75 mile week, so I think sub-34 on a track may be possible. We’ll see.
As promised here are some more shots from Scott Mason Photo. Check ’em out and consider making a purchase: