Here’s our Q&A with Melissa Nash, the Bentley grad and 2014 USATF-NE outdoor track 10,000m champion. Melissa ran a 34:36.9 en route to the win on Saturday in a race that was held in the dark due to a power outrage at the track.
Is this your first NE championship?
No, this is not my first NE championship. I have won the 5k indoors twice (2011 and 2013).
Did you jump into this race or is track your focus right now?
Track is my current focus and I did have this race be my main focus for the season so I am extremely happy my training came together. Now, I will switch gears and try to run a PR in the 5k in a few weeks.
What is your 10,000m PR?
Previously, my 10k PR was 35:19, which I ran last year at the NBB Twilight meet. Now it is 34:36.9.
It looks like you and teammate Jess Minty worked together. Was that part of a plan going in?
Jess and I were very fortunate to have a pacer through the first 5k, Viviana Hanley from Harvard, then after that we worked through the field until I pulled away with 1.5 miles or so to go.
What did you think of racing in the dark? Do you think it negatively impacted your time?
The dark actually wasn’t an issue for me. I am not sure if I was just really focused on the laps, but I didn’t really notice the darkness until after finishing. I could never see the first place woman, but I was running for time and knew she was too fast for me. With a 43 second PR, I think I would be greedy in saying that it impacted my time.
What does it mean to you to be NE champ?
Being NE Champ is a great feeling and having these championship races recognizes that track in New England is still relevant.
What’s your preferred race: road, track or XC?
XC is my favorite season as the courses and conditions challenge you in a different way.
Congrats to Melissa! The inquiry about racing in the dark wasn’t just a goofy question. One quick look at the results shows that 5 of the 9 women didn’t finish the race (including the pacer). That’s a very high percentage. Did the dark have something to do with that? Did some of them not even start? Did they take a wrong turn in the dark? Hopefully no one got hurt and it was just a fluke thing.