The USATF-NE Road Grand Prix 5k Championship was a rather unusual one this year – a point-to-point, downhill race on a thursday evening in southern New Hampshire. Despite fighting through the usual weekly traffic jams on the way there, many New Englanders escaped work early and toed the line for the Hollis Fast 5k. The race is indeed fast, but not without a few complications. The course is a certified 5000 meter race, however, with 224 feet of elevation drop (14.3 m/km) from start to finish, this race is nowhere near the 1 meter per kilometer USATF elevation standard for record-eligibility – any times faster than a state, regional, or national record do not count. But then again, certification is all that’s required to be eligible for a New England championship event. Even on a hot, muggy evening, Hollis induced some quick results and plenty of “new PRs” amongst those who competed.
Heartbreaker and former Boston College stud Louis Serafini continued his comeback with the victory, covering the course in 14 minutes, 14 seconds. Serafini’s time was good enough to win by 4 seconds over Olympic Trials-quality marathoner Dan Vassallo of CMS. Matt Pelletier and GBTC’s Chris Kibler took the 3rd and 4th spots in 14’27 and 14’29 respectively. CMS athlete Greg Putnam proved himself as the top master’s runner on the day with a 28th overall position.
For the women, GBTC member and Penn Relays Olympic Development 10k Champ Laura Paulsen netted her 2nd USATF-NE Grand Prix victory of the year. Laura blazed the downhill course in 16 minutes, 17 seconds. Following her closely was Hanover, NH native and new Millennium Running member Lorna Young, who finished 16’23. Kara Haas continued her dominating year with another big performance to grab 3rd overall and top female master in 16’42, with Kasie Enman placing 4th hot off of her VCM win with a 16’44 finish.
As far as team finishes are concerned, the Greater Boston Track Club had a banner day, sweeping both the men’s and women’s overall team titles. The GBTC men edged out the men of the Whirlaway Racing Team by a mere 13 seconds – a close finish indeed! Millennium Running was the runner up on the women’s side with Whirlaway 3rd, just a mere 2 seconds separating those silver and bronze team positions.
Check out the overall results courtesy of Yankee Timing.