Monson Memorial Classic Half-Marathon

November 12, 2018 1 comment


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


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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Roots of Wisdom


The importance of fueling appropriately before, during and after a tough run is always talked about and sometimes we do ourselves a disservice by knowing we should do more but fail to actually take the steps to do so. Reasons can run the gamut but if you are anything like me it probably has a lot to do with being on the go and not really finding a great option that combines an effective solution with something that doesn’t taste like the bottom of a shoe.

I recently checked out the Protein Energy Meal from Roots of Wisdom and have been impressed with the functionality of the protein shake and the taste of the product and highly recommend you give it a shot!

The goal of Roots of Wisdom is to provide a foundation in leading a mindful life and achieving mind/body happiness. The products are a combination of ancient Ayurvedic wisdom and the latest modern nutraceutical science, which allows one to reach a healthy state of balance. The Roots of Wisdom difference is PranaForce Activation through its synergistic herbal formulations, which increase and facilitate the flow of Pranic Vital Force (Chi in Chinese medicine, the primal life force, the subtle energy and guiding intelligence behind all mind body functions). This which leads to greater mind body awareness.

Some of the advantages of Roots of Wisdom products include:

  • Always 100% plant based full of vital Prana Force.
  • Always Vegetarian/Vegan Friendly
  • Always Gluten Free
  • Always Non-GMO
  • Always free of artificial ingredients and preservatives

The Chocolate Protein Energy Meal is a tasty option that is packed with 20 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber therefore the shake does a great job filling you up and providing you with some amazing energy and nutrients to both power through the day and to recover after a good workout. The shake can help ease inflammation and boost the immune system therefore with the winter months ahead , now is a great time to start getting the Roots of Wisdom product into your routine.

If you are in the market for a great option for an energy and protein meal, definitely check out Roots of Wisdom. For more information about their line of products, please check out their website by clicking here.

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Join Me at the Monson Memorial Classic


When I was told the course was hilly, the half-marathon was one of the toughest around and that others have noted the half-marathon is “no joke” of a race one thought came to mind: Sign me up!

On November 11th, join me in Monson, Massachusetts for the Monson Memorial Classic Half-Marathon. The half-marathon course has been raved about by prior participants and they will tell you that the race will both delight and challenge you all at the same time.

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 we are giving proceeds to Griffin’s Friends.

In addition to the amazing course, the Monson Memorial Classic features great food and music at the post-race party! Additional race amenities include long sleeve tech shirts for the first 200 to register for the half-marathon, ale glasses for those who register for the half marathon  and finisher medals to all half-marathon finishers. For those elite runners who read The Running Griffin, there is also prize money available for top finishers!

As an added bonus, the first 100 runners who sign up for both the Monson Memorial Classic and the Amherst Half-Marathon will receive a $10 gift card for the iconic Tree House Brewing!

To register for the Monson Memorial Classic, please click here. Be sure to also “Like” the race on Facebook here. See you in Monson in November and let’s get ready to tackle some hills!

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On The Go Towels

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After a good, tough race there is nothing better than finding a refreshing way to take that sweat from your brow and clean off the dirt that may have kicked up on your legs. Now, thanks to our friends at On The Go Towels there is a great option for cleaning off post-race and adding that cool and fresh feeling back after a tough workout.

On The Go Towels are cool, moisturize and deodorize and leave you clean and refreshed in a matter of seconds. Conveniently folded into individual packs small enough to fit your pocket, you can take On The Go wipes anywhere! They are great to keep in the glove-box of your car and ideal to throw in your gym bag with your running sneakers and change of clothes.

On The Go Towels are made in the USA with the highest commitment to quality. Formulated with safe, natural ingredients like aloe vera, ginseng, green tea, witch-hazel and cucumber extracts, On The Go Towels are safe to use on all skin types.

The On The Go Towels can be purchased either directly on their website by clicking here or can be purchased on Amazon or Jet.

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Marshfield Hills 5K


With the Labor Day long weekend affording most of us with an extra day to enjoy the final throes of summer, it was nice to be able to sneak in a Monday morning race on Labor Day. It was off to Marshfield, Massachusetts for the Marshfield Hills 5K.

