20th Annual OFTM Presented by Wampanoag Road Runners Sponsored by Ashworth Awards
By Fiona Murphy and Mike Atwood
March 8, 2015 – After three consecutive years of record-setting blizzards, cancellations, shortened courses, rescheduled dates, and headaches for race director, Jim Morris and Sandy Sheehy, President of the Wampanoag Road Runners, the Wamps were happy to finally be able to present the “20th Annual Old Fashioned Ten Miler (OFTM) Sponsored by Ashworth Awards” on Sunday, 3/8/15, after having to postpone from the original date of 2/15/15 due to yet another snowstorm that hit the area in the snowiest February on record in Boston. It was because of cooperation with the town of Foxboro, residents, volunteers and runners that this run was able to happen when so many other races had to be cancelled this year. Weather and road conditions were better than in February, but still not ideal for course records. In the fast field up front, and throughout the race pack, the sentiment was the same: it was good to be out on the road racing after this long winter.
In the men’s race, a buzz began early in the week that Olympian Ruben Sanca was going to try to break the Cape Verdean National 10-mile record with Boston Marathon training partner, Nate Jenkins. Sanca won the race in 50:23 in 2011, so all seemed viable. Even the course record of 49:34 held by Roland Lavallee was on the table. To add to things, Providence’s Pat Moulton, 2009 and 2014 champion, appeared to make things interesting. These 3 fast racers, with claims to 2:14, 2:15, and 2:18 marathon times amongst them, set the bar high for the competition.
At the gun, skirting around some snow and ice, Sanca and Jenkins took it out hard hitting the first mile split at 5:05 around the Foxboro Rotary and then accelerated into a downhill on South to Water Street, hitting mile two at around 9:53, ahead of record pace as they entered the Foxboro State Forest. Over the next mile of rolling paved hills, the training partners stuck together and up to mile 4 it looked like Jenkins was going to keep the pace with Sanca.
“The third and 4th miles were lightly rolling uphill and we continued on running well,” said Jenkins after the race. “ During the fourth mile my coordination problem began to creep back in. Not sure if it is because of the banged up foot, same leg, or something else. At this point Ruben started to pull away.”
Sanca hit the half-way point ahead of pace but a set of three major hills loomed ahead on Beach Street, which covers miles 6 through 8 of the course. Jenkins hit mile 5 at 25:22, and Moulton followed a few clicks behind.
“I’ve done easy running since the new year so knew it would be a tough one out there,” said two-time OFTM Champion, Moulton. “With Reuben and Nate there I knew I’d be running solo so just tried to run the best I could.”
However, it was Sanca’s turn to reclaim the title. “I was just trying to get into a good rhythm which I was able to do for the remainder of the race but couldn’t get going any faster,” Sanca remarked. “Overall, it was a good effort in touching paces faster than marathon.”
Despite a great training block and a lean, hungry look, Jenkins was struggling with a nagging leg injury. “By mile 5, I was pretty much done.” Due to a coordination problem, which leads to little control and a leg that keeps buckling, “the last 4 miles were pretty much at 5:30 pace, walking in my current fitness….If I get the foot cleared up in a couple of days and that is what caused the set back in coordination today than this has just been a big hurdle. If not than I’m probably out for a spring marathon.”
Both Sanca and Jenkins are preparing for the 119th Boston Marathon on April 20, 2015. Moulton’s next race goal is a 50 miler in May, Cayuga Trails in NY.
In the woman’s race, Sheri Piers out-sprinted 32 year old Katie Moulton for the title in 1:01:06 to win by 12-seconds. Piers, a 43 year old top-ranked masters runner was also 10th overall. Rounding out the top three female finishers was Piers training partner, Kristin Barry (also a top masters runner at age 41) in a time of 1:03:00. Moulton won the women’s title in 2014 and is the wife of 3rd place men’s finisher Pat Moulton. They live and train in Providence, RI. Unfortunately, Katie was not able to be reached in time for comments before this article was published.
