After much delay we can finally present the rest of our coverage of the Mayor’s Cup races. First up is the Franklin Park 5k, which was held in addition to the men’s and women’s championship races. It was won by Jake Shoemaker and Cailin Kowalewski in 15:38 and 18:44, respectively.
Next up we have interviews with Brennan Bonner (GBTC), Brian Harvey (BAA) and Nich Haber (NE Distance). The hot topic on the day was the wrong turn taken by the leaders. Brennan went the wrong way, Brian didn’t and Nich was there to see it happen.
“After the recent Mayor’s Cup cross-country meet, several elected athletes representatives came to the monthly USATF-NE board meeting with observations and suggestions about what happened as the lead pack in the men’s championship race ran loops in a different order. The athletes reps had gathered information from participants about what had happened and their complaints and compliments. The rule book states that runners can be disqualified if they run short of the official course but nothing about mixing up the order of loops. For the future a decision process will be used that will include some of the provisions in the rule book such as a designated meet director, referee, course marshall, and games committee to adjudicate any unforeseen occurrences.”
Finally, we have something that is going to ultimately fall victim to poor timing. The night before this race was the infamous obstruction call in the World Series. Since we’re in the heart of Red Sox Nation, we know we weren’t the only ones that were left feeling disgusted by it. Ultimately it was the right call, but it was still very disappointing. We wanted to get the reactions of runners to the call. We also wanted to post it that day so it was still relevant, but the onset of pneumonia and crazy software issues prevented that from happening…until now. So here’s the video that should’ve been released back in October.
This weekend offered up two very tempting race options. Sidehiller in New Hampshire or Curly’s out in Western Mass which was the MA state championship. The idea of trying to be the Massachusetts State Champion sounded fun so that was the option I picked and went to Pittsfield Friday night after work.
It was a cold morning at 14 degrees so I got there later than I would usually get to a race. I wanted to warm up and get into the race without much time in between. I talked to Brad Herder about the course to get a feel for it which was essentially 3 miles of twisty single track up and a 1.5 miles of fast downhill on the auto road. I headed out for about 15 minutes on the lower trails. I came back to the parking lot and saw a good field consisting of Dave Dunham, Josh Ferenc, Tim Mahoney and Tim Van Orden who says he hasn’t been training. (He is still fit). Ed Alibozek who puts on a lot of WMAC Snowshoe races gave me a vest with a target on my back since I won the last race in Pittsfield. I thought it was funny so I wore it (no pressure at all!).
We lined up, the whistle blew and we headed up the road which is the way all Pittsfield Forest races start. Tim Mahoney was in front but I passed him as we got on the steep section and took the lead into the woods. This photo from Brad Herder shows me leading with the target vest. Josh Ferenc came around me right after this photo.
I settled into second and we started to roll down hill and were going a little faster than I wanted. Dave Dunham shouted out that we had missed a turn but we ran a bit a further before turning around. We missed one of the only turns on the course! We wasted no time and raced back to the course and were pretty far back as we wasted about 4 minutes or just under half a mile. I settled in behind Tim Mahoney for the climb up Turner Trail. We were passing tons of people but I noticed Ferenc and Dunham had opened a good gap. I felt like we wasted a bunch of energy trying to get around people. I didn’t want to blow up so I ran my own race and just focused on getting to the top as Tim Mahoney started to pull away.
The terrain was easing up and the steep section was over but I still had no idea what position I was in. The next guy I passed said I was in the top 10 and about 8 people ahead but wasn’t sure. I saw some fast looking people at the start and started to think that the since the climb was over maybe I wouldn’t catch anyone else. I tried to keep my head in and started pushing the pace on this flat section. I saw a hard right turn ahead and as I took it I noticed everyone in front had missed it! As we crossed the road at the peak of the State Forest. Ferenc, Dunham, Mahoney and I were all together. I was pumped to be back in the race. All of the wrong turns had given me a fresh start.
Charging To The Finish
We took a hard descent back in to the woods and I was immediately dropped again! We were starting the fast sections but I had a terrible cramp and couldn’t get going. We raced through some single track and I caught up to Ken Clark (smartest runner of the day as he missed no turns). My cramp went away as I hit the descent on the auto road. I knew there was about 1.5 miles left and i just wanted to open my stride and go as hard as I could. I caught Tim Mahoney and went around him and saw DD way ahead. I thought it was a stretch goal but maybe I could reel him in. Before the race he said he was worried about how fast this section would be. I gave it everything I had and I could see I was making up a crazy amount of time. My Garmin beeped to let me know I just ran a mile in 5:16! I gave it one more surge as I knew there wasn’t much race left and I got within 5 seconds of Dave but ran out of ground.
Overall I’m pretty pleased with the result and I had a bunch of fun. It was exciting fighting back to the front. It was also an amazing feeling of relief when the whole race essentially restarted about 3 miles in. I figure the results would look very similar if no one got lost but its interesting to think about how the climb would have played out if it was just the top 5 fighting it out.
1. Josh Ferenc 43:04 2. Dave Dunham 43:45 3. Steve Dowsett 43:50 4. Tim VanOrden. 44:26 5. Tim Mahoney 44:32
Congrats to Steve on a good (and interesting) race. Follow all of Steve’s training and racing on his blog Steve D Running. This is also a fine example of a blog in our new blog network. Is yours? Sign up here (it’ll go live sometime this week).