Winter Lights 5K

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On Friday night we made our way to Plymouth, Massachusetts for the Winter Lights 5K. This has been a race we have wanted to do for a number of years but 6:30 on a Friday night can sometimes prove to be a challenge between work, kids activities and other holiday events. But this year, an open night on the calendar coupled with an invite from our friends Karl and Katherine was all we needed to tie up the sneakers and partake in some wintertime running fun!

The Winter Lights 5K takes place right in the middle of America’s hometown and is a relatively familiar course for those who have run a race in Plymouth in the past. The race starts on Court Street and makes its way uphill in the half mile before making a right hand turn down toward Nelson Park, which hugs the Atlantic Ocean. For a nice stretch of about a mile you run right along the coast on Main Street and there were plenty of people out for a night out in Plymouth cheering you along the way. Runners lit up with Christmas lights, headlamps and flashlights passed by Plymouth Rock and then into the Swenson Field area of downtown before turning back up Court Street for a relatively uphill finish.

The road race was held in conjunction with the Plymouth Christmas tree lighting so a brief parade featuring Santa , a snowman and a marching band went by just prior to the race kicking off and a healthy amount of fans enjoying the holiday cheer in downtown Plymouth that evening lined the finish line and cheered runners in. Several of the local restaurants, pubs and shops were open and nicely filled post-run. We stopped into Blue Blinds Bakery to warm up post run and were greeted with free pastries, cookies and hot coffee. After the run, eight of us made our way to Cafe Strega to warm up some more and enjoy a drink and a great post-run meal.

The Winter Lights 5K was a really nice way to help ring in the holiday season and running at night is always a nice change of pace. The blinking lights, the holiday vibes and the chilly temps all helped to get you into the holiday mood! I finished the Winter Lights 5K with a time of 26:03, good for 8:23/miles.

Back at it this morning for another race in West Roxbury with Walter’s Run. Hope to see some of you there!

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Join Me at the 2019 New Year’s Classic

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On New Year’s Day, shake off the cob webs from ringing in the New Year at the 2019 New Year’s Classic in Norfolk, Massachusetts.

The Wrentham Lions Club hosts the annual New Year’s Classic 5K and this year will be the 19th running of the race. All proceeds from the race benefits the Wrentham Lions Club cwhich along with contributing to many local charities also has a focus on helping the visually impaired after being challenged by Helen Keller to become the “Knights of the Blind.”

The Eagle Brook Saloon has been the host of the race for last several years and the Wrentham Lions Club is just one of many local charities supported by the Eagle Brook.

The race itself is a fun, low-key 5K that includes a hearty and delicious breakfast from The Eagle Brook Saloon after the race and a pair of running gloves or a buff. Runners can register online by clicking here and will join Mrs. Running Griffin and me at the starting line to tackle the 2019 year with a road race hours after the ball has dropped!

Look forward to having many of The Running Griffin readers join me in Norfolk on New Year’s Day for the New Year’s Classic 5K. Let’s start off the new year on the right foot and help support the great work done by the Wrentham Lions Club!

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Commitment Day 5K

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Looking for a great way to kick off 2019? Look no further than the Commitment Day 5K in Burlington, Massachusetts! After all, there is no better way to ring in the New Year than tackling a 5K race on the first day of the year!

Commitment Day is hosted by Life Time Athletic and aims to drive individuals toward committing to a healthier, happier life. Whether it’s yoga, cycle, studio, group training or a 5K, Life Time Athletic seeks to make your passion a priority — on New Year’s Day and all year long. The race is held at 38 Life Time Athletic locations across the country and locally in the Greater Boston area the Burlington, Massachusetts location will be hosting the Commitment Day 5K perfect for those runners in the region looking to start off the New Year on the right foot!

The Commitment Day 5K is being held on New Year’s Day 5K and runners will enjoy a great run, a finisher shirt, finisher medal and post-race brunch inside of the Life Time Athletic gym!

To register for the Commitment Day 5K in Burlington, Massachusetts please click here to register online. If you register today and use the code ICOMMIT you will receive 30% off your registration fee so don’t delay and register today! This code is only good until the end of the day on Monday, November 26th so head over to the site and register today!

If you are in the Burlington, Massachusetts area and are interested in gaining more information about the Life Time Athletic running group, please click here to join their Facebook group, as well.

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Give ‘Em The Bird 5K: Race Recap

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On Wednesday afternoon we packed up The Running Griffin race wagon and made our way out to Western Massachusetts for a few days of relaxation, Thanksgiving fun and family time with my family in Holyoke.

Always looking for a solid reason to have that extra scoop of stuffing or squash at Thanksgiving dinner, we looked for a road race prior to making our trip and came across the Give ‘Em The Bird 5K in neighboring Easthampton, Massachusetts. An added nuance to the race not outlined on the website was the one thing no race director can plan for: the weather. Temperatures were slated to be in the low single digits without the wind chill Thanksgiving morning and with the crisp Pioneer Valley winds always kicking up, this was going to be one chilly run!

The night before the race, runners could pick up their bib numbers and tee-shirt at Abandoned Building Brewery. This also allowed runners to not have to get to the race too early and stand around in the cold, harsh chilly airs while also giving runners a good excuse to either have a pint or take a couple cans of Abandoned Building’s delicious craft beers home with them.

The race was limited to 500 runners and the field was completely filled with pre-registrations so the race did a nice job attracting runners in advance of the race. Because of the weather, a good amount of runners did not toe the starting line but for us hearty running folk, the starting line was on a bike trail.

As the running horn sounded, runners made their way on the Manhan Rail Trail for about the first 3/4 miles which rolled ever so gently uphill. There was a little bridge runners ran across and immediately before exiting the bike path a turkey dancing with a butcher knife showed you the way to turn. The next stretch of the race took runners through a residential neighborhood and along some farm land and winding water before heading uphill on what was toughest, hilly section of the course featuring a rather sharp incline around the 1.6 mile mark. Runners then made a right hand turn back onto the bike trail an finished the rest of the race on the bike trail heading into the finish line area where some fans, who had to have been cold, cheered runners into the finish.

The course for the Give ‘Em The Bird 5K was a really nicely laid out course and would be a great 5K course any time of year but for a cold Thanksgiving morning run seemed to work even better. It was cold out there but the course moved along nicely and was a scenic run with a good Western Mass feel to it complete with being surrounded by the Mt. Tom range and all.

Despite the cold, I ran pretty well and finished the race with a time of 25:17, good for 8:07/mile. Whether scientifically valid or not, that’s good enough for me and I grabbed that extra scoop of stuffing later in the day!

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Norwood Turkey Trot

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Following up from last week’s Monson Half-Marathon it was off to Norwood, Massachusetts for the  32nd Annual Norwood Turkey Trot. The Monson Half was a good prep race for a hilly four mile course in Norwood but the calves were still feeling the monstrously hilly Monson course on the much shorter Norwood route.

The Norwood Turkey Trot was the November Grand Prix race for my running club, the Thirsty Irish Runners. The race is a big fan favorite of the club and 60+ TIRs toed the starting line yesterday at 11AM to make their way out onto the route.

The race kicks off in front of Norwood High School and quickly takes runners down a steep hill into the first mile marker for the most part before runners begin the climbing back toward the finish line. Runners climb pretty well toward the second mile marker but heading back up the hill toward the finish line that graced runners with the downhill descent in the first mile is the real challenge.

This year, there seemed to be a few more fans on the hill than in prior years cheering runners along as they made their way up the steep ascent back toward the high school. Running in front of the high school, runners make a final sharp left tun up a quick little hill before sprinting into the finish line.

I finished the Norwood Turkey Trot with a time of 35:01, good for 8:45/miles. Not a terrible result coming off a half-marathon last weekend but hoping to build back a bit more speed sometime soon. With cooler temps now greeting us all in New England it might be time to focus on logging some more miles and then working on speed more in the spring but we shall see!

Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving! Anyone running a Turkey Trot on Thursday?

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Monson Memorial Classic Half-Marathon

November 12, 2018 1 comment

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I remember playing Monson in high school athletics but didn’t really remember much about the town when I signed up for the Monson Memorial Classic. The race director noted that the race course has been called by past runners one of the most brutal half-marathon courses they have done but I figured how bad could it really be. A couple hills, nothing. A few rolling hills, I got this.

Let me warn you now. The Monson Memorial Classic Half-Marathon course is no joke! But you need to sign up for this race next year.

The race kicked off at noon on Sunday morning in front of the Monson Memorial Town Hall, a sort of idyllic, New England town hall complete with a statue of a soldier on the building and adorned inside with a large stage and hardwood floors. Race day proved to be chilly with temperatures in the upper 30’s and with a little bit of some wind that was far worse on Saturday still lingering in the region.

Located outside of Sturbridge, Massachusetts, Monson is a rural central Massachusetts town complete with a quaint downtown area, farm land and oh, by the way, a whole lot of hills! The race course features some rather intense uphill climbing for just about the entire race it seems. The first 8 miles or so were noticably uphill and it seemed at times that we were climbing for almost the entire way. Even on the somewhat flat portions of the race, they were few and far between and the hills definitely took a toll on the calves along the way. Around the mile 9 mark there was a nice little downhill stretch and then around mile 11 you were greeted with another downhill portion, as well, but overall the hills trended far more upward than they did downward.

On the race course, volunteers had water stops about every two miles and there was plenty of water for all runners. It would have been good to have at least one or two sport drink stops mixed into the course but the volunteers at each of the water stops were all amazing and cheered runners along.

Heading into the finish line, an American flag in front of Monson Memorial Town Hall waved in the air, a perfect tribute on Veterans’ Day weekend.

Inside the Town Hall after the race, a folk band played live music while volunteers handed out warm food to help runners warm up after tackling the run. A huge assortment of pastas, soups, apples, cider, hot dogs and more greeted runners and there was plenty of food to go around! One of the finest post-race spreads you will find.

The Monson Memorial Classic Half-Marathon course was a really challenging course but a nice course at the same time. The course was probably made better simply by the fall colors that sort of enveloped the hills and the run all in all was a really good one. Long-sleeve tech-shirts for the runners and a post-race medal added to the benefits of this run so if you are looking for a 2019 fall half-marathon look no further than the Monson Memorial Classic.

I finished the half-marathon with a time of 2:16:57, or 10:26/miles. Though this time was nowhere near my best running, the challenge of the course coupled with a lack of long run training recently added some complexity to the running but I was happy to finish the race and add another half-marathon to the books!

The Monson Memorial Classic road race was started in 1996, shortly after the deaths of Kelly Waldron and Kathy Waldron Perry. These sisters died eight months apart from different types of cancer. Kathy suffered with melanoma, and Kelly had breast, bone, and liver cancer. They were wonderful, loving people. This race is in their memory, and past proceeds have gone to American Cancer Association of Western Mass, American Lung Association, Quaboag Valley Hospice, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. This year the race gave all proceeds to Griffin’s Friends.

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Genesis Battlegreen Run 2018

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Registration is now open for the Genesis Battlegreen Run which will be held in historic Lexington, Massachusetts on November 4th. Runners can choose from either a 5K or 10K course route and all proceeds from the run go to benefit local charities including Habitat for Humanity, the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund at Mass General Hospital, scholarship funds and more!

Since its inception in 1996, the Genesis Battlegreen Run has been established as one of the most popular road race events in New England. This race event is unlike any other racing event from start to finish. Rene Rancourt, voice of the Boston Bruins, sends the runners along their way with a stirring rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, accompanied by musket fire, courtesy of the Lexington Minutemen. Another signature component of the racing event is the post-race buffet, which includes a variety of food options generously donated by many local restaurants and food vendors.

This event, which has become a Lexington tradition, offers a beautiful course that will challenge runners and walkers alike. After the race, join participants, friends and family for entertainment and a taste of our local food fair!

To register for the Genesis Battlegreen Run please click here to register online. For more information about the Genesis Battlegreen Run Foundation, be sure to check out and “Like” their Facebook page by clicking here.

 

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