Piers, of Falmouth, ME, said she was quite nervous going into the race, since she had not raced in 6 months, which is the longest she has gone without racing in 5 years. “I knew it was going to feel bad from a racing perspective, but also knew Kristen and I had to ‘check the carrots’ so to speak with Boston coming so quickly. We have had some great workouts up until this point so I think we were expecting our times to be a bit faster so we both felt a little discouraged.” Piers does admit that winning was not her main focus of the race, “In terms of competition, I think both of us (Piers and Barry) were just trying to focus on us getting a great workout in….Winning a race for us with a finish time that does not match our fitness level is quite discouraging to both of us.”
Piers and Barry train together with their Maine based running club, Dirigo R.C. Both are in the build up phase of their training for the Boston Marathon. Barry, of Scarborough, ME, says, “Last week was my highest mileage week since 2011. (110 miles). That said, even knowing I would be running the race on fatigued legs I hoped to run a bit faster.”
Both Piers and Barry accept that this brutally cold and snowy Northeast winter has been less than ideal for Boston training. They both have had to do a lot more mileage and workouts on the treadmill and they feel that impacted, in part, how well they raced on the road at OFTM.
Asked about course conditions, both agreed that the icy/snowy portions of the course definitely slowed them down, especially some icy turns. They both also laughed at the finish because they had misread the course description to be “fast and flat”. Piers said at the finish line they both looked at each other and said, “flat, fast… I don’t think so!!!”
Piers said, “Overall, it was what we expected when getting rid of some cobwebs….painful!” Both Piers and Barry are hoping for warm weather in the next six weeks to get outside for some real hill workouts. They are both planning to race at Shamrock Virginia Beach Half Marathon on 3/22/15. Piers has a marathon PR of 2:36:59 at Twin Cities in 2012. She says of her goal for Boston this year, “My goal for Boston is to finish as one of the top masters….PRs are no longer a goal at my age. This will likely be my last Boston Marathon…my plan is to be done racing after the Olympic trials in February of 2016….it’s a big time commitment and I have been going full steam for the last 8-9 years.” She also claims this to be her secret to be running so competitively at age 43. “I just keep plowing through without stopping….I fear that if I stop, I will get injured for sure when I ramp it up again so I just keep going…never take a break…its helped and I have never dared change anything!”
Barry says her goal for Boston is to run faster than last year’s 2:51:23. She is hoping that the warmer temperatures in VA at the end of the month will allow her to “get a better gauge of where she is fitness-wise.”
For the mens’ masters results, the first place award went to David Krall, 45, of So. Weymouth,MA in time of 1:02:46. Michael McGrane, 44, of Ashland, MA was 2nd in a time of 1:03:04, and Mike Penta, 46, of North Attleboro, MA (and also a Wamp Club member) was 3rd in 1:05:28.
For the womens’ masters results, the women’s race was won by Piers, as masters runner, so she came out of the age group awards. The first place masters award went to Kristin Barry (3rd place women’s finisher). Debbie Rhines, 43, of Plainville, MA (and also a Wamp Club member) was 2nd in a time of 1:14:44, and Laura Difelice, 40, of Attleboro, MA, was 3rd in a time of 1:18:23.
In the 5K, 17-year old David Seybert won by over two minutes. Foxboro senior and Boston College-bound Liz Holmes won in 19:42 on the woman’s side. Mens’ masters winner in the 5K was Kenneth Bager, 45, of Warwick, RI, in 20:49. Womens’ masters winner in the 5K was Sharyn Dunn, 48, of North Attleboro, Ma, in 26:27.
There were 272 finishers in the 10 mile race and 134 finishers in the 5K. There was also a 2 man relay, new to the race this year.
The Wampanoag Road Runners, a running club of over 200 members based out of North Attleboro/DB Sports, donates all race proceeds to local charities including: Attleboro Area Council of Churches (support for soup kitchens), Wrentham Developmental Center, Southern Norfolk ARC, Julia Cekela Foundation, Attleboro Area Arts Musem and Foxboro High School Scholarships. They also would like to thank their generous sponsors: Ashworth Awards, Marathon Physical Therapy, DB Sports, Rhode Runner Sports, Schneider Electric, Perfect Fuel, Cabot Cheese, Belmont Springs, KKM, Brownie Brittle, Pasta Chips. It takes over 90 volunteers to make this race a success, and of course all the great runners that come out to race! The Wamps hope to see you for the 21st edition next year.