As you can tell by the name of the race, I assumed there would be some hills mixed into the race and some co-workers who have run the race in the past noted it was indeed a hilly course. But with a blast of heat and humidity mixed into the morning, the hills on Monday morning took an extra toll on a course that was hilly but very scenic throughout.

The race started and finished right next to the Marshfield General Store, a classic New England style general store that is now owned by The Office star Steve Carrell and his wife. The general store features the normal general store goods you would expect to find coupled with a little room of Dunder Mifflin and The Office gear, as well. Jams, local food, convenience items, coffee, beer and wine all make the general store both functional and quaint and it was a neat place to kick off a race from.

Though the course overall had some challenging hills mixed into the route, the final mile of the race is where the true test of the legs kicked in. The uphill grade was rough and was amplified well by the heat and humidity. Most of the course was in the sun so little reprieve was offered and the race could have used an extra water stop on the course as the only one available was one hosted by a farm along the course. It was hot and two water stops would have been ideal.

There was some nice neighborly support along the race course and the finish line in front of the general store finish line was pretty well packed with supporters. On the final hill heading toward the finish, some of the locals cheered runners along to help each step up the hill.

Not my best day of racing but a really tough course and some rough running conditions out there so I was pleased to finish with a time of 26:05, good for a 8:23/minute overall pace. Would highly recommend this challenging and scenic 5K course in future years for those looking to push themselves a little bit and who want to enjoy a nice Labor Day weekend run!

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Medway Police Chase 5K


On Saturday evening, it was off to Medway, Massachusetts for the Medway Police Chase 5K. Though I have taken part in a few different road races in support of local police departments, I can honestly say that the Medway Police Chase 5K was something quite unique given the race kicked off at 9PM. I have run a few different night runs but they usually are few and far between and taking part in a police chase under the cover of darkness was quite exciting. The whole idea of going the day knowing you have a race at 9PM is also an interesting runner’s nuance to try and work through.

The race course took runners on closed roads throughout Medway and the red and blue lights of the police cruisers, motorcycles and other vehicles highlighted the race course that in some parts was otherwise pitch black. There were some portable lights along the way illuminating corners and runners were provided with glowsticks to wear along the race course should they so choose while I rocked my neon Thirsty Irish Runners shirt, a neon hat and a Glimmer Gear bracelet.

Running in the dark is always interesting given the sensory differences coupled with the fact that you might not be able to see obstructions in the road. Because part of the course was through residential roads, there were sections that were illuminated a bit but there were some stretches that were completely dark. The Medway Police did a great job shutting down the roads and patrolling the course and were appreciative of all the runners out on the course supporting the Medway Police Association. The overall course was quite hilly with a healthy amount of rolling hills mixed in throughout the course. It definitely felt as though you were climbing for most of the race but thankfully right at the end of the race was a nice downhill heading into the finish.

The starting line was packed with flashing lights but quickly I broke from the pack and made my way onto the route. Despite the late starting time, I felt strong on the course and was running pretty strong through the first two miles. A couple of later uphills kept the legs honest and I continued to run strong in the final mile. I ended up finishing the Medway Police Chase 5K in 10th place overall with a time of 24:30, good for 7:53/miles.

A couple of quick modifications to this first annual race will help this race grow even better. Even though the race was at 9PM, a water stop was needed on the course. It was still warm out on the course, not scorching, but one water stop on a 5K course (even in the dark) is pretty much a standard for a 5K race. The other thing that seemed off was the price of tee-shirts. Free tees were provided to the first 100 registered runners and then were being sold for $25 to those looking for a shirt on race day. With plenty of extra shirts, charging $25 for a shirt when the day-of registration was $25 would have brought the price for the 5K to $50 if you wanted a shirt. A more reasonable price or simply giving them away would have been a better option.

The Medway Police Chase 5K was a really nice inaugural race and I hope they do this one again. A great idea in terms of differentiating against other 5Ks coupled with a nice and challenging course made this race a good option for future years, as well.

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