I was on the starting at the USATF-NE XC championships and just about to take off for a couple of strides when I heard a voice behind me. It was Amanda Wright delivering a most unwelcome message: “that wasn’t easy.” I was moments away from attempting to finish off what has been dubbed The Triple. Amanda continued to tell me it was like trying to balance a piano on your head. Great! It was the last thing I needed to hear.
The Triple consisted of the Mayor’s Cup cross country race, the Manchester City Marathon and then New England XC championships, all on successive weekends. I first heard mention of The Triple at Mayor’s Cup and thought it sounded crazy. It is crazy…but still somehow here I was ready to complete it.
That made me wonder who else had undertaken such a task and just why they did it. For me, it was something that snowballed. I ran Mayor’s Cup because it had been a while since I ran any race at Franklin Park, let alone that one. The very next weekend I was lined up in Manchester to run that marathon solely because my team needed the help. Finally I was back at Franklin Park on dead legs to finish up the new All Terrain Runner series. With Dave Dunham just ahead of me and Dan Verrington hot on my heels in the ATR standings, I couldn’t afford to sit this one out.
Those who ran at XC NE’s probably saw that SISU had a big presence, both in the races and out on the course supporting their teammates. They also had a couple of people pulling off the Triple: Amanda Wright and Linda Fortunado. Jim Pawlicki of CMS and E-j Hrynowski of GLRR also accomplished the feat, with E-j even going a little extra (per usual).
Pawlicki - 27:58
Hrynowski - 18:58
Wright - 20:02
Fortunado - 23:06
Pawlicki - 2:53:15
Hrynowski - 2:57:34
Wright - 3:02:15
Fortunado - 3:52:24
Pawlicki - 28:17
Hrynowski - 31:08
Wright - 23:48
Fortunado - 28:07
Why Do It?
“I do have Anthony Famiglietti’s run reckless symbol tattooed on my leg and running reckless has always been part of my gimmick since before I can remember, but if that wasn’t a good enough excuse to do the triple, I did it for my team,” said Amanda. “Having a scoring team at more USATF NE events was one of our team goals for 2014 and the team aspect of New England racing culture is really what separates us from just going out and running Joe’s Pizza 5k.” Linda concurred that the team score was a big motivating factor in attempting this, even though her legs were basically dead a half mile into New England’s. “I’m just proud that we were able to have a team score in all events this year,” said Linda.
Amanda’s teammate Matt Germain pulled off the triple last year (28:03 / 2:46:04 / 35:22) mainly to tell help SISU fill out a team score at each event. “One of our runners dropped out at New England’s so it was really good that I gutted it out. Shortly after the triple I got Achilles tendinitis so it was most likely not a great plan. That however did not deter me from making another attempt at it this year. My foot was in a lot of pain following the Manchester Marathon and I iced it every night in hopes of accomplishing a back to back triple. I went for a run Friday and my stride was really compromised. We got commitments from a lot of runners who could easily step up so I chose to rest it up in hopes of coming back strong for club nationals.” This year Matt only doubled, and ran a 27:32 at the Mayor’s Cup followed up by a 2:43:31 at Manchester.
For Jim Pawlicki, helping his team score was also high on his priority list. Jim is new to masters racing and really wanted to help get CMS over the top in that division. Plus, who can resist the allure of cross country? “Cross Country racing is my favorite season and try my best to do the Franklin Park events such as Mayors Cup and the New England Championship.”
The Hardest Part?
For Jim, it wasn’t the last race. “The hardest part was the marathon toward the last 10k. I bounced back and recovered good enough to only run 20 seconds slower at Franklin Park for the xc championships.”
I think the hardest part was believing my body can still handle stunts like that,” said Amanda. “In 2011, an anonymous doctor who shall not be named told me ‘you need to get used to the fact that you’ll likely never run competitively again.’ I don’t know if you can classify what I’m doing right now as competitive running, but I am playing with house money right no so I consider myself lucky either way.”
For me personally, the hardest part was the last race. My legs were mush from the knees down for the last mile or so but I was still able to finish strong. Not strong enough to catch Dunham though. Though I whittled away at his lead, that wily harrier was able to hang on by about two points. But that’s besides the point. When you pull off something like that it gives you a huge boost of confidence heading into the next training cycle. It also provides a nice mental edge knowing that you can compete even though you just wrecked your body on successive weekends.
Maybe we should’ve asked how happy people were just to be done with it all. “Like Matt Germain says, I kind of looked at him after the whole thing like, ‘Well, I’m not proud of any of that, but it is done’,” said Amanda. “But I am proud of my team, especially my teammate Linda Elise (Fortunado) who also completed the triple. Did any teams have two athletes complete the triple?” That’s an excellent question. According to the responses we received for this piece…no. But perhaps some research is needed.
Jim “never really thought about proudest event out of the three races until now. I would say being part of the winning masters team in Manchester was cool. I trained with Alan Bernier at least once a week since the summer and to see him finish as the top master was mint. Likewise, seeing Martin Tighe finish as the top Senior was cool. In the end, bouncing out of the marathon and the ability to race a week later without too much soreness was decent.”
Only decent? I was feeling pretty ecstatic after that, even though my legs had to turn to planks that I had to hobble around on for the couple of days immediately following it all. While all of these folks may seem like gluttons for punishment, they only pale in comparison to our last runner.
E-J Hrynowski’s response said it all: “Quad for me, I had Monster Mash 26.2 the week before Mayor’s. Idiot.” I guess not much more needs to be said. E-j won the Monster Mash marathon in 2:53:14.4. Not just his age group, but the whole damn enchilada, only a week before starting the official triple. Not too shabby. No word yet on if he was wearing a costume for this feat.
For those that made it out to Doyle’s after the conclusion of the NE XC championship the mood was quite festive, especially for those that had just completed The Triple. The Guinness was cold and the pancakes were hot. Sadly, we think there was a u-turn near the bar that might’ve cost one or two WMDP runners an appearance there: